Q&A: Ravi Sonnad on the Rebrand of Enabling Leadership

Enabling Leadership works with underprivileged children studying in 120+ schools across Asia.

As part of a continuing series on rebranding, we take a look at the process from the client side through a conversation with Ravi Sonnad, Founder & CEO at Enabling Leadership, a non-profit organization that works with underprivileged children studying in 120+ schools across Asia.

Over the course of our conversation, Sonnad talks about the organization’s recent rebrand in partnership with Landor & Fitch, touching on topics including handing the reins over to agency experts to lead the project, what influenced Enabling Leadership’s choice to rebrand, some of the challenges involved, and more.

From the client side, having originally founded the Enabling Leadership brand yourself, what was the experience like turning over the reins to someone else to rebrand your baby?

This was not really a problem because we had discussions about what we felt the gaps were and what the non-negotiables were. The Landor & Fitch team was really good at asking a lot of questions to understand the boundaries around which they could frame their strategy and design recommendations.


 

What was the trigger behind going for the rebranding exercise?

Over the last ten years, Enabling Leadership has had the opportunity to touch thousands of lives across India, and now Cambodia, where we’ve recently launched our programs.

“We had to balance the fact that our staff and the children that we work with had a very strong connect with the existing branding.”

As we prepare to expand to more students and more geographies, we wanted to strengthen how our brand appears, what it stands for, and create an identity that truly represents our work.

What value did you hope to derive from the exercise?

We wanted to get to a strategy and brand identity recognition that allowed us to go out to a very broad and global audience and talk about our cause, our work, and our organization.


 

To do this, we needed a team that could think along with us, be open about pointing out our blind spots, and guide us through the implementation of the recommendations.



Can you talk more about the collaboration and how both teams worked together toward the final creation of the rebrand?

I was convinced we made the right choice of agency partner from the time of our very first meeting, and I’d like to believe the new brand identity was something that we co-created with the stellar team at Landor & Fitch.

At EL, our philosophy is rooted in the spirit of play, and the idea that every child has the potential to be a leader – if they’re given the right platform. This focus has been brilliantly captured in our new identity.

What were some of the challenges to overcome during the evaluation and creative process?

We had to keep in mind that one hand, our brand is not very well known to the outside world and that we needed to keep the goal of building a strong global brand and recognition in mind, while on the other hand, we had to balance the fact that our staff and the children that we work with had a very strong connect with the existing branding.


You can learn more about Enabling Leadership and the work they do, here.

 

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