Rebranding: How to merge the past equity of a brand with the present needs?

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We all have a soft corner for the old brands as they been helping us in many odd times and needs. But as our lives are getting modernised so do our choices and requirements. To match that and continue to stay on our kitchen shelves, MTR has gone for a rebranding exercise with the help of Elephant team. Here, the Design Director, Mayuri Nikumbh explains the process and thoughts behind the rebranding of this age-old brand.

Tracing The Roots

With a legacy of over 90 years, MTR is a brand that has stood its ground for offering authentic Indian food products and emerged as a choice to reckon with for Indians all over the globe. When the process of re-branding started, there was a lot of previous equity, which was valuable to the brand and required to be retained. However, the consumer needs and behaviour had changed with the time and the brand needed to recognise and appreciate that by offering them just the right balance of the past and present.

Decoding Modernity

With a portfolio that boasted of more than 130 products across various categories, it was imperative to re-examine the entire architecture in order to simplify it while retaining some familiarity. Modern day consumer is bereft of time and seeks ease of navigation at the supermarket and now even on the grocery portal too. Studies showed that the modern woman doesn’t look at all foods with the same lens. There are varying degrees of authenticity, expertise, delight, convenience and health that she seeks through different types of foods. The task at hand was also to infuse more emotion into the brand – to appear more like a knowledgeable companion in the kitchen. Simply, befriend the consumer rather than intimidate her.

The Building Blocks

• Categorisation & Architecture

There were layers of information on the then existing packs that had now become redundant and not aiding the consumer in navigation or purchase decision. The pack architecture was simplified to keep the product name in focus for ease of purchase supported by the category colour coding for ease of navigation.

• Brand Identity

The brand identity was the first element that underwent a rehash. While it retained its original construct and appearance, it was infused with a dash of green – connoting natural, freshness and abundance – hence became more humane. This was further accentuated by softening the logotype by doing away with its formal serifs.

• Master Template

The colour red had already been ingrained in the consumers’ mind and established as a key MTR brand asset. It was a conscious decision to retain that but in a new template that would now tell the story of a food nation. MTR had predominantly been recognised as a South Indian food brand, and with this exercise, they now wanted to go pan India. A subtle map of India was included on the master brand template and with every dish would cue its origin with a small marker. The signposts and mnemonics being designed around the same theme were dressed as postage stamps and milestones.

• Mood Creation

Every type of food or ingredient evokes a certain mood. The best way to let the consumer know that the brand understands them was to bring forth that exact mood on the pack in a conspicuous manner. Three broad moods were created that would cover all the categories and be conveyed through colours, lighting, materials, utensils and ingredients in the food setting.

1. Authentic

With warm lighting Earthy colours
Metallic, wooden or earthen containers
And Traditional ingredients

2. Contemporary

With bright lighting Pastel colours
Modern table setting Ceramic bowls and plates
Accompaniments And Fresh ingredients

3. Delight

With celebratory lighting
Rich colours
Coloured bowls and plates
And the Indulgent ingredients

These helped in bringing out the uniqueness and avoiding monotony within the Masterbrand template and created an emotional connect with the consumer.

The final outcome was a revitalised avatar of the brand that retained its core and goodness but wore a new mantle of an approachable expert who has travelled the world and knows just what to serve.

Published in Issue 34

This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. If you are considering rebranding or want to learn more about the art of doing it then this issue is a must read. So, go ahead


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