What brings you to India?
My visit to India is to discuss the digital future and the work that we are doing for the region. We currently have small operations in Bangalore. We are looking at expanding it in the near future. We are also looking at opportunities in mobile.
If we compare the digital space globally, where exactly do you think India lies?
In my opinion, the markets to look at now are India, China and Indonesia. But in my opinion India, looking at the trend and growth, is a really exciting place to be with the power that social and mobile is getting. It’s growing rapidly. I think the mobile opportunity in India is massive. The people here use mobile not just for making calls but to get other content as well, and that shows that the opportunity here is enormous.
How do you think digital is evolving, in India and globally?
The digital space is evolving rapidly. We are reaching a place in the market where location-based advertisements will be primary for a brand. Traditionally brands advertised and that was it, now without the use of technology a brand cannot work. The content today for brands need to be personalised and there needs to be data that helps people to find, search and also recommend. This is one trend that is being found globally and in India as well. Secondly, something which is very relevant for the area and also for the region is that social media and digital is all about technology and the innovations through technology. The future of digital lies in creating factual content that provides more value to the consumers. Due to this the content in mobile is very important for the future as well.
What according to you is the reason that we are still not seeing a very strong digital case study come out of India?
The body of work according to me in India is quite good; the reason that we don’t see global recognition is that there is a lack of path-breaking, interesting work coming out of India as it is in some of the other markets. But according to me that is about to change. The opportunity for people to create stuff with the help of technology at a lower cost than in other markets gives India an edge over others. This will help the population to create something special with involvement and on a massive scale. So, I think it’s just a matter of time.
Is there a lack of differentiation between digital and social media campaigns?
Digital has traditionally been brand-funded one way communication. We are shifting from the digital paradigm where we notify about the brand, to a spectrum where brands need to create stories to involve a consumer and stories with which a consumer can relate. Now the brands need to have an interactive engagement with the consumers and that brings into light social media.
Is the showcase of creativity difficult when it comes to digital? Since digital focuses on interaction,
is this a limitation for some brands?
If we look around the world, some of the best work in digital has been done by the most unconventional brands in digital space. I don’t think the issue is in the channel format, I think it’s in the minds of the marketers. A lot of big marketing companies out there are still not able to see digital/social, it’s seen as an add-on to the other communication work that you are doing. And the organisations are not quick to change this overnight.
Digital (and more so social) serve as a platform for all voices, positive as well as negative. Does this place too much power in the hands of a consumer?
I think it can have a very positive effect on brand value if managed correctly. It can however come back and bite you if your brand claims and promises are too farfetched and have no relation with the reality. This is directly related to your digital space not being handled properly. The good thing that has become a trend with digital is that brands have to live up to their claims. Digital leaves no scope to escape. Brands which are not able to deliver what they claim are easily exposed by social media. In social media you need to establish a protocol and process to ensure that if something does go wrong then there is a way to manage it.
I personally feel that if brands are delivering what they are promising then there is no need for them to worry about consumer power. In a case where the brand has nothing to hide, consumer interaction always pays back positively for it.
What are the challenges in handling businesses globally with extremely diverse clients?
The key to handle any business or client is to have a clear purpose for the brand, what that brand stands for. This is not a rigid framework; it’s more about the belief in what the brand does. An agency needs to focus on everything related to the brand, right from the logos being used correctly. The biggest challenge that any brand has is the local market peculiarity. Each market is very different and we need to understand the role of that brand in each market. For this, we have key people working across markets to have a point of view on each.