afaqs!

Zomato Gets A New Heart

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | October 24, 2014
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The popular online restaurant guide has re-done its logo and revamped its website. A quick look at the brand's big re-design push.

Zomato new logo

Zomato old logo

Six years ago, a little experiment resulted into what we now know as Zomato.com, a popular online and mobile 'restaurant discovery service'. The brand, founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, has unveiled a new logo and has revamped its website. This is the first big re-design exercise on part of the brand since its inception in 2008, barring its rechristening from Foodiebay to Zomato in 2010.

The new look is the result of a collaborative effort between Helvetic Brands, a Switzerland-based brand consultancy, and Zomato's in-house creative team.

Design: Decoded

While the old logo was centered on the brand name, the new one is a picture of a fork-stabbed heart. While previously, the app logo was a capital 'Z' (for Zomato) and was then followed by the entire name of the brand, it's this new heart that now dominates foodies' mobile screens. The red-and-white colour scheme remains largely unchanged, though.

So, what prompted the design overhaul? According to Goyal (CEO, Zomato) the new logo transcends languages and cultures and captures the "story of people and food."

Deepinder Goyal

Rameet Arora

He says in a recent company blog post, "It captures the story of millions of meals and experiences being shared with a vast global community of people... It signifies our connection with those who share our passion for food... The ones who diligently chronicle their food experiences so that others are able to make better choices... History, whenever written, has always begun with a toast, followed by a feast."

The rebranding has begun reflecting across user touch-points; people typically interact with Zomato's 'elements of branding' on the company website and more importantly, through the mobile app. The new design is also visible across offline touch-points, like in-restaurant merchandise, across the world.

Rameet Arora, chief marketing officer, Zomato (and former McDonald's hand), tells afaqs!, that it is his team's mission to take this new logo global. "For starters (pun intended), our website, apps, offices, BTL (below-the-line) material, email signatures, social media platforms and car stickers will carry the new logo. In time, we plan to have our 'heart' plastered across the globe," Arora shares about the upcoming promotion plans.

He adds, "Zomato is currently available in 16 countries and five languages. As a global brand, we felt the need for a logo that transcends language, culture and geographical boundaries." The requirement, he explains, was to create a logo that is easy to recognise. He felt the need for "a universal symbol that anyone should be able to identify anywhere in the world."

Is Zomato's heart in the right place?

Zomato's new logo seems to have received all sorts of feedback. Sample this, for instance: While most have appreciated the design, a Twitter user likens the shape of the new heart-shaped logo to an oft-used modern day symbol of profanity (https://twitter.com/the_lekhak/status/524856335330844672).

Sujata Keshavan

Ramesh Srivats

The experts, though, give the effort a thumbs up. Sujata Keshavan, chairperson and executive creative director, Ray+Keshavan, a WPP-owned design agency, uses the words "fresh", "warm", "friendly" and "international" to describe the new logo.

"It encapsulates Zomato's brand positioning, that is centered on the love of food, very effectively," Kehavan reviews, adding, "A pictorial logo that combines a heart with a fork is very easy to recall and will be memorable."

About the old logo, she goes on, "In a way, the 'Z' for Zomato was also clear and memorable because 'Z' is an unusual letter. However, the new logo is conceptually more interesting as it tells a story; its emotional quotient is higher. In my view, it is very well done and is a change for the better."

For a brand like Zomato, one that's more of a 'facilitator brand' than the end product/service per se, how important are the design elements (like the logo, colours and mobile icon), really?

To Keshavan, it's not about whether Zomato is a facilitator brand or the actual end product. "Millions encounter and experience Zomato every day," she explains, "The visual identity is very important because it is a signature of the brand, and an important part of the brand experience, that helps convey the personality of the brand." It helps answer questions like 'Is the brand young?', 'Is it approachable?', 'Is it efficient?', 'Is it smart?', 'Is it international?'... and so on, she insists.

Many Zomato consumers are most likely to encounter the new logo on their mobile screens. Though there's no change in the product offering, can the sudden presence of a new, unfamiliar icon on the mobile screen adversely affect the brand's user-friendliness?

Ramesh Srivats, MD and CEO, TenTenTen, a digital products firm that creates apps, feels users will simply learn to live with the new logo. "Lots of big brands change their logos and users gradually get used to that. In Zomato's case too, the same will happen."

Srivats adds about the new logo, "I think it is better than the older one as it has some iconography in it. In the world of mobile apps, having an icon is always better than having the entire name as the logo."

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