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Paying lip service to digital will be a hugely lost opportunity: Charulata Ravikumar

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Paying lip service to digital will be a hugely lost opportunity: Charulata Ravikumar

Charulata Ravikumar, CEO (India) at Razorfish, feels 2014 was a landmark year for e-commerce and the digital domain and feels that digital agencies will go beyond short-term, tactical thinking to a more strategic outlook. In a free wheeling chat she sums up 2014 as “A year of resurrection in India – politically, socially and economically and a year where society, government and industry pledge to take their roles more seriously”

What according to you, were the five key highlights for the industry in 2014?

India is getting over its fears and apprehensions about e-commerce and people are happy to experiment with on-line purchases. However, this phenomenon is yet restricted to travel, fashion, books and some electronics. For this to become a way of life may take longer.

Mobile has catalyzed digital in a big way. Its usage is now at 50 per cent of all internet traffic, it’s clear that people want to multitask much more than before and want the world in their hands always.

With brands moving to become content publishers, the net has expanded and the philosophy that brands have to interweave themselves into the consumer’s lives is only now beginning to take shape and be taken very seriously. However, there is more irrelevant content being generated and clearly there is a need for brands to do accurate content with a strategy that generates consumer thrill leading to sharing and creating conversations around it.

Finally, the power has moved to the consumer. The many facets of digital interplay has made brands conscious of the fact that consumers will reject faster than before and also become true co-creators of brands… if brands are smart enough to know how to nudge them in the right direction.

What were the top developments in 2014? Have they been positive during the year?

The tide of a new hope and focus on governance and productivity will definitely seep into the corporate world as well. This positive trend is bringing the optimism back into industry and consumer spends.

A very significant change is that good talent is once again looking at the industry and we are going to be able to strengthen the talent pool all around.

The benchmarks of performance will now be at a much higher level and mediocrity will get edged out as the industry gets more and more demanding.

What are the challenges faced in 2014 by the digital industry and are there any points of improvement?

Digital is still nascent in India and with that experience too is at its early stages. The global agencies are able to skill up and scale up much better and faster with global experts bringing in best practices and skills development to emerging markets.

Brands, too, are on the upward curve on how to leverage digital to their advantage and not see it as an experimental fancy. Paying lip service to digital will only be a hugely lost opportunity to transform your business and business transformation can only be achieved by a seamless integration of technology, media and creative and applying it to identify the future of the business.

How can we exhibit the year 2014?

A year of resurrection in India – politically, socially and economically and a year where society, government and industry pledge to take their roles more seriously.

What are the expectations for the digital advertising industry for 2015?

Digital agencies will be expected to go beyond one time solutions that react to tactical or short term needs. However, two kinds will continue to co-exist – the agency that helps smaller experimenters to toe-dip into digital and the end to end solutions providers that partner larger corporates to adopt digital for true business transformation.

From the government policy perspective, is there anything that needs to be implemented in 2015 that will take the industry forward?

This Government has adopted digital much faster than industry. What more do we want as policy? Clearly digitizing your business should be mandated. Yes here is scope for policies that can help iron out e-commerce and trade. But there will be no stopping consumers driving digital at a faster pace than industry can keep up.

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