‘Self-awareness’ is the starting point of brand building

In this exclusive interview with MartechAsia, Arun Sundar, CMO of entomo, an employee performance management platform, shares his views on the evolution of Martech trends and how his organization completed a rebranding exercise recently.

Arun Sundar is the CMO of entomo, an employee performance management platform. Over the years, he has built, led and grew technology businesses in Asia and beyond with multi-billion dollar MNCs and growth-stage businesses. He is also the founder of The Social Capital Institute.

Recently, entomo has undergone a rebranding exercise. MartechAsia caught up with him to understand why and how this process was attempted and completed.

The pandemic has challenged every company to respond to sudden shifts in customer expectations — from the way people want to interact with customer service to their expectations of how brands responded to the crisis. As we move into the post-pandemic world, the most successful companies will make their decisions by deeply connecting with their customers to understand changes in their expectations, predict future behaviours, and create great experiences, even in the face of uncertainty. How do you see this unfolding?

Arun Sundar, CMO, entomo

The fundamental construct of enterprises that we are used to for almost a century has been changing, fast. This will mean that enterprises of tomorrow will look vastly different from today in what business they do and how they do it. While most businesses agree to this, it has resulted in a vacuum in terms of ideas and direction. Everyone appreciates the opportunity it presents but are unclear how to capitalize it as the changes are still unfolding. In a crisis of direction like this, a fundamental rethink becomes a mandate for all. This rethink will bring employee and customer experiences to the centre of thinking v/s pure balance-sheet numbers.

What are the other top trends in martech that you would like to highlight? 

Martech still follows marketing objectives. They are yet to start redefining marketing objectives like in Fintech. To that effect, Automation, hyper personalization and intelligent optimization are the three top trends in the space. Automation of predictable and repeatable tasks, hyper personalization of channels and content and intelligent optimization of every marketing lever is where martech’s utmost value is today.

Recently, entomo went for a rebranding campaign. Tell us a bit more about it. What was the need to rebrand the company and how was it accomplished?

Yes, we rebranded – we were formally known as KPISOFT for a good 10 years. In those 10 years we evolved a lot from the ring-side view we had of our customer’s need to transform. This evolution had a shot in the arm with the recent changes I highlighted earlier. From a technology provider, we became a partner to our clients and 30 million+ users on becoming ‘enterprises of tomorrow’. True to the spirit of this transformation we called ourselves ‘entomo’ – the name stands for ‘enterprise of tomorrow’. The concept draws inspiration from the word – ‘entomology’, which is the study of insects. Insects are the modestly-sized wonders of nature who are most resilient, ever-evolving, and build a supra-natural network in their ecosystem to thrive and evolve. They not only know what is necessary for survival, but constantly act and communicate that knowledge in ways that beat human imagination.

These are the traits that an ‘enterprise of tomorrow’ needs to thrive and flourish, which we aid our customers achieve with our technology.

entomo’s campaigns on rebranding and brand building have been industry leading that you are the subject of case-studies including from linkedin, G2 awards etc. Tell us more about your marketing strategy that won these accolades and brand growth.

We had a very differentiated approach to solving the talent development and enterprise performance issues, whose relevance is expanding with the hybrid world of work becoming normal. Our thesis and approach to building ‘enterprise of tomorrow’ was definitely finding value by our clients. Being ranked as world leaders based on customer reviews on G2 on every category we were a part of meant that we were doing something really valuable. That value needed to be heard by our prospects in the most refined and compelling manner.

However, good messaging starts with the highest level of self-awareness. It needs to be imbibed with utmost clarity, internally first. We started with that.  Quite often marketing is purely outward facing and misses its role as the custodian of the brand and brand promise – what one stands for. We spent hours deliberating and reflecting on who we are to the emerging new world. A fundamental tenet which we followed in this process was to focus not on our value proposition to our customers, but the ‘outcome’ we bring to them. We spoke to our employees, customers, partners and even alumni in this process of reflection. Once the clarity emerged, rest was about message development and channel strategy. Personalization of messaging and real-time Analytics to channels were key at this stage. The outcomes were very encouraging and 3x industry standard as per linkedin’s analysis (ref LinkedIn case study on entomo’s brand growth) –

Any main learnings from this rebranding exercise that you would like to share with our readers?

Brand is an identity that reflects the present and how one aspires to evolve further. The rebranding exercise was about connecting our proud past to the sophisticated key role we will play in the future. It had to represent everything we stood for and everything we aspire to become. The key learning from the success of this exercise was that ‘self-awareness’ is the starting point of brand building, which never ends.