Organisation cultures are built around stories. When tribes gather they tell stories and some stories are passed down over generations.
At Mastek an IT company I headed Corporate Communications there were many such stories. How the founders who studied together at IIM and went on to build an iconic global Indian IT company was a story . All the founders were first generation entrepreneurs made this story even more interesting.
One of the founders Ashank Desai came from a humble background, his early childhood was in a village and he lost his father at the age of three. His struggles to reach IIT is a story and then build one of India’s leading IT company is a story.
As a communicator all this was a treasure mine for me to build the brand around stories and there were many. I never lost an opportunity to tell a story.
I saw Mastek as a tribe and we even made a anthem for the tribe that has been passed down the generations, even now every Mastekeer gets goosebumps when they hear the anthem because it captures the spirit of the organisation.
Every client and project is a story of two partners coming together to dance , there are so many hidden stories. I loved digging these stories because these stories spoke about values , one of the client statements I remember even now “I know there will be problems , but I know that I can trust Mastek to deliver.” And I captured these stories in films.
I was also heading CSR and one of my KRAs was to engage employees with the communities . Again I did this through storytelling, every nonprofit we partnered with had stories , stories of beneficiaries , stories of founders and every story was inspiring.
I initiated the Spirit of Mastek award and called the social sector leaders Dr Prakash Amte , Dr Abhay Bang , Girish Kulkarni , Dr Ashish Satav , Adhik Kadam and many more to share their stories with employees . Their stories were inspiring, each one of them got a standing ovation . We moved our voluntary payroll giving from 35% to 90% . In a survey with employees Mastek was seen as being highly socially conscious organisation.
Recently during the pandemic I organised an online fundraiser for migrants who were impacted and made a theme song “Naya Savera” (a new beginning which has over thirty five thousand views on YouTube) and we raised over rupees seventy five lakhs for the cause.
When I had to build the Employer Brand in the campus , I got the campus students to deeply engaged in the story of Mastek and social good . The idea that has grown over the years ‘Project Deep Blue’ gets students to solve real problems for nonprofits with IT solutions and they are mentored by the employees. This has built a lasting employer brand in the campus .
I told the stories through film ,many of them are on YouTube. I started a alumni network on Facebook almost a decade back again to share stories with the most powerful brand ambassadors, ex-employees. In one of the films I did with employees I had a sound bite “Once a Mastekeer , always a Mastekeer” and it has stayed as a powerful employer brand line.
An organisation is nothing but a tribe coming together with a vision to solve a problem. And tribes grow stronger with stories and when their stories spread they attract those that connect with the stories.
Employees , Customers, Vendors , Community , Investors connect with strong stories, because whatever maybe the business you are in you finally deal with humans and humans connect with stories.
The digital world offers a great opportunity for organisations to build their brand with storytelling. There needs to be a strong understanding of storytelling and the digital world . From what I see there is a lot more to be done.
And that is why I built a storytelling company because I am a storyteller and I love telling stories and I understand the digital world .
The future of employer branding as I see it is authentic storytelling, I see it as the future of brands because we have all become content / story consumers and we consume and share stories in the digital world that touch our hearts .
I see brands and good come together to tell stories of good , stories of hope , stories of empathy. It is these stories that the world needs.
Welcome to the world of stories. Are you telling your brand stories?