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Missing Standard(s)

Posted March 23rd, 2011 by L

Life Insurance industry in India was liberalised a long time ago (10+ years) allowing private companies with FDI upto 29%. Many ventures with foreign partners, like Tata-AIG, Birla-SUN LIFE, ICICI-Prudential, and Apollo-Munich got launched then. HDFC, one of India’s premier financial institutions went with UK’s Standard Life Insurance. Now, marking their 10th anniversary, the group drops “Standard” from its identity in a bid to woo the youth. Surprising.

Client Speak : “Our new corporate identity is in tune with the changing consumer behavior. It reflects vibrancy and dynamism, uses colors that resonate the ‘new age’ values for life insurance, weeds out irrelevant clutter, and adds more clarity and sharpness to the logo. The new identity shares higher synergies with our parent – HDFC Ltd. Inspired by the form and colours of the HDFC brand, our new logo and brand name – HDFC Life – is a symbol of assurance, protection and pride of a life well lived.”The three dimensional logo comes together to create a frame, capturing life’s special moments that can be looked upon with pride and joy and lends well to a memorable look and feel.”

Standard Life Insurance was never well known in India, despite this partnership, just like the other foreign partners. However, with FDI expected to be upto 49% soon, a bigger role for the foreign, well-experienced partner is in order. Dropping “Standard” from the name seems surprising, in this context. Supposedly, ‘Standard’ was too generic a term and was being understood by customers as an adjective rather than a Brand name and hence dropped. I would rather think an adjective as part of the Brand name is more than desirable. Also, over time, efforts to introduce and emphasize a more experienced foreign partner could lead to a firm footing for the group. So, I guess I am altogether missing the logic behind this move.

As for the visual identity, it was dying for a change; couldn’t see any good of the L & I in it. A strong positioning, ’Sar utha ke jiyo’ was its only positive. At any rate, the new identity seems a missed opportunity too. Designed by Ray& Keshavan &amp, inspired by HDFC’s ‘square’, the visual is ‘a 3D photo frame for life’s good memories’. While the thought seems fine, the visual does not live up. Its quite dead, non-inspiring, nothing remarkable. The colors are comparatively better and so is the typography, and these just about manage to liven up the identity; only in comparison.

The stated intention for the change is ‘to attract the youth’. Its positioning, ’Sar utha ke jiyo’, has been targeted at a self-respecting, ageing generation so far. So, it would be interesting to see how this positioning will now be used to woo the youth.

Overall
40% points on strategy
40% on creativity
40% on execution

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One Response so far.

  1. Vijay says:

    Looks like there is some policy change….even Max new york life has dropped NewYork & is now Max Life..

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