This article originally appeared in Business Reporter

Branding agency Siegel+Gale’s EMEA president Philip Davies caught up with Rajashree R, CMO of Tata Consultancy Services, to reflect on TCS’s recent rebrand.

While the rest of the world was getting busy working from home last year, Rajashree R, chief marketing officer of Tata Consultancy Services, and her global team, got together with branding experts Siegel+Gale in London to work on a new brand interpretation for Tata Consultancy Services, the management consultancy and IT services part of the Tata Group.

Rajashree didn’t just want to redesign the brand, though – she wanted to reimagine the future of the organisation for a new era in a style true to TCS – one that was imaginative, bold, colourful and progressive.

Working closely with the design team at Siegel+Gale, Rajashree steered the development of the brand to ensure it connected with colleagues, clients, customers and communities locally and globally.

A brand that’s a big deal in IT

To give you a sense of scale, TCS employs 500,000 people around the globe. With its biggest market in the United States, Europe and the UK, TCS is the largest IT services company in the world, operating in 149 locations across 46 countries. It’s huge.

On 8 October 2020, TCS surpassed Accenture to become the world’s most valuable IT company, with a market cap of $144.73 billion. On 25 January 2021, TCS again surpassed Accenture briefly with a market cap of $170 billion. The same day, TCS became India’s most valuable company, surpassing Reliance Industries with a market cap of $180 billion.

As Rajashree says, “understanding the responsibility of what we’re doing is of real consequence.” By the time Siegel+Gale was engaged, Rajashree had already launched a new purpose statement, “Building for Belief”, which made an instant and positive impact with employees.

Such was the enthusiasm for the statement that Rajashree received numerous interpretations of what it meant to people at TCS, ranging from paintings depicting those “moments of belief” for individuals to framed, illustrated poems and even cakes.

Our earliest conversation with Rajashree provided the openness she had to the challenge of change and the insight to what would unlock the design story. “As a client, you have to be very sure of what you want,” says Rajashree. “When I close my eyes and think about Tata Consultancy Services, I ask myself what images and emotions come to mind.”

The emotional factor

For a firm such as TCS, more accustomed to dealing in data and facts, the notion of emotion was refreshing and differentiating. Rajashree wanted to “develop the true character of the brand, through emotion, colour and in doing so, become more aspirational and human.” She also recognised the need to build a pop culture, because “when you have 500,000 people you need a pop culture!”

It was this expression of ambition and impact that Rajashree wanted for the new TCS brand that was reflected in her love of the lyrics to Katy Perry’s song Roar: “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter. Dancing through the fire. ’Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar”

Rajashree wanted to be “authentically bold”, to make a brand roar: what a brief!

For a brand consultancy with a philosophy of simplicity and an evidence-based process, it was music to our ears. The Siegel+Gale design team built on the “building on belief” concept with the fact that beliefs define who and what we are. For TCS, it was time to reveal the true self and bring what was inside TCS out into the world.

With that, the team journeyed inside the existing logo and pulled out the colour – a metaphor for the entire assignment – and added those colours to images of people, in the same way, TCS adds colour to their customers and employees’ lives. This colourful and human imagery works in harmony with a structured communications system which helps TCS communicate consistently through many different channels, using pink as an accent colour.

Rajashree also sought simplicity in the process, with the project handled by a small core working team accountable to the board and CEO. As Rajashree says, “if you have too many actors involved, it just becomes too complicated.” The launch of the rebrand took place early in 2021, and Rajashree’s team have found it easy to implement: TCS adapts to change fast, and those changes can happen quickly when they’re necessary.

Be who you are, not what you want to be

And as with any change, it’s a process of both creation and curation – something Rajashree calls “a living system” where the only question that matters is, does it feel like us? “We’re certainly presenting a more human and aspirational image and this new brand is taking us on that journey”, says Rajashreee – and a glance at the numerous TCS LinkedIn pages and other social feeds pays testimony to that fact.

This curation works because the core idea is remarkably simple, leading to an evolution that is, says Rajashree, “extremely organic, feels like part of us, and doesn’t feel alien.”

When Rajashree began the process to reimagine the TCS brand, she met with more than a few agencies – and when an agency asked what she wanted TCS to become, she knew them to be the wrong partner. Because for Rajashree at TCS, and for Siegel+Gale too, the question that really matters is not who do you want to become, but who you are, to begin with.