Automotive brands in India : Matter of pride, passion & purpose
By Ashwini Deshpande along with Ashish Deshpande
World over automotive brands have stood for finesse, luxury, hi end functions, if not more than often, for speed, power & vitality. In India, majority of transportation solutions serve the purpose of work commutation, people & goods transporters, and most importantly as a means of livelihood. Whether global or Indian, automobile brands get a cult following and people take pride in the badge of their choice.
It is important that brands are targeted towards the people who are going to be experiencing them as products & services. Brands need to reflect their aspirations, connect on an emotional level and build confidence by associating positively.
When a vehicle becomes your lively hood, people look for answers on more than one axis of their lives. The design team was faced with a challenge to create the visual identity with all its manifestations for Eicher Polaris, who recently launched India’s first multi-purpose personal utility vehicle. The answers lay in understanding people who would use these vehicles. The progressive Indian entrepreneur has no concept of boundaries as he is often multi-tasking personal chores with business needs. He is living every moment & making the most of it.
This range of vehicles is named “Multix” reflecting its extreme versatility aligned with the users’ lives. As a ground-up innovation, Multix is designed as a concept that brings about a positive multiplier in the owner’s life, be it home, business or power.
Multix brand is inspired by the local regional concept of “zindagimultiplied” (translates as life multiplied) as a visual language clue. The badge has been designed as a perfect geometry, and has layers to discover & identify with the person for who the vehicle will be a livelihood partner. At the first glance it is a happy bloom in cheery yellow, which is also the primary brand colour. It also serves as an elegant enclosure to the multiplier symbol, which really is the essence of this brand. Multix brand is designed to be an enabler for unlocking & multiplying potential opportunities resulting in prosperity for the target consumer.
Typography is clean emphasising high functionality & contemporary outlook. Yet the lower case “m” starts the conversation on a friendly note with emphasis on technology & ending by reiterating the multiplier effect. Colour palette is largely built around bright colours evident everywhere in India. They add to the noticeability & celebratory appearance of the brand.
Let’s look at another commercial vehicle brand. Global powerhouse, Daimler Benz wanted to enter the expanding mid & large commercial vehicles segment in India with a range of trucks. This business segment in India needed a brand that connected with the local people. Users in this category talked about “pride of ownership”, looked to connect with something larger than the business and be cutting edge. As a company, Daimler Benz wanted to build a new set of trucks that were tailor made for Indian conditions and users. The new brand had to communicate this very thought behind the vehicles.
The answer again lay with the way people saw the brand highlight over a score of well-settled existing truck brands. The word, “Bharat” (India ) brought around a sense of pride with the commercial vehicle operators, made them feel special that a truck has been created for Indian needs. “Benz” infused that sense of technical expertise & confidence of a global brand.
Bharat Benz typestyle demonstrates expertise, and is contemporary with an emphasis on the word BENZ. The badging is a balance of legacy of shield & wreath from the older Benz identity and clean circular forms representing the global nature of the brand.
Adding to the Benz palette of black, grey & steel, the design team decided to bring in warmth to connect with people through a brilliant deep red. This also helped pushed the style & power quotient across retail & communication.
A decade back, when two wheeler major, Bajaj Auto changed its livery, it reflected the concerns of the new leadership and was created to connect with the “youthful & younger” consumers. The change of the brand identity from the hexagonal B to the “flying B” reflected shift in the consumer age, aspirations and ideology behind products. However, the change never threw away the 30 year old legacy of brand creation. The “flying B” was extracted form the same hexagon of the old symbol. The logotype was expanded from the earlier condensed bold, lower case font, with letters reflecting a human dimension with new rounded letter ends and a sense of direction. Blue, the brand colour was changed to a fresher & younger interpretation of the same colour.
People like change not due of its novelty but because the change speaks to them. When brands connect, they tend to ease into the mind space of the users. Connect in such cases is not just a seasonal trend, rather, an endearing sense of attachment.
Next time you re-look at an automotive brand in India, look from the eyes of its users’, feel from their heart and understand how they see their future reflected in the brand of their choice.
ELEPHANT is India’s Best Design Practice (ET-Brand Equity 2012-2014 ranking) with a multi-disciplinary experience of 25+ years having presence in India & Singapore and has been transforming brands, organizations & businesses using Design led Innovation.
Elephant has helped build two significant automobile brands in its rich history of 25 years; rebranding of Bajaj Auto and then a distinction of being the only design consultancy outside Germany to have created a new brand for Daimler Group called Bharat Benz for their India-centric trucks. Multix by Eicher Polaris is the newest bloom and makes Elephant perhaps the only team in India to have three automobile brands on the road.
ASHWINI DESHPANDE is a Visual Communication Designer, Co-founder & Director at Elephant. An alumnus of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, she is a prolific speaker at several international conferences & workshops on design. Ashwini has been a jury on Spikes Asia, Design Lion Cannes and Design for Asia Awards. She is a subject expert on Brand Identity Programs & Package Design and known for her highly effective work for Britannia, Paperboat, Nirlep, Grandmaster, P&G and Piramal Industries.
ASHISH DESHPANDE is an Industrial Designer, Co-founder & Director at Elephant. An alumnus of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, he is a keen Design Thinker, a member of India Design Council & Jury for India Design Mark. He has worked on several design programs, notably, Titan Eye+, Bajaj Auto, Probiking, Ceat Tyres, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Krusty's, Symphony, Paperboat amongst others