Hindustan Lever, the country’s largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, is changing its 49-year-old name and logo. It is still not clear what the company’s new name will be.
The company itself is debating whether the word Hindustan should be retained or whether it should call itself Unilever India. Work on the name change and the new logo has begun at Hindustan Lever’s headquarters in downtown Mumbai.
Hindustan Lever’s current brand identity, the leaf, will yield place to Unilever’s U-shaped garland. According to a Hindustan Lever source, the new corporate name and logo will be in line with the new Unilever brand identity unveiled last year.
Unilever subsidiaries across the globe have been adopting new names and using them in their corporate literature, signages and product packs. The entire exercise is expected to be completed this year. Unilever celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2005.
When contacted, a Hindustan Lever spokesperson declined to comment.
The switch to a new name and logo will cost Hindustan Lever around $1 million if it hires an international design agency, plus another Rs 5 crore or so on advertising and changing communication messages across the media. Ambi Parmeshwaran, executive director at the advertising agency, FCB Ulka, said it would be a one-time investment.
Hindustan Lever was initially called Lever Brothers in 1933. The name was changed to Hindustan Lever in 1956. The Unilever brand’s stated mission is to add vitality to life, considering its products and brands help people feel and look good as well as get more out of life.
The new logo, U, brings together 25 different icons representing Unilever and its brands.
It has the sun, the heart, a shirt and a bird, among other things, all of which represent vitality.
Over the last few years, Hindustan Lever has been synchronising itself with Unilever's business strategy. Its “Path to Growth” exercise was followed by Hindustan Lever, which pruned its 110 brands to 40.
Hindustan Lever recently split its FMCG businesses into a home and personal care division and a foods division. It has also been shedding its non-core business, making Hindustan Lever a focused FMCG company.
Other companies, too, have changed corporate brands in the past. These include Dabur India, Bajaj Auto, Wipro and the Industrial Development Bank of India.