Better late than never, is perhaps a phrase HCL Software has taken rather seriously. The technology company, in an effort to promote the brand, has signed a multi-year strategic partnership with Scuderia Ferrari for the first time. This means that it marks the entry of the brand in Formula One sports. In conversation with BrandWagon Online, Dario Debarbieri, vice president and head of marketing, HCL Software, talks about the reason behind the move and how it benefits the brand. (Edited Excerpts)
With HCL Software investing in Formula One through its multi-year strategic partnership with Scuderia Ferrari for the first time, how do you think you will benefit from this association?
One of the challenges that we have with HCL software particularly, is that it’s relatively a new brand. If you think about the rest of the world, HCL is a well-known brand in India. While I joined the company a few years back it was only in July that I joined the marketing and I realised that we were missing a lot of marketing request-for-proposal (RFP) opportunities. Moreover, there was a lot of confusion in terms of positioning when it comes to software and tech. In all, we realised that we have a very big challenge in terms of brand recognition globally. So we look for different platforms that can help us expand communication globally, not just in one region, not just in one country. And after looking at the different alternatives, we felt that the entity with more proximity to technology is definitely Formula One. Most of the other big sports such as FIFA or even cricket focuses too much on consumer advertising.
Formula One, is one such sport which over the years has managed to get support from the technology industry right from AWS to Microsoft. Formula One gives us a massive communication platform. Not to mention that every race provides an opportunity to meet more than 3,000 CXOs.
As a business-to-business product, how do you ensure that marketing initiatives are much more than lead-generation activity?
When one thinks about a B2B marketplace in technology, one thinks about HCL software. Most of our growth came from our series of acquisitions, hence historically, we are known for our work. Despite this, our workforce often felt shy to reveal that they work with us when enquired. So we needed to rebuild that brand power and put it in context. Instead of going in for advertising or going into the market through a product, which is very expensive, and highly inefficient, we said we need to build an umbrella brand that finally gets recognised in the market for all our products and solutions.
How is HCL Software positioned now when compared with the competition?
Through our research we realised quickly that everybody is talking about digitalisation. Every second company wants to be digital. But very few people know actually what being digital means. For some people mean digital means being able to automate marketing campaigns being able to secure enterprise solution or buy artificial intelligence. Digital has become an economy where almost everything happens right from monetary to technical decisions. Digital economy is primarily build on four pillars. One is Digital Transformation which is about collaboration and customer experience. The other one is AI and Intelligent Automation. The third one includes Enterprise Security. The fourth one is about Data Analytics and Insights. We believe we are the fuel of the digital economy.
Going forward would you signing more such partnerships?
Yes, absolutely. We aim to initiate a three-layer plan. As part of layer one, the brand is expected to draw a lot of eyeballs from Scuderia Ferrari’s positioning. Also, we will invest in outdoor advertising most likely in a strategic location. We will also have a solutions area where we will feature customer success stories through a combination of products. We are also planning for our big first conference next year in the US which will be a global conference.
Which are the markets which are important to HCL Software?
The primary markets for us are the US and Europe, that’s where the majority of the revenue comes from. There is a huge expectation for growth from particularly three regions including India, Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asian region.
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