In conversation with Navin Rammohan

September 4, 2023

This month the World Media Group’s Chief Executive Belinda Barker chats to the winner of the World Media Award for Content Leadership and Innovation, Navin Rammohan, in a special edition of The Media Navigators podcast. Navin is Vice President, Segment Head Marketing at Infosys. Below is an extract of their conversation. You can watch the video below or listen to the full podcast here.

Congratulations Navin. Please can you start by telling our audience a little bit about who Infosys is and what you do as a business?

Infosys is a large global IT services and consulting organisation. We started off around 42 years back with a seed capital of around $250 with seven founders and today we are about $18 billion in revenue. We have 330,000 employees globally, and we are in 56 countries, managing our clients’ businesses around digital transformation.

We look after the entire technology spectrum of large enterprise – the Global 2000, the Fortune 500 of the world, managing critical technology and different kinds of work related to their technology transformation.

Just to give you an example, imagine an iconic automaker, which is looking at their cloud transformation, we look at how cloud can impact their car business for connected cars. Similarly, a government organisation that is looking to implement strategies for their SME businesses that want to use blockchain, we help them look at blockchain as a strategy for the small and medium industries within their constituencies. We look at AI to really help tennis players improve and manage their games and that’s some of the work that we do with sports organisations.

In a sense we navigate the entire technology spectrum of medium to large enterprises around any kind of challenges they face, which technology can really solve.

We define ourselves as an organisation which is there to help amplify human potential; to navigate the ‘next’ for people, businesses, and communities. The value systems that the founders put behind the organisation 42 years back still stand in terms of how we go about doing our business.

We are proud of our ESG strategies. We became carbon neutral in 2019-2020, 30 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

In the social sustainability space, we’re implementing a strategy of re-skilling about 10 million people with digital skills. We are already at the halfway mark with 5 million people already on a platform that is provided free to enable people to learn digital skills.

We are really proud of what we are doing ‘beyond business’ but I don’t think we can call it beyond business because now ESG is a core part of every organisation’s strategy.

From a people perspective, learnability is one of the core strategies of Infosys. We have probably the world’s largest corporate university in Mysore, where we train close to 15,000 people simultaneously. Learning and constantly evolving ourselves to learn new technologies and bringing that to our clients’ business is core to Infosys.

It’s about amplifying human potential to create the next opportunity for people, businesses, and communities. We are a people company that uses technology to really help better our clients.

What made you think that a content-led campaign was the right approach for Infosys and how did you get involved with the tennis partnership?

At Infosys we follow our content marketing approach with a theme called ‘UnMarketing’. It’s a very value-driven approach where we are not really marketing the technology, but we are creating marketing with the help of technology. Rather than creating TV commercials and campaigns, we want to create products and services and platforms using our technology, and that becomes our marketing.

Tennis is a great example of what we are doing using the content marketing approach. We are building a digital platform for ATP, which helps players and coaches to understand statistics much better. It helps fans to engage with the game in a much more immersive way than if they had just watched it on TV. If you go to our platform that we have created on the website, the spectators can understand the game in a much more granular way, and that improves the fan engagement level.

Infosys technology is the backbone of all these immersive experiences, and that becomes a marketable technology for us to showcase to our other clients. We go beyond the tennis audience and core stakeholders to our other business audiences to show them that what we can do with tennis data can easily be done with retail data or manufacturing data.

That has been our philosophy in terms of an approach to marketing – the technology is used for creating products and services and platforms and digital experiences for any kind of business, and we use that to market ourselves.

That has been the differentiating factor because it brings in authenticity and value. We’re talking from a place of complete knowledge; clients appreciate that, and it leads to meaningful engagement and conversations with them.

We’ve taken this model to our other partnerships like The Economist Group. We have built their entire sustainability platform – it’s called The Sustainability Project.

One of the problem statements that had come to us with was that their sustainability content was spread across the whole website and they wanted to bring it all together in a way that was personalised. They knew a lot about their audience and what they’re consuming, so how could they then target them better? We created a platform for them that is live on the Economist Impact website called The Sustainability Project, so every piece of content related to sustainability is in a single place. The Economist team is now able to target this audience in a much sharper way.

They know what their audience is reading, how much they are liking it, how much time they are spending on the content, so it gives them insights into the new things they need to do in this space. It’s almost a Netflix kind of an experience that you’re bringing to sustainability content.

Similarly, we are currently working on something called the Value Chain Navigator with them, which is a digital tool to look at how organisations around the world are looking at their Scope 3 emissions.

While these are projects which are delivering business value to The Economist, it is also helping Infosys from a thought leadership perspective in the sustainability space. It helps us to build our credibility and, at the same time, we are building new technology solutions which are solving a real-world problem for our clients.

Leading with content like this helps us to create a very differentiated kind of proposition, which is helping us in the market, both from a brand perspective as well as from a business impact perspective.

Content marketing has been a big trend over the last few years. Do you think that will continue and how will it morph in the future?

I think the definition of content has really changed. It’s no longer about text. It’s no longer about audio. It’s no longer about video. What we are seeing in the market is a lot about content being experiential and immersive.

Every year, the number of digital channels and mediums are increasing. Whether it is Web3, GenAI now, whether it was the Metaverse, each of these trends have had a hype cycle. I’m not saying that as marketers, we should not ride some of these hype cycles. I think we should. But I think we should ride it in a way that is furthering the brand’s narrative.

That’s the most important thing. How is it really adding to your brand story? How is it making it relevant to the audience that you’re trying to target? How is it relevant for the business you are in?

For example, about two years back, the Financial Times, came to us with a business problem. They felt that the world of journalism was going to be very different in the next few years with people wanting to contribute to the content in some way, rather than just being passive listeners or audiences. They call this whole phenomenon ‘participative content’.

We brainstormed with the visual journalism team at the Financial Times and came up with a gamification of the content. We created something called the FT Climate Game – a very immersive and scientifically based game with four personas that let you decide how you want to take decisions which will end up having a certain impact on the climate. The goal was to ensure that the temperature doesn’t rise above 1. 5 degrees. It was a fascinating way to reimagine content completely and give an understanding of the subject itself.

Another example is something we created for the International Tennis Hall of Fame, based in Newport in Rhode Island. It’s where tennis started in the US and is the only grass court tournament there. All the legends of the game and every old artifact related to tennis are on display at the museum, but unless you go to Newport, you can’t see this fabulous museum.

They came to us to ask how to take it global – they wanted every tennis fan globally to be able to experience the Hall of Fame in a way that is immersive and experiential, so we built a Metaverse. You can take your own avatar and move around this entire space, exploring the Hall of Fame and every artifact immersively, like you’re actually there. It was launched in July, and we’re seeing tremendous results.

I think the content strategy is really evolving around creating content that is genuine, adds value, and builds in authenticity into every interaction that you do, which creates some kind of meaningful engagement with your target audience. I think that’s the direction where content is headed.

What is the one challenge or trend that you’ll be watching over the next 12 months?

With Gen AI now, there’s a huge amount of opportunity. We are experimenting with AI models to not just solve clients’ business problems, but also in marketing. We’re trying to see how we can push the narrative so that clients understand it in a much more immersive way.

I think the Gen AI space is going to be very exciting in the next 12 to 24 months. We are keen to explore and create, but the principles for us will not change. We want to look at any of these new technologies with the same principles of making sure that it furthers the brand’s narrative, it adds value, and it really engages in a way that it is meaningful.

I think the storytelling aspect of content is going to become much more important because it’s going to lead to a human-centric kind of content building. We are seeing that it has a much better resonance from our clients when we connect with them at a human level with our content.

Thank you, Navin.  

We look forward to presenting Navin with his award for Content Leader and Innovation at the World Media Awards ceremony of September 7th.  If you would like to join us in celebrating the very best in international content-driven marketing, tickets to the World Media Awards ceremony are available here.