Friday, March 25, 2011

Infosys New Visual Identity - 5 Quick Takes

I was associated with Infosys from 1998 to 2003. My last position there was as the global brand manager, so I am not an unbiased observer. I mention this up front so you get an idea of the lens through which I view this change.

  1. We did, a decade ago, evaluate whether a logotype was sufficient or a visual element was required. At the time it was decided that the logotype was just fine and all that was required was a bit of refurbishment. So the serifs were removed to give it a more contemporary look, and the tagline font was changed. The new logo unit, while shying away from a full-fledged visual element, has a digital rainbow unit included. While it does add some vibrancy, the eventual purpose of a visual unit is to be a standalone mnemonic and this umm, digital rainbow, is not distinctive enough or unique enough to easily achieve that.
  2. The logo, as it appears on www.infosys.com drops the tagline. “Powered by intellect. Driven by values.” Let me confess that I wasn’t exactly a fan of that line. I thought it was too inward-focused and not customer-centric. But it was something that expressed the values of the firm, and which the founders were attached to. I do hope that dropping it does not signify a departure from what this stands for.
  3. “Building tomorrow’s enterprise”. Well, it is customer-centric. And it does set a charter for the organization which they can build out. And certainly everyone wants to future-proof their organizations. But the manifestohttp://www.infosys.com/building-tomorrows-enterprise/Documents/building-tomorrows-enterprise.pdf seems to be more of a compilation of all the latest technology trends. Again, everyone wants to do these things. But in positioning, it is also important to state what you will NOT do. As a company “building tomorrow’s enterprise” which “old-fashioned” technologies or ideas or verticals will you drop? Else it seems too much like slapping delicious icing on a slightly-aging cake.
  4. A dramatic change in identity is justified only when it is accompanied by significant organizational change. (When we considered this earlier it was in the run-up to the NASDAQ listing.) There were murmurs in the media that such an exercise is being contemplated at Infosys. If yes, then this change is great timing. If not, it might be an expensive distraction at a time when a lot of focus is required to build the “Infosys of tomorrow”!
  5. “Win in the Flat World”, the previous theme was very catchy at the time it was introduced, being based on Tom Friedman’s bestseller, The World is Flat. It has outlived its usefulness, yes. But does the new theme capture our imagination in the same way? I think not.

While it’s good that Infosys is focusing on its marketing engine, I do want to refer to my last post, which highlights that marketing expenses when not accompanied by a new category rarely deliver ROI.

I loved my stint at Infosys, learnt a lot, and have great respect for my former colleagues and the founders. I am commenting on what has been made public, but that may be just the visible part of the iceberg and perhaps, behind the scenese there’s lots more. Infosys is an honourable company and deserves to build the enterprise of tomorrow.

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