ONE BIG THING FROM THIS CASE
Can you describe your brand in 3 words and do your identity and interfaces align with this brand essence?
When Licious revealed its new logo in June 2022, there was the usual hubbub on Twitter, with people asking “Why?” So, of course, we got you the whole story, straight from the Licious team.
Licious started out in 2015, with the goal of not just changing the conversation around meat, but also organising and setting new standards for the meat ecosystem in India. In just seven years, the company became India’s first D2C unicorn with an annual revenue of ₹1,000 crores in 2022. Today, Licious delivers 2.5 million orders per month across 28 cities with a repeat order rate of over 90%. They have expanded beyond meat to spreads, masalas, Ready-to-Cook products, and even plant-based meats.
This evolution needed to find expression in the brand, which was largely known for quality, hygiene, and seamless delivery. The original Licious tagline ‘Make meat great again’ reflected a functional positioning that needed to evolve.
Those Three Words
“It was time to move the conversation to the next level, from customers wanting Licious for functionality to desiring Licious irrationally,” says Simeran Bhasin, former VP and now Business Head, Alternative Protein at Licious, who was closely involved in the rebranding exercise.
Bhasin asked the Licious team to create a portrait of the brand using just three words. The team reached consensus on the words: Hearty, Gregarious, Gastronaut (HGG). Together, these three words captured a warm, generous personality passionate about food and meat.
The HGG Test
Once the three keywords were in place, the team began to look at every brand interface — from logo to packaging and advertising — and asking if it passed the ‘ HGG Test.’ They discovered a number of gaps, which they addressed in the rebranding exercise with Codesign.
Licious is essentially an ingredient brand for home cooking. Cooking at home involves handcrafting and imperfections, trials and entropy. But the old Licious logo was upright, symmetrical, and digital in origin.
The Codesign team redesigned the logo in a free-flowing, handcrafted style favouring imperfections over symmetry. Big, hearty lettering was chosen over the earlier minimal sans serif. The Licious ‘smile’ was retained, but redrawn to make it more realistic. “The wee bit of lopsidedness in the smile? That’s deliberate,” says Mohor Ray, Co-founder Codesign.
The Colour Palette
Red, black, and white formed the brand’s primary colour palette. While this was not a misfit for the meat space, the specific shades lacked warmth. “Every time we applied the logo to banners or creatives, we found that they became less appealing,” says Bhasin.
To retain colour equity but add interest, the team turned to the product itself — meat. Red meat is actually a dark pink. So this deep, warm shade was added to the new palette and the stark black replaced with a smoky grey reminiscent of grilling and tandoors. Instead of the cool white, the team chose a shade of cream to better cue food.
Licious has long had delivery packaging that features illustrations of their customers. This was both distinctive and well-recognised. To bring it closer to the HGG personality, the team changed the illustration style to incorporate more fluid strokes.
“Brand assets build deeply entrenched memory structures that consumers hold dear. Our packaging design that features our consumers in their moment of indulgence, holds a special place in the consumers’ minds. Balancing the progression from the current design, while retaining the essence of the idea was quite the challenge.”Santosh Hegde, VP Marketing at Licious
As Licious adds more formats, the new identity becomes the unifying factor across products, be it the brand’s launch of meat masalas or the ever-expanding range of ready-to-cook food.
In October 2022, Licious opened its first experience centre in Koramangala, Bangalore called The Licious Kitchen. In addition to the new colours and illustration style, the packaging was also tweaked to meet retail display needs and the vacuum-sealed retail packs have transparent fronts. This aids product identification and allows customers to see the freshness of the meat.
The Licious app was also updated to reflect the changes in brand identity, with new icons, illustrations, colour palette and typography.
Previously, a corner of the Licious packaging would be shown on every product photo to give the logo visibility — a practice that was quickly copied by competitors. With the new guidelines, Licious now places the logo more subtly on the serveware for a more organic feel.
According to Hegde, disseminating the new brand identity was easier than usual because the design refresh coincided with the opening of Licious’ new office. “This offered us plenty of avenues to launch with aplomb,” he says.
HGG in Action: The Ad Campaign
The first campaign Licious did after the rebranding was a series featuring Anil Kapoor (a good fit for the HGG personality) and his real-life nephew Arjun Kapoor. This was created together with Mumbai-based agency Tilt.
“Authenticity is a big part of the Licious experience and the film scripts really brought that out. The ads were all about the pleasure of cooking and eating meat with the people you love.” says Bhasin.
An evolutionary approach to rebranding can be just as effective as a revolutionary approach. The small, targeted changes Licious made to better align with its brand personality are subtle but definitely impact customer perception.
With most rebrands, the visual changes are in the spotlight. But successful rebrands are not about changing logos or packaging in isolation — they shift brand trajectory as well as brand perception.
For Licious, this is reflected in ‘Willingness to Pay Premium’, a metric tracked in their Quarterly Brand Track. Hegde says that “this metric saw a swing of 410 basis points, a sizable proportion of which could be attributed to the brand identity refresh.”
Nice to know the thought behind their branding upgrades. Love it!
As a diehard Licious customer, I enjoyed reading this. Made me think how much they are expanding
The 3 word idea is brilliant. Hard but forces you to think. Great brand lesson
Fantastic case study as usual with in-depth insights. I am really enjoying Gowri’s writing for THC