Black is the new white! How this traditionally dirty colour is the ‘in’ thing in the cleaning segment.

"Bure nazar walk tera muh kala" is probably the first Hindi phrase we learned in school. Culturally Indian's refer to black as an unclean colour.
For a people obsessed with purity, black has variously represented shame, uncleanliness, ugliness, illegal wealth, demonic roots, inappropriate actions or adulterations in your favorite pulses.

In contrast, "White" has been the standard bearer of being clean.Whether it is the colour of the mythical animal transports of the Hindu pantheon, to the description of your state of mind when your conscience is clean; white is the irrefutable colour of cleansing. From detergents to toilet cleaners, the quest for the "Whitest White" seems to the marketers Holy Grail.

In this black and white world enters a new (more western) paradigm of "Black=Clear".
 If your brand does not want to cheat its customers, then it will be in black. Some of the new platforms for black that are being dialed up include - simplicity and greater potency. 
Here are some examples of the same -

The other area where we see a more generous use of black is in the display of colour.


While one can argue that black is a "macho" colour, you wouldn't readily associate it with candles. While "a light in the dark" would be something that you could also allude to, however, the brand has been overly generous with black, to their credit.

Devatanu Banerjee
VP - Retail & New Media
DY Works


Understanding the health of your social media posts

If you have been using Social Media for business, then your company surely has a Facebook Page. Take a minute to mouse over the statistics of who saw your company posts. You will notice that Facebook classifies your viewers -
  1. Organic
  2. Viral
Understanding this statistic may help you figure out the health and virality of your company facebook page and your posts.
When your facebook post has been viewed by users directly of your company's feed or company page, then it is classified as an 'Organic View'. A large number of Organic views signify that there is healthy traffic on your company's page / feed i.e. People are actually exposed to your content. Having a low Organic viewership means that no one really cares about the content being posted on your facebook page.

When your post has been viewed indirectly via your company's fan's feed or page, then it is classified as a 'Viral View'. A large number of Viral views signify not only are your fans seeing your content, but they are passing it along to their friends and popularizing your content. Having low Viral viewership means that your content does not resonate among those who are your immediate fans i.e. not too many people outside your circle are talking about your content.

ORGANIC v/s VIRAL: Which is better?
Obviously both are important, however, to enjoy the real benefits of social  media, you should aim for higher viral views compared to organic views. Organic views signify the fruits of your online efforts to create action among existing fans. Viral views, on the other hand, signify that your fans are working hard to popularize your content. They may even be recruiting new fans on your behalf. Viral activity actually multiplies your own social media effort. Therefore, in my opinion, good marketers should aim for higher viral viewership.

More than one social media marketing site points out that talking about your company's products or services does not help virality. Your company's fans respond to emotion better. Here are a content buckets that score higher on virality -
  • Showcasing your company as a workplace where employees are shown in a candid and honest manner
  • Showing your product or services being used by end consumers
  • Humour (related to the product category or the product usage)
Our own experience attests this fact. One of the most viral posts from DY Works was not about our products or service, but a non-commercial creative project taken up by two of our designers.

Hope this helps you tweak the content on your company's facebook page and change the way you approach social media content.


Devatanu Banerjee
VP - Retail & New Media
DY Works


How far is too far?

The Business Standard - Monday, December 10, 2012

It  is difficult and expensive to build a brand. High media clutter, high shelf-clutter and high mind-space clutter (coupled with ever shortening attention span by consumers) makes for very few successful new brands in the country. It can be argued that apart from a very select handful that includes Fastrack, Café Coffee Day and Big Bazaar, there are no truly successful new brands out there. The lure of brand extensions is understandable as it utilises the current equity of a brand and leverages it for brands to foray in other categories.

Brand extensions fail, sometimes, disastrously. Nirma, a brand synonymous with detergent powder (every time we hear Nirma, the next line “washing powder Nirma” follows tunefully in our minds) launched Nirma Shudh Salt. Does that mean Titan — known for watches – should not enter eyewear?

Titan Eye is, after all, struggling to be profitable. Or that Wipro should be only ‘applying thought’ to their IT business and not to diapers and soaps? Ponds stretched the brand from its iconic Dreamflower Talc to the new age Age Miracle/Perfect Radiance range. The brand has not as much as stretched, but has snapped into two – the two Ponds stand for different things.

So, what are the principles of successful brand architecture? The answer lies at the core of the brand. Tata, for decades, has stood for trust. Since that is at the core, the brand extends anywhere where trust is important. Trust, however, is basic. It works for generic products such as salt but does not work where the consumer seeks more than trust. Tanishq stands for design but the Tata Gold Plus brand stands for trust. As for Rolls Royce, it is the ultimate super luxury car. Does that equity help in the space of aircraft engines? If Rolls Royce had stood for technology or innovation, it could traverse the course to not just aircraft engines but perhaps any high-end equipment; but luxury makes the stretch not so successful.

The closer the new product connects with the existing core value proposition of the brand, the more likely it will be able to diversify. For instance, Kingfisher (its current troubles notwithstanding) as the King of Good Times, can expand into different categories such as liquor, airline, calendars and Formula 1; as against Jet Airways that only stands for a ‘world-class flying experience’, and can only extend into air-related businesses.

Over-extending the brand or using it indiscriminately is potentially prone to failure. Take Lifebuoy’s first attempt at launching a talcum power under the same brand. The product was positioned on the family health platform in clear dissonance with the core proposition of the talcum powder category — beauty. The variant was discontinued and re-launched as prickly heat powder, which supposedly resonates better with the core values of the Lifebuoy. Even where the brand name seamlessly extends across categories, it is important to not fall into a ‘click and extend’ trap such as the one Himalaya has fallen into. Himalaya sells a range of herbal/ayurveda product across hair, skin and oral care under one umbrella brand. While it is a great brand extension strategy, there was needed a visual demarcation as the sea of sameness makes it difficult for the consumer to navigate across a shop shelf and new variants invariably vanish without a trace. In such cases design solutions are required to maximise opportunity for the brand.

Alpana Parida is President (alpana@dyworks.in) and Priyanka Shah,  GM - Strategy,  of  DY Works, a leading brand strategy and design firm.