Why is yoghurt such a small category for over 3 decades in a country where Dahi is ubiquitous and Dahi cheeni the default dessert ?

Category after category, brand after brand, we see Indian brands following global positioning. Brands that are positioned through an understanding of the local context, and are rooted in culture – are robust and go on to become significant players in the market. Yoghurt was first launched by Milkfood in the 80s as a breakfast food. Any ethnography study on yoghurt or Dahi will show us that it is not a breakfast food. Except for Aloo Paratha and Dahi – it is not a breakfast food in any part of the country. Yoghurt is not an evening food either – with many beliefs of how you will catch a cold if you eat it at night and so on. It has, however, a significant presence at lunch. Dahi/Cheeni is the default dessert in many homes.

If yoghurt was repositioned as a light, day dessert – it would work dramatically well for the category. In fact, the recent move by most dairy manufacturers to start calling it Dahi, rather than yoghurt, is bound to help the category. Semiotic studies, ethnographic studies and the analysis thereof helps us define brands rooted in context. It is our contention that simply borrowing the international terminology YOGHURT – and dropping DAHI or CURD – has cost the category dear.


Brands that are embedded in cultural belief, are rooted and robust.

At DY works we believe that if your problem is defined sharply the solutions can be impactful. We used culture based studies including ethnography and semiotics to understand consumers and categories and find solutions that are encoded in design.

We believe that brands must encode unconscious belief systems to be truly successful.

The naughty and yet, innocent Amul girls takes on everyone in the land. The metaphor is based on Bal Krishna, and his tales of harassing and teasing are a source of delight. Therefore, in a culture where age comes with respect and reverence, the Amul girl is acceptable due to the deeper association with Krishna and his childhood tales.

In our world of sequential linguistic logic, we marketers battle between the rational and emotional. While we use the neofrontal cortex to make logical decisions; the consumer is using the limbic brain – the area of the brain where delight, trust and loyalty reside. Design allows us to reach the limbic brain with accuracy and shape consumer behaviour.

At DY Works, we go beyond design that is aesthetic, harmonizes or structures; to shape such behaviors. Our design results in increased trial, enhanced market share or growing revenue for brands.