The centuries old community-based culture of India and other Asian countries is ensuring a much faster adoption of the social media by the audience in these regions than some of their more broadcast-heavy Western counterparts, according to David Kenny, managing partner of Publicis Groupe’s digital syndicate – VivaKi.
“This trend will change a lot of media: the way news is shared as it will become more of story-telling; it will change the way brands are built as it will become more trust and word-of-mouth led; and most importantly it will change the empowerment equation as people will share good and bad stories about brands,” said Kenny. “Internet being flat, community-based and tribal possibly finds a natural fit in communities across Asia and it is a matter of time when we will see digital explode like nowhere else in some of the countries here.”
While China now has as much clout as the US in the hierarchy of VivaKi, India is a part of the core group of 10 nations VivaKi has established for continued focus. “India is a large advertising market and in some ways will lead the VivaKi’s foray into certain areas specially the mobile media. Srikant Sastri, who heads VivaKi’s India operations has direct access to the global VivaKi board,” said Kenny.
While the agency is still looking at the right time to launch its newly acquired digital arm, Razorfish in India, Kenny feels that it may be sooner than later, albeit for specific clients. “For a lot of Razorfish’s clients across Asia have tremendous interest in India as a digital market and we will see the brand come in for some of those clients.”
However, the agency is all set to roll out VivaKi Nerve Centre in India in the next few months that will house search marketing tools, applications for social media, mobile applications, etc.
VivaKi has also announced plans to rebrand IMX, consolidated media buying arm of Starcom MediaVest Group, Zenith Optimedia and Solutions Digitas – as VivaKi Exchange, within the next six months. “With VivaKi Exchange we aim to grow our digital footprint to more than 20% of our total media buying,” added Kenny.