Here is what made the news in the world of marketing throughout the year.
Marketing, as complex as it sometimes gets, is just trial, and error, success, and repetition. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to your favourite daily soap drama. And in many other ways, it’s that insightful science journal that you try your best to keep up with.
Accordingly, this stellar domain makes for a fantastic source of news and developments. And oh boy, was the year 2023 a treat for us enthusiasts.
From acquisitions and new launches to rebranding and newfound identities, 2023 saw it all. Here is a compilation of all that transpired within the confines of the brand world.
Reliance Retail Developments
2023 saw Reliance Industries take some solid strides into many categories with new launches and leadership changes. Here are some of the key developments that happened for the conglomerate.
In March, Reliance Consumer Products, which acquired Campa Cola in 2022 for ₹22 crore, re-launched the iconic carbonated drink, in three flavours initially — Campa Cola, Campa Lemon and Campa Orange.
Former Amul Managing Director joined Reliance Retail in April to head its grocery business. He joined the brand in an advisory role to expand on its success in the grocery sector with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and boost the company's footprint in consumer brands.
April also saw Reliance Retail launch an omni-channel beauty retail platform, Tira. The launch came with a dedicated app and website, supplemented by the opening of its flagship Tira Store at Jio World Drive in Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
In May, Reliance Retail brought back the popular Chinese brand Shein, which the Indian government had banned in 2020. The government approved the partnership, as was revealed by a report from Wall Street Journal.
Reliance Consumer Products expanded its FMCG footprint in June with the launch of the indigenous made-for-India consumer packaged goods brand ‘INDEPENDENCE’. The brand offers products including edible oils, grains, pulses, packaged foods, and other items for daily needs.
In September, Reliance Retail Ventures announced a joint venture with Ed-a-Mamma, the sustainable kids and maternity clothing brand founded by the actress Alia Bhatt. RRVL acquired a 51% stake in the brand.
Unilever dials down on purpose
Towards the end of October, Unilever's CEO, Hein Schumacher, revealed a strategic shift in the company's approach to infusing "purpose" into its brands. While Unilever has long been associated with championing social and environmental causes in its products and campaigns, the CEO acknowledged that not all brands can seamlessly embrace this concept. Interestingly many of the Unilever brands like Dove, Lifebuoy, and Knorr have had successes in purpose-led campaigning over the years.
BCCI Sponsorship drama
This year, Team India remained in the news for multiple reasons, one of which was about the high-voltage drama of Team India’s sponsorship as well.
In June 2022, the ed-tech firm BYJU’s extended its jersey sponsorship until Nov 2023 with BCCI for an estimated $35 million. In July, Dream 11 replaced the ed-tech firm to be the jersey sponsor of the Indian cricket team till 2027.
In Dec, BCCI took a legal route and filed a case against BYJU’s for Rs 158 crore payment default.
The same drama followed in Team India’s kit sponsorship as well, MPL (Mobile Premier League) had a contract with BCCI until December 31 2023, but the company decided to pull the deal early.
Team India on-boarded Killer Jeans, parent company of Kewal Kiran Clothing Limited as a new kit sponsor.
In May 2023, Adidas replaced Killer Jeans and became the kit sponsor.
2023, a year of rebrands
Nokia, the Finnish handset manufacturer, underwent a significant transformation by unveiling a revamped logo, marking the first major redesign in six decades. This strategic move is aimed at propelling the company's market growth.
The new logo was a departure from tradition, incorporating a vibrant array of colours and five distinct shapes to spell out the iconic brand name 'NOKIA'. This visual shift signaled a broader change in the company's focus, shifting from being primarily recognised as a smartphone brand to positioning itself as a 'B2B technology innovation leader.'
In the current year, Truecaller undertook a significant transformation in its corporate brand identity, unveiling a redesigned brand logo and app icon. Collaborating with Interbrand, Truecaller has developed a cohesive brand strategy centred around a guiding concept and a fundamental insight that resonates with people's aspirations for clarity, confidence, freedom, and fulfilment.
The primary objective behind the new brand identity is to function as a facilitator, empowering users and instigating positive change, especially for those susceptible to vulnerabilities and the escalating prevalence of scams in the digital realm.
Tata Group's ownership of Air India sparked a rebranding initiative, featuring a fresh logo unveiled at a dedicated event led by N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons. The new logo, named 'The Vista', employs bold red, golden, and purple tones, symbolising the airline's resolute vision for the future.
Centred around the iconic Indian window shape, the gold window frame represents a 'Window of Possibilities,' embodying a limitless array of opportunities within Air India's redesigned brand identity. Travellers can see the new logo from December 2023, coinciding with the induction of Air India's first Airbus A350 into the fleet, showcasing the revamped livery.
X (formerly known as Twitter)
Twitter, commonly referred to as the blue bird app, became X this year. Joining a Twitter space session titled 'No one talk until we summon Elon Musk', Musk expressed that the decision to change Twitter's logo was long overdue, humorously mentioning the removal of the Twitter logo from the building with blowtorches.
In subsequent tweets, Musk encouraged people to offer their suggestions for the new X logo, expressing a preference for "minimalist art deco", with the acknowledgement that refinements may follow. Additionally, he conducted a poll seeking opinions on changing the default platform colour to black.
Castrol has unveiled a renewed brand identity to better align with its distinct market positioning and to address evolving customer demands. The updated brand identity is the outcome of a brand strategy initiative involving in-depth research, analysis, and input from stakeholders, customers, and industry experts. The revised logo hones in on the company's fundamental strengths and unique features, to expand its appeal to a more diverse customer base in lubricants, services, and solutions. While retaining Castrol's iconic red, green, and white colours, which have become synonymous with the brand, this rejuvenated identity is poised to enhance digital brand memorability.
Eveready, the manufacturer of battery and lighting products, introduced a fresh logo and tagline in a bid to appeal to the new generation of consumers. The brand's new tagline, 'Give me Power. Give me Red', reflects its focus on empowering consumers.
The redesigned logo features the iconic 'Cat O-9' unit, symbolising a cat's nine lives, positioned next to an 'infinity loop'. This represents a departure from the previous logo where the 'Cat O-9' was centred within a red and yellow ellipse.
Ghadi aimed to broaden its presence in both new and existing markets, necessitating the establishment of an identity that would connect effectively with a diverse, multilingual audience.
The goal was to foster strong connections through regional languages and ensure a consistent packaging experience across various product formats, including cakes, powder, and machine wash variants. The new Ghadi identity upheld the brand's heritage while infusing a fresh and modern appeal. Notably, the new identity simplified the iconic clock, symbolising a thoughtful evolution in line with Ghadi's expansion strategy.
Landor & Fitch
Landor & Fitch, a WPP subsidiary, got an official rebranding and is now operating under the name Landor, concluding a five-year strategy that significantly broadened its services in consulting, design, and experience.
The rebrand featured a refreshed brand expression and unveiled an ultramarine blue identity, symbolising the transformative power of water and paying homage to the company's origins, founded by Walter Landor on a ferry boat in San Francisco harbour.
With contributions from Ubaid Zargar, Yash Bhatia and Ruchika Jha.