Communication, experience, commerce and technology are our four pillars: CVL Srinivas

Srinivas, India Country Manager, WPP, shares with exchange4media how he expects the industry to benefit from WPP Commerce 2019 held in India for the first time

by Misbaah Mansuri
Published - Oct 17, 2019 8:33 AM Updated: Oct 17, 2019 12:25 PM

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CVL Srinivas WPP India

Needless to say that 2019 has been a year of awakening towards a new paradigm that is taking shape all around us. Old rules simply don’t work. Regardless of size and segment, brands now need to be nimble and achieve ever-faster speed to market themselves. They are now expected to take an active stance on social issues, satisfy consumer demands for ultra-transparency and sustainability, and most importantly, have the courage to self-disrupt their identity in order to win over the new generations of customers. Economic expansion is happening across Asia, with 2019 being the year that India is taking the centre stage as its economy is predicted to grow at 8 per cent a year between 2018 and 2022.

So, bringing in the deep and broad perspective of WPP and other experts in the field, the high-powered WPP Commerce 2019 kicked off on October 16 in Mumbai in a half-day format to showcase WPP’s holistic e-com offering. It will be looking at today’s realities and how they drive future trends; gaining insights; analysing the role of design, experience, shopper targeted marketing, direct to consumer, measurement and analytics. exchange4media caught up with CVL Srinivas, WPP India Country Manager, to talk about the summit.

Edited excerpts below:

What was the starting point of WPP Commerce and getting it to India?

We are excited to host WPP Commerce in India for the very first time. We have seen rapid growth within the segment of commerce and how it is challenging for businesses to navigate the landscape and make intelligent decisions and scale investments across the many platforms, apps and tools that exist. We work closely with many leading marketplaces, platforms and technology leaders and this puts us in a strong position to share such knowledge. Our aim is to simplify the process for others and enable a frictionless and more contextual commerce journey.

Can you share some insights on the themes it will cover and its relevance with today's ever-evolving landscape?

Given the speed at which the industry is evolving, there is a whole spectrum to make sense of. We will be sharing a lot of interesting data and technology knowledge around the unique preferences of consumers, from your millennials to Gen Z to mom and pop.

WPP Commerce will also present relevant case studies from both local and global perspectives. Participants can learn about the latest trends across global markets through our international speakers from VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson and Geometry.

From a local perspective, WPP specialists like GroupM will delve into areas like how to optimise a consumer’s buying journey, understanding enterprise-level eCommerce solutions, predicting online sales through analytics, conversational commerce, how to bridge the gap between offline and online and more.

WPP partners like Adobe, Google, and InMobi will also present insights on topics around shopper engagement, personalisation, customer intelligence and scalable platforms, omnichannel shopping and in-app marketing for mobile commerce.

How do you expect the industry to benefit from this?

Indian consumers have their unique preferences, from the way they purchase to the way they interact with marketplaces and platforms. It is important for businesses and brands to learn how to differentiate and stand out to cater to consumers’ needs. We will share learning areas that can help people connect the dots. For example, how content, experience and commerce is relevant to your communication strategy in a connected world. The spectrum today is especially broad, eg from Instagram and content on a brand website to eCommerce platform content.

How can brands deal with the changing digital ecosystem and inevitability for them to evolve to be able to keep up with their competitors?

Change is a constant in today’s marketplaces and constant learning is essential for brands to keep track of the competition and keep up. Coupled with data and the right technology, the right creative approach also shines in enabling brands to stand out from the crowd. Collaboration is also important. WPP agencies work alongside many leading marketplaces, platforms and technology leaders. This is how we are able to stay relevant across the whole process, from building commerce applications to providing support through data, analytics, content and media.

A lot of brands and agencies have this aspiration of being creative but are struggling to get there. What do you think is holding them back?

Often, it’s hard to step out of the box, when there’s a traditional brand image and messaging to hold on to. The process is made easier when one understands their target audiences and their needs. Today, there’s all sorts of data, consumer intelligence, platforms and tools to support that process and to make that creative leap easier for brands.

What are the areas WPP is increasingly investing in as we go forward?

Data, technology, creative leadership and our people. We would like to take on innovative ideas that inspire audiences, build brands and help our clients grow. Our four pillars revolve around communications, experience, commerce and technology and we are focused on areas critical to delivering value and growth.

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