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Fresh from the split with Honda Motors, the Hero Group is looking to reinvent itself with a new brand identity and has kicked off a rebranding exercise. London-based Wolff Olins, part of the Omnicom group, is working on the new brand identity, including the brand architecture, brand name, brand logo and brand positioning.

The country's leading two-wheeler company wants a new brand name after the two joint venture partners of the Hero Honda Motors (HHML)-the Hero Group of India and Honda Motor Co of Japan-signed an agreement recently. The Hero Group has just concluded a buyout of Honda's stake in the company.

"Our country is undergoing phenomenal socio-economic change and is emerging as one of the epicenters of global business. The new buzzwords at Hero Honda are Creation, Renewal and Re-energizing," said Pawan Munjal, MD-CEO of Hero Honda. "The world today is looking at India not just for its sustained GDP growth or the spending power of its strong middle-class, but also for its intellectual capital, enterprise and entrepreneurship. Brand India keeps getting stronger."

The new brand image of the Munjals' flagship could represent the "Indianess" of the company. "This rebranding has come at a crucial time, given the disengagement with Honda. The route that brands normally take would be to take any mnemonic that resonates with their identity and build on that. Like the colour red with Airtel," said Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO of BrandComm. "Hero could build on the Indianess of their brand and their knowledge of Indian conditions for their new identity."

Others believe that the Hero could don the 'desi' tag strongly in its new avatar. "While Indianess should be celebrated, a desi branding imagery is a bullet that not too many are willing to bite into just yet," Harish Bijoor, branding expert said.

"Hero Honda without Honda is a kind of a vacuum point since entire generations have grown up on Hero Honda. But the split is reasonably cathartic and this is an opportunity for Hero to reinvent and resonate with the zing and buzz of the youth. For them a motorcycle is not just a vehicle, but a symbol of empowerment."


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