When Natarajan Chandrasekaran took over as CEO and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 2009, the IT company was known for “back office” work.
A few weeks later, Chandrasekaran ran the New York City Marathon.
Five years later, in 2014, the company signed as the title sponsor of the world’s largest marathon in the world.
A passionate long-distance runner, Chandra, as his close friends call him, has completed several marathons around the world, including Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Mumbai, Prague, Stockholm, Salzburg and Tokyo besides New York.
His passion of taking long runs has turned into a marketing strategy for the TCS, the most valuable software company in India.
Apart from the New York City Marathon, which the TCS will sponsor till at least 2021, the company is also the title sponsor of Amsterdam Marathon besides being ‘technology sponsor’ for several others worldwide.
“When I go on a business trip anywhere in the world, I go running with employees, friends and business partners. Some of my best business ideas have come during a run,” said Chandrasekaran.
“My job is very demanding, I travel 200 days in a year and constantly change between time zones. However, I make room in my diary for running every day. I am miserable if I don't get to run any day,” he added.
As the title sponsor to iconic events like New York City Marathon and Amsterdam Marathon helps TCS, which relies heavily on revenues from overseas businesses, market itself further.
About 53 per cent of the company’s earnings come from the United States and Canada, part of its overseas businesses that contribute almost 90 per cent of its total revenues.
Apart from sponsoring Mumbai and Bengaluru marathons as technology partner, marathon events in Boston, Chicago, Singapore and Berlin have also been sponsored by the TCS as technology sponsor.
The average age of a TCS workforce is 28 and marathons carry a certain ‘coolness’ factor.
And also its involvement through gadgets and technological devices in the events only help the company market itself as a tech company.
Chandrasekaran, who is also an avid photographer, was today appointed as the chairman of Tata Sons, the promoter of USD 103 billion Indian conglomerate.
Now, as the top executive of the salt-software company, how much influence Chandra brings to its marketing strategy will be something we should all be looking for.