The Art of Subtle #Logo Transformation: The Quiet Yet Significant IBM India Resurrection

Rajesh Soundararajan on LinkedIn –

Part 3 of Three Part Series

Part 1 –
Part 2 –

A careful balance between logo change and non-communication in a pre-social media era

During my early days as a fresh IBM recruit out of XLRI Jamshedpur with an MBA, I was thrown into an unconventional assignment – a stark contrast to the #Twitter to ‘X’ transition. as part of core team to manage the PR and communication for the rebranding of Tata Information Systems Ltd (#TISL) to #IBM India. Remarkably, the goal was to keep it shrouded in silence, despite the magintude of brand transformation – of IBM gets 99% equity and Tatas left with 1%.

A Nuanced Logo Transition

IBM’s odyssey in India took a distinct trajectory. Having resumed operations in February 1992 as TISL, the company underwent two more transformations – evolving into Tata IBM in 1997, and then IBM India in 1999. Along with the name, the logo followed suit.

I was tasked by Nipun Mehrotra for the exceptional challenge ahead from the IBM Systems Group (STG) – handling the PR and communication around IBM’s takeover, all while ensuring this colossal change and logo shift unfurled subtly so much that it hardly made news.

Crafting the Silent Strategy

A key aspect of our core assignment was an unusual PR brief – this massive event, while significant enough for headlines, must slip quietly under the radar. Contrary to the PR world’s norms and the attention-seeking Twitter-to-‘X’ transition, the decision to adopt a silent strategy stemmed from the desire to prevent socio-political backlash from nationalists as a foreign entity surged in an Indian company.

As a young member in the Core Team alongside Narahari KS and Suresh Kolthay among others, I participated in an incognito operation, navigating this sensitive brand transition through well-crafted non-communication.

The Pre-Social Media Landscape

During that era, the absence of #social media platforms and the relatively underdeveloped #24/7 news channels on television enabled our meticulously silent execution. The media landscape then focused predominantly on the print domain – newspapers, which were far easier to manage compared to today’s complex, hyper-vigilant digital world.

Triumph in Discretion

Through strategic silence, we circumvented potential social backlash while ushering a smooth and inconspicuous transition that most of the public remained blissfully unaware of. The IBM India transformation serves as an offbeat case study in brand evolution, wherein non-communication so purposefully governed a logo change.

This extraordinary journey into the realms of PR and brand transformation presents an alternative perspective – not all brand metamorphoses demand widespread attention and fanfare. Some require deftly pulling strings to glide quietly through the corporate arena – a balance that was exquisitely achieved during IBM India’s discreet yet powerful logo transformation and brand resurrection.

By Rajesh Soundararajan

#Author #CEO #Dad #Engineer #Entrepreneur #Farmer #Humanoid #IQ156 #Marketeer #MensaClub #MBA #RoadTripper #Photographer #Tech #Volunteer

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