Bangalore was rechristened Bengalooru, Madras to Chennai and Calcutta to Kolkata. We do not know if this list is saturated. We do not even know if it has crossed the nascent stage. What we know is things have happened, and the transition has been gradual but steady. While we still struggle to acclimatise ourselves to Bengalooru, we are pretty ok with Kolkata, or so is the case with me!
These to me are all several cases of Rebranding. To build a Brand is one thing, and to rebrand it is another. It is like rediscovering self. It is like reinventing the basic premise of your product, and communicating it to the customer. The biggest challenge of a rebranding exercise, according to me, lies in the fact that the consumer must be communicated both the things that your product hasn't changed, but its name has changed. The consumer must not just realise this, but the earlier name of the product must be erased entirely from the consumer's mind.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd. did it efficiently for Super 501 and Rin Shakti. Both of them were big brands in themselves, but HUL used its trump card of Rin Supreme to erase these names from the consumer mindspace. But, that is an entirely different thing because Rin has always been lapped up more happily by an average Indian Consumer than Super 501 or Shakti. The garb of Rin Advanced meant Super 501 customers felt they were now buying Rin at the same price, which means a superior brand at the same old price and Shakti was anyway just a tag. Shakti or Advanced dint make quite a big difference to the product. To put it in a nutshell, Shakti and Super were brands, while Rin is a Brand. To understand this statement, you need to read Strategic Brand Management by Keller
Coming to another end of rebranding, we all know Hutch
was a big Brand in India, thanks to its advertisements and the curiosity factor they always maintained. Now, Hutch has been taken over by Vodafone. I would save the acquisition for someone else to post upon, and focus on their rebranding. I always wonder what it would take to reinvent Hutch, what it would take to erase Hutch from the minds of Indian consumer. This is more relevant because Hutch entered Indian markets not just as a telephone operator, but as an aggressive and innovative advertiser. Most of us know and prefer Hutch more for its ads! The Brand Hutch rang in the kid, the pug even before coverage and Value Added Services.
So, obviously when Vodafone wanted to change the name of Hutch to Vodafone
, we were all waiting for the huge makeover
, and it has finally happened. And how is it? Vodafone has gone on a 'no stone left unturned' effort to make sure Hutch is properly rechristened Vodafone in the minds of Indian consumer. Vodafone might be a great Brand globally, but in India, it is a newbie! To ensure they register themselves properly in the Indian minds, they have done something we have never seen. They have monopolised Star Network for 24 hours
with their ads. The rebranding exercise is speculated to last another two months
Is this costly? Something very much unlike what HUL did with Rin? The obvious answer would have been a Yes. But, according to sources
it isn't. The expenditure is announced to be much lesser than the speculated Rs. 500 Cr. Given the multi billion dollar deal, this definitely isnt a big deal for Vodafone to come up with what it wants! The CAS
rule that applies to Star Network could also be a reason behind this. Earlier, companies like HUL have demanded upto 35pc discount
from Star TV for the same reason.
Now, the million dollar question would be 'Will the overkill of ads kill the brand?' I feared it would. It doesn't seem so. My mom, whose instincts I believe, told me today it wasn't too much of a burden. With her being a big fan of Star Network, am sure many others would feel so too! I haven't watched it on tv, so I cannot comment personally, but I look forward to what people think about it.
I have seen the ad
though, on youtube
. It seems interesting, and intelligent. If you ask me why, I would say it is because they have cleverly maintained the thread of Hutch in the ad. Hutch entered the market with a pug and a kid, with an orange color logo. When the logo was later changed to pink, the logo was subsided and the kid and pug maintained to keep the brand recall high. Now, to change it to Vodafone, they have maintained the pug, and focussed on it long enough for the customer to realise it is a Hutch ad, and then said 'Change is Good'. To a Manager, this is THE golden gospel. So, my ethics tell me it is good! :P Though the charisma of this ad doesn't match up to older ads, it sure appeals!
To what extent, to how many people and for how long is to be seen. Will the pug turn out to be the 'lambi race ka ghoda
' for Vodafone?! Wait and watch...PS: Will Vodafone cancel all the pending payments customers owe to Hutch? ;) Not to worry though, am a Reliance loyalist! :D