India-based conglomerate Mahindra may be well-known internationally--the company has over one million employees working in more than 17 different industries. But its brand awareness in the U.S. hovers close to zero. Think John Deere is the world's top seller of tractors? Nope, it's Mahindra.
Now, Mahindra and its creative agency StrawberryFrog are launching “Rise,” the first corporate branding campaign to educate Americans about the company's core business sectors: IT, automotive, farm equipment, aerospace, finance, and consulting.
"It's like IBM's Small Planet or GE's [Imagination At Work] corporate branding," says Scott Goodson, Founder/Chairman, StrawberryFrog New York. "Instead of individual products, we are focusing on the whole [corporate] group."
The campaign is an evolution of earlier branding initiatives. Four years ago, StrawberryFrog and Mahindra developed “Spark The Rise” to unify the workforce. "With so many employees, everyone had a different idea about what the company stood for. So we conceived ‘Rise’ to be the unifying philosophy that brings everyone together to focus on the end consumer," says Goodson.
“Spark The Rise” expanded to business-to-consumer messages that encouraged people to use integrity, accept no limits, and drive positive change. Then, Mahindra and StrawberryFrog introduced “Rise”-themed ads to U.S. audiences that focused on particular divisions, such as tractors.
This week, the entire company becomes the center of attention. The corporate branding ads run in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in order to reach "opinion leaders and influencers," says Goodson. The Twitter hashtag #MahindraRise serves as additional outreach.
Incorporating the “Rise” messaging, these U.S. print spots feature images by artist Sara Singh that depict morning routines, such as drinking a cup of coffee. "This campaign embodies that spirit with provocative illustrations that engages our readers in a simple yet powerful way," says Goodson. "It is a reflection of Mahindra's continued commitment to “Rise” …which inspires millions of people every day."