The IT (information technology) and ITES (IT enabled services) industry is widely propagated — and is by Indian standards — the best growth and development story of post-liberalisation (1991) India. But it hasn’t realised its full potential because IT companies are replete with penny-wise pound foolish techies with little awareness of the brand-building value of advertising and professional public relations. Although the IT boom began in the 1980s, the general impression is that India’s IT majors provide low-cost, body-shopping services to foreign IT multinationals.
Against this backdrop, the belated national brand-building campaign launched on August 15 by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, India’s largest IT company (revenue: Rs. 161,541 crore in 2019-20), heralds the dawn of new enlightenment in the IT industry. The company’s Part of Your Story campaign on national television and social media highlighting the important role played by TCS, in delivering a plethora of financial and public services and its contribution to the healthcare and pharma industries, is overdue. Over a decade ago, astonished by the array of sophisticated ITES services offered by TCS, your editor presented a detailed proposal to S. Ramadorai, former CEO of the company, recommending a mega advertising and public relations blitz to build the TCS brand. Although I was given hearing, nothing came of it. Now more than a decade later, the penny has dropped.
Nevertheless it’s a matter of amazement that despite advertising expenditure being tax deductible, most of India’s technology leaders with multi-million dollar capitalization are headed by skinflints who believe that advertising and brand promotion is wasteful expenditure. Despite live examples of tech giants such as Microsoft, Intel, Dell and even Chinese IT companies Baidu, Tencents and Alibaba spending billions of dollars on advertising and brand building, India’s IT majors are without honour in their own country, and are viewed as IT coolies abroad. With TCS having taken the plunge, one hopes that our other IT companies will awake from their slumber and start advertising in national and global markets to compete with the big boys.
Also read: Technology in Education: Boon or Bane?