Abhinav Anand
Design Digest

"We are seeing a lot of website redesign briefs": Lulu Raghavan, Landor

In our series 'Design Digest', we explore what the world looks like from the desk of brands' design heads, as they face new challenges.

Here's what Lulu Raghavan, managing director, Landor, has to say:

How has the ongoing crisis changed the challenges facing design teams? What is the biggest change?

At Landor, we’ve always encouraged work from home (WFH), whenever team members felt the need for it. So, transitioning to a full WFH model has not been hugely challenging.

However, we miss our physical office environment, which was energising, motivating, and wonderfully inspiring. We miss the serendipitous discoveries of water cooler conversations. We miss huddling together in the conference room to crack a problem when the deadline is looming large, and we are spurred on by the energy in the room.

Our IT support teams have been super responsive, but they still can’t solve low bandwidth issues. These (issues) impede the smoothness of virtual calls, our ability to access large design files from the server, and the seamlessness of virtual collaboration. Seducing clients is also a lot tougher on Microsoft Teams.

We love our whiteboards, markers and Post-its, and sorely miss being with each other physically, and having access to these tangible aids to help push our thinking.

How has the client brief changed? We're sure it's more complicated than putting virtual masks on brand logos...

Our briefs have not really changed. Many progressive companies have accelerated their projects of strategic importance. These are the briefs we are getting for the launch of new brands, or the revitalisation of existing ones, that are sure to have a transformative impact on the company. I’m yet to see a COVID-specific brief.

We are seeing a lot of website redesign briefs from companies looking to be much sharper with their messaging on their websites, which is an incredibly important touch point. Many companies are reassessing how their brands show up in digital.

"I’m yet to see a COVID-specific brief."

Everyone is dividing time and reality into pre and post COVID. For a design executive and leader, what does the post COVID world look like, in terms of work, skill sets and related demands?

The post COVID world is sure to accelerate digital transformation for every one of our clients. They will need to reimagine their customer journeys, and rethink their very reason to exist in order to deliver genuine value to all stakeholders.

As brand consulting partners, we will need to embrace a far greater collaborative, agile, and nimble approach. There will be a lot more experiments in innovation, rather than 'big bang' launches. We will need to work much faster, and show proofs of concepts much more rigorously. We will need to embed ourselves in our client teams much more than ever before.

There will be a huge bias for actionable, and practical ideas that can quickly create value for our client’s businesses. There will be renewed emphasis on seamless customer experience, and consistency of brand presentation across myriad touch points.

And, needless to say, there will be immense pressure on budgets. The business value of any branding exercise will have to be clearly demonstrated more than ever before.

As brand and design thinkers, we have a versatile toolkit of skills that will be very valuable to clients. I see huge opportunities for us to partner, and serve our clients in numerous new ways. The future is bright!