There is a sublime controversy brewing in the fairness cream space. What’s your take on it?

New Delhi

Amiti, I do believe the mother USP of a fairness cream is fairness. It is craved. Why would a brand in this space swim away from this basic insight? Just to quell society and its noises, a brand may ostensibly appear on a different route, but the basic mooring of fairness is a given forever, particularly in a country like India.

Indian society is variegated in its colour profiles, and therefore this yen and craving for fairness exists everywhere, except perhaps in the North-East. It is a disease.

Companies that make and market these creams need to get more sensitive than they are. They need to wake up to the silent tumult in the hearts of many, and need to get sensitive to colour profiling stances.

I am not sure whether the controversy in this space is sublime, but it is certainly not ridiculous.

I have started working with a set of second-generation entrepreneurs in a family-owned company. I find them different. Am I right, or is there a surprise in store for me going forward?


Mohit, surprises will always be there ahead of you, but don’t worry, it may not be due to a negative perception issue.

You are right. Second-generation entrepreneurs are differently empowered. They are people who have gone through the tumult seen by the generation ahead of them. Most have started their careers in an environment of flux. Many have seen tough markets. Many have been witness to their fathers and grandfathers grappling with issues in a rustic and grassroots-oriented fashion. Therefore, many second-generation entrepreneurs emerge with a rich context of the business, as it was then.

Second-generation entrepreneurs are more empowered because they have with them the wisdom of the rustic and the qualification of the savvy. Many are professionally qualified. They have an engineering or an MBA degree, or both. This is a potent combination for success. Add the dollop of hard work which goes with most such entrepreneurs and success is not far from reach. I predict exciting times ahead for you.

Is there a need to change the Indian Tea logo?


Sinha, I would oppose any such move.

I do believe there is a need for an update and an upgrade, but not necessarily a dramatic change.

Logos are precious properties for brands. The existing logo is a precious property of Indian tea at large. It has been there for decades and has adorned tea chests and hessian bags alike for decades. It has left an impression on the minds of millions in the tea industry. To an extent, a logo is like a scar -- a positive scar that is left behind in the minds of peoples. Therefore, I do believe there is a cosmetic upgrade, possibly, but nothing much else must be done.

Take, for instance, the logo of LIC. I would not touch it at all. It packs heritage. It packs trust. Modernising the logo and font of LIC would be the worst thing to do. It would be joining the race that other Insurance companies are embarking upon with modern fonts and modern logos (even cute little comic dogs to boot). Being different and old and being rooted to heritage helps some brand categories. Insurance is one such. And so is tea, Indian tea in particular.

International markets need to recognise origin. This origin needs to speak loud. The logo and font of Indian tea is good enough. It represents heritage. During conception of the old logo and font, there were limited possibilities of what could be used. That represents heritage in many ways. It represents the old order. Tea in many ways is about the old plantation order and rigour. It is all about cultural practices that are old and British and beyond. It must be maintained to be that.

Harish Bijoor is a business strategy specialist and CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. Mail your questions to