The Marketing Strategist:

HCL’s Award-Winning Brand Campaign: The Relationship Beyond the Contract

May 2, 2016


As marketing leaders pull together submissions for ITSMA’s 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards – due by June 10 – we’re looking back at some of last year’s award-winning programs.

ITSMA Marketing Excellencec AwardsHCL’s recent brand campaign, “The Relationship Beyond the Contract,” provides a great case study in how companies can develop and execute a B2B brand message that goes far beyond a high-level tag line and rallying cry. The Awards Program judges were especially impressed with HCL’s use of LinkedIn as both a platform and a source of sponsorship, as well as the extensive use of employees as a channel to ensure message consistency. In all, it’s an excellent example of an integrated, internal/external, online/offline multichannel campaign that links directly into operational activities.

Business Challenge

Through possibly the worst recession that this generation has witnessed, HCL Technologies delivered an extended period of tremendous growth, as measured by business indicators and customer satisfaction, thanks to aggressive sales and effective delivery capabilities. However, marketing faced three challenges:

  • Various lines of business within the company were marketing their services independently with only a suggestive alignment with the core company messaging
  • The company needed to demonstrate thought leadership. As HCL took on the role of a more seasoned participant in the IT services market, customers and prospects wanted to know if the company had a vision for IT Services that extended past the technology of the season.
  • Awareness was still a significant challenge. HCL’s business strategy was to increase its customer base in the top Global 2000 companies and the number of G2000 customers was still low. Within this elite group of IT service buyers, HCL had been winning more than 50% of the deals in which they participated, but they were invited only to less than 10% of deals to begin with.

Program Objective

The objectives of the program were the following:

  1. Align all the lines of business under a unified messaging architecture
  2. Ensure that messages directly resonated with HCL’s core beliefs
  3. Express how HCL’s brand promise translated directly into the robustness of its business model as the vision for the future of IT Services

Program Execution

To crack the integrated communications strategy for an omnichannel customer experience, HCL initiated a global unified messaging campaign called Relationship beyond the Contract (RBtC).

At the heart of the campaign was a 105-second film that used a father-son relationship over a 20-year period to creatively showcase a simple message – that every relationship has an underlying contract. However, the true joy and memorability of that relationship emerge in moments when the parties go beyond the contract.

This was HCL’s way of placing its faith and future in the power of its relationships with customers and not only on the contract signed with them. This film received smiles and emotional responses from customers, prospects, and employees but, more importantly, became a vehicle to drive multiple communications across various stakeholders leveraging digital, collaterals, website and various other channels.

With its core message of Relationship beyond the Contract (RBtC), the campaign focused not just on changing but strengthening the brand promise through programs and artifacts. Specific campaign initiatives included:

  1. The Spirit of RBtC Video: 105 second film that used a father-son relationship over a 20-year period, to creatively showcase HCL’s simple message
  2. The LinkedIn-HCL Collaboration App: HCL collaborated with LinkedIn to create a first of its kind in the world application using LinkedIn’s powerful API framework
  3. The RBtC Coffee Table Book: It showcased 10 iconic relationships from around the world- relationships that HCL as a brand could aspire to have with its customers.
  4. Digital Outreach and Thought Leadership: CEO’s blog on LinkedIn Influencer platform led to organic media mentions across a variety of top media outlets.

Business Results

  1. The Integrated Digital Campaign had an exposure of 100 million impressions from G2000 organizations and the online community.
  2. G2000 organizations visits to HCLTECH’s website jumped from 300 organizations in June 2014 to 1,300 in June 2015, a 400% jump as a result of the campaign.
  3. The fastest film in the history of IT industry to reach 2 million views on You Tube. Fifty percent of views came from the US and Europe.
  4. A first-in-class digital app created in collaboration with LinkedIn with more than 10,000 usages of the app across the G2000 community.
  5. 25,000 followers added on HCLTECH social media destinations since Dec 2013, an 83% increase in the last 12 months.
  6. RBtC leveraged in 130 large deal pursuits with a total pipeline value of over 4.5 billion USD. RBtC-led business campaigns generated a pipeline of $500 million.
  7. HCLTECH brand favorability increased by 9% to 29% as measured by a LinkedIn Study.

Learn more about the categories and guidelines for ITSMA’s 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards.


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