In a way, the pandemic has brought us all together. We are trying to make a clearer sense of a world that’s rapidly changing and find our footing in the emerging new normal. When confronted by such uncertainty, I find that one’s core values always take front and centre, and act as our best guide.
In Robert McKee’s words, “True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.” That’s exactly what drove us at Zoho to launch the “Made in India. Made for the World” campaign. We wanted to let our customers, employees, partners, and the world know that we stand true to our values even during times of crises.
Mastering the art of software building with years of earnest practice
At Zoho, we have always seen software as our craft. Like artisans who patiently spend years learning, revising and refining their art form, we staunchly believe that delivering transformative software takes time. During my time at Zoho, I have seen countless inquisitive minds come together to work tirelessly, perfect their skills, and build by hand a set of thoughtfully engineered products that are serious about revolutionizing the way our customers run their businesses. The TVC visuals that portray various craftspeople from around the world (India, Mexico, China, Kenya, Egypt, Japan) is an ode to this conviction.
We also see the consecutive frames of different art forms as an expression of cultural diversity, which is important for any ecosystem to survive and thrive. Nowhere is this truer than in India. The background score and the voice-over underpin this emotion. The South Indian classical music with Carnatic raga ‘Neelambari’ (composed by renowned singer and composer Vijay Prakash) and the rustic North Indian accent together represent the unique confluence of heterogeneous customs, traditions, and values seen in our country.
As globalization enters a new, digital-driven era, this tight-knit network of local communities that are each rooted in their own cultural beliefs and indigenous values is on the cusp of dilution due to population displacement. Particularly, as young people in rural areas continually relocate themselves to the urban cities out of compulsion or by mere choice, small towns and villages end up taking the brunt of the resulting culture consolidation. Hundreds of rural communities are succumbing to abandonment.
Revitalizing our local communities
Our efforts to reverse this trend began way back in 2011 when we set up a humble office in a small village in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu. We believed deeply in the power of ‘Transnational Localism’ – thinking global and building local. Rather than bringing more and more people to the cities to build software, we wanted to take the technological know-how to their very doorsteps and create world-class solutions from rural areas. Today, nearly 500 people work from the Tenkasi office; most of them were hired locally and trained. We even launched our customer support software (Zoho Desk) from there. That’s why we filmed the closing shot of the TVC in Tenkasi to symbolise the success of our very first rural office.
Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, we have expanded our efforts on a larger scale to serve the local communities better. Our first initiative was to open more offices in different villages, which will increase opportunities for the local youth as well as allow our existing employees to return to their home-towns and families. Today, we have about ten functioning rural offices across Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh. We have even opened one in the US, and more are in the pipeline.
In times of adversity, not all of us are in the same boat to survive the storm. Now more than ever, individuals and businesses who have been fortunate enough need to lead by example. Zoho endeavours to revive the ruralscape, and serve our community, country and the world. Our vision is to forge an interconnected network of self-reliant and prosperous local communities that celebrate our heritage and also possess rich global know-how, which forms the essence of our ad’s tagline: Made in India. Made for the World.