In today’s ‘Darwin’s world’ of change, there are only two choices: adapt or perish.
Rekha Pamani-Gulati, Director - Business Development, DY Works, shares her thoughts on change and adaptation in the world of ‘Darwin’s Packaging’


With marketers and advertisers launching ICBM’s (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) at every juncture in our lives  – media, outdoor, internet and so on – how does a brand stand the test of time and not get overshadowed by the new kid on the block?
That brand has to be Spencerian!  (Herbert Spencer incidentally coined the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’)
Creating a Brand World and owning a Brand Language has increasingly become more relevant to brand survival - Packaging and graphic design is one of the most important extensions and expressions of this.
Consumers buy packs, hold and flirt with packs and take them home - they always did and they always will – it’s no wonder that some brands are continuously repackaging themselves to look better, convey their benefits better, to stand out against the clutter, to be recognized and ultimately to be picked up!
Packaging & Design makes promises to its consumers. This could be through structure, closures, dispensing mechanisms, messaging hierarchy, refill packs, multiple skus, variants, brand extensions and graphic elements that become synonymous with that brand or product. They convey a message and fulfill a need.

Antiquity Blue Whisky – created a revolution in its space as a trendsetter – possibly the first bottle globally where the neck of the bottle was designed as the spine of the bottle. Noticeable and not replicable!
Cadbury Dairy milk promised safety sealed new packaging post its worm scare from one supplier – consumers were reassured with that new quality packaged promise seal.
Skincare cosmetics are introducing more textures and sensorials to the substrates being used.
Gold and Global packaging standards are being adopted and reinvented.
Resealable, Reusable and Recyclable packs are the order of the day – ‘be sustainable or die ‘ will be the future mantra.

The first chapter in Anand Halve’s book Darwin’s Brands (not to mention the front cover of the book) showcases Thums Up – a brand that has stood its ground and over time adapted cleverly to counter the plethora of imagery that we are bombarded with. This is in a sense an addendum to that topic!
The brand line ‘Taste the Thunder’ captured the experience while the visual complimented the concept – today Thums Up continues to hold its ground next to the other colas.
Opening Happiness or the drink of the New Generation have not displaced this Indian stalwart – its trademark Thumb has been contemporized, the visual vocabulary of the brand has been extended and the brand continues to remain true to its core – more dum/more power!

Initially available only in glass bottles – over time has extended to pvc bottles and cans – adopting the very need of the changing consumer needs and trends and reinterpreting thunder. The thunderous shadow, which held the design back rather than propelling it forward has been contemporized yet not alienated the core users, the refinement of the hand silhouette from a workman like to a more youthful thumbprint and a refinement of the typeface from archaic to modern has made the brand and the pack more assertive and taken it to a modern space making it more relevant.

Packaging has and will always be the moment of truth…. “The silent salesman has become the vociferous shelf shouter!


Lakme Retail - R City, Ghatkopar

It was a pleasant surprise to see the DY Works Lakme Retail designs come to life at Shoppers Stop at R City Mall, Ghatkopar. Would love to hear your feedback regarding the same. Thanks.

Lakme Retail Counter
Lakme Retail Counter Top Unit
Customer give-away
Lakme Beauty Assistant Uniform - Interaction Area
Lakme Retail Backwall Branding + Make Over area


Solutions through semiotics

As people – we gravitate towards ‘people like us’. Shared values, shared tastes, shared belief systems are what we seek when opening our hearts to make new friends. Similarly, we accept brands that reflect our values, our style, our taste.

So the simplest solution, really, is to create brands that reflect the innermost belief systems of the consumer. Understanding the consumer, therefore, is the mantra for all marketers. The question remains, how?

Market Research does not work.

How can an individual tell a researcher what his/her deepest desires or motivations are? As people, we are unaware of the causality of behaviour. And need the help of psychoanalysts or spiritualists to identify our inner selves. To believe that a market research practitioner can do the same in an interview is patently absurd.

The other way to understand the consumer is by ‘reading’ behavioural and cultural markers around him. If we identify markers that are unique to a consumer group, we can then decode them to unravel patterns that give us an insight into the inner recesses of the consumer’s mind.  Much like the weatherman that reads atmospheric pressure and wind speeds to understand the current climate, a semiotician understands all symbols and behaviours which are ‘different’ to understand the consumer.
Often leading to dramatically different results. Take for instance the emerging probiotic products in the supermarkets. Yakult from Danone and Probiotic Dahi from Amul are already on the shelves. Others are poised to enter the market. Typically, the process would have been this: Identifying a product category that is doing well in other markets, doing a 3-4 city qualitative research through focus groups, and then bringing the product to the market.

Probiotic?  It is like selling Coal to Newcastle.  There are many Sanskrit shlokas extolling the virtues of buttermilk – which after lunch is compared to ambrosia. It is part of an Indian diet and there needs to be no education about it.
Takram laghu kashayaamlam deepanam kaphavaatajit ||
Showphodaraarshowgrahanidoshamootragrahaaruchee |
Pleehagulmaghritavyaapadgarpaanduvaamayaan jayeth ||
(Takram or Butter milk (BM) does not cause heaviness when consumed. Hence it is known to have the quality "laghu". It gets digested quickly and easily. Aggravated kapha and vata are mitigated by this wonder drink. It is the best appetizer. According to ayurveda it reduces bloating of stomach, eases symptoms of haemorrhoids, soothes intestines and helps in indigestion.)

Yet, the insistence on using an alien and utterly mystifying term such as ‘probiotic’ instead of riding on all the accepted benefits of dahi/ yoghurt is frankly, senseless.

When applying semiotics, it is necessary to understand what symbols and markers can be encoded in a product or brand so that the consumer accepts it in his/her world. A semiotic approach to a problem such as this would have looked at beliefs in terms of digestion, the time of day such products are consumed.

Yakult would be better off placing their drink after lunch, than at a breakfast table. Similarly, flavoured yoghurt would do well to take on ‘dahi – cheeni’ at the lunch table.  

Contributed by Alpana Parida, President - DY Works.


Recession - Tough times call for Funny measures

We recently received this invoice from an image vendor. Brilliantly conceived. Many of us would love to send this out on our own invoices as well.


Third Wave of Packaging

Packaging is no longer design, it is communication. This article tries to map the evolution of packaging design over three distinct phases.
Third Wave of Packaging

Contributed by Dharamraj Ullagadi, ACD - DY Works