Harvard Business School Students to collaborate with DY Works and Reliance Retail for hands-on programme

A team of students from the Harvard Business School will be working closely with DY Works and Reliance Retail India in January to understand cultural trends and consumer triggers in the Indian context. The experience is part of a required first-year course at Harvard Business School called FIELD, which stands for Field Immersion Experience for Leadership Development. DY Works is one of 156 FIELD Global Partners spanning 13 countries around the world. Together they will host more than 930 students in all.

“We are looking forward to this engagement. As a company that bases its work on culture and semiotic enquiry, this experience falls seamlessly into our vision of research”, said Alpana Parida, President DY Works.  “We are pleased to be working with Harvard Business School to provide students with a real-world learning experience in Mumbai, India. We feel certain that the students will gather insights here that they would never be able to glean from a classroom discussion alone.”

FIELD has three modules that run through the entire first year of the two- year MBA program. The first module focuses on developing individual leadership skills through team feedback and self-reflection. The second focuses on developing global intelligence by immersing them in a foreign country to develop a new product or service in the country for their Global Partner organization. The final module brings all the lessons together by challenging students to develop and launch their own micro-business as part of a small team back in Boston.

This collaboration includes India’s retail giant, Reliance Retail who will facilitate the engagement of the students with consumers and their purchase environments. DY Works executives have been working with the team remotely in the months leading up to their arrival in country. While here, they will pitch their ideas to the leadership team, conduct field research with consumers around Mumbai and present their final recommendations to management.

Harvard is quick to acknowledge that this important learning experience would not be possible without the Global Partners.

 “We are extremely grateful to DY Works, Reliance Retail and all the FIELD Global Partner organizations for all they do on behalf of our students,” said Professor Tony Mayo, the faculty head of FIELD. “The students benefit immeasurably from this experience and we hope the partner organizations do as well.”




A brand is a brand is a brand – William Shakespeare*.
So what is a brand? A brand WAS something that farmers and herders used to identify their livestock from the rest of the cattle, with a hot iron rod. As the definition evolved, it became a lot less violent and a lot more important. Fast forward to 2014, where companies are seeded by the millions, consumer minds are cultivated and monies are harvested by the truckloads. In this case, an aam mango tree; a metaphor from which you will harvest possible truckloads in the foreseeable future. How do you make it happen?
Now, it is a fair assumption that you are not the only mango tree around, after all a mango tree is quite aam. What you need to do is set it apart from the rest of them. Make it unique. Make it memorable. Make it a brand.

Here are a few points to give you a head start.
  • Immersion: Not quite the festive dunk in the nearby river that you think. You need to understand and assimilate into your organisational being, the audience, the market, the logistics and the dynamics. Get to know exactly what industry you are in and what you do. Understand who your target audience is and what THEY do. Who are the players who are already in the market and how are they differentiating themselves? Narrow it down as far as possible and create an outline of it.
  • Immersion results: You are an organisation which seeds, grows, picks and delivers mangoes to an audience that ranges from 5 year olds to 50 year olds. You have a great product and a good delivery system in place. There is one other player in the market who is almost exactly like you. Its name is The Aam Aam. They have a fast delivery system where machines pick it off from the tree, dump it into containers and distribute it as fast as possible. 
  • Naming yourself: If the people you deliver to, like you, they should remember you, right? Your name should be everything you are and everything you want to be. It should be built for the present and the future. 
  • Naming Results: With extensive research, careful consideration, workshops, storming brain things, analysis and in the name of the lord of branding, you are now AAM-EN!
  • Brand Definition: If you have done it right, you can make accurate deductions about yourself and your competitors and create a set of unique values for your brand. This unique set of values will also imbibe the essence of your brand and what you stand for.
  • Brand Definition Results: The results are in and…you will get trounced if you compete with The Aam Aam on the same playing field. You are not catered for a fast delivery system. What you do differently is that you hand-pick the mangoes. You have a group of very talented, passionate mango pickers and packers who, unlike the competition, do not compromise on the quality of mangoes. As an organisation too, you take pride in your work and your workforce, where integrity is your biggest asset and quality your biggest commodity. 
  • Creating an identity: An identity in this case, is the LOGO of your brand. You can follow quite a few brand models that can help you define brand values and create a logo. For example, the Kapferer Model of Identity. The model has been used for big brands such as Pepsi, L’Oreal, Carlsberg, etc.The model is in the form of a prism to make it easily understandable and underlines the 6 most important aspects of creating your identity. This includes:
  • Physique: This invokes the physical aspects of your brand in the mind of the consumer.
  • Personality: The character of your brand. This includes the style of writing, specific design features, colour schemes, ambassadors, etc.
  • Culture: Refers to the kind of environment you promote inside your organisation. What are the highlights and the ideals that everyone in your organisation follows? 
  • Relationship: What your relationship is with your customer/consumer. It can be a set of beliefs that your customers share about you.
  • Reflection: What is your image in the mind of the consumer? What do they think about you? Are you reliable? Value for money? Undefeated in quality?
  • Self-Image: What do consumers think about themselves when they buy your product/service? For example, Lacoste users consider themselves as sporty, even though they may not necessarily play a sport.


You now have a full-fledged brand, up and running. You have to now concentrate on building equity for your organisation. This includes using branding to build reputation, loyalty and trust for your brand. Using traditional branding mediums such as print media and TVCs or the engaging the internet efficiently can leverage you as the most trustable and memorable mango brand in the minds of your consumer. Of course, in the life of your brand you will encounter new players, new markets and newer avenues to expand and branch off. Your brand will have to understand, assimilate, evolve and rejuvenate, time and again.

With a good brand and good branding, you can aam for the stars.
Wishing you only the very best of luck in your business.
* Disclaimer: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet…Except what you read here.




The legend goes that if you drink from the Holy Grail, you will gain immortality. Translate that into the SME brand world, where organizations compete with each other to find their place in the mind of the consumer. What could be such a game-changer that would rise above the rest and become a brand that everyone remembers? Social Media.

What is it about social media that can become indispensible for SME organizations to build their brand constructively? First off, social media is where social interactions take place in the virtual world, specifically the internet through mobile and desktop platforms. Some social media sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Quora, etc. SME’s using social media can avail of the following advantages.

  1. Directly connecting with your audience: Social Media is ALWAYS interactive. When you post something on social media, you will get responses to it directly from your target audience. You will be always connected with them.
  2. Reputation Building: Sustained presence on social media and relevant material posted online will improve your reputation both as a brand and as people in the know.
  3. Great Value for Money: If you have a limited budget, social media is for you. As opposed to any media, the pay per click concept is unique to social media. The investment that you put in social media is minimal and surgically targeted towards your audience. While traditional media is not easily quantifiable, social media content can be quantified accurately through efficient tools such as Google Analytics, Google Trends and several others. With this treasure trove of information, you can redesign your content to get better traffic into your content and make real-time conversions more regular.


Indiana Jones didn’t just know where to find it. Finding your Social Media Holy Grail will require some spadework. Here are some pointers.

Know your audience: You have to first understand who exactly your target audience is. The first step to create an effective Social Media strategy is to have a clear picture of your end consumer. Chalk out the following details:

  • Understand Demographics: Whether targeted towards male/female, their age group, they can probably a specific ethnicity, anything that will narrow down your target from the masses. Ideally, it should be ONE CHARACTER that exactly signifies your target audience. Let’s call him/her Alpha.
  • Gather Topics of Interest: Now, Alpha will have specific topic of interest. It is in your interest to find out what are their likes and dislike. With this information you can choose your tone of communication and your overall strategy.
  • Assimilate Response Behaviour: How do they respond with content that they like and things that they don’t like? Do they share with their friends? Ignore it? Go on and purchase? You can adapt your strategy according to these inputs.
  • Use available resources: Google Analytics and Google Trends are great tools that will help you bottleneck your audience into a tight, concentrated group, who WANT your communication.


Differentiate or Die

Charles Darwin wrote in his Evolution of species that genetic mutations allowed species to evolve. Those that evolved differently from their peers to adapt to the special conditions surrounding them won the survival race. Many brands today are fighting a similar survival for market share. Here is a quick look at why and how brands, especially corporates, can win the survival race.

Michael Jordan vs Vietnam

As an ardent socialist during my days at Mumbai University, I remember a debate where I had sprung an ace at my opponent. My question was supposed to be unassailable in a debate to prove the merits of socialism over capitalism. 

"How can Nike pay Michael Jordan more than the entire staff of the Vietnamese shoe factory?"
While I grinned confidently, my opponent answered smugly - "there are millions of Vietnamese workers ... But there's only ONE Michael Jordan". I learned the concept of diminishing marginal utility well that day. I also learned how we, in a capitalist society reward skills. Like the Vietnamese workers, many of the corporates and products are relegated to sphere of commodities, fighting for marginal cost and a bid to survive another month. Differentiation here was Michael Jordan's skill. For brands, it needs to be a unique and relevant position in the mind of the customer.

Differentiation for B2B

Many of the business promoters we have met of the last decade have heard us make this point and have reacted in a similar manner. "Branding is for products, and it needs a lot of marketing." Our submission is that a differentiated brand starts from the Corporate Level.

Why differentiate at a Corporate Level

  1. Attracting the right investors and business partners
  2. Attracting and retain best in class talent
  3. Using your differentiated corporate brand to help your new business divisions gain respectability and margin share faster than other competitors
  4. Leverage the social impact of your corporate while others only hawk products
  5. A distinct and different corporate brand becomes a rallying point and a biding agent for your stakeholders and helps drive a common vision and agenda
There are enough and more examples how differentiated corporate brands are able to straddle different business easily. One of our favorite corporate brands is Virgin. The company has been able to take the image of it brash, nonchalant explorer founder and use it to build diverse business across the sectors like airline, telecom and entertainment.Even the name suggested they are proud of not having baggage in any industry yet having the gumption to take on existing players.

Becoming the different Finch starts with You.

In Darwin's research, finches that has specialised beaks for coconuts did better than other finches on the island. While Finches may not be conscious about the process of evolution, as business owners and corporate managers,we need to be mindful of the need and power of differentiation. The quest for differentiation and survival start with your own conviction.

Devatanu Banerjee
Head - Integrated Corporate Practice 


Brand Architecture Design as a Revenue Stream

Brand architecture comprises of facets of a brand. An architecture is simply a representation everything that is owned by a brand across its range.
Brand architecture is a higher-level plan of the brand eco system. It’s about building one brand and representing its core value across its range under one umbrella to showcase the diversity yet unification. If multiple brands, the relationship can be mother, child, parent, etc. Configuring the brand architecture before choosing which assets to build is a vital step. It helps the board develop the assets that will take the business beyond the ‘reputation’ stage.
Once this is clear, any product defined as a sub brand can be relative to the umbrella brand in order to create a clear distinction. Then starts the visible cycle of revenue generation which can likewise be segregated to achieve individual SBU profits & loss.

Most marketers visit the mode of brand architecture only during rejuvenation. During times of change, like mergers, acquisitions, rebrands and product launches. And, at those times, understanding the relationships between the brand names in your company’s portfolio is essential. Brand architecture design is a relative approach to keep a track on all P & L activities, measured at ease due to a simpler umbrella brand thereby imbibing best of the parent brand to child brands.

As a requirement, brand architecture design should be made as a mandate before any organization begins its branding exercise.
Fully realizing the power of brand architecture starts with documentation. You must spend time outlining the relationships within your company’s portfolio. How do your current brands, sub-brands and products relate to one another?  How do their market positions relate to one another?
All brand architecture strategies fall into one of two approaches, a branded house or a house of brands. In a house of brands strategy, the company name is not identified at all. Instead, product names drive purchases. A branded house strategy has one unique brand name that motivates purchases and offers value. Many organizations use a hybrid or variation of one of the two approaches.

Here are few common brand architecture examples that will help you define your existing strategy:
Four Brand Architecture options:
·         Sub-Brands: There is one corporate trademark and sub-brand trademarks. For example: Apple iPad.
·         Masterbrand: There is only one trademark and then descriptive names. For example: AT&T Device Protection & Control.
·         Freestanding Brands: There are many brands, speaking to many different audiences designed to stand apart. For example: Pringles, Old Spice, Gillette are all freestanding brands of Proctor & Gamble.
·         Endorser Brand: There are product brands linked together by an endorsing brand. For example: Oreo Cookies by Nabisco

Integrated Corporate Practice


Perception Management in Corporate Branding

To begin with, Perception management is a term originated by the US military.
Another term used for perception management is impression management subtly defined as an attempt to control the perceptions or impressions of others. Targets are likely to use impression management tactics when interacting with perceivers who have power over them. Several impression management tactics include behavioral matching between the target of perception and the perceiver.

As we know, brands always evoke emotions. From these emotions, form perceptions. Hence in corporate branding, perceptions become an integral part of brand management. Overall, perception management therefore becomes a science to deal with.
Perception management cannot be managed individually without it being a part of the overall brand management process.

Now the question is- where do we find such perceptions happening and possibly capture them?
Social Media is a possible platform wherein different perceptions can be captured.
In the corporate world, perceptions are important and mapping them is equally important as it adds to the overall dynamics existing in the corporate world. To showcase this to the external as well internal audience, the same has to be capsulated via the branding route. Brand perceptions are much more often created by the product or service experience itself than from brand communications or any such campaigns. Brand campaigns are much more effective in building brand awareness than it is in creating or changing brand perceptions. It doesn’t mean that branding cannot be used to help change perceptions, but it can’t do it unless the perception management in the entire gamut of branding is captured.


What’s Trending in Football?

5 things to keep in mind while posting about trending topics

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been a football lover’s dream. It has generated precisely the level of thrill, excitement, nail-biting, nervousness and satisfaction that a fan desires and expects from the greatest sports tournament in the world.

Mario Goetze’s extra time winner for Germany in the final against Argentina was the 171st goal to be scored in the tournament equaling the all-time world cup record of most goals scored. Each and every team registered on the score sheet at least once. 8 out of the 16 knockout games were decided by Extra time or on penalties. If this isn’t exciting enough, the World cup saw more than its fair share of shocks, controversies and upsets. This World Cup was the justification of FIFA President Joao Havelange’s decision in 1998 to increase the number of participant teams from 24 to 32 as it showcased the potential of the “underdogs” with Chile, Costa Rica and Columbia punching way above their weight. On the other hand, World Cup mammoths like Portugal, Italy, England and reigning champions Spain were thrown off their pedestal pretty early into the tournament. Pundits are describing this as the greatest World Cup ever and it has done nothing but add to the already massive popularity and fan following football as a sport enjoys.

FIFA, the governing body of world football now has more member nations than the United Nations. It is truly a global sport and isplayed or followed by billions of people around the world. It is a sport that requires minimal equipment and is played by people from all races, religions, castes, genders or income groups. Football is played on the beach, in the snow, in the desert, on a ground, indoors and even in war zones. It is this flexibility and adaptability of the sport that creates an unparalleled fan following and loyalty.

The tears in the eyes of fans when their team is losing, the celebration during victory, the anger at the transfer of their favorite player from the club they’ve been supporting since childhood to the direct rivals, the delight of qualifying for the Champions league and countless other emotions are shared universally by billions of fans across the globe. These fans respond very positively or very negatively to every piece of news that the world of football provides and one can count on football to provide regular and ample fodder.

Suarez biting Chiellini, Zuniga’s outrageous tackle against Neymar, Lois Van Gaal’s appointment as the manager of Manchester United, Germany’s mauling of Brazil and Kroos’s move to Real Madrid are just a few examples of gossip that football offers on a daily basis.

In digital marketing terms these are called “trending topics”. The fans discuss this exhaustively online and love to read everything they can about every topic there is.

Herein lies the opportunity for marketing, advertising and building a brand.

Posting about these trending topics has really picked up in recent years with memes, jokes, 6 second videos called vines and tweets. These posts on trending topics that fans want to read about can be used to create brand awareness and loyalty. Users would love to read about, laugh at or enjoy such news or gossip and the presence of your brand name along is a sure shot mantra to increase brand loyalty.

Some examples of impactful posts are-

“But the most important question is: Do the Germans know who Sachin Tendulkar is?”

“Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you're hungry just grab a Snickers.”

“David Moyes....The UnChosen One...”

Brands like Amul, Snickers and McDonalds’s do a great job at this while some brands fail miserable. It does not require a creative genius to come up with these posts. A few things if kept in mind would ensure that your brand benefits the most from these trending topics.

5 things to keep in mind while posting about trending topics:-

1)    Do not lose focus- Your brand is not the hero of the post, the topic is. The limelight must be on the topic as that is what the users are interested in.
2)    Be precise- The posts would either be memes, tweets, vines or jokes. No one has the time or inclination to read lengthy paragraphs. You must not try and communicate everything in a single post.
3)    Do not be late- Nothing tastes as bad as expired bread. Post when users are interested to know or read about the topic or do not post at all. No one would be interested to read about the Louis Van Gaal’s appointment or Fabregas’ move to Chelsea now.
4)    Use visual cues- Majority of the users scroll down their news feed without reading each and every post. Usage of distinct and attractive visual cues like giff videos or images is the only way to grab their attention and indicate the post’s link to the topic.
5)    Take risks or be different- Last but perhaps the most important point is to take risks or post unique content. Posting the same kind of posts as the competition will not grab any eyeballs. For example – every possible post against Lionel Messi winning the golden ball has been already posted. A post supporting his selection and making an ideal case for it would be refreshing and stand out from the crowd.

Siddharth Shetty,
Marketing Intern,
Integrated Corporate Practice
DY Works