Breaking the rules of B2B marketing

Meenu Bagla, Head of Global Brand, Field and Digital Marketing, writes about how brands need to stay true to their purpose. She strongly believes that if brands can change hearts, they are in a better place to change minds. 

When Sachin Joglekar took his 100th sky dive with #DONTBEPLASTIC flag and Anand Mahindra tweeted about it, I got many calls congratulating me on the great move, great ad, asking me how did I manage to do it, that I must have spent a bomb on the campaign, among zillion other questions. That was in August 2019, two weeks before PMO launched the ban on single use plastic on Independence Day. 

Fast forward to February 1, 2020, Tech Mahindra launched its new website, that I like to call our new digital home. Dark background with an Eco Engine that measures KWH of energy saved per visit, thanks to our new design, its UI and the green backend infrastructure. With this website, I was once again breaking the rules of B2B marketing. I remember, various design experts called and tried convincing me about having a white background and how it’s an industry norm. 

Everywhere I would go, I would face people wondering that how come our brand campaigns – #DONTBEPLASTIC and the new website do not flash what we offer, our solutions, our platforms, our business. 

Well, for me the answer was very simple. Our brand has made a promise of sustainability that binds us all as human beings above anything. Even as a B2B brand, we need to connect to the humans first. Our associates, the influencers and the customers are all human beings with a heart and believe in a purpose bigger than just business. 

That’s the genesis of the #DONTBEPLASTIC campaign, when within 48 hours 100,000+ Techmighties promised to give up on single use plastic and we acted on our promise by collecting hundreds of kgs of single use plastic. It wasn’t a campaign to cross-sell or upsell our services, it was a brand promise to call upon the community for a cause. When we took it to social media, dozens of customers, partners, and even competitors approached to join us. We weren’t stopping with just that, we wanted more and asked our associates how they would take this message to greater heights. It was a Sunday morning when Sachin called me and said “Ma’am, I want to take this message to great heights literally.” He was planning his 100th skydive and he wanted to carry the flag. And I said “Go for it!” that’s how the legendary sky dive video was created by our brand ambassador, our own employee and we spent zero money on its promotion. This was one campaign that touched many hearts and we broke the rules of marketing to the businesses. 

It was around the same time that we were exploring to redo our website, and while many agencies pitched to us, we brainstormed multitude of ideas, we concluded we needed our biggest digital address to reflect our cause of sustainability. There are tech galore to make any website more intelligent, good looking and dynamic, but we wanted a website with a heart. And that’s when we decided our website will deliver on the promise of sustainable experience. But the question was how? That’s where Grapes Digital came up with a solution of Eco Engine, and within one week of the launch of the website, we delivered energy savings that would light up one light bulb with energy to last an entire month. 

Looking back, we broke many rules, disobeyed many norms, but we stayed true to our purpose. I strongly believe if you can change hearts, you are in a better place to change minds!


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