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.

Back to Sanskar Kendra

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

9th March'09

With the intention of getting answers to some of the questions, I went back to the Sanskar Kendra to meet Mr. Debashish Nayak.

Here are some more details of the Walk that I got to know from him.

The identity was done by Mr. Nilesh Dave and graphic works by Mr. Rupesh.

There are different volunteers guiding the walk everyday. There is no particular pattern of shifts in which they work in. They have a way of managing time among themselves and the one who is free on that particular morning takes the people around.

Mr. Debashish Nayak also told me some more interesting stories about certain spots of the walk and how they can be made a part of the communication design so that the people know more about each place.

The people residing in the traditional houses don't gain anything, but are very co-operative in welcoming the visitors and are happy if the people appreciate their homes.

...and I thought I knew it all...

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

What is the time taken to complete the walk from the start to the end without the guide?
Which is the youngest building?
Who is your target group?
What are you Branding?

These were some of the few questions asked to me by my Guide, Tarun Deep Girdhar, on my first guide visit on 6th March'09. And I was blank! I had a lot more research to do.

He clarified that Data Collection can be divided into,

And what I had collected was data based on observation and had a lot of factual data missing. Only then, would I be able to analyze the data well.

About Branding, it was not a PRODUCT, nor a SERVICE that I was branding, but the EXPERIENCE.

I still had to find out who my exact target group is. There is a lot of talking to be done with the people who visit the walk, the ones living in the city and people in general, in and around the city.

There are two ways of going about it,
1. WHAT? ( to tell...)
2. HOW? ( to tell...)

Picture Maps to understand the Walk

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

I collected as many pictures of the Heritage walk as I could. (Sources: My experience, my batch mates photographs, internet sources and flicker). Then, I plotted them accordingly on the roughly drawn map of the walk, marking each spot.

I went for the Heritage walk once again and wrote down the important points about each spot. This helped me get a clear understanding of the entire walk and the places covered as well as the feel of the entire experience.

Here, I've placed the unique motifs and the life of the city seen during the walk.

This is how my room looks like presently, with images all over.

Heritage and Conservation

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Dictionary meaning of Heritage - Property that is or may be inherited. Valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations.

Today conservation has gone beyond providing protection to the material remains of the past, decayed by natural causes and human actions; for the benefit of future generation. Retrieval or retention of cultural meaning is added to the concept.

The city of Ahemedabad was founded in 1411, by Ahmed Shah. 24th February, 2009 marked Ahmedabad's 598th birthday. This City consists of around 600 polls, all built by our more advanced and intellectual ancestors.

There are generally two parts to a city - STATIC ( Architectural and monuments) and KINETIC (the interstitial space, the KUTTCHA city consisting of the temporary materials).

Today, the inner city is getting marginalized in the process of urban growth. We need to secure past in a world where the pace of change is outstripping the capacity to assimilate it. We have to create a sense of pride about our heritage among people.

We are living in a richly woven tapestry of varied colours in culture and people and one of the most Eco-friendly ares in the world, built to completely depend on nature. Rain water harvesting is still carried out in some of these several year old houses. In order to suit the hot climate of Ahmedabad, the houses were built close to each other to minimize heat absorption. Most of them are also designed to resist Earthquakes.

Conservation today, is based on human need to live in the surroundings. There is a great need to shift approach from the external to the custodians of heritage. We have to link the past and the kinetic present to emerge with a synergy that is truly effective of multiple facets of Indian culture.

We need to evaluate the process by which we influence, protect and present our cultural heritage as it's a non-renewable source, once destroyed it will be never recovered.

Project Proposal

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Re-Branding of ‘Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad’

GUIDE: Tarun Deep Girdher

The 'Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad' is a guided walk of two and a half hours, conducted daily by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation along with NGO, the CRUTA Foundation having a long history and strong architectural and urban character. As a part of its cherished project ‘Getting the City to the People’ and ‘World Heritage Week’, AMC has been conducting this Heritage Walk since 19th Nov 1997.

Beginning from the spectacular Swaminarayan Mandir in Kalupur, passing through the narrow busy streets, teeming with life, covering in between the numerous pols, havelis, ornamental facades, workplaces of artisans and a number of magnificent Hindu and Jain temples, and ending in the most glorious architectural legacies the Jumma Masjid, the Heritage walk is one reviving experience.

Prior to the walk, the visitors have a half hour special slide show running through pages of the city's history unfolding back its birth from a 10th century AD ancient site known as Ashaval to the present walled city re-founded during the period of Ahmedshah and onwards. This helps them understand better and relate things to the past during the walk.

The city bustling with life, vitality, wealth, power and vibrant with rich culture, which is a result of centuries of growth, is now beginning to loose it's rich heritage in the process of urban growth. The local residents along with the visitors need to be exhorted to take pride in their neighborhood and culture, with the objective of promoting wider awareness about the importance of the place and contributing to the growth of a local ethic of ownership and responsibility.

Through this project I shall Re-Brand the entire heritage walk, so that the concept is well communicated to the people. Though a considerable amount of work has been done, it is not enough, as the whole vibe of the city is still missing. There is a need of developing a better visual language for the various communication material involved, so that the local amdavadis as well as the visitors experiencing the walk are made more culturally conscious. And further get inspired to take such initiatives in their in their own cities, which are on the verge of decline.


  • To design a new visual identity for the ‘Heritage walk of Ahmedabad’.
  • To develop a unique visual language that will run through all the communication material, in a very economical way.

KEYWORDS: Re-Branding, Promotion, Visual Language, Economical, Inspiring, System level.

  • To represent visually the pattern of the city and the various moods experienced during the walk.
  • To present just the right amount of information and visuals, so that the rest is left to the observation and imagination of the people.
  • To develop communication material that will inspire people after the walk.

  • Understanding the personality and the character of the city and its various aspects like, intricately carved wooden havellies and temples, the numerous well planned poles, the symbolical motifs and brackets and the natural way of life of the people residing in these areas.
  • Understanding the functioning of the system as a whole, beginning right from the registration, till the final word of the final destination.
  • To study the existing identity of Heritage walk.
  • Studying the effects of branding and re-branding.
  • Recognizing and understanding my definite target group.
  • Finding the various economical ways for printing.



  • Information collection, understanding the background and the details of the entire system.
  • To study other such heritage projects being executed in and around the world.
  • Identify my exact target group.
Deliverables: An in-depth understanding of the entire system, to help me redefine the project brief by identifying the problems, definite focus areas and target audience.

Stage 2: CONCEPTUALIZATION (2 weeks)

  • Based on the analysis made, generate various concepts for the Identity design and the other communication material involved.
Deliverables: Alternate conceptual approaches and possibilities.

Stage 3: EXPLORATIONS (3 weeks)

  • Exploring basic elements of colour and typography to bring into existence the concepts developed.
  • Trying out various styles and techniques for the execution of communication material.
Deliverables: Alternate approaches for establishing the brand.


  • Validation of different approaches and selection of one final concept.
  • Refinement of the selected concept and it’s final execution.
  • Production and post-production ( includes final printing and production of prototypes).

Stage 5: DOCUMENTATION (1 week)
Documenting the entire design process.

The present Identity and Brochure

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

This is the identity presently used by the AMC ( Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation) for Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad.

The Quadrilateral shape stands for the fighter kite, as 'the Kite Festival' is a major aspect of Gujarat. In the background it has the 'Jali' pattern found in the Islamic architecture of Ahmedabad. This is the badge that is given to every visitor attending the walk.

The brochure given before the walk begins.

The brochure opens with the carved wooden doors of Ahmedabad. It has the map of the walk, a brief introduction about the history and the concept of walk and some photographic images of the places of interest scattered around.

It took us two years to cross the road.

Author: Mamata Volvoikar /

Just, when we finished the First Project, we were asked the next big question....
Waht's your next project?

Then began the same story of analyzing my interests.....what I would like to mission.... !

Art and culture of my country fascinates me a lot and this whole argument about 'what is Indian design?', gave me a direction and a way to move ahead. This way was just a few steps outside my Institute. It lead me to the Museum (Sanskar Kendra), the building designed by Le Corbusier, the one used by NID in it's initial days.

The Museum was just across the street and it literally too us two years to cross the road! Two years of our stay in NID and we had never been to that museum. We did travel a lot, to places in and around Ahmedabad that are famous and known for it's unique art and culture. But this Museum, the treasure of all ancient arts and crafts, was just across the street.

Having attended the 'Heritage Walk' that same morning of 30th December, 2008, I saw a lot of opportunities of doing a project related to it.

In the Museum I met Mr. Debashish Nayak, Advisor, Heritage, Ahmedabad Municipal Cooperation and he opened the door to many opportunities. He said that the whole purpose of beginning this walk was to make the people aware of the treasure of rich cultural heritage that they are living in, so that they conserve it.

From the conversation, I could gather that there is a lot of work that needs to be done on the communication materials.

After studying the existing communication material a little more, I realized that the visual language of the Heritage walk needs to be developed, as the experience of the walk is not reflected in the identity, brochures and posters. Its requires a little more personal touch. The one that makes the people feel proud about our heritage.

Hence, began my next project, 'Re- Branding the Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad'.

This includes re-designing the identity, the brochures and other miscellaneous media. This may also involve designing Branding Manuals, so that the same visual language can be carried out in any further communication material.