Google+ Consumer Psyche: Tata and Tiger on the Joy of Building!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tata and Tiger on the Joy of Building!

"Ready to spend a weekend with TATA and look at their plant?", Harish said and I was game. After working on excel sheets, targets, reports and what not, all through the last few weeks and writing exams, this was the break I needed. Long time I had spent some time with fellow bloggers and it is always fun to hangout with Blogadda and this time the deal was better as we were #BuildingBlogsOfJoy in the city of Joy with one of the top brands in the world and the best in India. So there we set off to Kolkata by Indigo and there was this special chauffeur from Tata to take us to the TATA Centre. Ushered into the guest rooms to freshen up and after the ceremonial breakfast of sandwiches and tea, we headed out to meet the marketing team at 9th floor.

Built in 1957, designed by the renowned architect Indranil Sen The TATA Centre is one of the highest buildings in Kolkata with 18 floors and 259 ft. Not everyone has access to the top floor which has the special guest house that hosts the Chairman Emeritus and the top board members. You can see for miles from there and the view is pretty amazing. I was one of the lucky three who were granted permission to go up and go crazy with the camera. The architecture was colonial and everything associated with the building from staff, security, dressing, cutlery and service was amazing and iconic! And I got clicked by Sammy on the terrace. What a view.

This was a two day activity with TATA Tiscon and we were brought up to date with the amazing branding journey of TATA Tiscon. Steel for centuries was just a commodity and was always bought on the recommendation of the maestri or friends or the shop owner and not much thought was given to the branding and the quality wasn't considered so important, So how do you brand such a commodity and maintain standards to convey that your brand steel is better than others and convince customer to stand out and pick you over the competition? 

That is the amazing journey of the marketing team at TATA Tiscon we went through for the rest of the afternoon when not sipping coffee and munching on Sandesh and gobbling up the unlimited supply of Mistidoi. To brand the unbranded and to retain the quality and ensure the consumer had the last mile access was a victory of sorts for Tata Tiscon and you can read more about it here.

Okay where was I? Yes at Sandesh. We were allowed to handle the brand page on social media. To see a 100+ year old brand, let that sink in, let bloggers handle their page albeit for a few moments is amazing. It was especially interesting to see how open the TATA Tiscon team was to our ideas. While we made stories up for #BuildingBlogsofJoy and shot pictures, the team was gearing up to show us the customer-friendly interaction at the storefront. This was unraveling as the consumer was welcomed and serviced as though he was buying a latest mobile phone. The front end shop floors has all the gadgets you need including the 3D gear to visualize what the building would look like and the material needed once the plans were shared. The people were not taken to shady dingy to buy steel but were shown in a bright lit showroom what they would need, how and when. Taking customer into confidence while educating him/her with the latest technology was the main purpose rather than the sale. 

Tata Tiscon also has its retail presence in 6500 districts, i.e., almost 95% of the districts in India which means that you can have a TATA Tiscon outlet within 10 miles from your place, wherever you are in India. That kind of reach is scary. Apart from the final consumer, TATAT Tiscon works with maestris, contractors, labour, masons and many more stakeholders to ensure the product info is shared and their workload is reduced. Transferring the technology, usage methods, time-saving techniques and better construction methods and many more such trade secrets are shared with them to make them more skillful and equipped. The shop floor is designed by Tata design team to allow spacial comfort while selecting their ware. Pretty impressive as it could permeate to a grass-root level and involves a lot of educating and empowering all the stakeholders to ensure the brand message of trust, comfort and safety from TATA Tiscon seeps to the final mile.

Off we went to see the Princep in the night for a small huddle and off we went to rest our heels after another sumptuous dose of Sandesh and Mistidoi apart from the home cooked meal. I dozed off reading one of the books in their massive library and woke up startled when we were ready to catch the train. So off we went in the snaking paths of dreamy Kolkata, over the bridges and under the passes to the buzzing railway station. People were running everywhere and trying to get on with their trains and luggage. We lazily adjusted in the AC Chair car and resumed dozing off. I kept thinking about the day ahead when we will be exclusively shown the New Bar Mill at TATA Tiscon plant in Jamshedpur to see how the rebars are made!

The test of fire!

Once in Jamshedpur, I felt I was in the sanctuary of the greatest dreamers and successful people in the world and the expectation was at its peak.The visit to the plant happened in clinical precision with the security briefings, precautions to be taken and we were given a privilege of having exclusive access to cameras. The HR team and the factory management took us through the processes and ensured we understood what happens in the daily life of a Tata employee and we could see the extremely personal bonding people had with Tata as a brand more than an employer. The pride was worn on the sleeve and the satisfaction, gratitude was visible in their eyes. While we couldn't pull most of them aside to talk to them, we were given the presentation of the team that worked on a research project from one of the quality circles and their award winning contributions. I will be doing some of the posts for Talk To Tiger and you would see the stories are really amazing.

The dance of fire
The trip to the fiery furnace was more humbling than expected as you feel the heat some 25 mts away and it is not just the size that dominates but the spirit of Tata and how they could start this much more many others in India. The simple concept of getting such a big plant set up is a monumental task in itself and is not for the lighthearted. Having it up and running while the Britishers are breathing down your neck and trying to put restriction shows the power and stature of character from the founding father. 

Can you see the music and hear the symphony?
Tata Tiscon rebar mill is one of the latest in the whole scheme of things and we saw how the billets were remolded to form the rebars and the walk of the transition was educative. It is really easy to look at a steel bar and not see the fiery journey it takes to be what it needs to be - the nerves in your building. Unless careful quality controls are in place, the standards that Tata has set in place are followed the bar is discarded and used as scrap. Only the best of the best survive the test and move on to the clients. Did I tell you Tata Tiscon is the first to brand the steel bar?

Once we finished the experience and walked out of the factory we crossed the gates under the careful gaze of the man himself - Jamsetji Tata whose statue sits regally overseeing the gate and in a fitting tribute I got down to capture him in my camera and spend a moment in his presence, albeit being a statue, to think upon the legacy, the charm, the class and the culture his personality exudes and the simplicity of principles he lived by. While the rebar might be just a bar of steel for all of us for the staff at Tata Tiscon it is their art, their creation and their life.

Check out here about the branding lessons from Tata Tiscon soon.

This post is a part of the #BuildingBlogsOfJoy activity of TATA TISCON in association with

No comments: