How Deepinder Goyal and Rameet Arora crafted a perfect rebranding story for Zomato

Do you know Siren?
Okay, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Starbucks?

Yes, the lady in green which is a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid. That’s Siren, an indispensable entity of the coffeehouse chain. But it was not all the same in 1971, when Starbucks was incorporated.

After 40 years and three iterations later, when the current logo of Starbucks was finalized, Siren was described as “a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead.”

In an attempt to visually accentuate its new beginning, Microsoft too had a similar story to share when the company announced its new logo (for the fifth time) in 2012.

How does one justify rebranding at these stages of a company? What are the associated fears of the founders with rebranding and how to make it smooth and digestible for the consumer?

Zomato (earlier Foodiebay) recently announced its new logo, the heart. It was a tough call because the company could not risk losing any of its 30 million users across 18 countries with this step. But it was a much needed change, for good.

Keeping in mind the six eventful years of Zomato’s journey, the founder, Deepinder Goyal, and the CMO, Rameet Arora, crafted the rebranding meticulously. The final verdict of the consumers is yet to come, but a couple of weeks of feedback show that things are on the right track.

Here’s the tale of Zomato’s rebranding straight from horse’s mouth.

The fundamentals

“History, whenever written, has always begun with a toast, followed by a feast.”

The best moments in the world are shared over a hot cup of coffee, a delicious meal, or a great bottle of wine. Cafés, restaurants, and bars have all been the original social networks, long before we had modern-day online social networks. Deepinder says, “This simple belief about 'people and food' gives us our wings and purpose. Our world has been, and will continue to be, built around conversations over great meals.”

Deepinder Goyal, Founder, Zomato

Rebranding, at this stage!

Deepinder says,

We started Zomato six years ago, and with some distance behind us, we felt now was a good time to tell our story through our brand. Our new logo does exactly that – it represents the spirit of Zomato and celebrates the one thing that connects our vast global community: a shared love for food.

He feels that Zomato was built for the love of food, and as a global brand, they wanted to be able to say it without having to put it into words. The company wanted a symbol that could transcend languages, cultures, and geographical boundaries and be instantly recognisable to anyone who sees it – whether it's our users, our clients, or even ourselves. He adds, “It represents who we are and what we do. This logo symbolically, and literally, stands for the love of good food.”

 So, what’s the thought process behind the new logo?

According to Deepinder,

We're always in touch with our consumers across the globe, so the learning and feedback process is an ongoing one. We know that the one thing that brings everyone associated with Zomato together is a shared passion for food. Now that we're a global brand present in 18 countries and serving foodies 30 million times a month, we felt we needed a symbol that embodied and celebrated this shared passion for food, and resonated with the millions of foodies on Zomato across the globe.

They'll come to love it over time

So far, the response on the new logo has been positive. Zomato has even received emails and messages from foodies all over the world telling them how much they love the new logo.

Rameet Arora, CMO, Zomato

What about negative feedback? Rameet answers,

There's always bound to be a little resistance to change, and we've heard feedback from a handful of people that they don't quite love the new logo. But we believe that change is good, and this logo tells a strong emotional story, so we hope they'll come to love it over time!

Brand recalling

According to Rameet, here are the three most important factors deciding the brand recall value:

  1. Being consistent in visual identity and personality, across platforms.
  2. Being contextually relevant to the environment and audience.
  3. Being committed to and focussed on the promise the brand stands for.

Expansion, competition and the master plan

Zomato has recently launched in Toronto and Lebanon. This is for the first time that the company is venturing in North America where there is a strong presence of the global player, Yelp. With the people of the city already spoilt for choices, there’s some amount of skepticism in the local market.

Deepinder has his master plan in place. He says, 

Toronto is not just a hugely promising market, but also brings some challenges. Our edge lies in the exhaustiveness, accuracy and freshness of our data which is collected using a unique feet-on-street model. What sets us apart from the rest of the players out there is primarily the process of data collection which is extremely thorough, and done in-house to ensure accuracy and completeness of information.

Unlike competitor apps, information on establishments is updated every 30 to 90 days by the Zomato crew, who roam the city. Once users see value in an app, not only do they keep coming back for more, but also tell their friends about it. Deepinder believes that people come back to use Zomato because of its rich content and the fact that it is updated, relevant, and real time.

What does a global vision sounds like

Deepinder shares the philosophy of Zomato which keeps the hunger in him alive, and makes him chase more,

Keeping our users happy by giving them a beautiful, easy-to-use product, and maintaining a strong content platform as we grow is what’s most important to us at this point in time. We're aiming to become the go-to restaurant discovery service across the globe, and we're working towards doing just that.