Rise – Six Months into a Brand-led Transformation

Posted By: Rise Team|Dated: June 16, 2011

At Mahindra, we’ve been working hard to live Rise both internally and externally across all our touchpoints, product and service brands.

Rise – Six Months into a Brand-led Transformation

Since we launched Rise as an expression of our core brand idea, we’ve focused on creating changes that will resonate both in our offices and on the street. Now, half a year after we launched Rise, we are excited to share our progress with you and to give a preview of what we plan to do in the coming months.


What internal changes have we made?

Our products and services have always been developed and delivered in the spirit of Rise. But when we articulated Rise as the expression of our core brand idea, it meant a commitment to making big changes to strengthen the values of alternative thinking, accepting no limits, and driving positive change in our culture. We are transforming the way nearly 120,000 people in our organization work and think.

“It’s a long process and we’re taking it one step at a time,” says Karthik, General Manager, Corporate Brand Management and Business Transformation at Mahindra. “In a journey of 1,000 miles, we have taken the first step.”

This step has included establishing changes internally that will lay the foundation for Rise for years to come, including:

Transforming HR levers. All change efforts begin with people. Our efforts to align key HR levers with Rise fall into two parts. The first part involves leadership competencies, recruitment, induction, and on-boarding. Cross-business and cross-functional teams have connected these dots to build a strong new talent system that seeks employees who live the culture of Rise. The next step spans talent management, performance management, learning and development, and rewards and recognition. We have established cross-business and cross-functional teams to develop policies that will nurture Rise qualities in all our employees.

Creating change management capabilities. By training a large group of people on the principles of Rise, they can help to drive change programs throughout Mahindra. We have designed a training program to give our employees the tools to see and seize opportunities for improvement across various processes and functions at Mahindra.

Marketing harmonization. Our marketing team has been hard at work to establish cohesive visual, verbal, and electronic marketing standards. We have defined our strategy here and have moved into execution. From decisions on color palettes to imagery guidelines, we’ve built a toolbox for marketing teams across the Group to deliver consistent communications. The Group brand project will be completed by December 2011 and the digital brand management project by December 2012.

One thing that has helped us take these first steps – and will help us with the many more to come – is the fact that our employees have embraced Rise.

“There is clearly a greater sense of engagement with the brand – an identification with the larger entity behind their individual companies,” says Ruzbeh Irani, Chief Brand Officer at Mahindra.

What external changes has Mahindra made?

Rise hasn’t just been happening inside Mahindra offices, dealerships, and production facilities. Many of our customers, friends, and partners have seen some changes for themselves over the past six months. Though it will take significant time for Rise to become evident across all aspects of our businesses, it is being translated into concrete deliverables across products, services, solutions, and value-delivery chains every day. Some recent examples include:

Exploring new opportunities that exemplify Rise. You may have heard about Mahindra entering or strengthening our presence in several new industries and businesses. These endeavors include acquiring a majority stake in the electric vehicle maker Reva, entering the solar energy business, launching the Genio pick-up truck for small entrepreneurs and the Yuvraj tractor for small farmers, and strengthening our rural housing finance business.

Aligning brand to business. Core capabilities such as new product development, customer centricity programs, and innovation programs are being strengthened using Rise concepts. These medium- to long-term programs are being handled at the business unit level. They will begin to show in customer and business benefits over the next two to five years.

Media efforts. Press advertising for Rise commenced in March, with print ads running in all of India’s major dailies in March and April, as well as within the interactive online space at rise.mahindra.com and Mahindra Rise on Facebook and Twitter.  We are gearing up for the second phase of our media campaign and anticipate it will be bigger than the previous one. The new campaign, expected to launch in August 2011, will incorporate messaging across multiple media outlets and aims to engage all stakeholders from employees to customers to the general public.

What is the vision moving forward to the next quarter?

Implementing Rise across Mahindra has been a lot of hard work – and it will continue to be! But we are passionate about empowering our customers, clients, and team members to Rise, and we are embracing past and future changes and challenges. In the coming months, we will continue to develop and fine-tune our launch campaign.  Ongoing programs will continue to gather momentum. And new programs are already in the works.

“Our journey toward realizing our ambitions will not be successful if we do not carry all our stakeholders with us,” says Ruzbeh. “Our growth will have to be based on a positive change in their lifestyles.”

Ruzbeh emphasizes that we must continue to look for ways to do better and more, by linking Rise more strongly to each business and by revisiting the drawing board to get more insights into how our various stakeholders define positive change. Then, we will be able to “craft a customer experience that we hope will provide a Rise experience at every point of interaction with the customer.”

Karthik says that this objective is the “beacon lighting the path.” That beacon will continue to guide us now, as we take the next steps toward a full brand-led business transformation.

What about you? How can we better help you Rise? Which of our current products and services empower you?  What changes have you already seen?

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