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Bonnie Pelosi, Europe CMO at Wipro, talks customer relations, talent and navigating a post-pandemic world

In a recent

B2B Marketing Podcast

, David Rowlands, editor at B2B Marketing, spoke with Wipro’s new Europe CMO and

Propolis

member, Bonnie Pelosi, on developing customer relations, the importance of talent, a $1 billion cloud investment, and how to market a global brand all within the context of a global pandemic.

Making customer relations the heart of your approach

Client relations take centre stage at Wipro. In an environment where clients are undergoing transformation journeys both from a digital and business perspective, Wipro’s demand for services has boomed, Bonnie confirms. With the aim to both attract and retain clients, Wipro seeks to meet and surpass client expectations. For Bonnie, Wipro’s clients should see the organisation as “the partner they turn to to accelerate growth.”

To do this, Bonnie’s main focus lies in aligning broader areas (such as sales and IT) and working collaboratively to ensure that:

Wipro understands the clients’ needs and demands in order to provide them with the best CX (a particularly crucial element for Bonnie).

  • Using technology and data for a market viewpoint.
  • Speaking to clients and client teams to understand views on the ground.

Taking a holistic approach to talent

For Bonnie, “talent is the key to everything. You’re only as good as your people,” she states simply. “Without them, you don’t really have a strategy, and you certainly don’t have a business.” 

Diversity is also crucial here, Bonnie claims, as companies need different views and different experiences. This serves the two-fold benefit of growing and developing into new areas as an organisation whilst also catering to the varied needs of clients.

As we’re currently experiencing a ‘war for talent’, it seems to Bonnie that the heat is on more than ever. “Competition’s not new,” she states, “but what does feel new is that it’s more heightened.” With more people looking to “hire the talent to help move their business forward” since the start of the pandemic, how can companies attract and retain the best people?

For Bonnie, hiring talent is not a linear, top-down process, but resembles something more akin to a puzzle. You shouldn’t just be hunting down your candidates. Instead, you should be actively attracting them to your organisation, and helping them consider why they’d want to work for you. “Candidates need to understand how they’ll fit in at your company,” Bonnie claims. “It can’t just be competency-led. It’s also got to be behaviour-led.”

It doesn’t stop at getting people through the front door, however. For Bonnie, talent should be “nurtured and guided through their career, their employee journey with you.” Wipro seeks to “create the right environment where people feel empowered, but also fully supported.” Bonnie elaborates by outlining the ‘spirit of Wipro’ – four key values which act as the ‘North Star’ for the company:

  • Treating people with respect.
  • Being global and responsive.
  • Having integrity.

Bonnie opts for an all-encompassing approach when it comes to talent. “The culture, as well as the job and the opportunities, that the firm gives you is really key when you’re hiring your talent,” Bonnie adds. “You’ve really got to be able to live that, and that’s something that we do at Wipro.”

Virtual onboarding: A key challenge

Having started a new role in the midst of the pandemic herself, Bonnie understands the challenges of starting on a virtual basis. The task of familiarising yourself with a new role, new company and company culture are complicated by a steeper virtual learning curve than going into the office in person, Bonnie admits.

More broadly speaking, as Bonnie outlines, the current challenge facing marketers is working in an environment thrown into flux by Covid. As Bonnie puts it, the marketing sphere is “rapidly changing”, faced with “new complexities and constraints” that come with the pandemic such as remote working which separates teams and clients from one another.

Adapting to a challenges: Taking hybrid approaches and prioritising

So, how can organisations adapt to this seemingly ever-changing landscape? Bonnie opts for digital strategies that can work across hybrid platforms. She stresses the importance of being sensitive to the economic environment and adjusting marketing messages to fit in line with the broader context of the pandemic. This is not, as Bonnie maintains, a simple one-size-fits-all approach, rather one requiring adaptation to suit each country’s individual needs. Where do clients fit into this? “We’ve got to get even closer to our clients, we’ve got to really listen to the market, use the data to inform our decisions and actions so that we can provide that best client experience,” she explains.

Bonnie goes even further when it comes to wider business development. Prioritisation and adaptation go hand in hand. Not only do organisations need to figure out the areas that are “going to support clients and drive business growth,” but it’s also a question of prioritising that focus. Focus can be, as Bonnie suggests, directed down a multitude of different avenues, but above all organisations must be ‘laser focused’ on key areas from both a teams and campaign perspective.

$1 billion investment in expanding cloud transformation abilities

As a cloud leader in transformation, Wipro’s $1 billion investment to grow cloud transformation abilities comes as no surprise. However, why make this choice now? As Bonnie outlines, the cloud “no longer belongs to just the realm of IT, but actually permentates into other areas within the business: sales, CX, etc.” By responding to an environment where businesses are eager for growth, cloud tech can be, as Bonnie maintains, a ‘fundamental part of business transformation.’

It goes without saying that marketing is core to this expansion, specifically when it comes to: 

  • Launching and supporting new offerings into market.
  • Working with partners and hyperscalers to find the best approach to marketing and satisfy client demands.
  • Client engagement, helping customers ‘navigate the full spectrum of IT transformation’ no matter what stage they are at in their cloud journey.

Flexibility: the key to marketing your global brand

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to marketing a mult-national organisation. With a core brand proposition/message, or ‘golden thread’ as Bonnie calls it, organisations can appeal to diverse markets whilst retaining brand identity. “There’s one brand globally,” she states, albeit one which “flexes certain messages or aspects of the global brand into those markets where it makes sense to do so.”

It is precisely by understanding “marketplaces, understanding the clients, understanding what’s relevant and important to them” that companies can flexibly respond to “the nuances of individual marketplaces.” She cautions against a blanket approach, stressing above all the importance of “staying true to the global brand because that’s what makes you who you are today.”

Predicted future boom in content

As Bonnie outlines, within the next two to three years, 82% of marketing leaders plan to create new types of content and generate experiences to create sustainable, long-term advantages. This naturally begets the question: if everybody’s creating new, different types of content, how can organisations create the right space, the right content that hits home and appeals to clients?

Whilst Bonnie “fundamentally believes in creating the right content,” she stresses the importance of using “the data and technology to enable us to make sure that that is personalised and relevant to that audience.” Easier said than done: “that is one of our most significant challenges in our field,” admits Bonnie. She reminds us to not forget the ‘human aspect’ of marketing, stressing the need to balance between content generation, digital amplification and the human experience. “We’re a people business with solutions that we sell, and people buy from people,” she concludes. “How do we make sure that that human experience remains true?”.

Bonnie’s overall message when working in a time where the very concept of the ‘norm’ is in flux is clear: learn how to balance; adapt; and be flexible.


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