Rebranding Godrej

How did a brand once synonymous with your grandmother’s steel almirah become hep enough to be endorsed by Amir Khan

Yup. We are talking about Godrej – the giant conglomerate functional since 119 years and operating in sectors as diverse as real estate, consumer products, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security and agricultural products. And when you are in the business for soo long, you are identified with at least one of the many products you make. In their case, it was either that unbreakable steel almirah your grandmother locked her valuables in, her trust unchallenged – and rightfully so – in the unbreachable Godrej lock, or, the Godrej soap –another stable in Indian homes. This age old relatability, unfortunately, had a downside. Being emblematic of products that was a rage with their grandparents, the newer generation struggled to find the same level of bonhomie with the name. Top that with the economic slowdown that had set in, one would expect the name to bring down its shutters.

Ofcourse Adi Godrej, the chairman of the industrial giant, could not allow that. Thus, the process of rebranding – most apparent on the offset in the changed colour of their logo from a monochromatic red to a multicoloured one – that was already in the works to go full throttle.


In a time of rising prices, one would expect that boost to come the big cities where pockets spill over. But that was not so. Godrej took an ingenious route to familiarise the opposite demography with their brand– the folks of rural India. Soaps were sold for five rupees – much less than the price of those sold by its competitors – and hair dyes were distributed to salons for trials, introducing their customers to the product. Godrej Properties too shifted their focus on developing lower priced accommodations in Kolkata and Ahmedabad, and has plans to do the same in a suburb of Mumbai too, devising a way to make profit out of bulk sales.

This, and other strategies, made them money which was now channelled with utmost determination to promote the brand in its fresh new avatar – inclusive of the entire gambit of their operations including the campaign showcasing the group’s products for the space programme, and sponsorship of the Indian Premier League, even creating a show to promote the Godrej products range, called Godrej Khelo Jeeto Jiyo. 

Add to that the inclusion of Sara Lee range of household products, primarily air fresheners and mosquito-repellents (I’m not very sure what its unparalleled popularity speaks of the overall standard of hygiene in our country), the brand mutated into an inseparable component of our homes.

Go to their campus in Mumbai and you will see a futuristic all-glass office with an invigorating interior, alive with a throng of young energy and talent. Not what one would typically expect from a company with its roots in the British era.

Godrej has come a long way, and it has not been that easy.

Is it a wonder that Sam and Meera have taken over your television set?

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