Cocoa Scrabble

I am not sure who will enjoy this one more – chocoholics or scrabble lovers. Either way looks like the game won’t last for too long.

Brand Animals

Brand consultants are famous for asking those bog standard questions that define brand personality: If your brand was a watch…what would it be? Or What car would it be? Or if it were an animal what would it be? Designer Corey Holmes’ taxonomy turns the question on its head….absolutely fab…

Banking on listening to your customers

A recent letter seems to be doing the rounds on the internet – its author is allegedly a 96 year old unhappy soul, who, despite her age, seems to be as sharp as Edward Deming crossed with your earnest engineering grad. And with a great sense of humor. The reason for the letter is: “to thank you (the Bank Manager) for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber with last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.” And the solution is ingenious:

“In due course, I will issue your (Bank’s) employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cann ot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:
1. To make an appointment to see me
2. To query a missing payment.
3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home
7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contact.
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.”
Click here to read the complete letter.
Obviously it isn’t real (I mean the 96 year old woman story) – it was written by a Peter Wear a columnist for Brisbane’s Courier Mail and inspired by an incident of his cheque bouncing. This was 1999 but many brands and businesses even today fail to answer the simple core question: “who do we exist for?” IBM of course has a brilliant campaign that drives home the point, less eloquently than Mr Wear, but spot-on nonetheless…

There is more to Bangalore than just IT

In its June 28th edition, The Bangalore Mirror lists 10 interesting organisations that the city is know for other than the usual big IT names that its famous for like Wipro, Infosys, TCS, HP, IBM et al. The list features US Pizza, The Himalaya Drug Co., Avesthagen, Cafe Coffee Day and Ray+Keshavan.R+K-type

The journey of the BIAL brand mark

Looking through my collection of hard-to-decipher file names, I came across this interesting little travelogue (below) – albeit in a visual form. The journey of the BIAL mark – from a sketch on the back of an envelope to a recognised marque. A good companion to my earlier rambling on the BIAL identity—therefore this post.

Most journeys for a brand creation or transformation are often seen one fine morning in the local newspaper or on blogs frequented by brandistas like me and my colleagues, or on one those hate-forums of designers that feel that they could have added far more worth and value. After all design and branding are a profession that are subject to extremes of subjectivism and open to criticism of the n-th degree. The objectivity that one can bring to the subject is the context (which in case of this particular logo was centred around an airport for the city of bangalore); production issues/constraints and long term strategic intent (in this case BIA wanted to get connect better with the city – else they already had a logo). Most skirt around the third issue conveniently – but it is often the most critical trigger for a brand change. BIA ceo Albert Brunner and his team took a strategic decision of opting for a fresh new mark instead of the corporate mark (with multiple arrows) which had no geographical connect.
As the little road map above shows – many objective decisions shaped the final identity, as did several subjective opinions too. Several worth logos made it to the quarter-finals and sem-finals. Some dropped due to subjective preferences and many due to a lack of fit with strategic intent. My European biased colour palette was finally injected with a riot of tropical hues by my many wonderful colleagues, the dots were dropped, the type became stronger, the forms became sharper – perfectly fit for production, legibility and readability. The pleasing part was the partnership that was forged between the client, stakeholders and consultant teams to define what was right and relevant for the airport brand – not was was ‘good’ or what ‘I like’ or what ‘my son or grandchild loves’.