Monday, January 16, 2023

SOME END-OF-THE-YEAR GYAAN, GRATITUDE AND GOODBYES TO 2022


It was one of the rockiest and scariest times in my long career as a branding Designer. However VGC, which I founded 26 years ago has not just survived but am proud to say, emerged a stronger, wiser and smarter version of itself. A shout out to my amazing team that showed so much commitment, resilience and a can-do attitude that sailed us through, clocking in some amazing project wins and launches that made our clients happy and lining up for more. We were just so busy working that even forgot to celebrate our 25th anniversary!
  
So what is VGC’s mojo, that consistently makes us tide over tumultuous times? it’s our approach to raising the IQ of brands using Design as an enabler and a management tool. Design in its purest sense is intelligence at work. You may add layers of craft and technology, contextualise it to environmental, social and corporate aspirations. But at the core, good Design is the truth that is rooted in Intelligence.
 
Designomics, our proprietary process, uses Design intelligence, combining awareness, enquiry, empathy, uninhibited creativity, humility and superlative craftsmanship.

 

AWARENESS:
To be effective Designers, you need to be aware of the shifting trends, politics, culture, arts, science, tech, the planet, and of course, the people. I call it raising your Design Consciousness, without judgement. Only awareness. This then becomes your field of inspiration and helps you take an informed position in your Design project.

 
ENQUIRY:
A research based attitude helps give an unbiased view and the interesting insights that popup can be just amazing.



EMPATHY:
It is viewing a situation from the vantage point of your TG. Getting inside their heads gives you a deeper understanding of what they want from their lives and the universe.



UNINHIBITED CREATIVITY:
it's time to let lose the magnificent beasts of ideas that prowl around in your head. The fresh ideas that pop out may just be the miracle design solution you need! 



SUPERLATIVE CRAFTSMANSHIP:
Craftsmanship is a religion you worship daily at the altar in your heads, hearts and Macs. If that slight misalignment, oversight of kerning, or a differentiated colour, doesn’t bother you, then there is no hope for you.


 
Staying true to our Designomics DNA to raise Brand IQs helped not just to sail past Covid, but also to stay on top of our game for 26 years!



 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Preeti Vyas: Guest of Honour at Vijaybhoomi University



Looking back at an exciting weekend at Vijaybhoomi University where our founder, Preeti Vyas shared a glimpse into the rapidly evolving world and how it's the "most exciting as well as challenging times in history of the planet."

Read the entire speech below-


First of all, thank you Sanjay for having me here today. I am honoured to be here on Founders day, sharing the stage with dignitaries and of course, meeting all of you. By the way, I am here not just as a speaker today, but also as your neighbour. I have a farm just a few minutes away and this also gives me the opportunity to invite you all over for chai when I come here from Mumbai, which is almost every weekend. 

 

But coming back to the event of the day. I want to say that as students, these are exciting times.

 

Looking back, when I was your age, I had just started as a student of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. And THAT was an amazing time for all of us there. A beautiful campus and an evolved curriculum which not just put us in touch with our Indian design roots, but also exposed us to immense possibilities through exposure of what was the best in the world. It infused us with a sense of purpose and a comprehension of the power of Design and how it could benefit the lives of people in a new post-Independence India. There was an awakening amongst the young Designers of being change agents and the roles and responsibilities that it would entail. It was indeed, a thrilling time. 

 

And here you are today, students in the most amazing and perhaps the most exciting as well as challenging times in the history of the planet. We have seen the incredible disruption, or perhaps I should say creative disruption brought about by Covid and all its variants. It has forced change upon us unlike any other event in recent history. It has created new socio - economic structures, new life style patterns, new value systems, new learning opportunities and so on. And this churn isn’t over yet. We have seen only the beginning of what could be a world of new and visionary opportunities.

 

And now, we are entering into a whole new digital paradigm; into the Metaverse and it will be you, who will invent, create pathbreaking ideas and seize amazing opportunities as you navigate towards an incredibly exciting horizon that you will be the architects of. 

 

In the last ten years, we’ve seen traditional banking go online, and online banking further evolve, with crypto currency now entering the financial stage. We are seeing artists starting to cash in on the digital revolution, with NFTs becoming new streams of revenue & recognition. We’ve seen big companies dismiss, then slowly embrace the power of design thinking, using tools from the designer’s toolkit to solve complex business problems. And, through the pandemic, we’ve seen a plethora of entrepreneurs and the birth of unicorns seizing opportunities through innovations in technology, healthcare, transportation, sustainability and more…

 

Who would have thought that a vaccine for a pandemic could have been developed and delivered in just over a year, when before Covid, this process has generally taken close to a decade. We are fast forwarding across all traditional timelines. And the future is here and now. The future is online and offline. The future is both in the metaverse and in the real world. It’s up to you to make the most of it, to make the most of the access to information & knowledge that you will gain here. 

 

As students of this University, think of the immense new business ideas which would have never found a place before in the world.

 

As lawyers, you will be at the forefront of new legal scenarios you have never yet visualized.

 

As Designers, the world of design and design thinking just got enlarged to include new ways of living, communicating and consuming.

 

As musicians, you will create, invent and engineer new instruments, and music for a generation hungry for new sounds. 

 

As data scientists, you will see & decipher patterns in numbers, and help influence, innovate and inform.

 

More importantly, as young leaders, you will inspire the next generation to follow their passions and chase their dreams, leading by example. The future is in your hands and it’s up to you to shape it.

 

I envy you for being at the epicentre of a new renaissance that all of you have the potential to create. And I wish you all the best.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Design Thinking

What is Design Thinking, and how can it help a brand/business?



Design Thinking is a management tool that persistently helps evolve, innovate and outpace change to cruise across choppy business scenarios. It is a human-centric way of solving business problems using the power of design. Think of it as an easy way to solve complex business problems. 


            Why Design Thinking is the best way forward?

  • 10% of the Fortune 500 has stated that design is their No. 1 priority. -CMO.com
  • 78% of design-led companies have defined a process for coming up with new digital customer experience ideas. - Adobe
  • 50% of design-led companies report more loyal customers as a benefit to having advanced design practices. -Adobe



           What does it involve?

  • Empathize – It all starts by learning how we can empathize with the human beings at the core of our challenge. They may be customers, employees or any other stakeholders.
  • Define – Next we need to clearly define and articulate all the challenges, needs, and wants.
  • Ideate – Once our challenge areas are defined, we can now explore different approaches to come up with solutions for the problem at hand.
  • Prototype – Once we have a great idea, it is now time to prototype our solution and bring it to life.   
  • Test – Before we implement the solution, it is important to test it and then revisit any of the earlier mentioned steps as per what we learn from every step.

            How does it help a Brand or Business?

  •  It can help a company boost innovation across all departments
  •  It can help enhance your culture.
  • It gives you the opportunity to view problems from different perspectives to determine its root cause.
  • It is an ideal process to developing deep empathy for our users to create a solution that will best match their needs.


           What is Designomics?

Designomics is VGC’s proprietary process where design thinking is used to create solutions for complex problems as a branding agency. Apart from being a knowledge and an award platform, today Designomics also forms the foundation for any strategic exercise that VGC, as a marketing agency in Mumbai and Bangalore undertakes. It also endorses the value of strategic integration of Design in Business. It started as an initiative to showcase the effectiveness of design in and for business.

Learn how you can use the power of design thinking through the Designomics workshops. Get in touch today to learn more.

  

Friday, April 16, 2021

A New Crown in the Historic City of Lucknow

A new paradigm of Exquisite Villa Living

3 years after VGC successfully launched Shalimar Group’s first-of-its-kind 220-acre integrated township, it was approached for the launch of the crown project within Shalimar One World – Valencia County.

 

Breaking the Norm

As their Brand Strategy Agency, our work for them included, designing the brand identity, developing a compelling brochure, and marketing collaterals for their launch campaign for both online and offline platforms.

 

The brief was to create a brochure and communication that embodied this new paradigm of luxury, unlike what the city had experienced before; Exclusive Bungalow living with a community lifestyle. Essentially representing, the best if both worlds.

 

A Compelling Narrative

Interpreting this unmatched lifestyle, VGC drew inspiration from the most immanent aspects of the project: The Oasis of greens and the exclusive and abundant Villa lifestyle. 

 

A Resounding Success

Within 10 days of the launch, with just one press and outdoor campaign, over half the Villa inventory was booked out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

VGC designs brand identity for BITS School of Management, a BITS Pilani initiative


BITS Pilani, an Institution of Eminence recently announced their foray into business education with BITSoM (BITS School of Management), a global business school based in Mumbai. The new age institution will be offering a residential two-year MBA Programme at par with the leading business schools in the world. Carrying forward the BITS Pilani legacy of excellence, BITSoM will be led by its Chancellor, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla and an esteemed Governing Council. The business school aims to offer world-class business education blended with new age knowledge that encompasses tech + design + data, and brings together world-renowned faculty, an innovative curriculum and more, to shape the next generation of visionary leaders.

 

VGC came on board as brand partners to BITSoM, to help develop the brand mandate and launch the business school. Starting with an in-depth strategic exercise, the brand was created in close partnership with the BITSoM, 9Dot9 and Aditya Birla Group teams.


Carrying a celebrated legacy into the future


BITS Pilani has been synonymous with excellence for decades now. VGC's core task was to strategically carry forth aspects of this legacy into a new, future-focused brand without directly linking the two. In order to strategically position the brand, VGC undertook an in-depth research exercise, studied the market, category & competition, and spoke with students, faculty, recruiters, an exam administering body and many more, both in India and abroad. The insights revealed that people preferred a brand that was inspired by heritage, yet modern at the same time. These insights were then used to uniquely position the brand and also to develop BITSoM’s vision & mission.

 

Leading from the brand positioning, in order to develop the new identity, VGC identified key aspects of the new brand and brought them to life through relevant symbolism within the concept of heraldry (an ancient practice, still in use, where elements of nature that have specific representations, come together to create a unique crest or symbol that collectively becomes an identifying mark for organisations, families or even governments). The symbols taken forward were the Tiger - representative of India, leadership, agility & vision, and the Sun - representative of new beginnings, a fresh approach, the origin & energy. The brand identity collectively represents BITSoM's origins, it's global outlook, future-focus and emphasis on moulding next gen leaders for a new age world. While the initial ask was to create a brand identity for a business school, VGC went a step further and delivered a brand that is entrenched in key insights, new age symbolism and a focus on the future.


Group Mentor, Vice Chairman, Hindalco and Chairman, Business Review Council, Aditya Birla Group, Mr Debu Bhattacharya had this to say about the brand exercise and working with VGC – “As we launch BITSoM, I would like to acknowledge with thanks the wonderful role that VGC has played right from the word go in developing the Brand, the logo, and the creatives! The team has been like our extended arm - available always and responding rapidly and with precision. Wish the organization all the very best.”


  


 

The BITSoM Tiger finally roars! 


Apart from developing the brand's strategy and designing the brand identity, VGC also created a compelling launch campaign and plan for BITSoM. The campaign went live in the last week of January/first week of February and was designed to stand out from any other communication in the education sector. The launch ads highlight the multiple USPs of the new brand and is aimed at students who are considering doing an MBA in 2021.

 

“It was an honour to be invited to design the positioning strategy, branding and communications for Bits Pilani’s launch of a new age school of business in Mumbai. Our Design solutions endeavour to combine the legacy of an iconic institution with contemporary accents in keeping with the times.” Said Preeti Vyas, Founder & Chairwoman, VGC.

 

The brand universe that VGC has created for BITSoM covers the entire brand & communication ecosystem, so that BITSoM can not just survive, but thrive and work towards its goal of becoming a top 10 global business school, based out of India.

Monday, August 31, 2020

VGC Crafted a New Mark for India's No.1 Linen Brand


Linen Club, India’s linen pioneers have been around for more than 60 years. With a rise in competition & an influx of look-alike blended linen brands in recent times, they needed to differentiate themselves through a renewed brand expression and reclaim their leadership position.

 

Being brought on board as their Brand Strategy and Design Agency, we needed to extend their new positioning, ‘Passionate about Linen’ across the brand’s visual expressions. Our tasks included the Identity design for the entire brand portfolio, their brand architecture, retail extensions, and packaging which also covered respective product architectures.



DIVING IN

We started by understanding the consumer groups and their relation with Linen. At the top of the pyramid were absolute Linen lovers, these were successful and passionate individuals who valued authenticity and appreciated pure linen. Next were the Linen aspirers, who as the name explains, used linen occasionally to stand out make an impression. The last consumer group covered the non-believers, who were driven away due to the perception and functional barriers of the fabric.

 

We also met with key stakeholders and learnt about the rich origins of Linen and their vision for the brand. Our in-depth research helped identify perception markers for the category and the brand, as well as highlighting that Linen Club, with its expert credentials, history, and wide product offering had the perfect mix to reclaim its leadership position.



WEAVING OUR WAY THROUGH THE STRATEGY


The objective of the exercise apart from building brand preference within the category was also to broaden the base to recruit new users into the brand. Hence, the brand strategy aimed to help the brand make a switch from owning linen as a product to owning linen as a mindset, broadening its spectrum of offerings. Our recommendations also included consolidating these offerings under a Hybrid brand architecture, allowing efforts to be focused on growing the parent brand - Linen Club.


INSPIRED BY ORIGIN & LEGACY

The need of the hour was to gear the visual and experiential expression of the brand to a larger and younger audience, whilst retaining the heritage of this legacy brand. For the new mark, we took inspiration from the pioneering legacy of Linen Club, the fabrics’ European lineage, natural origins, and limitless style statements. The codes of authority and heritage take form though the shield, while the flax stalk and flower represent the flax fields of Europe, embodying the story of its origin. 



The logo is visualised in a colour and form that is elegant and contemporary, with the promise of an enduring classic. Much like the brand and Linen itself. 


PACKAGING FOR THE ENTIRE PORTFOLIO

Developing the packaging was a crucial aspect of this landmark project. A deeper look at the brand’s offering revealed its scale and width. The brand architecture exercise laid the foundation for the packaging as the portfolio had now been simplified. The initial ask included identity extensions on the packaging across the fabric and apparel business; we used this as an opportunity to upfront the breadth of the portfolio while also breaking away from category associations like limited colour palettes. 







GEARING UP THE BRAND FOR ITS READY-TO-WEAR OFFERING

With ready-to-wear becoming a strong part of fashion and retail, it was crucial for Linen Club to create a meaningful extension into the apparel segment. VGC made recommendations to simplify their apparel range offerings and also designed an impactful identity for Linen Club Studio and Cavallo Studio.



The brand design universe created by VGC embraced the entire retail ecosystem, offering a rich and unified experience for Linen Club, to live up to its brand promise of “Passionate as you are”.

AGILITY HELPED US PIVOT THROUGH COVID-19 AND THE LOCKDOWN

For VGC, this project was truly a memorable one; not just because we love the brand and the fabric but also because the project was executed through the peak of the lockdown. The lock-down and remote working threw up a variety of new hurdles around sourcing, production, packaging, design and digital approvals, however, we have still been able to push forward and successfully launch the project.

 

“As we prepare ourselves for the future, we want the Linen Club brand identity to manifest our passion for linen combined with our heritage, our expertise, and our authenticity. The new identity while staying true to the core values of Linen Club, gives it credible and inspiring imagery," 

Satyaki Ghosh, CEO, Domestic Textiles (Grasim Industries) Aditya Birla Group.

 

"As I am personally passionate about Linen, it was an absolute delight when VGC was invited to rebrand Linen Club. Through the new logo, we have brought alive the story of Linen's European heritage, the legacy of the brand in India, and the fabric's authenticity in terms of its sustainable qualities. We then also translated it to a stylish visual narrative across a range of packaging and varied retail touchpoints," 

Preeti Vyas, Chairwoman and CCOVGC