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What's in a logo?

Anand J | Print Edition: October 2, 2011

Why 72? And why so fat? It seems to me a logo for '70s TV channel. Anyways, best of luck with the new look! An act of blatant copying. Absolutely disgusting when a big group like Zee comes down to such lowly acts. The streak in Star's logo has been converted to a reverse streak in Z of Zee. Poor guys. It sucks.

These were just two of the more than a score remarks posted by readers in the "Comments" section linked to a news item on a portal announcing the launch of a new logo and tag line for Zee Network in June. A majority of comments criticised the new logo for one reason or another. The new logo with its aqua blue colour and the letter "Z" with an upward flourish was meant to convey modernity, freshness and progress.

"The unshackling of the 'Z' from the box symbolises the modern woman's zest for life and the confidence she possesses to step out into the world, beyond her home," was how Punit Goenka, Managing Director and CEO of Zee Limited had put it.

Clearly, these readers did not immediately see or like what Zee wanted to convey through the new logo.

In August, Hero MotoCorp unveiled its new logo, an isometric "H", amidst much fireworks, fun, and fanfare in London. It sought to announce its new status and ambitions - global - after the divorce from Honda.

SPECIAL:Hero MotoCorp's superhero dreams

Earlier, the much-diversified Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group rechristened itself as Reliance Group and dropped the line "Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group" under its red and blue logo to convey a "strong, consistent identity", according to Sanjay Behl, Head of Brand & Marketing, Reliance Group.

Some of the other big companies which went for a logo change in recent times are Airtel and STAR Plus. The trend may grow with the mergers and acquisitions activity picking up in the country.

Logo changes are a costly affair and are usually done as part of a group or company's rebranding exercise, the cost of which for the bigger companies is around Rs 150 crore.

Airtel spent around Rs 340 crore on its corporate restructuring and rebranding exercise after it went global with its acquisition of Zain Africa. The cost of designing a logo is less than a crore, with advertising taking up the lion's share.

Ogilvy & Mather, Landor Associates, Leo Burnett and Bonsey Design are some of the global agencies that Indian companies turn to for their rebranding exercise. Closer home, it is Shining Consultants.

Do logo changes achieve anything? STAR went for a logo change last year after it was displaced from the No. 1 position by Colors. It also revamped its prime-time shows in sync with its new tag line of "Rishta Wahi, Soch Nayi".

It has regained its top position among Hindi general entertainment channels, or GECs. Did the logo change do the trick for STAR? "People build trust into visual images and the impression is built in a nano-second," says Harish Bijoor, a brand consultant, adding: "The cost of not changing a logo is far more than changing it."

On the other hand, the effect of the rebranding and logo change on Zee, which is at the fourth position currently among Hindi GECs, may not be apparent immediately.

Says Lulu Raghavan, Country Director of Landor Associates: "People will understand the logo over time, but the challenge is to be distinct and relevant."

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