Human-centered is treating employees as the most valuable assets of the company.
By Fiona Chou, Senior Vice President of Corporate Business Development & Communication, iKala
As anyone who works at iKala will know, "Human-Centered" is the core of iKala's culture and vision. However, some may not know the circumstances that created the concept of "Human-Centered", and how it became the core ideal that drives iKala forward.
I joined iKala at the beginning of 2019. At the time, one of my tasks was to help rebrand the iKala group as "One iKala". Before I came aboard, there was no specific person in charge of branding, public affairs, or corporate communications. Because of this, even though the company had a lot of experience creating new products, there was a relative lack of ability to narrate and promote the story of its brand.
In the past, my experience with corporate brand strategy research and practice has taught me that 90% of companies know little about branding beyond naming their products and describing their functions. That is not true branding. True branding is about fostering a partiality in the minds of clients and customers; so that, in addition to the benefit they gain from buying the product, there is an added value. To the client and customer, a good brand is a sense of trust; a cherished asset; a guarantee. Therefore, before we can create the iKala brand, we need to understand the core values of the company, including the "brand identity", "business philosophy", and "corporate vision". Especially since iKala has such a broad range of products used in different industries and regions, if we did not keep a set of ideals as the unifying basis, it would be easy to lose focus in our messaging.
So, I conducted interviews with our CEO, Sega, to understand why he founded the company; what he learned along the way; and how iKala is unique among other AI-related companies. Sega explained that to his mind, the greatest technological revolution since the Industrial Revolution has been the development of AI. This inspiring new tech should be used to augment humanity's capabilities. Instead of replacing humans, it should be a step towards ensuring our happiness and advancing our society.
This is the basis of iKala's corporate vision of being "Human-Centered".
What's more, to inspire trust, a good brand should adhere to the same rules of character as a human being. That is to say, there needs to be "consistency" and "constancy" in its brand image. If we put iKala under a microscope, we will see that despite the evolution of its products and technologies over time—from cloud-based karaoke services to streaming social platforms, to audio-video platform software services for enterprises, to cloud-based infrastructure, to AI marketing and business technologies—in the end, all these products and services were a combination of technology and humanity, which helped people create more value and achieve greater influence. In other words, they were the actualization of the "Human-Centered" technological empowerment.
Certainly, some have said that "Human-Centered" sounded like a marketing slogan, while others have raised questions about how our vision became the core value of our corporate culture.
In fact, if one looked at the operating guidelines iKala has followed in the past, one could hardly fail to come to the conclusion that the entire operation has always been centered around people. This can be seen from our internal rules and regulations: including our "Peer Review", "Peer Interview", and "Peer Bonus" systems. This is also evident from iKala's six "Human-Centered" core values, which guide the company to this day. Through these guidelines, we hope every member of our team will be able to turn theory into practice when going about their daily tasks. Together, we will build the ideal work environment and corporate identity.
If we turned our gaze inward, we would see that "Human-Centered" has always existed in iKala's DNA. It's only that, as the company has grown and prospered, the unchanging culture of iKala has advanced with the times, and we should help the company, the team, and the individuals grasp its meaning more clearly by using different methods and practices.
The Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori famously said: "Great inventions and major discoveries result from continued effort in such tedious, mundane activities." iKala's "Human-Centered" corporate vision and culture has been nurtured by the collective effort of many; by their steadfast stewardship has this beautiful flower bloomed at last.