A brand design should not only look good but also work well

Shashwat Das interview

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Shaswat Das, founder-director of Almond Branding

A brand design should not only look good but also work well. That is the philosophy that drives Almond Branding, a brand and design agency based in Mumbai. Almond Branding has worked with multiple brands, both start-ups and established ones, and chalked out many success stories.

“A brand design should have a positive impact on the balance sheet otherwise it does not make much sense,” says Shashwat Das, founder-director of Almond Branding. To achieve this Almond Branding works on the philosophy of brand nourishment.

Das argues that every brand needs nourishment at a certain point of time. However, the way the nourishment happens will differ in case of start-ups and established brands. A start-up requires brand nourishment to strengthen the foundations of the brand so that a flourishing and successful brand can be built on top of that. An established brand too needs brand nourishment from time to time to rejuvenate and to remain relevant to the ever-changing consumer sensibilities.

“Brand nourishment works at the core of the brand, defining what the brand will stand for or revamping the brand’s physique in line with the brand’s DNA,” he says.

Das has been working with this approach since the last decade or so when he founded Wow Design, which for all practical purposes was the predecessor of Almond Branding.

“Wow Design as an entity does not exist anymore but the ship is the same; just the brand has changed,” Das says.

Clear focus on start-ups

Although Almond Branding works with both start-ups and well-established legacy brands, its clear focus is on start-ups.

“They are not big players, are not very well recognized and are not big payers. But we like the passion, grit and determination that they show. We help them in brand identity, brand positioning, communication and content strategy. We also create brand names for them,” Das says.

Citing a recent example of Kolkata-based dairy start-up ProVedic, Das says Almond Branding helped the brand launch ghee under the ProVedic brand name. Almond Branding championed the idea of ‘Traditional Vedic Recipes for Today’s India’ – drawing on ProVedic’s expertise to tell the ‘Taste of Purity’ story that highlighted the product’s holistic health benefits making it an essential for saatvik living in a modern, active world.

However, all this focus on start-ups does not mean Almond Branding is not seriously engaging with legacy brands. It has some of the biggest brands such as Amul, ITC and Dabur, among others as its clients.

Almond Branding recently helped Amul launch its line of fruit juices under the brand name Amul Tru. Amul and Almond Branding collaborated for end-to-end brand building, packaging design and communication design.

Since Amul Tru has been priced at Rs 10, Almond Branding designed the packaging in such a way that even a common person could associate with it, says Das. Almond Branding recommended Amul to have transparent labels to the PET bottles where the fruit beverage inside can be flaunted. Also, the design language was kept simple to attract the attention of consumers.

Consumers now want greater brand engagement

Indian consumer tastes have evolved significantly over the last decade and so have packaging designs. The role of packaging back then was more of protecting and promoting. Das believes this has now changed.

“The role of packaging is now not restricted to just promote and protect. Packaging now means something extra, that is to captivate, delight and engage. Customer expectation from packaging is increasing. The unboxing is now an experience,” he says.

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