Last night, IndieFolio hosted Kurnal Rawat at The Bandra Base. In case you don’t know what The Bandra Base is, it was created by Whistling Woods and offers premium workshops in music performance, music production, film-making, photography, dance, yoga, martial arts, culinary arts, urban gardening and more.
The path was lit to make it easy to find.
When we were ready to begin, it buzzed with a full house of 30 attendees collected in this quaint and cosy space started by Whistling Woods. IndieFolio founder, Kavan Antani took the stage and began to explain to the attendees what we, as IndieFolio, stand for and what we do.
After doing so, we introduced Kurnal Rawat who founded the design agency, Grandmother and is currently the Creative Director of Landor. He then introduced the audience to Landor via a video showcasing what they do along with portfolio examples about what they’ve done. The audience knew they would be in for a workshop with a few exercises because we set up the floor with notebooks and pens for them.
When he started to get the audience thinking about branding, his first exercise began with asking the audience which brand would they be if they were a brand.
One lady said she aspired to be Google, functional and progressive. A man said he would like to be like Alibaba. More answers like this came from the floor and Kurnal Rawat then spoke more about how branding for large and well-known companies can have their values translate across products and services . To illustrate his points, he asked the audience to split into 3 groups who were then asked to think about 3 different concepts: what if Apple was a hotel, what if Uber was a hospital and what if IndiGo was a bank. What would they be like?
“If Apple were a hotel, they would keep asking you to upgrade your room and each service would come with a premium price but once you’re inside, it would be so nice that you wouldn’t want to go to any other hotel.”
The groups had a 5-minute discussion and were then asked to pick one person from each group to speak about these concepts and what these brands would be like. Each group spokesperson had an interesting set of answers like “If Apple were a hotel, they would keep asking you to upgrade your room and each service would come with a premium price but once you’re inside, it would be so nice that you wouldn’t want to go to any other hotel.”
Kurnal then took the attendees into the 3 main things a startup needs to be a brand and stand out:
The first point: purpose. A startup needs to find a purpose beyond making money or being large. A startup’s purpose doesn’t have to explain what a company does or how they do it but it should state what they want for the world they live in.
To get the attendees to understand their purpose, the audience had to write a tweet that doubled as an obituary for their startup. One of the answers that stood out was:
“Our products are now just like us: out of this world.”
After this exercise, he went on to explain positioning i.e. which explained how a startup needs to find a position in their environment that differentiates them from everyone else. This led to another exercise where the audience had to come up with a statement of relevant differentiation that was targeted to their intended audience. It was based on Gmail’s differentiating statement: For Google users Who get a ton of mail Gmail is a free webmail service That lets you search rather than sort Unlike other webmail providers Gmail gives you 1 GB of storage so you never have to delete a message again. When this had to be adapted into what each startup stood for, certain areas of this statement were covered. That turned it into an intelligent and creative ‘Fill in the Blanks for Startups’ The statement read as follows:
(your startup name) is a _____
That lets _____
Unlike other _____,
(your startup name) gives you _____
so you never have to _____.
The audience found this exercise a bit more difficult as they found it harder to state what made them different to everyone else.
After having some thinking time and receiving various answers from the audience, he moved on to brand personality which asked a simple but beautiful question that most startups need to think about when shaping their communication:
“If your brand were a person, what kind a person would it be?”
He mentioned that brand personality can’t be stretched too far or else they risk coming off as schizophrenic. For example, A brand can’t be affordable and aspirational. These are conflicting concepts. He asked the audience to think about what personality attributes best describes them and whether the personality is evident across a startup’s communication. The most important benefit of an evident personality is that it helps a startup create a more likeable brand. And we all know that every brand needs be liked to be remembered and preferred.
The imagery that a brand evokes should be clear.
To make the audience understand how a brand personality works, he introduced them to the concept of visual brand drivers. Nine images of two Indian airline companies were put together side by side to see if the audience could guess which brands they were. Though we don’t have the images, we can tell you that the images on the left denoted Jet Airways and Air India.
Then he began his final exercise; there were nine things for the audience to think about: if their brand was a magazine, a person/personality, an automobile, a watch, a drink, an activity, an animal, a place and a piece of furniture, what would they be in each category. This was the trickiest of all the exercises but it was very important for startups to think about what kind of images they want to be associated with in order to be a memorable brand.
The audience put their views forward for Kurnal to analyse.
Kurnal summarised how a brand adds value to a customer. A brand simplifies choice, it creates an emotional connect to product or service, it helps to command a premium, it reduces risks of expansion, it brings focus and clarity and it galvanises employees to the company they work for. It’s definitely food for thought that takes a while to be properly digested.
And stored in the notebooks we gave everyone to take their information and exercises with them.
To close, he thanked the audience for coming here even after some had a hard day of work and then opened the floor to questions from the audience.
From IndieFolio, we’d like to thank Kurnal Rawat for sharing such strong insights with everyone who came. It was truly a pleasure and everyone who came really enjoyed themselves.
We gave him a little something to thank him for his contribution.
The next MasterClass will be taking place with Raj Khatri on 5th March about Creating Film Poster Art. Registration for this event has seats filling fast so get all the information you need and put your name down here to reserve a spot and ensure your entry.
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