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Brand India: Tonic for the soul

May 17, 2007 09:14 IST

Landor Associates, world-famous branding and design agency of the WPP group, is opening shop in India. It has hired one person in Mumbai and is looking for talent. But that's not stopped the agency from doing business in India. Landor's executive creative director Peter Knapp, who re-branded and re-designed Jet Airways recently and Reliance ADAG sometime back, was in Delhi to work in collaboration with retail consultancy Technopak. Not ready to disclose the retail clients Landor may have signed, Knapp was happy to discuss the importance of branding with Business Standard.

You have created a new look for Jet Airways. Isn't it too early for such a young airline to re-brand itself?

Far from it. We were called in because the airline was moving from being a local player into being an international player. So we had to help them author a change that put them in a new marketplace and create new perceptions around what it stood for.

The brand is already loved and known in India. Yet it had to be an airline that could comfortably sit with its international peer group, the likes of Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways. It had to have that stature and pedigree. In the new look we have tried to export the spirit of new India. We have kept the original flying sun on the tail, but the front motifs are much more fluid and colourful reflecting the energy and things that are happening in India.

What is the significance of colours in designing?

Different cultures use colours in a very different way. But the one thing which I have noticed here in this market is real joy when it comes to colours. India likes bright and colourful combinations. Combinations which I think if you put in a European context, people wouldn't have the courage to use them. Over here they look very natural. In the same way, colours typical in Europe or US will be seen as quite dull here — blues, greys, silver.

Which industry sector is most challenging to work on — airlines, financial services, automobiles, hotels or telecom?

I don't think any one sector is more challenging than the other. But airlines is a passion with me. The reason is that you have so many different ways to create influence for the customer experience. So it is a complicated brand job, with the interiors, livery, lounges and the whole look and feel of the airline...

In this age of advertising and communications clutter, is branding and design still significant?

It's critical because of that . People have so many choices. They are bombarded with hundreds of brands an hour and thousands of brands every day. You have to help them make the selection quickly.

If you were asked to create a distinctive identity for Brand India, what theme would you take?

What's struck me is the energy and restless ambition in India. You can actually, tangibly feel the drive. This country is no doubt going to take a very dominant position on the world stage. If there were brand India, it would have to represent that restless energy.
Shuchi Bansal in New Delhi
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