The app and Interbrand chiefs explain the moves that led to Truecaller’s fifth logo in 14 years.
Truecaller built its cred by revealing the identity of the caller. Its 356 million users can vouch for it. Little did they realise the app with the blue shades on their smartphone would change its identity on 20th September.
For an app with such a unique use case and over 250 million active users in India (as per Inc42), the need for a new identity and logo evokes a pertinent question – Why?
“Not only was this essential from a brand building standpoint, it was also needed to thwart imposter and look-alike apps which keep entering the market to mislead consumers,” explains Ashwani Sinha, vice president, global brand, Truecaller.
"Also, the bluer dialler app icon was starting to get lost between other smartphone dialler icons", he added.
No ‘aha’ boardroom moment led to this decision, but there were lots of “discussions, debate, and research”, says Sinha.
“When we stripping the brand down to its core, we identified that the cursive ‘true’, our blue colour and the dialler were integral to our identity and carried the maximum recognition and recall value,” he reveals.
It is not the first time the Swedish smartphone application has changed its face. Truecaller, over its 14-year lifespan, has seen five logos – all bleed blue.
“There was equity in blue. It is perhaps the most significant association besides the wordmark, and therefore, the continuity for both had to be respected,” remarks Interbrand CEO Ashish Mishra when asked about the decision to continue with blue for the new logo.
Omnicom-owned brand consultancy Interbrand is behind the new logo.
Mishra says blue is a great fit with truth, depth and purity, and “the blue finally used has been evolved to create what I would arguably call the best stand-out colour impact across any app icon that exists on our mobiles.”
This whole exercise lasted for a year and a half. When Truecaller approached Interbrand, the brief, as per Mishra, was clear: create ownability at the biggest touchpoint – the app.
He felt that while the equity was being generating through its 356 million existing and growing customer base, Truecaller did not have any ownable primary brand asset to contain and hold that equity.
“With the dialler icon also being used by competing platform app brands like Google Dialler and WhatsApp, there was also a great risk of confusion and a quick brand equity as well market share erosion.”
This exercise in change was not restricted to Truecaller’s logo alone. The app has also launched ‘Search Context’, an anti-fraud feature. While looking at the search results for any number, Truecaller users will be instantly notified if the name for the number has been recently changed or is being changed frequently. Such multiple and frequent name changes are highly indicative of fraudulent or scammer activity.
Vice president Sinha says the brand is not taking lightly the “purpose built into the core of its business”, at a time when “brands are going out of their way to find their ‘purpose’.”
Truecaller is synonymous with the caller identification category. To change such a brand’s identity and logo surely does come with its challenges.
Mishra calls it the ‘pioneer’s cross’ and asks one to look around themselves at the number of pioneer brands becoming generic to the category and then eventually losing out to more evolved and differentiated offerings.
“The pioneer or the category creator often plays at the category benefit to open up the market. It builds a large customer base which gets habituated to the generic brand. The large base makes it difficult for the pioneer-leader to move away from it,” he adds.
Truecaller’s situation was somewhat similar. Mishra felt the association with the primary offer as well as the current brand assets was strong and formed the bedrock of the current business. Disturbing it was always going to be risky.
Creating a design system for the app design ownability as well as for “creating a signature experience across touchpoints which could be recognised even without the brand name was done with ideas embedded in the existing assets,” states the Interbrand CEO.
Cover image credit: Venkata Susmita Biswas