I stopped by a small tea shop in Muzaffarpur and nearby is an Anganwadi centre with wall paintings of government schemes for maternal and child health displaying the logo of “Swasthya Bihar, Samridhha Bihar.” Be it in the heart of bustling golambar chowk of Patna, the rusty lanes of Motihari; a Primary health centre at the far end of Raxaul or a small village curled up in a corner of Supaul, everywhere Health services, health policies are seen with a ubiquitous tag line “Swasthya Bihar, Samridhha Bihar” along with a colorful logo.
It’s interesting to observe that the state of Bihar which was once considered under the “BIMARU” states and was creeping on the path of development especially the health sector developed a powerful social brand worth enough to be emulated by others.
Here goes the story in the words of the communication team of State RMNCH+A Unit, Bihar which was instrumental in getting the wheels of social branding started with the support of State Health Society, Bihar
“With multiple push from the development partners the health service delivery was improving in Bihar. And we could see the thirst for high visibility for the improved service delivery in the GoB", said Dr Hemant Shah,Director, SRU
“We knew what the TSU (technical Support Unit) had to do. We knew if we need to stay in the state and do our work to bring change and strengthen the systems, we had to help the government to give shape to their aspiration. We visualized it in the form of a Social campaign brand.... and as we work in the field of health – I thought, let that one social campaign brand be the ‘Health Initiatives campaign’ in Bihar to start with.” Said Victor Kalyan Ghoshe ( Senior Advisor, Communication, SRU), he continued, “and we figured it was all about ‘a new Bihar- which was developing’, But as mentioned the core of our idea was different – we still believed through a hidden layer below the Brand promise if we could shape demands of the communities of Bihar; we would actually be able to create a dynamics to ‘drive the market’ and maintain the ‘service delivery’ in a way that will help the future prosperity of Bihar to sustain (lower Maternal Mortality Ratio & Infant Mortality Rate, higher rate of Routine Immunization, effective Family Planning etc.). In a word we wanted to create a social dynamics through a strategic brand campaign – where the service delivery is community demand driven.
We went back to the GOB with a series of Brand campaign names. The list had:
1. Swasthya Bihar, Pragatishil Bihar
2. Swasthya Bihar, Unnatishil Bihar
3. Swasthya Bihar, Samriddh Bihar
Slogans which almost had the same meaning – but there was only one which phonetically had the right zing as it was coined with a key word with two syllable phrase, viz-a-viz the others which had four syllables. We knew the third campaign name option was destined to be the winner.
We were right – but we didn’t know that within a few days this idea will be all over Bihar....making its mark on all the leading news papers, on all the stationeries of concerned government agency (State Health Society, Bihar), Radio and television. And within a couple of months-the state government would start using the brand for departments other than the department of Health as well.
After a few rounds of Chai and Charcha, the name was finalised and the work for identity (Logo) development took over.
The most twisted turn in story comes here
As we worked on developing the brand we started believing this identity should create an added value for not only the GOB, but also for each and every decision making bureaucrat in the government so that the instruments of the government own it and eventually turn it into a sustainable campaign brand without any external support.
The road map with milestones that we had developed initially for this brand development journey, after reaching at the Ideation milestone we decided not to get into the Prototype development and testing – we should let the State Health Society-IEC division do the job.Which was a milestone decision and which never had happened in India with any development project (as we have seen -a logo design for a project or a program, is always the first thing that development partners do for a development program as a practice).
SHSB IEC cell finally developed the Swasthya Bihar, Samriddh Bihar identity with no help from the State RMNCH+A Unit or from any of the development partners. They added a map of Bihar along with the mentioned family of four – the end beneficiary – to develop a face to the first strategic Social Brand campaign from the GoB.
This brand eventually became so strong within six months of its first dissemination that the Govt revamped and reprinted all its stationary including the SHSB letterheads, envelops and Cover files (which is the highest visibility document in the Indian Bureaucracy
The story does not end here, after this successful example of an interactive social brand development in health sector, many sub- brands were developed following a larger strategy for the GOB and that part of the story too is very interesting….
To be continued…