Exit Design: Synergising Brand Strategy with Business Goals for Tangible ROI

Karn Malhotra,Founder & Chief Strategist

Karn Malhotra

Founder & Chief Strategist

An international sports goods retailer was trying to create a standardized form of communication at a store level between the brand and the customers in India, with the store managers being the key means of delivering this message - without the involvement of their marketing team. Bangalore based Exit Design resolved this by working closely with the in-house marketing team and helped articulate the ground & field research into a concise message that stood for the brands global vision. The end deliverable was a 110 page brand book that helped catalyze growth of the brand from 7 stores to 33 stores in just four years.

Having enhanced more than 100 such brands across industries, 2004-founded Exit Design has a definitive understanding of quantifying the ROI through branding measures that involves stakeholder research, measuring brand loyalty & engagement, Net Promoter Score, amongst others. Not limiting itself with creating an attractive brochure or a better functioning website, the company emphasises on aligning the client’s brand strategy with their business strategy. How? One means is their Brand Strategy Workshop and subsequent research deep-dive. Through them, Exit Design understands the client’s pain points across business/verticals resulting in alignment across stakeholders, thereby delivering clearer, simpler & insightful communication. “This distils various insights and brings to light diverse loopholes hiding in plain sight, which lead to a conclusive brand positioning, where design and creatives are more relatable & relevant,” affirms Karn Malhotra, Founder & Chief strategist, Exit Design.

Having worked with several family businesses, Exit Design has a deep understanding of 'family' dynamics, especially next generation entrepreneurs who tend to struggle
to find that balance between their new age ideas and more 'conventional' ones from the past. A clear brand positioning could help counter domestic competition, bring infusion of funds through a partner or push through the potential merger. “We focus on companies that are looking at their 'brand' as a key driver in positively impacting the business bottom-line,” states Karn.

Exit Design understands the client’s pain points across business/verticals resulting in alignment across stakeholders, thereby delivering clearer, simpler & insightful communication

Actionable Brand Solutions

With their focus on brand strategy, they are even open to partnering with the execution agency of the client’s choice. Why not leverage existing relationships? Karn explains, “We have collaborated with specialists & winners across categories, which has helped us build a strong integrated service offering”. Speaking of integration, their ‘Brand Manual' offering ensures that an end customer experiences visual consistency through all brand touch points. Identities have to be consistent across print, digital and three dimensional spaces – whether delivered through a logo, UI/UX of websites and mobile apps or the design of a building. If yours is still an idea, they even conduct a ‘Business Feasibility Study’.

Quite often, clients are unsure about their requirements. Mitigating this, Exit Design, unlike other players who offer pre-mediated solutions, digs deep by formulating a skeletal structure of their requirements and tries to understand ‘purpose’ behind creating that brand identity, for instance. Karn elucidates, “Clarifying the purpose helps create powerful and insightful communication that can improve the metrics pertaining to the client’s brand awareness, profits, sales, market share and brand recall. The 'back story' is crucial for the project’s overall success. Hence, we lay great importance on winning the client’s trust so they
can be completely candid with us”. This highly inclusive and iterative methodology ensures high ROI in forms of social returns, ethical returns, financial return, emotional return and cultural return. This approach helped India’s best clay mining and manufacturing company see a 15 percent spike in sales and a 23 percent upturn in quality employees applying to join them post the strategy & positioning exercise with Exit Design.

Bringing Automation into Design & Creativity

A youthful organization, as a company they believe in ‘continuous improvement’. Every morning, employees spend at least 30mins to keep themselves abreast of latest trends in the space. With this idea of ‘doing the next thing’ and leveraging their 15+ years of knowledge in graphic & communication design, Exit Design has launched a design automation tool- Outlined, which helps clients design without supervision or knowing complex softwares. Karn adds, “Brand guidelines can be directly plugged into Outlined and for people who don’t have a brand look, we’re presently creating ten brand templates when they sign up for six months”. It is indispensible to companies that desire complete independence from agencies for a faster go-to-market.

Delving into its philanthropic side, Exit Design is known to organize a fun one-day event called 'Designothon', where its network of designers assist NGOs and social cause organizations at no charge. With many such attributes to its credit, it’s not hard to fathom that the company still enjoys a revenue growth of 10-15 percent annually. Their long-term mission is - “To make great design accessible across languages and cultures, to as many people as possible through as many mediums as possible”.

Key Management:
Karn Malhotra, Founder & Chief Strategist

The desire to make a mark in the creative industry Karn to start Exit Design at the age of 22. He is a TEDx speaker, a British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Finalist and has appeared on the cover of India Today.

Offices: Bangalore (Headquarter), and associate offices at Mumbai,London & Dubai