In the world of brands, the DNA of the brand is sacrosanct. Many brand leaders have tried and failed miserably trying to change the brand properties in order to garner more market share. An unsympathetic market and market forces, have constantly forced brands to rethink their strategy. The journey to occupy another slot in the consumer’s mind-set is long and arduous, often without sympathy. If done right, it is this transformational journey that transforms the boys to men.
Yet, few companies have dared to take the plunge. The most recent instance on a global scale has been Pepsi, which – with the growing global concern about childhood obesity and unhealthy lifestyles – smartly moved to occupy the ‘healthy snacking’ mind space. Closer home is the example of Sify. Old timers will know how the brand disrupted the world of Internet in India by giving Indians their first access to the Internet. A muddle of red tape ensured that a majority of Indians did not benefit at least until a decade later.
But being a business, Sify could not wait around until conditions were favourable. So, with a subtle extension of the DNA, the brand began offering initially connectivity to Enterprise customers. In time, the product portfolio expanded to the full plethora of ICT services. Today, two decades into its life, Sify is an acknowledged leader in the ICT space, courted equally by both telecom and IT players for their products and services.
The key aspect of the communication was to use the goodwill that the company had garnered with their businesses. Being one of the first Internet companies came with its challenges. Digital was new and a bold era to explore into, and Sify made the right moves into market. Continuous understanding of the changing sphere of innovation was aided by PR. It is very important for a brand that is going through phases of transformation to create a positive, public image and establish a relationship with the target audience and media. At Sify, this was enabled by an effective communication process. When the business was going through a makeover, it was the consistent communication focus that helped the brand to evolve. At the end of the day, a business is about people and that is where public relations comes in.
Sify’s mindshare has a lot to do with being a disruptor in the technology landscape. It enabled business more seamlessly and quickly. And that was two decades back. We have witnessed a drastic change in the internet landscape over the last 10 years. Today, we need to communicate to an audience that is ever evolving, and a strategy that helps us portray that innovations help us grow. When we started out, what kept us going was Sify’s constant innovation in technology and the ability of the organisation to communicate it in a structured manner. It has helped us build general awareness about all our services, business units and it has supplemented the marketing and advertising efforts. Visibility in key media helped us secure sustainable partnerships, customers and gave us a better negotiating position with potential investors.
Today, the world is overrun with companies like Uber and Paytm who are disrupting the way of doing business. For a public that has been fed on a staple diet of anarchist auto and taxi drivers, Uber and its brethren like Ola and Meru were godsends. But that’s just half the story.