Essar, the £10bn heavy industries conglomerate based in India, is preparing to unveil an overhauled corporate identity designed by Start Creative in London.
Strategy work for the rebrand was undertaken by branding consultant Niclas Ljungberg, who says that the family-owned steel-
to-telecoms business is looking to capitalise on the burgeoning consumer market in India.
‘Essar wants to move its image from a heavy industries group to a more consumer-oriented identity, as well as present the look of a world-class, global company,’ says Ljungberg. ‘They have been very good at building a business – they’re market savvy, but not marketing savvy.’
Start Creative won the identity project following a three-way creative pitch against Indian consultancy Cogito and Italian group Milani. Essar executives are understood to have initially contacted larger branding groups, including Wolff Olins and FutureBrand, to handle the strategy work, but decided they were too expensive for the Indian market.
‘Through its work with Virgin, Start Creative has a lot of experience of companies that operate in many different business sectors,’ adds Ljungberg.
The consultancy has created a brand architecture that will be applied to all entities in the Essar conglomerate. The branding is expected to be unveiled within the next few weeks. ‘It is the first time the company has really considered its branding. They are hoping to make it more comprehensible at a consumer level,’ says Start Creative managing director Mike Curtis.
Essar also owns a third of Hutchison Essar, the country’s fourth largest mobile operator which is currently at the centre of a take-over battle. Hutch, as the business is known in India, is a joint venture between Essar and Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa. The UK’s Vodafone, India’s Reliance Communications, Hinduja Group and Essar itself are all battling to take control of Hutchison Whampoa’s 67 per cent holding in the business.