“It is a declaration of what we are capable of, driven by the inner fire to win, to make a difference. It is a statement that establishes the firm as the #ClearChoice for businesses and professionals who want to succeed,” said a spokesperson for KPMG.
In addition, the campaign involves a weekly exercise of employees across practices sharing stories with the firm around the same theme. “We believe that our culture and our people are our differentiating point. Hence the idea was to make them central to this campaign,” the spokesperson added.
Harish Bijoor, founder, Harish Bijoor Consults believes that using employees as brand ambassadors is a great idea. “In the case of KPMG, as it celebrates 25 years in India, it has decided to use its employees. Good thing. When you use an employee there is a greater degree of internal connect with the creative execution,” he said.
Bijoor, however, has a word of caution.”It is very important for the creatives to be packed with integrity and every creative must speak the language of high quality,” Bijoor says. Miss that and one could turn into a point of ridicule or fodder for memes and more, he warns.
It is also important to establish consulting firms as egalitarian workspaces, different from the image of being fiefdoms that operate in secrecy, given the backlash against some members of the profession for their roles in corporate scams. To that end, asking employees across the hierarchical matrix to share their stories does make for an interesting branding opportunity.
However as Sridhar points out, it would have worked better if the campaign had been crafted with greater thought. He recalled a campaign for Sapient in 2016 where the ad asked for troublemakers to sign up for a job. “It conveyed we do not want people who are yes men, but troublemakers who ask uncomfortable questions,” he said.
KPMG’s campaign has also raised several eyebrows over its timing. Given the regulatory spotlight that audit firms in India are under. But that may just be reading too much into a campaign, said Bijoor. “The timing may give one that impression but this looks like a KPMG 25 years in India campaign,” he added.