Take this seat-of-the-pants brand quiz. Which event has the hallmark brand of five intertwined circles? Which company is represented by a half-bitten apple? If you were to see ‘__Inside’, what name would be the first to hit across your minds? Or if you came across ‘__with a hole’, which mint-product would you remember? Brand names have been key to ensuring that products have gotten converted from simple physical entities into billion dollar spawning businesses. Developing unique brand identities and logos have been key to competitive leadership and market superiority – the reason why customers, say, might choose a Louis Vuitton instead of a Louis Philippe. Now consider this – here is a logo that’s circular in shape with the front shot of a steam engine well-equipped with the signature cow-catcher bovine guard as the centre-piece and the national emblem at the front that aims to convey a sense of national comfort. Obviously, Indian Railways, one of the largest behemoths amongst the government-run units didn’t suffer too many pangs of creativity while creating its original logo, one guesses. Now, give yourself one final test. When was the last time you bought an Indian Railways ticket purely because you were impressed by the brand identity and its logo? We know the answer – never!

Not that anybody was too impressed with the logo of Indian Railways earlier, but suddenly, the Railways has decided that it’s time they changed their logo! A nationally released advertisement invited the public by asking them to participate in the competition (of creating a new logo). The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it advertisement (you don’t remember seeing it, right?) also exhorted the participants with a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs for the winning entry. But does it really make sense for the Railways to go for a logo change, when customers make no differential about the Railways based on the brand logo (but more by the price, reach and the quality of services offered). Shouldn’t Indian Railways then be working more towards making their strategic processes more efficient than towards branding, especially in a monopoly-like situation where there’s possible no competitor?

An Indian Railways source shares with 4Ps B&M, “Railways is going for a logo change because of the competition that it is facing from the low-cost airlines. However, having said that, the kind of connectivity that Railways has vis-à-vis Indian roads is still immaculate.” Jehangir S. Pocha, Co-founder INX News, confirms the viewpoint to 4Ps B&M, “A logo change definitely conveys a very strong change that often an organization might require to convey.”

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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6/5/2012 02:45:48 pm

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