It has been over a week since the new identity of Housing.com was unveiled and it has generated quite an interest. From people calling the whole thing as a big PR Marketing exercise in which a lot of the raised capital was used, there is also the case of copyright infringement with another iPhone App that was existing from before and had the same name.
My viewpoints are more from a whole branding exercise point of view. For Housing.com , I do not think they are going to rebrand/rename themselves as Lookup. For me Lookup to them is more like a philosophy, which in their case has a different connotative meaning (aspiration), than the previous LookUp application (more of a search thing there) .
Just last week in my house hunt in Delhi, I was going through their site, and had wished that they would get a better brand identity and improve on the site UX. Thankfully they have done that now. It’s one of india’s fastest growing startup with 5 rounds of funding! They have always had good Algorithms and features to differentiate, but I have felt that good UX was missing. Need to spend more time on the new design to write up on the UX, but on the brand value, this new design totally scores well. Since they have invested so much time (and money) by engaging an international Design agency (Moving Brands), they have to ensure that a good PR is done around it.
From a branding exercise point of view, here are some Key takeaways:
1. The Design partner got on board in March 2014. That’s a year long exercise! And here we have so many clients wanting a 10 week project done in 2 weeks.
2. The creation of the Design Language is important. it was NOT just about the logo, or the visiting cards. The Design Language was applied across.
3. Story telling is a key skill that reflects the effort put into the whole exercise.
4. The timing of your launch is so important. They consciously set a target to launch it during the Holi Festival. Even though the design agency is an international one, they do understand the cultural significance of Holi and the festival of Colors. The new identity is a lot about colors, and it reflects.
5. Images take your story to a whole new level. The effort put into the taking of the photographs show a lot about the belief in the power of visual media. The fact that it was driven top down, is important for everyone in the team to believe. Similar approach was taken by AirBnB as well.
6. Think Big. Have a larger impact. The vision of Housing is simple, yet so powerful. Look at the scale at which they wish to operate, Housing plans to map 24 lakh houses in all metro cities and bring properties to 10,000 towns and villages.
7. Good identity is simple, powerful, unique and creates a long lasting impression and you connect with it at different levels. Sometimes it is so obvious and in your face, that we end up neglecting it. We need to reflect upon this and also acknowledge the power of a strong symbol and story.
8. They drive towards spreading positivity and optimism is reflected in the identity. Connecting with users on the level where they are making a life changing decision (buying a house) is important. Understanding that empathy is important.
Here is their promo video in case you have still not seen it.