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We Also Make Tomorrow

Strong brands require consistency in communication and certain aspects become core to the brand

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On September 28, Tata Steel released their new campaign titled “We also make tomorrow”. It shocked many and made others wonder, because we all were used to hearing Tata Steel say, “We also make steel”. So, marketers wondered if Tata changed their business from being a company that is committed to build successful and strong India to focusing on ‘steel’! 

The advertising campaign of 90s touched many Indians and made Tata Steel a strong brand with its campaign “We Also Make Steel”. It is still revered as one of the most memorable advertising campaigns from India and an example of how companies (even B2B) can be consumer focused and have a larger objective which they try to fulfil through their offerings.

The three advertisement videos of 90s highlighted the various activities of Tata Steel ranging from education to sports to agriculture to medicine and research. The film ended with a reaffirmation that company is committed to build India of tomorrow and by the way they also make steel (Ispaat bhi hum banate hain). What a powerful line! Many other corporates tried to copy this line but couldn’t replicate the emotion Tata Steel connected with.  

But does it really make a difference? It does. Because, it highlights the focus of the company and defines the emotion with which the brand connects to larger stakeholder group. The company still says, “We also make tomorrow”. But the world ‘also’ communicated that the priority has changed. The company is now committed to produce steel, build beautiful buildings and landmarks and in process probably the future becomes better. Whereas the communication in 90s emphasized the commitment of the company to build future India and that could be achieved by making steel but not restricted to it. Though the copy of the current advertisement is built around how Tata Steel is building future cities, the tagline takes away the impact of it. 

The larger question is that has Tata Steel really changed the way they do business or this is an attempt of a new team to play around with tagline and create something ‘seemingly’ new! Strong brands are built over time with consistent and continuous communication. Consumers define their relationship with the brand based on these brand communications. But sometimes, brands want to change their essence without thinking if it will change the way consumers relate to these brands. Isn’t it like what Coke did with New Coke launch? Brands reside in consumer’s mind and they give it a shape and build associations around it. Marketers are only the custodians of the brands and should make changes only after checking with customers. Customers build brands and marketers only manage them. I wonder if Tata Steel checked with their customers when they flipped the focus of their brand! 

Strong brands require consistency in communication and certain aspects become core to the brand. Changing the core can hurt brand equity and raise concerns in consumer’s mind. Tata Steel started with a wide core essence where they served a greater purpose in consumer’s life and now suddenly for us they are steel manufacturers. 

I spoke to a few colleagues about the Ad and some of them ex employees of Tata steel and they seemed to endorse my view. We all felt that we would have liked to see the continuation of the same theme and instead of we also make tomorrow, we make tomorrow would be a more assertive statement. I quote give below the words taken from the Ad

Page 1

#WeAlsoMakeTomorrow

You know us for making steel, and we do make steel. But we also create solutions that make a positive difference to the society. The iconic landmarks you see, and admire, often stand on the steel we make and so do little big things that make cities better, distances shorter, journeys safer, and the world greener. We go beyond steel to champion new materials that help develop new products, as yet unimaginable. Our network drives towards a future that is more humane, and a lot more liveable. Sure, we make steel.

But #WeAlsoMakeTomorrow.

Page 2

Landmarks of Tomorrow

A bridge that connects two parts of a thriving city; an engineering marvel that tests the limits of human ingenuity – Tata Steels products have helped make those a reality. Whether it’s the LRPC strands that have gone into construction of the Bandra- Worl sea link or the Comflor 80 decking used in the Burj Khalifa. Our products are enabling a brighter future.

But #WeAlsoMakeTomorrow.

I would re write the Ad as follows.

#WeMakeTomorrow

We create solutions that make a positive difference to the society. The iconic landmarks you see, and admire, often stand on the steel we make and so do little big things that make cities better, distances shorter, journeys safer, and the world greener. We go beyond steel to champion new materials that help develop new products, as yet unimaginable. Our network drives towards a future that is more humane, and a lot more livable. You know us for making steel. Yes, we also make steel. 

But #WeMakeTomorrow.

Page 2

Landmarks of Tomorrow

A bridge that connects two parts of a thriving city; an engineering marvel that tests the limits of human ingenuity – Tata Steels products have helped make those a reality. Whether it’s the LRPC strands that have gone into construction of the Bandra- Worl sea link or the Comflor 80 decking used in the Burj Khalifa. Our products are enabling a brighter future. Yes we also make steel 

But #WeMakeTomorrow.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Ashita Aggarwal

The author is Professor of Marketing Department and Chairperson PG-MPW at SPJIMR (S.P.Jain Institute of Management and Research), Mumbai

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Prof. Abbasali Gabula

The author is Associate Director, External Relations, SPJIMR (S.P.Jain Institute of Management and Research), Mumbai

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