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Case View with Bidisha Nagaraj - Schneider Electric’s B2B Branding: ‘Life Is On’ for a ‘Brand Business’

Case View with Bidisha Nagaraj - Schneider Electric’s B2B Branding: ‘Life Is On’ for a ‘Brand Business’
CASE VIEW, BRAND MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 18 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

I. Schneider Electric’s Business Architecture

1. With 25 illustrious years of cross-industry experience, how was your journey at Schneider Electric –as CMO, India. How has the transition been? Were there any initial inhibitions coming from a B2C background to a B2B space?

I believe that a company which is set to address the Energy paradox in the world has a bold vision and is aligned to the current world problem. At the end of the day whether it’s a business customer or a home consumer the energy problem is and will begin to haunt all. I believe that Schneider Electric is in the business of fulfilling a real need gap of the end user (very high in the Maslow’s hierarchy). The tactics of reaching the customers may differ but our vision cuts across a wide spectrum of audiences.

2. Your Global CMO Chris Leong has rightfully been credited with transforming Schneider Electric from “an invisible company behind walls and in basements to a brand which is more than a switch, socket and circuit breaker”, what was your self-mandate to create the customer-centric and highly visible Schneider Electric?

Schneider Electric is where home comes to life, where you share laughter, memories, pain and happiness. While Schneider Electric is a B2B organisation, it is a brand, with its product portfolio, that touches lives of each one of us every day, every minute. Our brand is present from the basement to the living room.

My primary target has been to bring forth the amazing values of the brand that no one had seen before.

Schneider Electric invents technologies that transform the places where we live, work, and play. Our goal is to ensure that ‘Life Is On’ everywhere for everyone and at every moment.

3. How do you apply the engineering mind set to Schneider Electric’s marketing playbook?

The idea has been quite simple: let the brand and business feed off each other. Any brand related effort that helped in the growth of business and vice versa was something which was easy for engineers as well as marketers to digest. Our Global CMO coined the term ‘Brand Business’, which refers to the marriage between the brand and the business.

To bring in this collaboration we have created terms which could be easily understood by all colleagues who do not have any marketing experience. I have always believed that if a marketing campaign didn’t help the business grow, there’s no point of pursuing it further, and hence, there was not going to be separate brand and business campaigns.

4. With the vertical integration nature between products, solutions, services and support, how do you integrate key teams of DAME (Data, Analytics, Marketing & Branding and Engagement)?

We bring in this integration through our single window dashboard the ‘Brand-to-order’. The objective of the tool is to provide a single view of our branding activities and its impact on the overall business growth and revenue. It consists of three pillars:

(i) Brand Ticker –that measures the brand awareness created through activities on earned, owned and paid media vis-à-vis competition
(ii) Connected Customers –which measures the customers we are influencing digitally. This includes the base of consumers who are signing on for information from Schneider Electric. This doesn’t include the people who are only getting onto our social media pages
(iii) Won revenue –which indicates the impact of the marketing activities on the business revenue

Through one of the components of the Brand-to-Order tool, Brand Ticker, we track more than 240 million social accounts for both positive and negative conversations about us. The Brand Ticker scores help us to keep a pulse on our Brand Health vis-à-vis competition.

5. Schneider Electric also runs an educational arm, The Energy University. How does the Energy University fit into the layer scheme of things at the Schneider Electric?

At Schneider Electric we believe that access to energy is a basic human right. We are addressing the energy paradox that the world is dealing with. A balance needs to be created between the increase in urbanisation and its impending carbon footprint and on the other hand energy accessibility.

The objective behind the concept of Energy University has been mainly to address the need and importance for energy education in all industries. It is unique and a free online education program for anyone who is interested to learn more about energy management solutions and how to best utilise energy in any industry.

The courses provide a basic understanding of energy consumption patterns, applications, ROI calculations and most importantly about the solutions that support the change.

Schneider Electric recognizes the lack of available educational resources on energy efficiency and sustainable operations and it believes that it is uniquely positioned to provide practical knowledge and skills to address energy opportunities today.

Energy University aims to create a world where we can all achieve more while using less of our common planet.

6. How does Schneider Electric engage with its employees? What are the unique HR practices that enable 1.30 lakh plus of Schneider Electric’s employees to deliver passionately with their purposeful actions?

I believe that policies and practices are strategic links between the company’s vision and day to day operations. At Schneider Electric we are committed towards providing an equal, safe and enabling work environment for all its employees. In our endeavour to do so, we want to keep ourselves abreast with best in class policies and processes intended to encourage High Performance Culture.

Our fundamental belief of, ‘Great People make Great companies’, is seen through our strong, distinctive core values SCOPE: Straightforward, Challenging the Status Quo, Open, Passionate and Effective.

Our Employer Value Proposition (EVP) continues to evolve in step with the business as a whole. Making the emotional connection as to, “Why Schneider Electric?” is fundamental to our ability to attract the best talent, be an “employer of choice,” and make that feel authentic with employees as a form of encouragement, motivation, and inspiration. Our EVP, ‘Great people make Schneider Electric a great company,’ comprises eight attributes of what a career and ongoing career development with Schneider Electric mean; Meaningful Purpose, Unique Company, Technology & Digital, Diverse & Inclusive, Well-Being, High Performance Culture, a strong belief in people and Authentic Leadership.

We motivate employees, support employee engagement, and promote involvement by:

• Encouraging them to live Schneider Electric’s company values and to ‘Step Up’ as high performers

• Supporting inclusion and diversity through awareness and mobilization campaigns and formal programs

• Enabling professional development through leadership coaching, recognition, and ongoing learning opportunities

• Ensuring safe, healthy working conditions through formal safety and well-being programs

• Our ultimate ambition is to generate higher performance and employee engagement to ensure that our customers encounter only the best professionals in their industry.

7. Given its long-standing and illustrious history of Schneider Electric from 1836, what have been the key CSR initiatives and achievements? How do these initiatives add business value?

At Schneider Electric, we believe that ‘Access to Energy’ is a basic human right. Our world is a very different place today and the change surrounding it is more profound than ever.

We continue to face an energy dilemma. While global energy demand skyrockets, 1.2 billion people worldwide still do not have basic access to electricity and approximately 65 million live in poverty. Schneider Electric cares deeply about sustainable energy and green technology, so we are determined to solve this energy paradox.

On the one hand, we help many customers worldwide achieve carbon-neutral operations; on the other, we invent technologies to support everyone’s indisputable right to modern energy. To us, access to clean, safe energy isn’t just a technology issue; it’s a human one as well. We have seen the far-reaching benefits of electricity:

• Reduced poverty and raised living standards
• Improved health (most significantly for women and children)
• Increased productivity
• Enhanced educational opportunities
• Strengthened environmental sustainability
• Improved security and feeling of safety

Through our programs, we have touched about 400 villages till date. With the strong willingness to involve local communities and local stakeholders, the programme addresses critical issues to provide sustainable access to electricity.

Our CSR projects are spread across skill development, teachers’ training, employment support, entrepreneurship development, rural electrification in off grid areas through green energy, ‘Conserve my Planet’ programme which we run among the schools in India to create green ambassadors.

Schneider Electric is committed to meeting energy challenges while acting civically and responsibly at all its locations, with measured progress plans, accurate and transparent objectives and audited results which are shared internally and externally. This policy is based on external commitments in order to progress collectively, on international standards for corporate social responsibility and on the recognition from the worldwide leading sustainability rating agencies.

8. How would you describe Schneider Electric’s top line, bottom line and life line?

All I can say is that we are treading a Bold Line. The world of tomorrow will be shaped by the three of the biggest undeniable megatrends: Urbanization, Digitization and Industrialization leading to increased energy demand. Schneider Electric views this as an exciting opportunity of our generation to solve this energy paradox: balancing our planet’s carbon footprint with the irrefutable human right to quality energy.

9. How does Schneider Electric actively engage with its customers (consultants, purchasing advisors, system integrators, installers, distributors, electric-equipment wholesalers, local distributors etc.)? What value-add services does Schneider Electric provide to these customers? How seamless (real-time) is their engagement?

Customer centricity is of utmost importance to us. And the same goes for our partners who play the most critical role of taking our products to our end users.

Our Go to Market model includes three levels:

i. Direct to the Customers
ii. To our Partners comprising Panel Builders, System Integrators, Distributors, Builders, Architects, Retailers etc
iii. EcoXperts: who are empanelled to understand our unique IOT story and through exclusive training representing us to the end customers

We have an unique architecture called EcoStruxureTM –Innovation At Every Level. This improves energy and operational efficiency across our primary markets. Our connected, smart, and interoperable IoT architecture and platform automatically can measure, monitor, and control energy consumption and demands. When we combine automation and energy with software and analytics, customers get an unprecedented level of efficiency and operational intelligence to make better, more predictive decisions in real time.

Schneider Electric launched its free customer care tool for smart devices –MySchneider app. Offering 24/7 self-service and one-tap access to live local experts, the app has been adopted by the industry professionals around the world. Available as a free download for iOS and Android devices, MySchneider app offers productivity-improving tools in three areas which include –tailored services, 24/7 self-service and connect to Schneider Electric.

We have a unique digital platform called, ‘The Partner Portal’ which is a partner relationship building tool on the web. This is a dedicated area for the partners to do effective business with Schneider.

10. One of the interesting things noticed in the case of Schneider Electric is its phenomenal focus on content (Schneider Electric Resource Hub - http://it-resource.schneiderelectric. com/h/. How has this content-based marketing/branding helped Schneider Electric to connect effectively with its customers and consumers?

Content marketing forms one of the key tools of our overall marketing strategy. We have a passionate and well entrenched team that works on content production for marketing and external communications. The aim is to make Schneider Electric an amazing storyteller. Our content marketing lifecycle include Planning, Creation, Curation and Distribution, and is leveraged through Analyst Relations, Press Relations and Social Media.

Our content marketing is based on two key principles –make the story STICK as it makes the consumers Think, Engage and Act, and secondly –make the story VISUAL, as brain processes 60,000X times faster than text and 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.

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Product code: BM-1-0019B

Abstract

Bidisha has 25 years of cross-industry experience in Marketing. A thought leader and a strategic marketing expert, she has spent a significant time of her career in Technology, Retail and Entrepreneurship.

Her assignment portfolio has a well-rounded mix of Fortune 500 companies as well as Indian Early stage Start-Ups. Bidisha’s experience includes assignments in India as well as Asia Pacific regions.

Starting off her career in Advertising with Lowe Lintas, on the Unilever business, she moved to Compaq Computers spearheading the launch of Compaq Presario in India. From here on she moved onto an illustrious stint with Intel Corporation in India and APAC region overseeing Consumer Marketing as well as Retail Programs. Moving on she joined Google India in the early days when the Internet giant was setting up operations in India responsible for Marketing of Search and Mobile products.

From Technology she then switched categories to move into Retail joining India’s largest Coffee Chain called Coffee Day Group. She spearheaded their growth and distribution and was part of the team that took the Company public.

She also has a strong stint in advising early stage start-ups and became an Independent Marketing Advisor for companies in the areas of Education, Mobile Commerce, Radio Taxi Service, Food and Beverage and the Internet Talent Platform.

As CMO India for Schneider Electric she currently runs the Marketing function for the company overseeing the functions of Brand, Digital Transformation and Marketing influenced revenue.

Bidisha is a Post Graduate in Mass Communications and has been focussed in the Marketing function all through her career.

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