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April 1, 2022

Reinforce your purpose by rethinking your brand

Here are the three guiding principles we used to create a new brand that inspires our associates to see purpose in their work.

Even amid global strife, many of our clients are breaking out from the past two years of pandemic disruption and scaling production to meet voracious market demand.

Yet, as we all know, it’s harder than ever to recruit and retain talent. Economists cite numerous reasons for these challenges (pandemic impacts, skill deficits, boomer retirements), but the one we think is most deserving of our attention is this: People want to work for a company that reflects their own beliefs and ethos when it comes to social, environmental and other issues that extend far beyond the work itself.

In our recent research, for instance, eight in 10 millennials (and 84% of Gen Z respondents) said responsible and ethical business practices were extremely or very important to them when choosing an employer.

Culture. Values. Credo. Intangibles, all. Yet, these principles now compete (and seem to be winning) against the quantifiable aspects of salary and benefits. All told, it might be more accurate to say that today, workers are hiring companies as much as the other way around.

Right brand for the times

These dynamics point to a tremendous opportunity for companies—including ours—to revisit the meaning of their brand. Until recently, a brand was ultimately outward-facing, focused primarily on competitive differentiation conveyed through a rousing mission statement. The relationship between the employer, the employee and their mutually shared expectations was defined by a job description, a salary and a quarterly review.

Now, all of these attributes are merging into an expanded concept of the brand that’s as important to those inside the company as outside of it.

Our new tagline, intuition engineered, is our promise to enable clients to anticipate changes ahead and take instantaneous action with the insight of human intuition. But while we’ve invested a great deal into getting the wording just right, what’s perhaps more important is the impact of that wording on our current and future associates.

By 2030, the global talent shortage could reach 85.2 million people. In that environment, our associates are as important as external stakeholders when it comes to articulating what our brand stands for.  It’s our employees who will be energized by the brand to leverage their own intuition—deep expertise honed over years of experience—to help clients build the intuitive operating models they need to anticipate and act with the speed and insight needed today. In this way, our brand directly reflects the value our associates contribute through the work they do every day.  

Three ways to live and breathe the brand

In short, we will succeed only if our associates fully buy into our brand. Here are the guiding principles we’re using to ensure our brand launch does just that:

  1. Instill pride. A brand needs to be authentic, credible and relatable, and people need to see those traits come to life in the way the company looks, sounds and acts.

    We established a brand persona so that our associates can live the brand every day, from how they talk to clients, to how they design a web page. We call this persona an “accessible genius”—someone who knows all there is to know about an area of expertise and who cares enough to convey it in a meaningful and relevant way. When you create the right brand character, your associates will say, "I get that, I want to be a part of that. That would be great for our clients."

  2. Be accountable to our purpose and values. The public nature of a branding exercise helps our associates believe in our commitment to living up to our (and their) values.

    For instance, as part of our commitment to “create conditions for everyone to thrive.” we’re contributing to leveling the playing field for elite female athletes by doubling the purse to $3 million for the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup, making it the largest of any LPGA Tour event outside of the majors and the CME Group Tour Championship. All told, we’ve raised nearly $4 million for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program, which helps increase access to the sport for young women and girls.

  3. Provide clarity on where the business is going. Brand messaging doesn't just represent what we want people to believe—it spells out what matters to us and to all our stakeholders as we head into the future. For example, our corporate vision is to be the preeminent technology services partner to the Global 2000, and our brand needs to demonstrate our ability to do that.

    That’s why our stated purpose is to "engineer modern businesses to improve everyday life.” Intuition engineered—our point of view on what it means to be a modern business—is a vivid and differentiated way of conveying our value so that our 330,000 associates better understand what we're trying to accomplish for our clients. It gives the brand a personality they can rally around.

More than words

Businesses today need to credibly promote themselves as well-rounded employers that offer both traditional benefits, such as income and vacation time, and new ones, like a commitment to diversity, sustainability, community involvement and balanced work life. All of this needs to be reflected in a brand that—through the work of its associates and business partners—becomes a living entity.

Our new brand promises an outcome: that through digital technology and flexible business processes, our clients can anticipate change and act instantaneously in the rapidly changing world around them. Yet, the brand words “intuition engineered” are just the beginning.

In actuality, our brand will draw its breath from how our management team leads, the pride our associates take in their work and the results we deliver to our clients. Because each night, our brand walks out the door and returns the next morning not because it has to but because it’s part of a culture that invests in what we do, and not just what we say.

Gaurav Chand
Chief Marketing Officer
Headshot of Digitally Cognizant author Gaurav Chand

Gaurav Chand is Cognizant’s Chief Marketing Officer. In this role, Gaurav oversees all aspects of Cognizant’s global marketing, including brand, creative, digital, events, communications, and field and corporate marketing.

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