From a small creative hot shop, it took less than ten years for Litmus to catapult itself into a full-service brand consultancy
When I gaze at the bustle of the traffic below my top-floor plush, cubby-size office in Mithakhali, Ahmedabad, I can’t help but marvel at the distance covered – the small operation that my brother Shilpan and I started in 2001 and the strategic leap we’ve made with the roll out of Litmus’s new brand architecture, visual identity and digital properties earlier this month.
In a little over a decade, Litmus has evolved from a three-musketeer led design shop to 20-plus, full-service brand consultancy. Our client list, billing, books, employee count and above all, the quality of the work that we now attract all testify to our huge investment in a cherished dream. Litmus was a mirage, until it matured into a dream, and if you ask me, I don’t even know how it happened.
Maybe, the timing was perfect – until Godhra happened and business came to a grinding halt in a highly polarized environment of Ahmedabad due to the Hindu-Muslim riots in 2001. Perhaps we had the right service-price mix; we were small, so didn’t charge a premium from our clients; perhaps we had the supreme drive, energy and culture of a start-up that spearheaded our growth; or perhaps we were just plan lucky – we hired the best and in turn got hired by the best, who appreciated the work we executed for them and referred us to their business associates.
This was also the time when Hiren Panchal joined Litmus us in 2006 and with him on board, there was absolutely no looking back. In no time, Litmus’s business started booming and we started winning projects from across the world, through client references and digital marketplaces. We were suddenly doing business with people we’d not met, and probably never will and they started recommending our work to others!
We quickly started adapting to the changing business environment around us and multiplying our clients and growth. We also started attracting more complex and diverse range of projects that involved not just a simple design input but a strategic re-brand of new and established businesses. Last year, it struck us that our revenue from this business stream – brand consultancy – was growing at a faster rate than from conventional design work, so now was the time to step back and take a stock of where we stood and where we planned to go from this juncture.
Somewhere along the line, we’d begun to sense that as a traditional design house, Litmus had reached the pinnacle of glory. Our clients needed more from us and were demanding more in terms of strategy and brand communication. They wanted us to help them improve their existing product lines and this does not just imply giving them an attractive packaging, but also strategic direction on where to go from that point on. In short, they wanted a full bouquet of marketing services from Litmus. Some clients even wanted us to identify tomorrow’s marketing opportunities for their brands.
That was an indication to us that it was time for Litmus to now re-brand itself. We couldn’t just be known for our mind blowing logos and packaging, we were also in the business of giving RoI-driven ideas on how to grow and expand their business. In that sense, Litmus had to present itself as all-round custodian for their brands.
That’s when we realized we needed to adapt, be more flexible, able and willing to apply a wide range of solutions to our clients’ numerous problems. We started to understand that clients do not always need advertising; more often, they need marketing communications in all forms and that’s what Litmus had to provide. That day, Litmus decided to consolidate its position as a full-service, flexible, lean, mean, responsive brand consultancy. We had the skills, we had the mindset, we just needed to announce the change to the world. We decided to do that in style with a new corporate identity, a brand new website – the works.
You’d notice that the new Litmus logo has the same core concept (because that’s where we’d like to remain unchanged) but a different edge. We’ve moved from serif fonts to modern fonts, to capture Litmus’s evolution from a conventional to a modern agency. The new logo and the website integrates Litmus’s brand story, captures our rich legacy, current capabilities and future aspirations. It not just articulates Litmus’s present space and capabilities, it also signals our march into a bold and confident future.
We hope you all like the change and write to us about it. We also invite you to visit our new site and share your feedback with us.