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How Good Design Helps In Building Brand Personality

In conversation with Darshan Gandhi, Head of Design at Godrej Consumer Products

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Design plays an important role in creating value and building brand personality. Darshan Gandhi, Head of Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) talks about the importance of innovating through design in the FMCG sector. Part of the 122-year old Godrej Group, GCPL is present in Asia, Africa and Latin America across the categories of home care, personal wash and hair care. GCPL reported a 52% increase in net profit after tax to Rs 935 crore for the quarter ended March. 

JS: What according to you defines good design?

DG: We all have busy lives. There is an overdose of knowledge and information all across therefore, a brand should be able to delight the consumer. Good design according to me is creating this ‘delight factor’ in every aspect from seeing the product to interacting with it. 

There is marked difference between standing out and being in someone’s face – at Godrej, we keep in mind that we are not over designing anything. Through design we create loyalty to keep the consumer coming back. We look to create grounded designs for our products that can merge into the life of the consumer and not something that will be intimidating. 

JS: Please tell me how design led innovation might have helped Godrej create consumer connect for their products. 

DG: The first product I would mention is Godrej Expert Rich Crème Colour, this is a legacy brand where we have been leaders. No one could think that such a product could be available in sachets, here we designed the packaging such that the product would look premium and complement the experience provided by it. 

The other one would be Cinthol soap – we redesigned the packaging in 2013. At that time, Cinthol the brand had multiple personalities and we wanted to unify the brand. Therefore, we set out to transform the brand through design- to make it a progressive brand that would engage young people. Though we wanted to transform the image we decided to retain the red colour, as it had a strong emotional connect with consumers in Tamil Nadu. In the 90’s the brand tried to change the design and there was a fair amount of push back so the old design had to be brought back. Keeping all this in mind we redesigned Cinthol so as to not disturb its strong consumer base.  

Then there is Godrej Aer Twist, we realized that in India people like to always keep something on the dashboard and no one had thought of a branded air purifier for the car, so it fit well into that category. These are some of our products that are truly design led.


JS: While you have spoken about using design to help build brand personality, is there something else you would like to add? 

DG: At Godrej we have a holistic approach to Brand Personality, which we call Brand Architecture since it goes beyond just pack transformation and graphic design. For us it starts from an in-depth user understanding to articulating what need the product has, then going on to relevance, and in some cases reworking the relevance.


JS: Has the role of design has evolved in the digital world?

DG: Absolutely. We are being challenged to think differently because of the way the digital medium is consumed and the way brands are building content. 

JS: Please tell me about your journey at Godrej. 

DG: At Godrej the leadership has been receptive to the power of design and appreciative of the difference we have been able to make through design to the consumer journey. This is the biggest reason we have been able to continue to grow. 

The idea people have of design is that it only works on premium products or it is something to do with expensive products. What we have done and continue to do is integrate design as a core function across all areas of the company.


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