Anand Mahindra’s clever Brand Movement for coping with hellacious change

The most powerful Indian brand taps StrawberryFrog to design brand-fueled Movement Marketing that may, momentarily, inspire you to join in and Rise amidst the  the challenges of modern life.

It’s one of the great pleasures of life. But the act of innovating and creation shouldn’t be a limiting experience. This is why Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra incited the Rise movement to transform his corporation, his team mates, his customers and his consumers.

Rise Anthem Film

The Mahindra Group, is an Indian multinational conglomerate headquartered in Mumbai, with operations in over 100 countries around the globe. The group has a presence in aerospace, agribusiness, aftermarket, automotive, components, construction equipment, defense, energy, farm equipment, finance and insurance, industrial equipment, information technology, leisure and hospitality, logistics, real estate, retail, and two wheelers. It is considered to be one of the most reputable Indian industrial corporations. With over 40,000 employees, decision making had grown more convoluted and branches of the organization had become misaligned. Over the years, Mahindra had built in lots of procedures, and for many good reasons. But, those procedures had also slowed it down.

Anand sought to evolve Mahindra’s culture to be nimble, innovative, and customer-centered. He knew it required a journey to align and galvanize all employees. His leadership team began with a search for purpose together with StrawberryFrog. Over the course of several months, the Mahindra team led Ruzbeh Irani, who worked with Scott Goodson and his StrawberryFrog team to learn about the needs of everyone, from factory workers to scientists, external partners, customers, and investors. Together they defined and distilled the purpose of the company, paring it down to three simple pillars that underpinned the “RISE” movement: Use your ingenuity. Accept no limits. Drive positive change. The key strategy we used to align all the different interests and activate a solution which was good for all, was to focus on an idea on the rise in culture, to buttress the RISE movement idea. And this is what everyone could get behind. The motivation was pride, not dictated from the top down. And instead of plastering this new slogan on motivational posters, the leadership team began by quietly using it to start guiding their own decisions. The goal was to demonstrate this idea in action, not talk about it. StrawberryFrog designed management training and role playing sessions over several month across all companies. Projects were selected across channels to highlight the pillar of RISE and Mahindra teams were rewarded for their alignment with the movement. Then we went global, involving their largest offices in key markets like the USA, Chile, Europe and South Africa. A comprehensive internal RISE team and platform was developed to help Mahindra employees be proactive with their customer requests and innovate around problems in an agile way.

After the launch of RISE, StrawberryFrog led large-scale interactive workshops to onboard employees to RISE. Post the workshop, we worked to develop Mahindra Leadership University, and created the Leadership Competencies, keeping RISE in mind.

The 3 Rise Pillars were divided into 5 Leadership Characteristics, and 16 attributes. Rise Behaviors were defined for each of the attributes. Mahindra integrated the Rise Behaviors into HR so that RISE emerged in the life of employees.

As a part of this intervention, the Performance Management System was redesigned, the Recruitment process was revamped.  Interview questions during recruitment were recreated to evaluate talent on the RISE Behaviors. Development Centers using RISE evaluated Leadership competencies in employees.

Currently, Mahindra is working on a journey which is designed to bring RISE to the forefront by facilitating small behavioral changes in the lives of employees to enable them to RISE. After the introduction of RISE, Mahindra saw a significant shift in employees behaviors. This conclusion is not merely a daily observation, but it is indicated by the data we collected. Some of the indicators of this change are mentioned above:

The Mahindra Cares survey measures the engagement levels of our officers. Our Employee engagement scores has increased year on year from FY15 to FY18.

MCARES Score for FY15 was 3.76, for FY16 was 3.92, for FY17 was 4.05 and FY18 was 4.13.

The Future Leaders Program was rolled out, an Integrated Talent management and Leadership development intervention building a Leadership Talent pool. The FLP was an 18 month developmental journey in collaboration with Yale School of Management and IMD Lausanne.

Apart from FLP, we have seen a rise in the strength of our talent pipeline and as a group we have been able to achieve a target of having succession cover more than 60% of our critical positions which is the highest level of achievement as per our defined targets.

Mahindra employees have become more sensitive to the 3 RISE Pillars and 5 Leadership Characteristics and the employees are living RISE. The RISE 360 survey measures this, which has reached more than 16,000 employees with more than 50% of the leadership. The analysis of the data points showed that the employees are rated high on sensitive, trusting and trustworthy. The data shows that employees are high on whole brain thinking and are highly focused on driving positive change.

What Is Your Brand Against? From Harvard Business Review


Companies understand that to be successful they and their brands need to stand for something. This results in bold and principled declarations to the world: “At Acme Amalgamated, we’re committed to X. We believe in Y. We care passionately about Z.” Unfortunately, in the end, it all starts to sound like generic ad-speak.

Here’s a modest suggestion: If you really want to show the world what you believe in and stand for, how about telling us what you stand against?

Recently, my agency StrawberryFrog launched a new campaign for smart car that was rooted in this kind of oppositional thinking. We understood that the smart car brand stands for some pretty good things: efficiency, economy, reduced environmental footprint. But put way, it sounds rather dull and predictable.

By defining instead what smart is against — over-consumption, excess, thoughtless behavior — we began to craft a statement with more of an edge. As we boiled down the idea some more, what emerged was a simple yet powerful declaration of principle, stating that we are “against dumb.” It felt a little more gutsy and provocative than your typical ad line, which may be why the campaign immediately drew press attention. At the same time, by giving customers something to rail against (everything from gas-guzzlers to oversized Venti lattes), the campaign created a vocal community of smart car advocates. In a short period of time, the brand more than quadrupled its audience.

Marketers may be reluctant to take a stand against anything because it can feel controversial or divisive. But the truth is, some of the boldest marketers have been doing this kind of thing successfully for quite a while. Think of Apple, which in its early days came out strongly against conformity and the “Big Brother” world of computing (represented then as now by the larger, more conservative IBM). Later, fashion brands such as Diesel railed against all kinds of establishment views; in its ads during the 1990s, Diesel even seemed to be against advertising itself, which resonated well with its youthful, independent-minded customers.

The marketing writer Adam Morgan has said that brands sometimes need to create “fake monsters,” so that everyone (meaning all your potential customers) will come together to fight the monster and save the village. But I would amend that to say the monsters aren’t or shouldn’t be fake — they ought to be based in real concerns and issues in today’s world.

Wherever there’s a possibility for improvement, you can speak out against entrenched ways or status quo attitudes. Or you can defend tradition by taking on trendy new attitudes and behaviors. Either way, there’s no shortage of things worth taking a stand against. Just be sure that the cultural values and behaviors you take on do indeed run counter to your brand philosophy. These can be matters large or small, serious or playful. A campaign we once did for IKEA took a stand against being a “gray mouse” (which is to say being timid and safe in one’s choices). A more recent one, for Sabra hummus, directly challenged the bland, unadventurous eating habits of many Americans.

One caveat: Don’t simply take a stand “against” your competition. You may hate your competitor’s guts, but nobody else cares; the outside world is looking for you to take on something more meaningful and interesting.

Defining what your company is against has longer-term benefits than a compelling ad campaign. Thanks to social media, more companies now understand that consumers want to participate in a real conversation with brands. To make this conversation (or any conversation) work, there must be an honest exchange of views. A big part of that is for both sides to be willing to say, “I’m for this” and “I’m against that.”

And if you want to expand that conversation so that it becomes a cultural movement built around your brand — which is something that all marketers should be striving for today — then you need to give that movement a sense of purpose and action. The truth is, it’s often easier to rally people against something than for something. Just think of some of the most successful social and political movements through history — up to and including the current Tea Party movement. More often than not, these movements start with people protesting against or saying “no” to something.

Which is not to suggest that your campaign, or the movement you’re trying to lead, should amount to one big gripe-fest. The conversation you have with the public may start by pointing out something wrong, but ought to move beyond that to offer better alternatives, ideas, and actions you can help people take. If you can do that, it’s possible to transform negative energy into a positive force — both for your customers and for your brand.

Scott Goodson is the founder and chairman of StrawberryFrog, a global cultural movement agency whose clients have included P&G, Emirates Airline, Jim Beam, Heineken, Pepsico, Natura Brazil, the Smart Car, and India’s Mahindra Group.

Scott Goodson is the author of the new book Uprising: How to Build Your Brand and Change the World by Sparking Cultural Movements, and founder and chairman of StrawberryFrog, a global cultural movement agency.

Why Employer Branding is Better as a Movement

The economy is strong. Companies compete for the best talent, some with the help of a marketing agency or branding design agency and others without. More so today than since the early 2000s according to the Harvard Business Review. Due to new and emerging tools like social networks and online communities, 78 percent of job seekers say that ratings and reviews from those on the inside are influential when deciding where to work (according to Glassdoor).
          What are your employees saying about you on social media? What will top talent discover when they research your company? The answers mean the difference between wooing or losing employees in today’s changing world of recruitment and job searches.
          Having a strong Employer Brand Movement should be the modern tool in your recruiting strategy. If you don’t have it, your competition might. The approach to building a strong employer brand has changed over the last few years—as has its impact on hiring and who’s responsible for overseeing it. This led to the development of an Employee Value Proposition, which defined the key benefits offered by the company as an employer, and the production of employer brand guidelines by a branding design agency, which aimed to bring greater consistency to the company’s recruitment advertising. Many employers and recruiters believe running an advertising campaign so people know your name builds an effective brand or that putting up an Instagram, Linkedin or Facebook page. But it’s much more than that.
          Times have changed. The rise of social media has made companies a great deal more transparent. People are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say than on its recruitment advertising. This means that talent attraction relies far more heavily on employee engagement and advocacy.
          StrawberryFrog is change. We deliver Movement Inside your company. It begins with using our skills as a marketing agency to define the purpose for your brand that employees believe in, and then activating that purpose with a brand movement inside the company. The movement is a cause that people want to belong to. To employees, a Movement Inside inspires motivations, trust, creativity and passion in ways that top down mandates simply cannot do. Movement Inside builds pipelines of talent for tomorrow, and rallies current employees around a cause that can change actions and habits and in the process transform the company.
          Traditional corporate purpose statements can sound like a lot of blah blah blah and fall flat. Work without purpose is like life without love. It’s not surprising that organizations are increasingly choosing purpose-driven employer brands. People feel more passionate about what they do if they feel they can make a difference, and purposeful companies like charismatic people draw attention and command greater respect and loyalty. But the vanilla statement that sounds more like a ‘committee resolution’ than a compelling statement of intent will fall flat. This is all the more reason why Movement Inside generated by a branding design agency like us is better than traditional purpose branding solutions.
          Movement Inside cases that have enhanced employer branding by StrawberryFrog include Make History for Jim Beam, a movement against the patriarchy and for equality; Hello Tomorrow for Emirates Airline, a movement to make the world smaller and thereby reduce misunderstandings between people; Rise for Mahindra, a movement to accept no limitations, using your ingenuity to drive positive change; and onUp for SunTrust Bank, a movement to help Americans move from financial stress to confidence.

          No matter what your company’s size, location, or industry is, you’ll find that Movement Inside by the StrawberryFrog marketing agency will build the foundation for modern employer branding success.


Movement Inside will
1. Help retain top employees and recruit new ones
2. Reduce costs
3. Increase motivation, trust and creativity
4. Improve employee engagement
5. Increase employee productivity
6. Transform the company

How to Build a Brand That Disrupts the Category

How-to-Build-Brand-Awareness-for-Your-StartupFor startups, especially e-commerce companies, or brand innovations, branding is everything. StrawberryFrog, a top branding design and advertising agency in New York City, knows the ins and outs of modern branding.

A brand motto or slogan, an ad, even the design of the logo and the all-important website and mobile site can make the difference between success and failure.

But understanding how to develop a brand and strategically evolve that brand in today’s world fraught with fast changes and evolving media isn’t the easiest task. New business owners are faced with a constant dilemma: How to make your business known in a sea of competitors? There is no simple way to build a brand that disrupts, as business markets are constantly changing.

Fortunately, NYC advertising agency StrawberryFrog knows how to build brands that disrupt. StrawberryFrog is different from the traditional agencies. It’s low overhead. Low BS. High agility. High impact. High confidence.

EvilPotatoes, the leading brand naming company in New York City, is sister company to StrawberryFrog. These days, coming up with a brand name is not an easy task as most names are taken by start ups, pharmaceutical and tech companies. It takes an expert to identify the best new brand name for your tech start up, do the necessary legal checks and lock it down in the US or globally. Imagine the competition to come up with a new name that beats all those new start ups that make the headlines at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Together these firms work with BlueberryContent, the leading content marketing company that develops culturally relevant and cost effective marketing content for social media and digital.

The have helped companies like P&G, Jim Beam, Heineken, Coca Cola, BlackBerry, and PepsiCo find their unique voice in a cluttered market.

StrawberryFrog is a branding design and advertising agency in New York City with a keen sense of the type of marketing that consumers respond to. Brand-fueled movement marketing defines the people and culture at StrawberryFrog. They are also driven by generating results for companies, and they’ve got an powerful track record and many letters from satisfied clients to prove it. While there are other firms that are larger, StrawberryFrog’s track record for launching new brands from scratch is outstanding. For example, they launched and built Sabra Hummus to over 60% market share against the market leaders Nestle Tribe and Kraft Athenos, naming Sabra one of the the most effectively marketed brands in the food category. They know how to craft strong branding design and create a great business that stands the test of time.

The 10 Most Creative Content Marketing Agencies

Content has become a powerful marketing tool in effective campaigns in 2018 and heading into 2019. This is why our list of the 10 most creative and influential content marketing agencies showcases firms, including our ad agency in New York, that invented content for new ventures that show all of us how it’s done.

1. BlueberryContent

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BlueberryFrog coined the idea Stretchy Content and by looking at their site you can get a sense of the breadth of their expertise. Their brand new, much-admired New York office makes waves in the city atop the Empire State Building with mind-blowing views. While indicative of the firm’s desire to overtake the city and the world with brilliant design and branding ideas, BlueberryContent is an agency for all kinds of clients and sectors.

2. BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is a powerful force when it comes to sponsored content. Except, of course, when you’re too busy sharing and quiz-taking to realize it’s sponsored. BuzzFeed’s socially shareable content makes the rounds on users’ Facebook feeds and Pinterest boards, with audiences doing a lot of the legwork to share organically (brands, read: excellent bang for your budget’s bucks). Amping up their focus on video, Buzzfeed now has nine separate YouTube channels each targeting a different segment of their audience, producing its own curated content and organically weaving in brands to sustain their authenticity and brand loyalty. This shift to video content comes as a result of 50% year-over-year growth in video watch time, and a 40% increase in the number of YouTube watches since 2014. Those statistics combined with Buzzfeed’s wildly popular food network, Tasty, has led the brand to garner over 7 billion content views a month with 360 million users a month. Yes, you read that right.

3. StrawberryFrog

StrawberryFrog is a full service marketing, design and ad agency in New York with a great track record generating results for clients such as Pampers, Jim Beam, Emirates Airline and Coca Cola. Brand-fueled movement marketing defines our people and culture. StrawberryFrog is on a meteoric rise after being named AOR for SunTrust bank and having devised the onUp movement together with the leadership of this admired leading bank, which to date has over 3.7 million participants at While some firms deliver one genre of content, StrawberryFrog is ambidextrous in style, tone and audience.

4. Digitas

Marketing and technology, you can’t have one without the other – at least not these days. Digitas is inherently digital, but recently their tech DNA showed in spades.

5. Droga5

This agency is best known for winning advertising awards. These awards are attributed to their popular pieces of video content, including the “We Know Acne, We Don’t Know Teens” commerical, which is apart of the Clearasil’s larger “Let’s Be Clear” campaign. This commercial was successful because it presented the brand in a painfully honest way – they know teen acne but not teens. Filled with humorous clips of what the typical adult might think teens want, from pizza to memes, each clip ends with a voiceover admitting, “We know your acne, we just don’t know you.”

6. Grey Group

Part of the WPP Group, this ad agency in New York has a long track record in identifying and leveraging larger societal trends and pushing boundaries; they were, after all, the first to put a woman in a bra on television. Pairing brands with relevant creative and cultural touchstones is a major strength here, whether employing the likes of Jamie Foxx and Ron Howard to draw attention to Canon or rigging up pianist Son Lux and a piano with razors that tap out a tune and showcase the product’s differentiating point in a way that garners 1.6 million YouTube views. Pulling elements together to create a whole that sings isn’t simple, but Grey does it regularly with a dash of panache.

7. Column Five*

Column Five was founded in southern California by three upstart bloggers in 2008, who quickly realized that developing and promoting great content was the best way to grow an online community of loyal readers. After some early momentum, namely as the result of helping to popularize the use of infographics in content marketing (they literally wrote the book on the topic) they decided to double down on building an agency to help brands stand out and grow revenue. Initially focused on working with startups, after their success with Microsoft on the Child of the 90’s campaign, Column Five began bringing on more household brands. This independent, full-service content agency (strategy, creation, distribution) boasts an eclectic roster of some of the world’s most respected tech brands, such as Microsoft, LinkedIn and SAP, as well as a number of leading universities and non-profits. You might even recognize our GIFographic from our 2016 #ThinkContent Summit included in their work!

8. Havas

Beneath the creativity, of course, are serious, of-the-moment considerations about demographic shifts – such as their No Child Brides campaign, in collaboration with Child Survival India, which won the Grand Prix at the APAC Effie Awards and Gold at the 2015 CBI Awards. In just 45 days, the campaign generated 22 million social media impressions and 1.5 million supporters.

9. Leo Burnett

One of the industry’s incumbents has put their money where their mouth is in terms of content marketing, recently announcing a publishing partnership with the Huffington Post. Coming in strong on the forefront of content is going to set agencies up for success as consumers continue to embrace authenticity and storytelling from their favorite brands. Notable content work: the award-winning #LikeAGirl for Always, which hits on cause marketing and storytelling authentically, showing they’ve got their finger on the pulse of culture in a meaningful way.

10. Mindshare

Jaguar, the luxury British car dealer, and wearable technology is an unexpected marriage of two separate technological fields coming together for the 2015 Wimbledon games – yet this is exactly the type of innovative work Mindshare does. The campaign worked by collecting biometric data of wearables worn by fans in the crowd, capturing their energy and excitement levels, which was then projected onto a microsite alongside social media. The result? The world’s first ever social media campaign run on biometrics. The purpose? To make a visual projection of what it is like watching world class tennis to what is like driving a $85,000 luxury car.