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.