Can a premier B-School retain its core values whilst keeping up with the dynamism of the changing educational ecosystem? We explored this question through our rebranding collaboration with SPJIMR.
Inaugurated in 1981, SPJIMR has come to be recognized as one of the leading business schools in India. Today, making it to the list of top ten colleges is not enough.
India is one of the youngest countries in the world, and its millennials are both dreamers and doers. This rise in demand has given way to an unprecedented boom in the education sector. Competition is on the rise and students are spoilt for choice. For Indian business schools, branding is now more important than ever before.
After conducting an in-depth research to understand the perceptions of their brand, SPJIMR approached Landor for a brand refresh.
Reinvigoration was the need of the hour. It was essential that the new brand bridge the gap between perception and reality. The brand needed to reflect the core values of SPJIMR’s programmes and empower them to achieve their vision 2020 – to be Asia’s most innovative and socially responsive school of management.
SPJIMR’s distinctive philosophy that focussed on imparting a sense of social responsibility along with business management skills was its differentiator. For example, while other students were pursuing corporate internships in the summer, SPJIMR students would complete compulsory rural internships. Thoughtful interventions like these ensured that students grew to become responsible business leaders.
Building on these strengths and unique qualities of the institute, the new brand had to separate SPJIMR from other business schools in the market, especially from those with a similar name. Other schools in the country positioned themselves around academic rigor, high ranking and exceptional quality – qualities that were simply expected from a leading business school, but that failed to differentiate in the slightest.
We had to make SPJIMR the preferred choice in the minds of potential students and other stakeholders. To do this, we needed to create an exciting brand and elements of recognition that were unique to SPJIMR.
With this in mind, we embarked on our journey to make SPJIMR a world-class education brand.
What We Did
Our in-depth research revealed key attitudes of millennials that separated them from the generations before them. We learnt that Indian millennials are in pursuit of a deep sense of fulfilment. While money is important to them, they long to be a part of something that is larger than them. At the same time, we discovered these free spirits are held back by social conventions and expectations. This led us to a valuable insight: Indian millennials are torn between what they want to do and what they are expected to do.
We started thinking about creating a brand that empowered millennials to overcome this predicament. What would they need?
Based on our core insight, we crafted the brand positioning around the idea of ‘Courage. Heart.’ The brand positioning highlighted SPJIMR’s role in creating value-based business leaders who dared to think and do differently.
Courage is about thinking independently, questioning conventions, challenging assumptions, taking risks and influencing practices. It is about breaking the mould. This courage drives SPJIMR and its students to act with a sense of purpose.
Heart is about using knowledge to uplift every segment of society, thinking beyond the self and balancing profit with a greater purpose. Heart drives the courage to act.
Together, courage and heart define the spirit of SPJIMR – one that enables it to soar to new heights, while remaining grounded in its values.
Brand Identity and Visual System
Once we had agreed upon the new brand positioning, we developed a new brand identity that echoed SPJIMR’s raison d’être; a visual representation of ‘Courage. Heart.’
The dynamic, upward strokes of the identity depict SPJIMR’s innovative and progressive mindset that underpins its quest to rise above the norm. The five strokes represent the five personality attributes of the new brand: authentic, dynamic, grounded, innovative and socially sensitive.
We used a colour palette of orange and purple to bring the brand identity to life.
Orange is an optimistic, energetic and uplifting colour that speaks to SPJIMR’s ‘Heart’ and emphasises on contribution. It also represents the institute’s determination to create value-based business leaders who balance profit with purpose. Purple symbolizes intellect and wisdom. This is a metaphor for SPJIMR’s knowledge and insight, which empowers SPJIMR to challenge conventions and defend its convictions.
The design language for the visual system takes forward the strokes from the identity, evolving them into a dynamic system that is young, fiery and energetic.
Landor used this dynamic language to develop their collaterals.
We have also created a compelling ad campaign to announce the launch of their new brand.
The Road Ahead
People remember service brands for the way they have experienced it. This insight is at the heart of the road ahead for an education brand like SPJIMR.
As the students begin their journey with SPJIMR, what stays in their mind are the interactions they have had with the brand through the campus facilities, the faculty, the curriculum and other touch points.
SPJIMR has been working on strengthening its core offerings. Through numerous initiatives like internal culture building, incorporating design thinking in their curriculum, integrating the non-classroom programs, developing the new infrastructure, they are in process of becoming the choice of millennials seeking business education with a difference.
The most remarkable part of this process has been the collaboration and support of all the stakeholders of SPJIMR to collectively build the future of their brand.
In the volatile world of business both courage and heart must function in tandem to design a world we deserve.
We are proud to say that SPJIMR is taking strides in that direction by ensuring its students are as future ready as the institution they belong to.
See more of our work on: landor.com/work