The Walk Flow

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The walk as it is at present, identifying the areas of improvement.

With the changes made we will get a more cyclic structure, hence increasing the number of people walking the walk.

Discussion with my Guide, Tarun. 13th May 2009

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Stated below are few points from the discussion which we had and which helped me move ahead.

~ Finalize on the communication needs
After all the analysis made, what do you actually need to do?
What is the need of the time?

~ Fix on the Target Group
Is it for first time visitors?
How will u make it more memorable that they visit again??
Or is it for the repeaters???

~ There are three ways of looking at it.
1. DIRECT - the direct use of images or identifiers.
2. METAPHORICAL- making use of metaphors.
3. ASPIRATIONAL - Second level of value addition, that adds the wow factor.
That rings in the mind of the viewer and adds to the memorable experience. Surprise.


Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The Data collection and analysis stage seemed to be never ending. I decided to move on as I had already gathered enough data to help me understand the Heritage, the walks and to some extent the whole idea of 'Branding" it.

But being a student, the research stage will ever end, as there is still a lot that I need to know. As the project proceeds, I will definitely know what is missing and try to fill the gaps.

I began by trying to categorize the data as follows.

Here's what some visitors feel.

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

While walking the walk, I did interact with a lot of people. Some first time visitors, and some frequent visitors.

"The walk is always enriching. This is, I think, my 5th visit to the walk and I still never get bored of it. I like the way the name is written. Very clear, very specific. This has to be designed for the local minds, and not for designers mind. The other communication material needs to be worked out. Needs to decide what information to give and what not to."
Natasha Jay Singh (5th visit to the walk)

Wolfgang Eilrich was on a 14-day trip to Mumbai- Ahmedabad- Chandigarh- Delhi- Agra- Jaipur in a group of about 25 urban and traffic planner from several towns in Germany. He had three interesting days stay in Ahmedabad and during this time he went for the Heritage Walk.

Wolgang wanted to connect his digital photos with the Heritage Walk. He tried to upload them on Google-Earth, but Google doesn’t show the name of the buildings. So he wanted a special map of the walk, like the one I have uploaded on my blog. And that's how the conversation began...

1. Your experience (in total) about the walk. (goods and bads)

"I think it is a wonderful idea to create such a walk. On condition that there are a lot of interesting points in a town I like it to walk from one point to the other. And you have this situation in Ahmedabad (goods).

But when I walk like this - from point to point - , I also want to do it possibly alone without a guide. I saw no signs during the tour showing me the way. Maybe it was my problem, because we had a normal guided tour. But in other towns we walked parts of a town a second time alone and then it would be helpful to see signs to find the way. At other points during our round trip through India, we saw signs at highlight points with English explanations. In the time of digital photos we often take a photo of this explanations. Last point: the guide we had was – compared to other cities in India – not very talkative (bads)."

2. Your say on the Identity of the ' Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad' and the other communication material given (like the brochure n the map).

"I think the communication material is too poor or scanty. If there is more material existing it was not offered during our walk. To a lot of points in India I can find further informations in the web so that I can edit my photos at home. The brochure in the web to the Heritage walk in Ahmedabad has at several points only a link to a photo site without more informations to the specific point. And this photo is very small. This should be completed urgent. A map as on your blog-site would be helpful (I hope you won’t forget me)."

3. Any suggestion that you would like to give.
See above

"Altogether is the Heritage walk a wonderful idea, but the informations of Ahmedabad in the printed or digital way here in Germany are very scanty."
Wolfgang Eilrich (Germany)

Shiho Kitto
, a photography student from UK, walked the walk with me. Here's what she had to say.

1. An Iconic image is needed for the walk which should be identified by the tourists as well as the locals.
2. Signage or maps are required at the locations, in case anyone wants to visit alone.
3. The present identity is more like a European and less like that of Ahmedabad. Could belong to any place.

The World Heritage Logo

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

This emblem symbolizes the interdependence of cultural and natural properties: the central square is a form created by man and the circle represents nature, the two being intimately linked. The emblem is round like the world, but at the same time it is a symbol of protection.

Let's talk about other such walks

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Some of the walks described here are permanent. But, some of them are temporary, organized only when there is demand from the visitors or on other special occasions. Some others are an every day affair.

Some walks are specially organized for students. For example, the Express Group Quest was a project conducted by the Indian Express in schools in and around Delhi. Quest aimed at stirring awareness and opinions. Today, all that the children see are shopping malls and concrete buildings. The idea behind such an activity was to create awareness about the various structures and monuments that the students do not know about. This was a specially designed programme, in order to help the students appreciate the rich culture and background of their city. This was organized in association with INTACH and ASI. The visit was followed by the students sending in articles, pictures, poems, paintings, and collages to express their experiences about the heritage walk.

Delhi Heritage Walk

These are the various places that have walked the Heritage Walk in Delhi.

Day/ Date: Sunday, 1st Feb'09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs.approx
Charges: Rs 50/- per person
The focus of this area is the living shrine of the sufi saint Nizamuddin Aulia. Apart from the Tomb of the saint, there is a thirteen century mosque, several beautiful Mughal tombs of Ghalib the great Urdu poet of the nineteenth century.

Chandini Chowk
Day/Date: Saturday, 7th Feb'09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs. approx
Charges: Rs. 50/- per person
The walk covers the shri Digambara Jain Lal mandir, Gauri Shankar temple, State Bank of India, Central Baprist Church, Siaganj Gurudwara, Sunheri Masjid, Paranthewali gali, Naughara, Dharampura, and Gali Guliyan. The walk ends at the gate of the Jama Masjid.

Day/ Date: Sunday, 8th Feb’09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs. Approx
Charges: Rs. 50/- per person
The walk goes through the publishing hub of Delhi which is also a significant historic area. The highlights include the elaborate fortifications of the walled city, two royal Mughal mosques, and streets lines with many structures with late colonial architectural features –including houses, commercial and institutional buildings.

Qutub Minar
Day/ Date: Saturday, 14th Feb’09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs. Approx
Charges: Rs. 100/- per person
The Qutub Minar complex is a premier visitor attraction of the city. The walk will explore structures such as the Qutub Mosque, the Tomb of Iltutmish, the Madarsa, gateway and incomplete Minar of Allauddin. Also of course we will look at and discuss the Qutub Minar and the repairs and modifications in it down the centuries, including the additions during British rule.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park
Day/ Date: Sunday, 15th Feb’09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs approx.
Charges: Rs.50/- per person
The walk covers Balban’s tomb, Jamali Kamali’s mosque and tomb, Metcalfe’s bridge, Boathouse, Quli Khan’s tomb, Metcalfe’s Guest house, Rajon ki Baoli, Mosque and tomb, Serai , Maulana Majduddin’s tomb and Khan Shahid’s tomb.

Mehrauli Village
Day/Date: Saturday, 21st Feb’09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs. Approx
Charges: Rs. 50/- per person
This walk traverses the length of the village of Mehrauli, taking is sights such as the tomb of Adham Khan, palace of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, a large thirteenth century reservoir and the palace beside it, and finally the Jharna – pleasure pavilions beside a now dry waterfall.

Lodi Garden
Day/Date: Sunday, 22nd Feb’09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 1 and half hour approx.
Charges: Rs. 50/- per person
A beautiful landscaped garden set in the midst of New Delhi, this park contains some exquisite examples of medieval architecture. There are Syed and Lodi tombs and mosques, a Mughal garden and mosque, and other scattered structures.

Hauz Khas
Day/ Date: Saturday, 28th Feb’09
Time: 8.15 am
Duration: 2 hrs approx.
Charges: Rs. 50/- per person
The highlights of this area are the thirteenth century reservoir which has now been revived and teems with bird life; and the buildings of a renowned Madarsa beside which is also the tomb of its royal founder, Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Several other pavilions, tombs and mosques are to be
found in the surrounding park.

These walks happen only on Saturdays and Sundays. Here is their pamplet design.

Dimensions: 8.7 by 20.3 cms.
The architecture of Delhi is the main highlight here, with illustrated images of the main monuments. The border also uses the motif of the same. They don't have a proper designed symbol, but just a logotype stating the 'Heritage Walk', with just brief description of the walk and other registration details.

Jaipur Heritage walk.

The heritage walk starts at the Albert hall Museum and goes through the Film colony, Thatheron Ka Rasta, Nataniyon Ka Rasta and various temples and museums on the way along with watching the making of the traditional Lac Bangles.

Jaipur has been famous for being one of the earliest planned cities in the world. The founder, Sawai Jai Singh II, the architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya and Prime Minister Raja Aya Mal Khatri all worked together to build this unique city. The main attractions of Jaipur include its unique architectural style, the extent of uniformity in the façade of the buildings in the main markets and the methods adopted to break this monotony.

While modernization has brought about many changes the basic layout and much of traditional plan remains unchanged. A walk through the walled city is the best possible way to observe the rich heritage and take a closer look at the city’s architecture, its art and its culture and traditions.

Map showing the different pockets of Jaipur where different craft forms flourished, indicated by colour coding.

Cartoons drawn by children after they took the Heritage walk of Jaipur, about the harm done to the monuments due to bird feeding, for a special addition newspaper.

Pondicherry Heritage Walk.

With a view of offering a sensitive revelation of the city to tourists and the citizens themselves, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) has planned the Heritage walk of Pondicherry. There are a very few monumental buildings in Pondicherry. Its architectural character is a result of hundreds of French and Tamil houses that give Pondiherry its identity.

The students walking the walk and a few of the publications by the department.

38 by 25 cms, Accordian Fold.
This is a brochure with a Trail road map where the places of interest of the two walks that they organize have been marked using numbers and some information provided about each place.

They have given the before and after images of the houses restored by them, giving an opportunity for the people to compare the two, and hence help in the restoration and further preservation of the ancient buildings.

Hydrabad Heritage Walk

Here is a single map of Hydrabad, on which various heritage walks have been marked using numbers and colour coding.

Mumbai Heritage Walk
Route: Beginning from Azad Maidan to Crowford Market

Gandhi Aashram walk brochure

Map for Gandhi Aashram walk which was organised on the 77th Anniversary of Dandi Yatra, was marked with the identities of historic personalities.

In most of the Indian cities the need of the day is proper sanitation, especially such areas covering the Heritage Walk. Vehicular traffic on the narrow roads of the city should not be allowed as in the European countries as it creates a lot of trouble for the pedestrians and the public.

Heritage Walks outside India.
Walks outside India are somewhat similar but are packaged a bit differently.

Salford Heritage Walk (Manchester)
Here's what they have to say.

"Exercise your body and mind and explore the fascinating history of the city on our friendly and informal Heritage Walks. The programme of Heritage Walks is a great way of getting some exercise, meeting new people and discovering more about the city. The walks are suitable for all ages and are on even ground, however not suitable for wheelchair users or pushchairs. Lace up your walking shoes and step out for a fun and fact packed walk."

Comox Valley Heritage Walk (Canada)

The brochure of this walk is designed to self-guide the walker. On the first page it has the routes clearly marked on the map. From the next page onwards they tell you more about each area as you proceed the walk, by zooming on to that location and pointing on the map indicating exactly where you are.

Nayang University (Singapore) Walk

This map has been marked in a more playful way.

Balmoral Self-Guided heritage walk, Scotland.

This is a self-guided walk, having the areas directly marked on satellite map.

What is INTACH?

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage or INTACH, is an autonomous non-governmental Indian NGO that seeks to preserve Indian Art and Cultural heritage.

It was founded in 1984 with Rajiv Gandhi, as its first chairman and its headquarters are in New Delhi, and today it has chapters in 117 Indian cities, plus in Belgium, UK and USA. INTACH is the only non-governmental Indian non-profit society working for the awareness, and conservation of Indian culture and heritage.

INTACH chapters in collaboration with Municipal Corporations, Heritage Societies and other authorities organize Heritage Walks in different parts of the respective cities.

Inputs from Subrata Bhowmick

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Subrata Bhowmick is one of India’s leading graphic designers. Based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, he has over the last 40 years of his illustrious career, created workable and cost-saving design solutions. Which have won him 50 prestigious awards, including 18 President’s National Awards. His much lauded accomplishments straddle various fields - textiles, photography, environment, product, graphics, book design, and advertising. However, despite all the accolades and achievements on national and international platforms, the designer comes across as being quintessentially Indian - always trying to take India to the world.

In advertising, his work has contributed in building brands such as Cali-Cloth, Vimal, Dhara, Remanika, Deepam, and Handloom House, besides making them cherished and loved across a wide-cross section of people.

Inspite of his busy schedule, he is always grateful enough to spare us some time to discuss our work related issues and give his valuable feedback and insights about our work.

Having been in Ahmedabad for so many years and so close to our culture and heritage, I thought, 'why not discuss my project with him?' And yes! It was of definitely of great help to me.

Here is what he had to say.

There was no process or much thought given while designing the present identity and it definitely needs a re-design.

> How should we package it?
How should we promote it?
> Decide what is the priority.

> Is it a city? or a part of the city?
As when someone says 'Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad' which part of Ahmedabad do I go to?

> Find out which was the last house built in the city and why did they stop building houses in the similar fashion if they were so adept? And the cities like Gandhingar and Bhopal are new, just 15 years old. Why wasn't the same structure followed here too?

> What is that the people should see at the walk?

> Know the MISION and the VISION.

> There is
PACKAGE - the walk
PROMOTE - my job.

> How do you motivate people to do something?

> "Why design a calendar, why not a postcard instead? Once you put a date to something, as soon as the year is over, it expires."

You have to consider all these points in order to come up with a sensible design decision.


Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

There was immense confusion in my mind regarding the three terms: Brand Identity, Brand Positioning and Brand Image. While reading more to try and understand the terms, I came across this model that made the distinction.

Model from the papers:
City Branding: An Effective Assrtion of Identity or a Transistory Marketing Trick?
by MIHALIS KAVARATZIS* & G. J. ASHWORTH, Research assistant, Urban and Regional Studies Institute, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

Few interesting City Tag lines

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Here are some interesting tag lines used by the city.

  • What Happens Here, Stays Here. - Las Vegas, NV
  • So Very Virginia. - Charlottesville, VA
  • Always Turned On. -Atlantic City, NJ
  • Cleveland Rocks! - Cleveland, OH
  • The Sweetest Place on Earth. -Hershey, PA
  • Rare. Well Done. - Omaha, NE
  • Where Yee-Ha Meets Olé. - Eagle Pass, TX
  • Experience Our Sense of Yuma. - Yuma, AZ
  • The City Was So Nice They Named It Twice. - Walla Walla, WA
  • City with a Mission. - San Gabriel, CA
  • The City That Never Sleeps. - New York City, NY
  • The Aliens Aren’t the Only Reason to Visit. - Roswell, NM
  • We’ve Got All the Civilization You Need. - Riverton, WY
  • The Town Without a Frown. - Happy, TX
  • Town Too Tough to Die. - Tombstone, AZ
  • Rollin’ on the River. - Manchester, OH
  • Only in San Francisco. - San Francisco, CA
  • Where Nature Smiles for Seven Miles. - Spring Lake, MI
  • Live Large. Think Big. - Dallas, TX
  • Real. America. Up Close. - Rapid City, ND
  • The Richest Place on Earth. - Virginia City, NV
  • People Say We’re Old-Fashioned. We Hope So. - Virginia City, MT
  • Life, Celebrated Daily. - Norfolk, VA
  • Where the Bald Eagle Soars and the Carp Drops! - Prairie du Chien, WI
  • Where History Never Gets Old. - Fredericksburg, VA
  • Twenty Lakes in Twenty Minutes. - Harrison, MI
  • More Than Just a Pretty Beach. - Encinitas, CA
  • Something to Remember. - San Antonio, TX
  • Twice as Nice. - Texarkana, AR
  • The Big Apple - New York City, NY
  • Sin City - Las Vegas, NV
  • The Windy City - Chicago, IL
  • Baghdad by the Bay - San Francisco, CA
  • Mistake on the Lake - Cleveland, OH
  • La-La Land - Los Angeles, CA
  • The City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia, PA
  • The Mini Apple - Minneapolis, MN
  • Shampoo-Banana - Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • The Big Gun - Canon, GA
  • Drunk Driving Capital of America - Gallup, NM
  • The Little Apple - Manhattan, KS

Some Branded Cities (International)

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

City branding is all about reprogramming the behavior of it's city dwellers.

Some Cities that have a good Brand Image are, SF, LA, Philly, NYC, London, Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas. As each of these cities has both interesting physical places, unique historic and cultural dimensions, and a present set of circumstances that continues to build upon and contribute to the overall "brand".

The weaker cities currently in need of a re-brand: Rochester and Berlin – had confusing non-distinctive brands, economic problems, and in some cases, negative history. Their brands were not identifiable and lacked awareness.

When New York Branded Its Way Out of Crisis

The book by Miriam Greenberg, argues that, at the height of New York City’s fiscal crisis (a period known for civil unrest, blackouts, strikes, fiscal insolvency, neighborhood abandonment, graffiti-covered subways and soaring crime) in the 1970s, a coalition of elites came together to brand a new image for their embattled city.

Then, in 1971, the Association for a Better New York began the city’s first, quasi-official tourism marketing campaign, known as “Big Apple.” Though it didn’t go too well, it was a very important precedent.

It was not until 1977, that the New York State Department of Commerce started the “I Love New York” campaign — later made world famous by the graphic emblem designed by Milton Glaser — that tourism marketing really gained steam.

It was an extremely successful campaign and used great local talent. Branding ultimately represented not only an image makeover, but also a more business-friendly restructuring of political and economic relations in the city.

Branding transformed New York’s image from that of a “gritty working-class city” to “one that is business- and tourist-friendly.”

Visit London

Saffron won the job of creating a new corporate identity for Visit London, the marketing arm of Europe’s largest city, in late 2006. The challenge was to find something that let London be historic and charming and also contemporary and evolving—and which avoided the cliches. The identity would support business as well as leisure tourism.

The final logo for Visit London.

The solution was a typographic identity based around a core idea of Visit London as “champions” for London and drawn in red—a colour solidly if not uniquely associated with the city. London’s quirkiness entered in the form of “factoids”, like “It rains more in Rome” and “Est. 50AD”, which are given their own line in the word mark when the situation calls for it.

Here are few sample applications.

City of Cincinnati

The challenge was to convey to a wide audience the quality of life offered by the city and region. The first step taken was to catalog the area’s key characteristics and determine how people felt about them. Next, was to seek perspectives from a variety of people to help pinpoint the common threads among a diverse demographic. Finally, a visual and verbal identity to center the focus of the initiative was developed.

The span logo was created to evoke the bridges that link the three states and that serve as an active agent for connecting people, cultures and experiences. It is an active connection device for the region’s people, cultures and experiences. The design system is an solution that communicates connection.

City of Hong Kong
Branding the pearl of the Orient

The Brand Hong Kong initiative began as a response to a government recommendation stating, “Hong Kong needs to promote its unique position...A successful external promotion program can have a significant positive impact on Hong Kong’s ability to achieve a number of key economic, social, and cultural objectives.”

The visualization of Brand Hong Kong was executed through a contemporary rendering of the powerful and energetic dragon. This dual expression symbolizes the blend of East and West inherent to Hong Kong in a style suggestive of Chinese calligraphy.

Extreme Makeover: Amsterdam

Amsterdam: major industrial contraction exemplified by the closure of the Ford factory and the ship- yards, a city marred by unemployment and the influx of drugs, civil unrest in its streets embodied by a huge squatting movement – and the branding campaigns were mirrored in their distaste of everyday annoyances. Earlier attempts to label Amsterdam ‘Fashion City
and ‘Giant City’ had backfired in 1975.

In 1983, a branding campaign was started with the slogan ‘Amsterdam heeft ‘t’ (‘Amsterdam has it’), with a the letter A figuring as a smiling Canal house. ‘Amsterdam heeft ‘t’, in all its cute simplicity, was a seed that contained all the characteristics of present day city branding practices.

The branding campaign had a dual purpose:
  • while the official objective is naturally the attraction of tourism and inward investment,
  • it serves just as important a purpose in reprogramming the behavior of Amsterdam’s citizens, and neutralizing dissenting visions.

The present city branding campaign, ‘I Amsterdam’, is definitively more subtle and slick. The disciplining mechanism is now called ‘globalization’ or ‘interurban competition’, but in the end it contains much of the same tactics. Amsterdam is competing with other international metropoles – London, Barcelona, Berlin – to lure creatives with culturally interesting surroundings and the quality of its urban habitat.

"The people of Amsterdam are Amsterdam. The diversity of Amsterdam’s business community, the differing backgrounds of its residents and the wide and innovative perspectives of its citizens are the lifeblood of our city. Therefore we, the people of Amsterdam, wish to speak for the city of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is our city, and it’s time for us proudly to voice our dedication and devotion to Amsterdam.”
(extract from the ‘I Amsterdam' manifesto)

I Amsterdam branding campaign, designed by advertising agency Kesselskramer.

Understanding City Branding

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The next step is to try and understand what happens when a brand and the underlying corporate brand reasoning is extended to a field such as cities, in a so-called city branding.

Cities and locations are increasingly being marketed as ‘trademarks’. This is done by using concepts such as,

  • Nation Branding
  • Region Branding
  • Destination Branding
  • City Branding
  • City-area Branding (area of my concern)
Here is a chart plotted on the basis of my understanding of all that needs to be considered while branding a city.

A town is furthermore seen as a ‘person’, to whom an ‘identity’ is ascribed, a ‘core’, or ‘soul’, or a ‘mentality’ with a set of stable values. In this perspective, the city is given ontological status as a ‘personality’ with identity and values. Those values are assumed to be open to internal exploration and ultimate condensation into an ‘identity’, which can be applied in the internal or external marketing of the city as a brand. As most cities have quite similar services and infrastructures to offer their visitors, the contest is about creating a ‘unique position’ distinguishing one city from the next, so that customers are attracted.

As is generally observed in relation to branding, city branding creates a snowball effect, putting cities without a brand under pressure to develop one.

City branding thus comes down to uncovering and defining an ‘identity’ that can form the basis of communication to both internal and external target groups – be they citizens, customers, businesses, tourists, commuters, or potential newcomers, etc. The fact that these target groups are so diverse poses a presentation problem, as it is impossible to communicate effectively to several target groups at the same time. On the other hand, separate marketing for each target group is very costly.

The described values may be condensed into two themes:
1) The mentality of citizens, emphasizing emotional and social merits.
2) The town’s facilities, emphasizing functional, physical and practical assets.

Things to be considered while Branding a City;
1. Focusing on strengths and weaknesses.
2. Obtaining Concentrated facts.
3. Obtaining Qualitative research on the city.
5. Devising a focused strategy in order to figure the best course of action for the city.
6. Identifying the public face of communication for the city.

The Public face of communication
  • The public face of communications for a city can be promoted in many ways. This includes attractions, landmarks, people, symbols, animals, climate, topography, recreation, business, industry, and world events.
  • While in some cases it can include advertising, the public face is much more than just a brand campaign, and developing a cohesive brand is paramount to success.
The most significant aspect to the public face of communications in regards to any city is that the brand delivers and is consistent and cohesive. The city has to offer the things it claims to; otherwise, like any brand – it is doomed to failure.

You need both a physical place of interest and a cultural landscape of interest that involves a unique history (a memory) and a present spirit (current lifestyle) in order to be a successful city or to build a successful brand.

Models explaining Branding

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Here are two models explaining branding, form the book 'Branding by Geoffrey Randel'

This model by Leo Brunette uses the dimensions: Functions, Personality/Image, Differences and Source.

And the Kapferer's Prism of identity uses the dimensions: Physique, Personality, Relationship, culture, Reflection and Self-image.

Understanding Branding

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Different people define branding in different ways. Here are a few of them.

* It's an aesthetic style that consumers should recognize. (The visual approach).

* It's a consistent message that must be pushed out to consumers as frequently as possible. (The big-advertising approach).

* It's a story that we tell ourselves and each other. (The narrative approach).

* It's a reasonable amount of value that consumers should be willing to pay a reasonable amount for. (The classic marketer's approach).

* It's a culture.

* It's a promise.

* The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. Therefore it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.

I guess, the definition of Branding is different for every company. After all, different companies have different customers, services, and business goals! Every company selling shoes with a logo on it can't be Nike. Every company has its own path in crafting a brand.

Here's another explanation given by Mark Hurst.

"The brand is what you tell your friends about afterwards.
When you have a great (or bad) experience with a restaurant/airline/hospital/website, what do you tell your friends about? Do you echo the messaging from their advertising? Do you say, "Hey, try them, because they had the coolest logo"? Of course not: you tell your friends what was important to you - the details about your particular experience. And that's the brand. Nothing more, and nothing less, than the sum total of all the customer experiences served up by that company."

What he says is that a brand is just the customer experience. It's not primarily a story, or a logo, or a style, or even a value proposition. Primarily the brand is just what customers tell each other about: their experience. The logo or advertising play only a secondary role.

But, what if the logo or some communication appears at the first level? Won't the image of the product or the service be created first in the minds of the people and then be realized by them as good or bad after their experience with it?

Hence, branding can also be defined as being the 'customer's perception' of the company, which early on is shaped by commercials, web sites, ad campaigns, stories told by friends and associates etc. That perception is later (hopefully) shaped by their customer experience, which is ultimately more influential than any conceptual incarnation of the brand a company can dream up.

Customer experience can absolutely define the brand, but also creating perceived value for a status, a feeling or desire previously considered unattainable can also define a brand.

Here are some objectives that a good brand should achieve:
* Delivers the message clearly
* Confirms your credibility
* Connects your target prospects emotionally
* Motivates the buyer
* Concretes User Loyalty

To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. The brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.

Ahmedavadis say...

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The visitors visit their lanes every morning, watch them work and actually have a peep into their lifestyles. How is it affecting them? Are they gaining anything out of it?

To understand this, I spent a day at the old city, talking to the people and trying to know how much they know about the walk and the heritage. Here are few of those residents of the city whom I spoke to.

Gordhan Das, an old man who eats, sleeps and leaves on the platform outside the Harkunwar Ni Haveli the whole day says that, more than Indians it's the foreigners who know more and appreciate the buildings.
"Look at the Nakshi kaam (fine wooden carvings), all these great artists died. No one now a days will have the patience to do it again." Gordhan Das says.

"Every day while washing clothes I see them (visitors) walk from here. They click my pictures, some even send them to me. I don't mind," says Maina Ben, who washes clothes outside the Kala Ramji Temple every day.

The roads are always littered by dung. Here are the one's responsible for doing their duty very sincerely every day.

"The visitors don't bother us. But I don't allow them to take my picture as I fear that they will misuse them," says another resident of the pol.

"Being a big house I do have cleaning problems", says Jyoti Ben who keeps herself busy by decorating her own dresses.

" Humara photo pure world me hoga (our photos will be there in the entire world)", says proudly Manjula Ben, that even the Queen of Thaialand has got her pictures. She irons clothes of the people of the surrounding areas every day outside the Astapadji Jain Temple.

Jitu Bhai Zaveri is aware of the rain water harvesting system (zero bacteria) of the pols at old city and says that there is a huge water tank just below the place he is sitting. He is a gold smith owing a small shop outside the Harkunvar Ni Haveli.

M.Amin a devotee who came to pray at the Jumma Masjid says that the city is more than 600 years old, built by Ahmed Shah, who got the fragrance from the soil of the city and knew that this would be one of the most prosperous city.

Who is my target group?

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Who am I designing for? Before moving ahead I definitely need to figure this out, as the whole communication language will depend on my target group.

Is it the LOCAL RESIDENTS of AHMEDABAD that I am designing for?
Are they the NATIONAL VISITORS (people visiting from all over India)?
Or will I be designing for INTERNATIONAL VISITORS?

Well, the Heritage walk of Ahmedabad was started for the LOCALITIES of AHMEDABAD with the main aim of making them aware of their rich cultural heritage and evoking a sense of pride in them so that they preserve it. So, are AHMEDAVADIS going to be my target group?
In a way may be. But, it is the National and International visitors who attend the walk most often. This does make sense as the people live in those houses and walk those streets everyday. Why will they attend the walk?

About the NATIONAL VISITORS, they do attend the walk when they make a visit to Ahmedabad to see the peoples way of living. Even relatives or friends living in this city like to take their guests to 'show-off' their city a bit and also give them a glimpse of what their city is like in just two hours.

The INTERNATIONAL VISITORS who are drawn towards the city to experience the rich culture and architecture. For them too it's a very enriching walk and actually are the ones who need to be told more as they are total strangers to our history, culture and lifestyle. So, is this going to be my target group? If so, the locals might not be able to relate to it.

...a thought...

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The map given to the people is very unappealing and from my experiences at the walk I have noticed that the people just give one glance at the brochure given to them and then put it away. Instead of the very static map can it be redesigned in a very casual and playful way to make it more interesting and understandable for the visitors?

A few chnages in the map.

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

The route followed in the walk had had undergone some minor changes which were not updated on the map. We hence, first got the map corrected to the right route.

Here is the new map superimposed on the old one making the changes visible.

Mapping the Walk on Google Earth

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Here's the Heritage walk marked on the Map of Ahmedabad downloaded from Google earth.
No, it's not a long walk as it seems to be.

Total distance of the walk: 1.5 km

Zoom in a bit. Marked route, beginning from Swaminarayan Temple to the Jumma Masjid.