Air India revealed its new logo and livery earlier this week. The change is anchored on the ‘window of opportunity’ theme:
According to the airline’s press release, the new look is shaped around the reimagining of the iconic Indian window shape into a golden window frame, which became central to the new brand’s design system that is intended to symbolize the “window of possibilities”.Source
As part of the launch, there is also a TVC which reveals the new theme and brand identity.
The reaction to any creative output is subjective and open for criticism. We see that all the time with movies, ads and any kind of design output. What’s appealing to some maybe be distasteful for others. In my view:
- The ‘window of opportunity’ idea is nice as it is related to the travel category. We are all familiar with the shape of a window in an aircraft and looking out of such cues opportunities ahead
- I wish some of the elements had a distinct Indian look. The PR blurbs do say that ‘Indian window, also part of our history’ has been expressed as a golden window, I wonder if that comes through in the final design – especially as a design element above the logo type
- The logo type did not evoke a ‘wow’ reaction in me (unlike the Burger King re-design) I had a similar reaction to the font used by Indigo Airlines but then over time it has become a distinct asset. But in the case of Indigo, consistent use of the ‘ownable’ font is in their advertising and in any brand communication – be it on in-flight magazines or sign boards has paid dividends. It remains to be seen how the chunky new logo type of Air India is made familiar
Image Source: LinkedIn
Any change in brand identity, especially from well-known brands seems to evoke polarised reactions on social media. We’ve seen it with Airtel (in India), Google and Gap globally.
After the announcement of the new Air India logo, there have been a spate of posts on social media for & against the new brand identity.
In the digital world, embarking on a change in brand identity is no less than a minefield for marketers as there’s no telling the intensity of blowback. It’s the nature of the social media beast – which encourages comments on any topic from all and sundry. We’ve all been part of ‘camps’ in some form or the other all our lives. Even among a group of friends there could be something that binds them all together but it was common and acceptable to have different tastes in other topics. If interests in jazz brought a group together, it was common to have people with different inclinations in politics or sports. In the digital world, the differences and ‘camps’ tend to attract to form echo chambers. The ‘free for all’ nature of the platforms encourages everyone to address brands, celebrities and those in public life directly – something that wasn’t possible earlier.
I am not suggesting that consumer feedback is bad. In fact, it’s good to hear directly from consumers their true, spontaneous feelings. We should also recognise that the motivation behind such outbursts is our inherent resistance or discomfort with change – especially if its something familiar. That could explain the reaction to logo changes in the past.
With Air India, there is a lot of associated baggage (no pun intended) – the brand’s history, the strong association with maharaja mascot, being seen as a national carrier representing the nation and so on. It may not be a brand one consumes daily like a telecom brand or a search engine but as a category it certainly is not ‘flippant’ like say a bag of potato chips or a everyday utilities brand. It carries a lot of emotions with it – even among those who don’t fly regularly.
Ultimately, it is the product or service delivery that counts. The choice of brand name, its essence, the imagery cued by the brand identity – they all play an important role in evoking the right kind of associations for the brand. These are great opportunities – especially when charting a new course to create an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. But there are exceptions too. In a market like India, names such as Ola and Uber mean nothing to the average customer – be it the end user or the driver. But sheer familiarity (and maybe short names aiding memorability) played a part in their acceptance. Their adoption (and decline later) were purely based in service delivery. Similarly, the product & service experience of the new Air India will be more important than the initial reactions to the new logos.