Media is at a place where India can share a lot of innovation with the rest of the world. I also really enjoy the sophistication in the market. Indians are leading the way in marketing leadership. Indian talent is extraordinary; the best talent in the world comes out of India.
With the acquisition of ACS, we now offer a full range of business process and IT outsourcing services. Services now account for more than 55 per cent of our revenues globally. This is Xerox’s transition and transformation to the back-office market leader. In India, it is a combination of document management services, innovative technology products and channel businesses that are driving growth and profitability for Xerox.
A lot of our clients see mobile and digital as areas where they should be investing in, however, they are still somewhat sceptical as it is difficult to measure the RoI and impact. Hence, the budgets aren’t as large and the spends still go the traditional way. I don’t think brands and markets are utilising the medium as much as they should, but at the same time there is some great work happening in terms of quality.
The PR industry is evolving from being a media relations function to a strategic marketing and communications discipline. Our work is much more complex than what it used to be, which is why we are moving from being generalists to specialists. It is no longer possible for one person to be good at every aspect of communications, which is the rationale for our G4 redesign. We have moved from a vertical hierarchy of generalists to four communities of specialists. We still have a long way to go. But that is the future.
Indian design and retail must prepare for the new age, where the quality and line of products, the presentation of shops and the role of technology are becoming highly influential. Design and branding will be of enormous help in creating greater impact and brand loyalty of customers.
A large part of the media today doesn’t know how to handle products that are a mix of pharma and consumer products. They are good at talking about purely FMCG products. You have to marry science and consumer understanding as there is a thin edge of sensitivity. Media agencies struggle with this. The other challenge is that the media space is becoming very expensive and you are reaching out to the same eyeballs.
Unless people who are below you make you feel unsecure, you don’t progress. I don’t compete with my peers, I compete with younger people all the time, I always hire people who make me feel jealous and insecure, and I feel that I should compete with them in one last race. Unless people below you grow, you don’t grow, which means you are stagnating and regressing.
Big Data doesn’t necessarily tell the truth, it can be manipulated. I am not saying that statistics and research are not valid. If the data is good and can be used in the correct way to give you insights, not answers, then I am fine with it. The lie of Big Data is that it gives you answers. It doesn’t. Big Data gives you insights, from which you need to derive insights. It doesn’t tell you as a marketer or an agency ‘go do that’, which is what people think. It also keeps people away from using their instincts and common sense at times.
The market growth for India is going to be 8-9 per cent, which is consistent with last year. We see ourselves being ahead of that by two times… In the coming year, you can expect more change, more dynamic partnerships, more ideas, experience, automations, and addressability from us.
The coming year is a tough one since it is Election year. It is a year where one has to have nerves of steel, you have to be stable; a lot of policies are going to be announced, one has to realistic about one’s ambitions, in my opinion, you cannot be very aggressive. We will continue making inroads into new clients and be cautiously optimistic, and will be watching what happens in the political scenario that impacts the economy.
Grey was synonymous with Nirvik Singh, hopefully that needle is moving, which is also because Nirvik had never stopped me from doing anything that I wanted to do. Nothing prepares you for the role of a CEO; a new dream or nightmare walks into my office every few minutes. I am aware of the legacy I have inherited. Hopefully, I will not just raise the bar, but clear it.
As one of the youngest countries on the planet, Indian advertising has no choice but to consider their view on the way we build brands. The post-liberalisation generation is poised to be the biggest consuming class in the country and both mass and class brands will have to stay relevant to them. The other aspect of being young is their natural comfort with technology. We need to be ready to reinvent our approaches to stay relevant to them.
The Indian client continues to remain price conscious, though now willing to put more dollars behind digital than before. While the Indian brand manager comfortably spends crores on TV commercials and print advertising, she remains circumspect on digital and expects immediate ROI. In international markets, customers are willing to invest in their digital assets, 'farm' them through continuous digital spends on search, social, etc., and then enjoy the returns of the digital brand presence once it crosses a certain threshold size.
Though India is very important, but from a marketer’s point of view, China is the focus. At this moment, brands are still trying to win in China because they don’t think they have won there. To me, right now I think India should be playing at that level. But that doesn’t mean that India isn’t a priority. For most of our clients, India is a top priority market. For MEC, India is among the top ten priority markets.
I am a great believer in brilliant thinking; creativity is just the logical conclusion to brilliant thinking. If you don’t have the thinking and the real understanding of people, and an understanding of the purpose of the brand in people’s lives, you will never get to creative excellence. You will get to the execution, but you don’t get to communication. Communication is designed to work, while advertising just talks at you. We don’t have the divine right to people’s attention, we have to give them something in return for their investment.
Growing our business is paramount; the reason we cluster emerging markets the way we do is because we see them as a driver of growth for our business. The Indian market is growing and we want to grow disproportionately within the market, we are set to grow at a rapid pace. Even if the rate of growth in the market place drops in terms of GDP growth, our ability to grow is definitely there. India is our fastest growth market.
In India, you still have a market where 45 per cent of the revenue is in newspapers. And you still have a mark where television delivers massive simultaneous reach in some of the higher spending internet markets. So, the big pillars of brand communication actually remain more intact in India than in other parts of the world and distribution infrastructure, specifically organised retail, exists to a much larger degree in India than in other parts of the world.
Social engagement is going to drive brands. What you do with social is build brand love, advocacy and mindshare in a powerful manner. If you can start to marry your top-of-the-funnel engagement with your bottom-of-the-funnel performance marketing activity, it will get very exciting. Moving from spray-and-pray mass communication to highly targeted, ROI-oriented communication, you will see a much more sophisticated and financially aligned marketer.
The beauty of social is it tells where people are right now, so with the help of analytics we can predict where they can be. The advantage to marketers is that they can give consumers what they want, before they know they even want it. The process of connecting the right consumer to the right product at the right place, which earlier normally took three weeks, now takes 500 milliseconds; that is a game-changer, that is the power of social.
I accept there is a roadblock for broadcasters when it comes to carriage fees and all of us are bleeding. We have discussed this with the multisystem operators and we are getting 35-50 per cent discount on carriage fees as compared to last year. Post the first phase of digitisation, we have been getting this discount and are expecting the same discount in the second phase as well. The discount from both the phases will give major savings to broadcasters.