Satyam Computer Services gets a new brand, Mahindra Satyam accompanied by the Mahindra flagship logo. It is not clear if the company will change its name too, as nothing is mentioned in the press release. Branding exercises can appear hyped and meaningless to some but at times, the symbolism can be quite revealing.
What does this exercise really do? For one, it tries to mute the association that the name Satyam has with unethical corporate behaviour. The name Mahindra carries a lot of weight both in India and abroad. Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman and managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, puts it well in a company statement: “This rebranding exercise symbolizes an amalgamation of the Mahindra Group’s values with Satyam’s fabled expertise…” Retaining Satyam’s name is testimony to its competence as a software company. A hybrid name gives the company time to market its new identity. Eventually, Satyam will exit the company name as its association with fraud will be difficult to shake off.
The rebranding exercise throws up another issue. Instead of Tech Mahindra’s name or logo being associated with Satyam, the main Mahindra logo has been used. This could simply be a vote of confidence for Satyam and send a reassuring message to its customers. Or it could mean a larger role for Satyam in the group’s software ambitions.