What’s in a brand tagline? These catchy slogans with only a few words can say a lot about a company and its future direction.
With the announcement by TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) on March 30 of its new brand statement, this leading IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization has created quite a bit of buzz moving to “Building on Belief” from “Experience Certainty.”
While customers and competitors alike recognize that TCS has been true to its original tagline with its execution efficiency, pragmatic expectation setting, and adherence to contractual commitments, a change was needed after 15 years.
Why change now?
As all global organizations pivot to uncertain environments, preparing for a nebulous future has become everyone’s new mantra. The rebranding was long overdue. Although TCS may be a known brand in execution, in honesty, it is not recognized for owning risks or thriving in abstract situations.
Also, we have seen most of the competition already aligned to the “pivot to the fuzzy future” notion with taglines such as:
- Infosys: “Navigate your next”
- Accenture: “Let there be change”
- Capgemini: “Get the future you want”
- Wipro: “Empowering a resilient future”
It was just a matter of time before TCS as one of the industry leaders (it was ranked second in this year’s annual ITS Service Provider of the Year awards) would respond to this market dynamic.
What’s the buzz all about
Any brand expert will tell you that in branding, boring means dead. However, if folks are debating anything related to your brand (as long as it is not damning), it is creating what is called a buzz.
And word of mouth about this tagline is that it is way too abstract for a firm that has stood for “experience certainty.”
In the analyst community, some of my peers went so far as to suggest that TCS has perhaps “overshot the mark here,” with several in the community posing such pertinent questions as:
- Is TCS asking clients to “believe” in it?
- Is TCS expecting clients to “build” a business case for the future based on “beliefs”?
The most interesting part of this tagline right now is that everybody is debating it. Because of the conversation, in no time, the new TCS tagline is poised to reach a far larger audience than would normally follow this news. Whether or not TCS consciously thought of this strategy, it’s a brilliant move.
Back to the controversy – has TCS overshot its mark by going for something too abstract? My assessment gives TCS the benefit of doubt. Here is why: Most high-end problem-solving in this world starts with an initial hypothesis (“belief”). As the journey proceeds, facts are collected that prove or disprove that premise to arrive at a solution.
In my opinion, TCS wants to convey the mutual trust it has with its clients to solve problems together and transform their businesses. Let’s remember that “belief” is an important component that keeps us on track when dealing with many of today’s fuzzy concepts such as blockchain, quantum computing, and cognitive, to name a few.
Net-net: TCS is already known for execution or “building.” Its new mission statement, “Building on Belief,” communicates its intention to execute while taking risk ownership, which is essential in these times. Given that TCS lived up to its last tagline, I have confidence it will work hard to make its brand promise more than just an interesting slogan to talk about and a new reality.