Advertising Interviews

Willem Woudenberg

Founder & CEO | 30 Aug 2013

Indian design and retail must prepare for the new age, where the quality and line of products, the presentation of shops and the role of technology are becoming highly influential. Design and branding will be of enormous help in creating greater impact and brand loyalty of customers.

Willem Woudenberg is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Brand Dialogue. Woudenberg comes with a rich experience of 25 years in the cutting edge of creativity, strategy and management, as a consultant in the cultural sector, as project manager for large design and identity projects, as a branding and management consultant.

Prior to starting Brand Dialogue, Woudenberg was Co-Owner and Managing Partner of an international design and communication bureau (Edenspiekermann Amsterdam-Berlin). From 2008-10, he was involved in a joint venture with EurekaMoment Design in Mumbai.

He has worked on brands such as ABN AMRO, Ahrend, Heineken International, the Municipality of Amsterdam, the 4 and 5 May Committee, Dow Chemical, Robeco, Forbo, Rabobank, Amsterdam Museum, Nuon, Essent, the Amsterdam Music Theatre, The Royal Institute for the Tropics, Twynstra Gudde, Van de Bunt Consultants, and Goudappel Coffeng, among others. Woudenberg is also a member of Logeion, the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD) and the Professional Association of Dutch Designers (BNO).

In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, Woudenberg speaks at length about design communication, Brand Dialogue’s plan for India and more...

Q. What are the key strategies behind launching Brand Dialogue in India?

It is a great opportunity for us to work with Indian companies. We believe in cooperation and offer surprising and pragmatic solutions. We create simple and smart ideas for complex problems, which is relevant in the Indian context with varied regional and cultural influences.

Considering the country’s richness and diversity of culture, we can assist brands in simplifying complexity; thereby, moving with the theme ‘Simple Solutions, Bright Design’. Entering India with the steadfast support of The Netherlands Consulate in Mumbai and the Netherlands Embassy in Delhi, we are encouraged towards strengthening the ties between both countries in the space of design and brand communications.

Our key focus areas are:
• Supporting Indian companies with their innovation and marketing
• Making Dutch expertise available locally in India
• Cooperating with Indian creative agencies to form a group with a mix of Indian and European expertise

Q. How would you compare India’s design industry to the global one?

India’s design industry has a strong creative design base and works in the multi-discipline approach. Branding agencies from North-West Europe are more based on a functional approach and specialised in consultancy, digital, retail, packaging, branded advertising. So, we are to offer collective strength and a more functional approach by adding value, while understanding the multi-disciplinary requirement.

Q. Indian marketers today are very conscious about their product’s look and design. What are your observations on this?

Yes, the aesthetics and visual appearance of a product are crucial. The visual appearance is the first factor that creates an instant connect with the consumer’s mind and makes any product or service aspirational. Design must relate to actual trends, because it helps clients to relate to it and make the right choice; it helps them navigate in a broad collection/ clutter of products (in shops) and communication.

Indian design and retail must prepare for the new age, where the quality and line of products, the presentation of shops, and the role of technology are becoming highly influential. Design and branding will be of enormous help in creating greater impact and brand loyalty of customers.

Q. Typically, when does the process of design thinking begin? What are its various stages?

The process of design thinking starts with one’s vision itself and the company vision on where it wants to be in five years down the road or even longer. It’s a problem-solving way of thinking. At the outset of the design thinking is defining the objective and understanding the purpose, keeping in mind your target audience.

The creative intelligence of designers can be used to create effective strategies, not only for production companies and retailers, but also for service oriented companies such as banks; creating new propositions and making services more attractive and accessible for clients.

Design is a two-way process. It is about understanding - the environment, the people, their needs, and evaluating it for a much simpler human-centric approach that can be used to solve a complex problem or create value.

Q. What are some of the key characteristics that one needs to keep in mind in the process of product designing?

A fundamental principle for creating a successful design is one that inspires the audience. So, innovation and style are key. While a robust analysis of the main influences and environment are a must. In an aspiring way, design makes brand values tangible. Imagination and dialogue with the brand are thereby strengthened in an innovative way through design.

Q. What role has technology played in revolutionising product design?

The role played by technology is immense. Newer technologies such as 3D in digital have enabled us to bring designs to life. They have put emphasis on a more personal touch in design and creating access. More creative designs, which give consumers the proverbial 360-degree product experience they can’t get from traditional sources alone, are becoming the new trend and the Indian market must prepare for it.

Q. Please share some of the recent work done by Brand Dialogue in India?

We have done interesting projects for Metro India (retail/ packaging), Delhi Airport (positioning, branding), and Business World India (branding, advertising), who have been our key Indian clients.

Q. Also, could you please share your plans for India?

We are looking at creating dialogue with the Indian companies and people. This apart, we are working toward organising conferences on design and branding, and extending support on how Dutch design can contribute to Indian innovation and marketing needs (together with the support of Dutch Embassy in Delhi and the Dutch Consulate in Mumbai), organising master classes on brand and design management for India clients in Mumbai and Delhi, and of course, looking forward to opportunities of doing some great inspiring work in India with leading brands and institutions.

Write A Comment