Mahindra Satyam at the FIFA World Cup

Have you been watching the FIFA World Cup? Perhaps you have given up now that England is out of the tournament. Or you might still be holding a torch for the South American giants such as Argentina or Brazil? Whatever your choice of team, it’s impossible to ignore the advertising at the stadiums. This time, the boards around every stadium are entirely electronic. They change about 2 or 3 times a minute, serving up huge exposure for the brands that sponsor these places. Companies such as Adidas, Brahma, and Coca Cola have had prominent advertising popping up. But what’s that Mahindra Satyam one?

Well, of course it’s the Indian technology firm Mahindra Satyam – the technology people that deliver the systems used at the world cup. No doubt they get the advertising as part of their arrangement to deliver technology services to FIFA. But is it actually worth anything to a company like Mahindra Satyam to even bother putting their brand on boards by a football match?

Mahindra Satyam is in the B2B business. They don’t sell a consumer product like Coca Cola. They only have a relatively small number of possible customers around the world – company chiefs needing help with IT or hi-tech services. I admit, some of those company bosses may be watching the football and may be impressed to see the company logo there. But is that measurable? And should a B2B even be focused on that kind of warm fluffy brand perception marketing?

Perhaps it’s a more oblique strategy to raise the profile of the firm, tainted by the Satyam scandal only just over a year ago – an accounting fraud often termed ‘India’s Enron’. The brand was damaged substantially and perhaps this blanket bombing of the world cup is to emphasise the strength of the Mahindra Satyam brand – as opposed to the bad-taste-in-the-mouth Satyam one.

So perhaps the perception building is more about trying to get good people working for them rather than trying to win new business. Coders sitting in bunkers in India must be puffed out with pride when they see their company logo all over the big world cup games – with TCS, Infosys, and Wipro nowhere in sight.

But even if FIFA is offering the ad space for free as a part of the IT contract, will it get Mahindra some new business? None of the technology or marketing executives I speak to think that this is the way to go… if someone from Mahindra Satyam wants to contact me, I’d be happy to talk to you about this strategy directly.
Press mob Kiran Karnik

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4 responses to “Mahindra Satyam at the FIFA World Cup

  1. stop nonsense ….

  2. The advertisement contract is made by Former chairman Mr. Ramalingaraju.
    I do not feel that this advertisement is supported or convinced by the current management. But they may have just accepted it

  3. Mohit Jindal

    Satyam is focusing on sport sector and displaying its banner in FIFA event is a good marketing strategy. Otherwise how people will know that Satyam is providing IT service to FIFA. Satyam is not the first IT company in doing so, every year we see IBM in wimbeldon, accenture in golf etc… Moreover there are IT companies including Intel, Infosys, IBM, Accenture etc that advertise through TV commercials.
    Its simply brand building that should not be mixed with scandal that Satyam faced.

  4. I think there’s two purposes for this advertising. First, the primary intended audience is potential employees in India and around the world. The market for new IT/ITES employees in India is high competitive, and Mahindra Satyam needs to build/rebuild its position after the scandal. You can see lots of advertising by the big players (Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, etc.) in India, and it is not aimed at potential clients, but employees. The FIFA games are being watched by the largest television audience ever, including many prospective employees in south Asia.

    Secondarily, Mahindra Satyam needs to build its brand in the business world. Mahindra has little name recognition in the US (probably not in the UK or EU either, but I don’t know first hand). In the US, at least, it is common for large B2B companies to do brand advertising at big sporting events, sometimes tied to tickets and special perqs for key prospects (e.g., Accenture at the PGA). It may or may not lead to direct sales, but it is a common marketing strategy for global B2B services companies.

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