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Branding in F & B industry in India

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The creative process for creating a new brand is quite similar to how a chef prepares a new recipe. We first assemble high quality ingredients which in our case would be words, fonts, colours, images and illustrations, and then combine them in a specific proportion to create a unique combination that amounts to more than just the sum of the parts. Culture and tradition is the reason why the Aloo Chaat tastes better in Old Delhi.

In fact, food is something that is impossible to reverse engineer. It’s not a quantitative thing that can be studied under a microscope or mapped on an XL sheet. It’s made by a human process that is informed by tradition, culture, experience and intuition. It’s very similar to art in the sense that it’s difficult to articulate why it works. It simply does or it doesn’t.

Food inherently creates an experience of culture and the same is true for brands as well. Good branding not only addresses the need for clear identification and differentiation, it also carries messages about culture, values and experience. Without it, the world would just be about pure business in the form of XL sheets and power point presentations, devoid of culture and any kind of nourishment for the heart and soul.

Typically, when we are designing an F&B brand, our focus is to project the cultural and lifestyle associations of the food and not so much on the cuisine itself. The objective is to evoke the desired associations about the brand and ensuring that the consumer experience is consistent across all touchpoints. Take for instance the rebranding of the popular Indian restaurant Punjab Grill. The brand had been successfully running for many years, but the promoters felt that the brand was not able to attract the millennial who perceived Indian food as heavy and greasy. We came up with the brand name ‘Tappa’ which means bounce in Hindi. The name felt right because it created the right associations of lightness and playfulness. We used thin fonts in the menu design and lots of white space to create an airy, light feeling. The food illustrations were also created using thin line art. Phukari patterns were translated into a colourful grid that evoked kites, another device to create associations of lightness. The entire branding was aimed at changing perceptions around Indian food and make it accessible to millennials who respond to modern lifestyle choices.

Tabula Beach Cafe, another one of our successful branding projects, came from the simple idea of delivering a unique experience by evoking the culture of beach shacks in Goa. For people in Delhi, the only way one could have a beach shack experience would be to go to Goa. So we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if people in Delhi could say stuff like ‘Let’s meet at the beach’ or ‘I was at the beach last night.’

We didn’t know how powerful this simple idea would turn out to be. The novelty of a beach shack in New Delhi created a lot of curiosity on social media and Tabula Beach Cafe became the new hotspot for millennials.

I personally feel a deep affinity to members of the culinary arts as our work is all about creating new recipes and concoctions using the same stock of available raw materials with the aim to delight and surprise the end user and to give nourishment to the heart and soul.

Pryas Gupta, Founder, Origin Ink

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Pryas Gupta

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