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Does Doordarshan need a new logo?

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-08-2017 Shuchi Bansal

Last week, Doordarshan invited entries from people for a new logo for the state broadcaster. In a bid to tap what Shashi Shekhar Vempati, chief executive of the public broadcaster, described as the “children of liberalization”, it sought youthful redesigning of the iconic DD logo that was created in 1959 and symbolizes the human eye.

Vempati’s argument is that the children of liberalization haven’t grown up with DD and are not nostalgic about it, like the earlier generation. There was a need for DD to connect with the youth and make the brand relevant to them, he said. In fact, the invitation seeking new designs said the logo should reflect the aspirations of a new India.

A logo is the face of a brand. It is a visual unit that serves two purposes. The first—a legal purpose as a trademark that works as a sign of ownership. The second, a marketing purpose—as a visual identity to help people identify or recognise the brand (along with all its meanings and associations) visually, explains Samit Sinha, managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting.

Sanjay Sarma, chief executive of Design Worldwide, says a logo is the first point of visual contact between a brand and its customer, and how the brand would want the customer to recognize it in future. Design Worldwide is an integrated strategic branding and creative solutions company.

The logo’s importance in a company’s life cannot be underestimated. It is an intellectual property that visually symbolizes the brand and helps evoke all thoughts and feelings associated with the brand in people’s minds. “Humans tend to recognize visual symbols and patterns more than written text. So, in a way, it’s the cognitive recognition that gets imprinted in the customer’s mind and becomes a stimulus for action,” says Sarma.

Besides, there are layers to what a logo conveys. At one level, it represents the basic tenets of what a company stands for. At another, it is about what it aspires to be. “The combination of graphics, words, and colours is a symbolic representation of all that it does, and what it stands for—its raison d’être. And the final shape and form represents its personality,” Sarma adds.

There could be various reasons to why a company may want to change its logo. Hiren Dedhia, design director at branding and design firm Landor, says that when an industrial company suddenly becomes a consumer facing one, a logo change may be required. It’s also needed in case of mergers between companies. Yet, other brands like to refresh their logos in their journey of evolution.

DD, perhaps, feels that it no longer connects with the youth. Dedhia says it may want to change its logo owing to the intense competition it now faces from private broadcasters. Sometimes, a change in a company’s logo helps signify a change or discontinuity with its audiences, not just the external audiences but also the internal ones like its employees. “It helps create new expectations from the brand. So, to that extent, if DD want to signal change, then this is a good way to portend it,” says Sinha.

But what should the new logo convey? The new logo should convey credibility with contemporariness, says Sinha. Sarma agrees—it should be hip and historic. Classic yet chic.

Interestingly, Dedhia doesn’t think DD’s logo should change completely. It should refresh, he says, adding, “It can evolve because it is an iconic logo and an iconic symbol. Personally, I don’t think it should look something completely different. Maybe its colours could change. Also, the change should depend on the vision of the brand. It could probably reflect to say ‘we were the first, we were the leaders. We are now becoming relevant to a younger audience’.”

Broadcasting companies need one more element in their logos. The third dimension is critical in a broadcast logo, as it is an audio visual media—how it will look and behave on screen, in the form of motion graphics is important to visualise at a design stage. “Another challenge these days is to make sure it is easily recognizable on the small screen (smartphone), as a lot of media gets consumed on the go,” says Sarma. He suggests a simple, bold logo that integrates the text within the visual, with a maximum of two colours that can be rendered effectively on 3D.

However, in DD’s case, changing the logo will not be enough. This has to be accompanied by real changes in the product and/or service, without which the change is meaningless. What it needs to change is the content and the way that content is projected. Dedhia says that ten years ago, the logos of companies were far more important as ways to reach the consumer were limited. In the digital age, a logo is still very important but it is part of a larger story or the brand experience.

With the average age of a consumer going down, DD has to connect with a very young audience, which it will find very hard to do if its content remains the same, says Dedhia. Yes, the logo should change. “But before that, they should change the organization inside out. A mere change of logo won’t make them connect with anyone, leave alone the youth,” Sarma says.

Shuchi Bansal is Mint’s media, marketing and advertising editor. Ordinary Post will look at pressing issues related to all three. Or just fun stuff. Respond to this column at shuchi.b@livemint.com

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