The BrandCEO
A case study presented by
Kulwinder Singh (
Head- Global Marketing and Communications (GM&C)
Satyam BPO Limit...
A 10% positive change in a CEO's
reputation results in a 24% increase in
the company's market capitalization
– David Larck...
How does Satyam BPO leverage CEO for branding?
In a global economy, with fiercely competitive firms rapidly
commoditizing ...
Companies often spend millions of dollars to establish
and promote their brands, only to ignore them later.
Worldwide, the...
The CEO's checklist:
To argue that this number is on the higher side misses an
important point. Whether the CEO is respons...
Capitalization on CEO
'A strong CEO brand diminishes confusion and
uncertainty and maximizes freedom and control - all
bas...
Understanding Media
Effectively leveraging Venkatesh Roddam in our media
relations efforts started by understanding the na...
Capitalization on
presentation
opportunities
Leveraging thought leadership and presentation
opportunities involved choosin...
A concerted thought leadership campaign offered one of
the best vehicles to elevate Venkatesh's stature in the
industry.
A...
Global Marketing and Communications team executed a
program to elevate Venkatesh through a number of
activities that inclu...
Closing Remarks
Needless to say, the executive elevation program for
Venkatesh helped to create brand Satyam BPO.
Interact...
The CEO helps create and
nurture the brand.
The CEO is the guardian of
the brand,
protecting it from short term
actions
wh...
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Kulwinder singh's research paper on The CEO brand

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In a global economy, with fiercely competitive firms rapidly commoditizing products, strong brands help companies to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves on a criterion other than cost. All successful companies leverage their CEOs to derive business benefits. At Mahindra Satyam BPO, leveraging CEO for branding is a full-fledged practice.

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Kulwinder singh's research paper on The CEO brand

  1. 1. The BrandCEO A case study presented by Kulwinder Singh ( Head- Global Marketing and Communications (GM&C) Satyam BPO Limited CGBL - Batch 15)
  2. 2. A 10% positive change in a CEO's reputation results in a 24% increase in the company's market capitalization – David Larcker, Professor of Accounting Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  3. 3. How does Satyam BPO leverage CEO for branding? In a global economy, with fiercely competitive firms rapidly commoditizing products, strong brands help companies to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves on a criterion other than cost. All successful companies leverage their CEOs to derive business benefits. At Satyam BPO, leveraging CEO for branding is a full-fledged practice. So what is a brand? Basically, it's a trade name that's given to a product or service. At the same time, it's also an exclusive association that distinguishes a company, product, or service from its competition. One company's brand, for instance, is providing critical parts to its customers when they're needed. For another firm, the product is an identification card; its brand speaks of providing needed security at schools and companies. Challenges companies face today: ?The ability to bring world-class strategic brand thinking to bear on market opportunities and business challenges, or think strategically; ?The ability to consistently deliver on the brand and its promise in high impact and relevant ways, in the face of limited resources and the need for prioritization and tough choices, or operationalize consistently. The BrandCEO
  4. 4. Companies often spend millions of dollars to establish and promote their brands, only to ignore them later. Worldwide, the significance of the CEO brand is on the rise. In fact, it is being seen as a means to enhance company valuations. The logic - performance drives value and perception enhances it. A company derives base value through its business model, viability of its strategy, long-term implementation of the strategy, strength of the customer base, sales and profitability, returns given to investors, and its projected ongoing success. But there is an increasing argument that proper positioning of the leaders of the company can enhance value. CEO departures and successions are headline- making news, capturing the attention of audiences worldwide. Why spend millions of dollars on brands? The CEO brand strategy At Satyam BPO, the direct relationship between CEO performance and a company's reputation is strong. Our CEO remains the organization's public face and ethical compass. As a brand you want to stand for something clear and consistent. As a human being you want a balance between consistency and diversity. The most successful CEOs are the ones that are consistent. If the brand has meaning then it feels authentic. It's very hard to go through the motions every day. However, one needs to answer the following questions to leverage the CEO for branding: ?Does your CEO have a reputation in the marketplace? ?Is your CEO committed to brand-building? ?Does he understand the PR lingo? ?Does his network large enough to reach out larger audience? ?Does he recognize thought-leadership as a way to build brand? The CEO's responsibility is to make sure that there is a clear brand strategy in place and that all functions in the organization understand it, embrace it, and are aligned with it.
  5. 5. The CEO's checklist: To argue that this number is on the higher side misses an important point. Whether the CEO is responsible for 20 percent, 30 percent or 40 percent of a company's image, this individual has a huge impact on market perception. Even in this era of CEOs 'raiding the pantry,' the media still personifies a company through its CEO. That's why the covers of heavyweight business magazines such as BusinessWorld, Business Today, BusinessWeek, Outlook Business and Business India typically feature the faces of CEOs. Think strategically ?dynamic customer modeling; ?brand identity and positioning development; ?brand portfolio management; ?multi-disciplinary, general management perspective; ?maintain brand portfolio relevance over time. Operationalize consistently ?brand touchpoint analysis and prioritization; ?multichannel marketing execution; ?purchase and post-purchase brand delivery; ?brand-driven reengineering and brand metrics; ?employee brand assimilation and culture. PR Power of CEO There's no question that the top leader in any organization wields an inordinate amount of clout in building the image of his or her respective organization. A study by Wirthlin Worldwide, a research firm, quantified this clout as '40% of the company's image stems from the actions and decisions of the CEO'.
  6. 6. Capitalization on CEO 'A strong CEO brand diminishes confusion and uncertainty and maximizes freedom and control - all based on authentic value'. While executing an external communication campaign to elevate the Satyam BPO brand to leave behind media shyness and a 'loss-making BPO subsidiary' image to that of a leading BPO to attract fresh talent and infuse energy, the Global Marketing & Communications team contemplated about various existing opportunities to address this problem. After a few brain-sailing sessions with various business and function heads, the team realized that it was led by a global leader, a successful banker and who took a brave decision to turn around a relatively young and small BPO firm against already well-established bigwigs. After deliberations and detailed planning, the team decided to use its biggest bet for the next 24 months - the CEO.
  7. 7. Understanding Media Effectively leveraging Venkatesh Roddam in our media relations efforts started by understanding the national and local media landscape and how we were faring. We focused on target audiences from two different angles 1. Media Opportunities 2. Speaking Opportunities Steps taken to ensure we capitalize on media opportunities 1. We targeted our media opportunities carefully, especially because in the past we had been handicapped with a media-shy legacy. To make matters worse, we were a loss-making subsidiary of an outsourcing major that was otherwise doing extremely well in IT outsourcing. It was a point where one wrong positioning move could have derailed all efforts. We targeted media ranging from local newspapers to regional publications to the national media. We focused our efforts to optimize the effectiveness of the energy, time and efforts that were put in. 2. We understood which type of media best suits Venkatesh and played to his personality strengths. We had to decide among radio/TV/general circulation publications/trade journals 3. We also made sure Venkatesh updated himself about the difference between live and taped interviews. These are important distinctions from messaging perspective. 4. One of the most important discretions exercised was to use Venkatesh only for key interviews. Due to this distinction, even other leaders from the management team were exposed to media time and again.
  8. 8. Capitalization on presentation opportunities Leveraging thought leadership and presentation opportunities involved choosing the target audience carefully in terms of whether Venkatesh should speak to customers/professional associations/business leaders. Another challenge was to position Venkatesh as an opinion leader in the BPO industry. We sought forums in Hyderabad and within the BPO industry that served to raise his profile, and in turn Satyam BPO's profile. In terms of content, we also ensured that Venkatesh's speeches conveyed our corporate messages most effectively. Preparation for the thought leadership opportunities involved blocking a good amount of time with him in advance and tossing possible questions at him, simulating a real audience. We also emphasized the need to use his key messages as part of every response. This was critical, for many a presentation falls apart once the Q&A begins, but in all media interactions till date, the media has been convinced with Venkatesh's responses. But, success in this arena requires certain things. The speech must be substantive. It must have something to say about business trends today, and not merely be a sales vehicle for the company. It must be well-written and delivered with credibility. The speaker must take time to rehearse and should retain an executive communications coach to help polish the speaker's skills.
  9. 9. A concerted thought leadership campaign offered one of the best vehicles to elevate Venkatesh's stature in the industry. As “thought leadership” continues, its definition has been watered down. We define “thought leadership” as 'an executive sharing his perspective or taking a stand on a broad industry or business topic of interest with a wider audience'. One of the best Thought Leadership campaigns in the BPO industry came from Infosys BPO (Progeon earlier) when it realized that product PR by itself wasn't building equity in the company name. This understanding led to a thought leadership campaign in early 2006 around the impact of the Internet on the economy. Infosys BPO engaged with one of the leading research firm to conduct a wide-ranging study on the topic with the results serving as fodder for the PR campaign. Without getting into all the details, it is revealing to see the following chart that captures the numbers of articles that associate Infosys BPO with the process offshoring economy. In a relatively short period of time, Infosys BPO's corporate image went from “plumbing for the BPO Industry” to “powering the BPO Industry.” Accordingly, effective thought leadership doesn't require millions of dollars in investment. Consistency and picking the right topics ultimately drive success. True Thought Leadership
  10. 10. Global Marketing and Communications team executed a program to elevate Venkatesh through a number of activities that include thought leadership. The objective of this brief was to bring more discipline to Venkatesh's executive elevation program largely through greater consistency in messages/content. When it comes to the thought leadership component, it's worth emphasizing the importance of the executive articulating compelling information. By compelling, we mean information that is: ?Contrarian ?Controversial ?In-depth ?Anecdotal ?Dramatic ?Passionate In short, the executive needs to take a stand and offer thought-provoking commentary. It's also worth pointing out that an executive elevation program is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to establish any executive as a leader of an industry (as opposed to a leader of a company). To revisit Infosys BPO or Wipro BPO as an example, Akshay Bhargava or Raman Roy have become poster boys for the entire BPO sector. But it didn't happen overnight. While there is a “science” to an executive elevation program, there's also an element of “art.” Often, you find a mundane opportunity leads to a contact, which leads to a relationship and ultimately generates a home run. Consider Global Services magazine. It was a 'push' initiative that got Nipuna, before renaming to Satyam BPO, into the Global Services inaugural issue featuring Venkatesh with Neeraj Bhargava of WNS. You never know where the gold is buried. That was the reason for arranging meetings between Venkatesh and key reporters with the simple objective of starting/building relationships. This type of activity produces long-term dividends. CEO: Walk the Talk
  11. 11. Closing Remarks Needless to say, the executive elevation program for Venkatesh helped to create brand Satyam BPO. Interactions with Bloomberg, BusinessWorld and FAO Today are steps in the right direction. In fact, the FAO Today interview focused on industry-centric issues around process offshoring. Taking the executive elevation program to the next level requires greater emphasis on the thought leadership component. As reflected in the research, no competitor CEO has distinguished himself in this arena, making it even more of an opportunity for Satyam BPO.And taking on a speaking pulpit such as “The Specialty BPO” would allow us to be even more aggressive in distancing Satyam BPO from the competition.
  12. 12. The CEO helps create and nurture the brand. The CEO is the guardian of the brand, protecting it from short term actions which may result in longer- term value destruction. The CEO safeguards the continuity of the brand, ensuring consistency across time. The CEO is the architect of the future of the brand.

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