Some of the best “corporate storytelling” is coming out of India
The most valuable companies in India include Tata Sons, Aditya Birla and Godrej. The most valuable in the world are Apple, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft (with the order changing every now and then). These companies cover a wide range of sectors but there is one common element. A consistent and strategic content narrative.
That’s an area well understood by Mumbai-based The Information Company (TIC) which is positioned as a “content, creative and digital agency preferred by India’s leading corporates”.
Corporate Storytellers. That’s how they like to be known.
The Information Company – Storytellers to India Inc
TIC started in 1999 and I have known them since 2004, when I connected with Founder Kiron Kasbekar, formerly Editor of The Economic Times (Bombay), Business Editor of The Times of India, and Managing Editor of Business India.
TIC has been ‘living and breathing’ content for more than 20 years, with its foundations built by top-notch journalists who brought their expertise in impactful storytelling to the game. Since then, TIC has added technologists, graphic designers, writers, videographers, and SEO specialists to the mix to execute great communication projects.
Their storytelling services are being used by the some of India’s largest, most influential, and best brands – Tata Sons, Aditya Birla Group, Godrej, Mahindra Group, Ambuja Cement, Hindalco, Fino, Cipla, Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel, Capgemini, Weber Shandwick, and many more.
Storytelling for a purpose
TIC doesn’t just tell stories – the focus on storytelling towards a purpose, whether that is building digital brand identity, promoting business interests, creating perceptions, or reaching out to stakeholders.
One of the most unleveraged areas of communication is ‘thought leadership’, with much of it being overt promotion or semi-advertising. Here, TIC has been able to carve out a niche – crafting the voices of corporate brand and corporate leaders, and delivering good thought leadership content that is credible, engaging, accurate and consistent.
One of their unique skills is to write authored articles on behalf clients across industries such as automotive, aviation, chemical, consumer products, energy, engineering, IT, insurance, oil & gas, pharma, mining, manufacturing and infrastructure.
Blogs for Interaction
Blogs is another area where, for many organisations, things go wrong. The most common mistake is to come across as self-promoting. Or the organisation starts a blog but tires of it – so their latest blog is two or three years ago. Not a good look.
But the blog can be immensely valuable – it is the one platform for any company to connect with all its stakeholders, interact with them, connect like-minded enthusiasts and so on – through focused storytelling. No wonder then that TIC creates over 30 blogs every month.
Websites that just don’t sit there
Owned communication assets such as websites should not be static – they need to be information rich, and continually updated. They are the first stop for information that is used by investors, clients, media, prospective customers, prospective employees, regulatory bodies. The website is a critical and strategic asset to broadcast the corporate narrative.
Tata Chemicals, Tata Trusts, Rallis, Lupin, Hindalco, Ambuja Cement Foundation, and Suzlon are just some of TIC’s website clients. And this does not include the list of intranet clients!
Sometimes, a visual story tells more than a thousand words. Infographics are mostly data driven – the magic lies in crafting a coherent story around data.
By writing compelling text and presenting it in an efficient and visually pleasing manner, TIC ensures that an engaging story emerges from each Infographic. This form of content is its way, both art and science.
Campaigns – traction and reaction
Engaging with employees – especially in an age of WFH – has taken on a new significance. Companies often rely on emailer campaigns to connect. But how do we gain traction and reaction?
Whether the campaign is to showcase business achievements, announce a product launch or an event, highlight business achievement, connect with employees or other stakeholders, TIC partners several big corporates to put in the right words to their thoughts.
Social media campaigns take the need for creativity to another level. Here too TIC builds award-winning strategic campaigns for clients such as Godrej and Hindalco.
Video now “most effective”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 1.8 million – that is the view of TIC, and they see video as “the most effective way to narrate a story”. Be it explainer, animated, VFX, event, HR videos or corporate films, TIC creates videos for Aditya Birla Group, Sterling & Wilson, Asian Paints, and Hindalco.
Beware of stepping into ‘content overload’, a sign of our times. How do you ensure ‘thumb-stopping’, shareworthy content for your brand? One easy hack is to make sure the content is dynamic, visually rich and – most important – interactive! Adding a layer of interactivity to your content – blogs, posts, videos, graphics, podcasts, whatever – will add to brand recall and engagement. Even a simple quiz, for instance, becomes interactive content and can be a game changer for your brand. And that is what TIC delivers.
Awards tell the story
Recognition is the best sequel to creativity. TIC has won a slew of awards for its work – here is just a tiny fraction of the recent accolades won:
Double Platinum at the ‘AVA Digital Awards 2022’ for Tata Sons e-magazine and a video for Sterling & Wilson Renewable Energy Ltd
‘Mint Marketing Award 2021’ for Hindalco’s #WomenAtHindalco social media campaign
Gold for Hindalco’s internal newsletter at the ‘Afaqs! Digies 2021’
Bronze for Aditya Birla Group’s #HaathUthanaZarooriHai video at the ‘Velocity Awards’
Best Content agency at ‘The Great Indian Content Marketing Awards 2021’
For more on how TIC can support your communication objectives, just drop a message on email@example.com. Or better still, call at +91 842 581 4016 / 17.
Some things provide a “wake up call” on how quickly things are changing in modern India.
This is a great example.
India is placed third in the globe on the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual ranking of the top 10 nations and areas outside of the United States for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 2021. The country has seen a 10% rise in LEED certified space since 2020. These are 146 buildings that have a total of 2.8 million gross area square meters (GSM) of space.
India has 1,649 LEED certified buildings with a total area of 46.2 million gross square metres. The Indian government has taken the lead in putting the health of its residents first, asking businesses to start with the required safety standards in place said Mr.Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan, Managing Director – Southeast Asia & Middle East, GBCI.
Like most Indian IT giants, TCS offices are “campuses” which provide entire work and social life opportunities
According to Brand Finance, the Indian IT consultancy firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has become the world’s second most valuable brand in the information technology (IT) services sector, while Accenture remains the world’s most valuable and strongest IT services brand.
According to the brand valuation consultancy’s newest Global 500 IT Services Ranking study, Infosys has emerged as the fastest growing IT services brand, with a 52% increase in brand value since last year and an 80% increase since 2020 to US$ 12.8 billion, putting it in third place.
TCS and Infosys have moved IBM from second to fourth place. IBM’s brand value is now US$ 10.6 billion, down 34% from last year and 50% since 2020.
Apart from TCS and Infosys, four more Indian firms are listed among the top 25 IT services brands: Wipro (7th), HCL (8th), Tech Mahindra (15th), and L&T Infotech (22nd).
This is an extraordinary achievement for the Indian IT sector and more is to come…
INTO INDIA wishes you all a peaceful, prosperous, safe and healthy new year for 2022. This is our last post for this year.
The question for next year is how will we all get on better than we did in 2021?
I hope we will see “smart diplomacy” dominate next year – this is the kind of diplomacy that works with cultural and cross border differences. It is not insulting and does not force the other country into an aggressive response. It takes into account major global shared challenges such as climate change, Industry 4 and the continuing pandemic.
It is “smart” to talk to other countries in a way which allows them to make their own positive contribution to the debate – does not corner them into hostility.
Australia has done some “smart” diplomacy things this year – such as using former Prime Minister Abbott as a special envoy, a move well received in Asia.
Hoping countries will all be a lot smarter in 2022.
The team that have taken Australian startup CANVA global – India is a market for almost every startup
Launching your startup into India – 5 key tips
Here’s a big generalisation – almost every startup can find an eager market in India.
I say that with confidence, because the Indian economic growth story means demand for everything cannot be met – demand is huge, so that means opportunity for your startup.
But how to approach India?
First – think longer term than you normally do, but keep in mind modern India can be either fast or slow and there is no way of predicting.
Second – leave your ego behind. Pretty much every western company that has succeeded in India has done so on the support of a strong local Indian team across all levels. To do this, they have effectively left their ego behind.
Third – India wants your startup, NOT your culture. Those who struggle typically want to transfer their “culture” to India, so they put their expat team in charge of the local team.
Being preoccupied with transferring “the way we do things in our company” to India makes them blind to “the way Indians do things there” which is the most important insight for future success.
Fourth – use your expat team wisely. Expats can come and go as needed – but your business needs longevity in India and that is what an Indian management team can provide.
Fifth – Smart companies that go into Asia also ensure they hire Asians into the Head Office team, so you have Asians running your enterprise on the ground in Asia and Asians at the right level in HO guiding and advising the HO team.
The future of startups and innovation is looking good for India.
India plans to pitch to companies such as Tesla, Samsung and LG Energy to encourage them to invest in manufacturing batteries within the country, as it looks to establish a domestic supply chain for clean transport.
India will host five roadshows starting next month in countries including the United States, Germany, France, South Korea and Japan to convince battery manufacturers to set up local production.
Tesla, LG Energy and Samsung are among those who will be invited to attend, although a delegate list has not yet been confirmed.
Other companies targeted include Northvolt, Panasonic and Toshiba. The move is a part of USD 2.4 billion incentive program to boost battery manufacturing for which the government has begun inviting investment proposals from companies.
Confident young Indians like these are driving new entrepreneurial spirit
CAUTION – generalisations are just that, and you will almost always encounter those who do not fit in this list. This is offered to assist those visiting India for business, education or tourism.
1. Successful and confident
Economic success has restored Indian confidence. Indian entrepreneurs are now recognized around the world and there is a national expectation that the next Bill Gates will be an Indian. This entrepreneurial spirit permeates the nation (most dream of becoming entrepreneurs) which is now confident.
2. Never forget rural people
Indian business and political leaders may live the urban lifestyles, but they do not forget the small towns and villages at the centre of rural life – and it’s not just the politicians with an eye for votes, with major corporates such as Infosys pouring resources and funding into village developments.
3. Avoid pointing the finger
Indians become instantly passionate when challenged on subjects like their high tariffs, especially if the challenge comes from the west. The message is, point the finger at India and you can expect a robust response.
4. Oceans of patience
Indians have oceans of patience which can drive westerners crazy, but it gives them a special strength in negotiations. This patience is derived from deeply held spiritual views such as impermanence – Indians are constantly reminded of the impermanence of this life, everything changes, and they can wait when often we cannot. Who has the advantage in this situation?
5. Not just an IT miracle
Do not be fooled with the view that the Indian economic miracle is just driven by call centres and IT. Important as these are, look also at insurance, energy, retail, clean technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and even agriculture as areas where efficiency is producing startling results.
6. Not especially “Asian”
While India feels great about the success of “Asia”, in many ways it does not feel particularly “Asian”. First and foremost, Indians feel Indian, and to them that is vastly more relevant than being geographically part of Asia.
7. Remember the “Father of the Nation”
Whether dealing with the young or the old, in India never forget the “Father of the Nation”, Mahatma Gandhi.
8. Equity up there with democracy
Partly because of Gandhi, Indian leaders are more concerned with equity than with spreading democracy around the world – and cannot understand the enthusiasm of the USA and its allies to champion democracy in unlikely locations.
Japanese firm SoftBank is leading investment into Indian IT and startups
Japanese investment in the Indian IT and start-up ecosystem has grown fourfold since 2016, according to a report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), in association with Nomura Research Institute (NRI).
It estimated the investment is helping create 102,000 additional jobs.
Japanese investment reached US$ 9.2 billion, mostly by large investors like Softbank.
Fintech, healthcare and mobility are the top sectors drawing investment from multiple Japanese investors followed by e-commerce, enterprise, and real estate.
Japanese policymakers see India as a trustworthy partner for accelerating Japan’s digital transformation and began investing strongly in Indian tech start-ups since 2016.
Which raises the question for Australia – can India become a favoured investment location as Aussie companies strive for next level transformation?
According to GlobalData, Indian entrepreneurs received US$ 16.9 billion in venture capital investment in 2021, second only to Chinese peers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
According to GlobalData’s financial transactions database, 828 venture capital financing agreements were reported in India between January and July 2021, with a total declared funding value of US$ 16.9 billion.
Flipkart raised US$ 3.6 billion, Mohalla Tech (ShareChat) raised US$ 502 million, Zomato raised about US$ 500 million, and Think and Learn (Byju’s) raised US$ 460 million in India between January and July 2021.
“While several of the top major countries globally saw a drop in VC financing value in July compared to the previous month, India managed to display growth despite a decline in VC funding transaction volume,” stated Mr. Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData.
India has becoming a digital-first economy as smartphone usage has increased and mobile Internet has become cheaper. As a result, IT firms have benefited the most from this trend.
According to GlobalData, India has the world’s third-largest tech unicorn ecosystem, after only the United States and China. VC investors are showing interest in companies in e-commerce, social media and social networking, food delivery, edtech, and digital payments at the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mr. Bose.