Celebrating 10 years with Bayer on August 1, 2018 triggered a slideshow of wonderful memories. I am fortunate to have had opportunities to work in various locations, functions and teams which have helped me develop professional and personal facets. What makes this 10 year journey so fascinating is to share the passion for innovation in every aspect which helps in creating value for our customers and society, thus living “Science for a Better Life” every day.
There is one experience which stands out in particular. While formulating the marketing communication strategy for the biggest brand of hybrid rice seeds –Arize, we wanted to create an environment where people talk about the brand essence of Arize- Better Rice Better Life. I wanted to build an emotional story around brand Arize to strengthen the bond which Arize already had. As with every story there was a hero and a problem. In this case the hero was obvious, Arize, and the problem was large number of kids dropping out of the schools (due to lack of resources). This was more prominent in hybrid rice growing geographies (backed by the fact that rice is a labor intensive crop). The solution, we realized lay in the problem itself. This was the inspiration for the origin of “A for Arize” story.
“A for Arize” aimed to create awareness about education and support students (belonging to varied backgrounds) financially through scholarships.
The campaign was unusual wherein a life science company focused much more on the impact of social importance. School events became an instant hit among the farmers and their children so much so that kids were chanting A for Arize instead of A for Apple. We received many encouraging compliments from the farmers. We had many impressions on print and digital media, where the brand was positively talked about. Every story of a student winning struck a chord in the farmers’ hearts.
The management at Bayer was also excited about the story and it was widely appreciated globally. Almost all internal media in Bayer covered “A for Arize”. “Rural Marketing Association of India” also took notice of this campaign and declared it one of the most impactful marketing campaigns for social cause in the rural space. I was also recognized as one of the “25 most talented young rural marketing professionals” in the industry for 2018. This recognition meant a lot as it was coming from an external agency where our work was appreciated and more importantly it was impacting social lives of our farmers. Icing on the cake was when recently our team was recognized as country level Baychamps for 2018 under Bayer's new appreciation framework. The acknowledgement of our efforts means a great deal to me.
I appreciate the trust displayed by the company and their flexibility towards fresh ideas and experimentation. Teamwork, motivation, flexibility, cooperation – for some of us, these are just phrases. When I worked on this campaign, however, I understood what the differentiating factor at Bayer is.
At Bayer, these not just catchphrases, this is a way of life. And while this is just one example being cited where I appreciated what Bayer stands for, we come across numerous anecdotes where the phrases and values have become part of us.
A decade spent at Bayer, for me, makes me realize that I have enriched my life. I really look forward to the next chapter in this story and view the future with unhindered optimism.