Abid Hussain Barlaskar

"It took a month of fine-tuning": Gaurav Verma, Zomato

Foodtech platform, Zomato was in the news recently for its new OTT service — Zomato Originals. Just as the buzz was dwindling, the brand made another major announcement, it unveiled its musical-logo or a MOGO, a term popularised by the sonic branding agency BrandMusiq.

Digital-first brands such as Zomato are fluid when it comes to content and messaging. Unlike traditional brands, they do not stick to identities apart from the basics. These brands are the ones who 'seize the moment' in terms of advertising.

Zomato operates in a space with multiple touch points and, user satisfaction swings between heavy online and offline experiences. There is a possibility of the tune being considered as noise. And then, there's the elephant in the room, fickle loyalty. The higher the percentage of discounts, the more enticing an option looks. In all of this, where does the new MOGO fit?

We spoke to Gaurav Verma, chief marketing officer, Branding, Zomato, about the initiative. Verma joined Zomato recently, after spending almost a decade at Pepsico. Prior to this, he has had stints at TATA Tea, Lenovo and ITC.

"We want the Zomato audio signature to be something that consumers instantly recognise just like they would our logo and visual design," Verma says.

The sonic identity will be used across brand touch points including advertising, in app and as notifications to partners — restaurants and riders. The MOGO is already a part of Zomato's OTT videos. "Along with our latest app update, Zomato Originals was the perfect launchpad for Zomato’s audio signature," Verma says. Zomato Originals comes in at a time when many non-video content brands like Flipkart, ixigo and fbb are launching video content series.

Gaurav Verma, CMO- Branding, Zomato.
Gaurav Verma, CMO- Branding, Zomato.

"We realised that a number of important transactions are occurring behind the screen such as order acceptance, delivery valet reaching his destination; this allows for consumers to get updates without having to lift a finger. We believe this will make the consumer experience even better. For example, when the delivery valet has arrived, the distinct sound would notify you to be ready at the doorstep to collect the order without looking at your phone. We have to ensure that there is a balance to not be intrusive and we continuously work with consumers to get that right," he adds.

Verma reveals that with the MOGO, the brand is also readying for the 'voice' future. "We want to establish a distinct sound for Zomato, something that resonates with the overall Zomato experience, and over time, build familiarity around it before voice traffic explodes. We believe that the future is increasingly going to be sonic," he adds.

"Dipak Marwah and Rajeev Raja (from BrandMusiq) blended the craftsmanship of savant-esque musicians with the wisdom of grey-haired admen. After a month of literal fine-tuning and back and forth of ideas, we were ready with Zomato’s signature track," Verma discloses.

Rajeev Raja, founder and soundsmith, BrandMusiq.
Rajeev Raja, founder and soundsmith, BrandMusiq.

Rajeev Raja, founder and soundsmith, BrandMusiq says, "The challenge was to create something that resonated with Zomato's values and personality as brand. It's not like composing music and is rather a branding process.”

Raja says that the process of making a MOGO takes at least six weeks. But he reveals that creating a MOGO for Zomato was really quick and almost all of the work came through in four weeks. "The major decisions like approvals, etc. happened over only four weeks. The Zomato team was really clear of what their brand stood for and that was half the problem solved. That's the advantage of working with very fast decision-making and clear feedback. Working with Deepinder Goyal (Zomato's founder) was an amazing experience. It was a streamlined and surprisingly easy journey," Raja says.

He tells us that before getting into music and composition, there is a complete brand discussion. Adding, “First, we put on the hat of a brand strategist and dived deep into understanding the brand, it's culture, the evolution, the founders, the team. After all of this, we begin composing the MOGO and the MOGO scape (extended play).”

Here are some of the brands that introduced the MOGO.

We are excited to present our Music Logo! MOGO. Released during IIFA in New York this year. An ode to everything we...

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Expert Speak:

Karthik Srinivasan
Karthik Srinivasan

Sharing his views on the initiative, communications consultant, Karthik Srinivasan says, "Success of the MOGO depends entirely on how it is used. It also depends on the number of touch points, which for Zomato is really high. Everything right from registering, searching for food, adding reviews, ordering food, booking a table, etc., is a touch point. Also, they have used it as the opening audio for the Zomato Originals almost like Coke Studio.”

"There are brands in the BFSI sector that have included MOGOs but have not utilised them properly. Google Pay has done a really good job with its MOGO. There is a sound and a visual at the end of every transaction. My son recognises the sound and knows that I have used Google Pay. And, he said that he heard it on a Google Pay ad on TV. That's because it's really simple, specific, and travels across platforms,” Srinivasan adds.

Speaking of possible intrusion on the app experience, Srinivasan says, "If it's used without context, it's going to be a problem. It would be all right if it were an augmentation of an interaction. Google Pay doesn't make a sound all throughout the transaction process. The sound comes only when you complete a transaction.”

Nitin Naresh
Nitin Naresh

“A recognisable sonic-identity is testimony of a successful brand. Sonic-identity has existed for ages. And some real memorable ones include — the Intel chimes and McDonald’s I’m lovin’ it.” Says Nitin Naresh, managing director, Magnon\TBWA. He applauds the brand on the move saying, “It does take courage to introduce a sonic-identity so, ‘Well-done, Team Zomato’.”

“In tune with the ethos of the business (fast delivery), I would have preferred a peppier tune, personally speaking. I am eager to see how Zomato makes it an unmistakable part of their brand identity,” Naresh adds.

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