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A new Hero

Posted August 11th, 2011 by L

Hero Honda is India’s most driven bike. Hero Honda, the flagship company of the Munjal brothers (famed for making ‘Hero’ cycles), started this JV with Japan’s ‘Honda’ in 1984. Now, with Honda ramping up its presence in India independently and moving out of the JV, Hero Honda has been forced to go in for a change in name and identity (though legally the old name can be used for some more time).  Thus, a new ’Hero’ is born. The new idenity was launched in London, in a glittering ceremony, attended by many ‘hero’es from Bollywood, which also marked the launch of some new models.

Official speak: Charles Wright, managing director, Wolff Olins says, “The task we had at hand was to build on the image of an Indian company going international . ‘The colour red in the logo depicts continuity and change. It also depicts confidence. There is an ‘H’ formed in the logo. The angular formation of ‘H’ symbolises that Hero is no longer dependent on foreign expertise for its brands.”

The ‘angular’ bit is quite amusing; can’t figure how it comes to mean so.

Automobile identities generally opt for a stylized initial for a logo, typically enclosed for ease of affixing on the vehicle, which remains the primary objective. Hero also takes this typical route, experimenting yet again with a H. It is commendable they have not attempted the usual initial-in-enclosure style, but here was an opportunity to create an iconic symbol, considering the ‘H’s are all over the automobile market already. The old identity too was a stylised H with a tunnel, or sunrise, within.

This new identity, designed by London based Wolff Olins is two pronged, with a change in both name and logo. The new name, ’Hero MotoCorp’, sounds modern & zippy, ideal for a motion company and yet corporate enough. The logo does not live up to the name, though. The two-colour H with a perspective fails to show any life or spirit. It does reflect solidity and trust but fails to connect with the young buyers. Its a nice H in perspective, but is very corporatish and not appropriate for a zippy, motion company.

Its application, metallic fixation on the bike, also seems challenging. Most likely, the three individual pieces of H in metallic would be affixed in a single colour(silver?), appearing on bikes of different colors. And therein lies a problem - it is rendered ineffective in single color and has no impact whatsoever. This is where the Bajaj logo does an outstanding job - looks great on the bike, with all its gleam and shine and 3D form, something that this H severely lacks.

The new positioning, ‘One World One Hero’, though aspirational, is cliched.  The type for ‘Hero’, in sentence case, with all letters of same height, feels awkward. The H comes across almost as an outsider when paired with the rest. The typeface also reminds me of that of Tata’s ‘nano’; lacks distinction, so to say.

A clearer picture would emerge as the implementation gets underway.
In conclusion, not too bad, but could have been much better.

Overall
80% on strategy
50% on creativity
40% on execution

Correction : ‘One World One Hero’ was only the Launch theme. The new positioning is ‘Hum mein hai Hero”, meaning there’s a Hero within us. Its simple and connects well, creating a certain amount of self-confidence in its audience.

Your opinion on this rebranding

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4 Responses so far.

  1. lexipslab says:

    hi. this is a nice blog – just discovered it today.
    :-)
    yes, the type treatment of hero doesn’t seem resolved at all – couldn’t wally olins hire a proper typographer?

    although, i need to see it at a large size – but even at this size, it seems that the Bayer Universal-ish lower case r doesn’t seem to work that well with the helvetica small caps. both of them having unmodulated strokes is no guarantee that they will work as an unit.

    and nice choice of Museo for your blog and website but a bit disappointed to see that as an image.
    why don’t you serve it up as a webfont?

    But yes, keep the posts coming.

    PS> sorry about this: but please fix the ‘Ackward’ typo :-) and please have a name for the blog writer. something different than – “posted by admin”

    • L says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Some of your suggestions have been implemented and some being reviewed :)

      Thanks,
      L

  2. Jose says:

    Nice review! I agree with you on most counts. This is the most dead-looking automobile logo I’ve seen in recent times. I think the only competitor it has as of today is from the Force motors logo. (http://forcemotors.com/) At least they have the F-in-the-circle monogram which lends itself well when metallic. Am waiting to see how hero plan to use this beyond brochure-ware.

    I really like your brand reviews. keep it up

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