"Digital advertising will slowly start moving away from social media this year"
Prasad Ajgaonkar, CEO of IRealities, on the organisation's 23-year-long journey, the fact that one needs real intelligence to know where to apply Artificial Intelligence and the power of marrying content and technology
iRealities, incorporated in 1994, has been providing corporate solutions for clients by combining two of the most powerful forces in media: content and technology. After spending over two decades in the market, the company now wants to move beyond typical content space and try its hands at creating hyper-local and live content. “The company formulates solutions for its clients only after carefully considering how it will impact the client and all other stakeholders,” said Prasad Ajgaonkar, CEO of iRealities.
Ajgaonkar also spoke of how the company has emerged a winner over the last 23 years and how technology and content are its major strengths.
Since you're not the only player in this market, what are your key differentiators?
In the last 23 years, iRealities has evolved from being a strong technology company to a digital marketing powerhouse for agencies and large portals. We are now using our experience to amalgamate all our services to offer power-packed content solutions for brands across different requirements such as marketing, training, image building, etc. We believe brands need consistent communication, driven by content, across all internal and external touch-points. Hence, we are the only agency that offers an entire gamut of communication-driven content through solid in-house resources like animation, filmmaking and strong digital understanding.
Our deep and distinct understanding of technology, content and strategy provides us with an edge over other entities which are split up in silos and have multiple thought processes running simultaneously. These are our key differentiators.
In a market like India, what should one bear in mind while formulating strategies for brands?
With the proliferation of mobile devices and the opening up of bandwidth by mobile companies, the consumers today are consuming a lot of content and the market is slowly moving towards convergence. Today, there is really no difference between corporate and consumer content, with B2B and B2C communication leading towards a converging point. It’s now no more “this is a website” and “this is a film.” It is a combined communication strategy which uniformly engages the consumer through his or her content consumption journey.
In this converging reality, it is important to have expertise in understanding how to optimally use technologies of content distribution and dissemination and to extract best results from the creative execution. This is where the market is heading and this is our core area of expertise. We are successfully implementing this approach with many Fortune 500 companies and have achieved outstanding results. Which is why you need to have a deep understanding of both mediums. At iRealities, we have a vast exposure to technology and creativity
India has always been a unique market due to its diversity. What is the strategy that has worked for you and your clients over the years?
Our strategy has always been to continuously innovate across diverse parameters for staying ahead of the curve. Our alignment with clients is very deep with an average engagement span of seven to 10 years. We don’t believe in templating solutions as we consider each brand and each communication unique. Our process of self-evolution helps us to foresee and customise consumer engagement solutions, which are missed out by other agencies that believe in a “one-size-fits-all" strategy.
With such a rapid advancement in technology, how do you see content marketing five years down the line?
With technology evolving at a breakneck speed, one really does not know the next big thing that will take prominence in the future. We can look at a shorter window, where content is going to be self-evolving and organic. It is possible that there will be no demarcation of a “content producer” in the near future, but companies will seed the content and let it evolve on its own. In the next five years, the evolution of Augmented Reality, mixed reality and Virtual Reality will witness consumers themselves being characters in the content and actively participating in evolving the content instead of purely consuming content.
I strongly believe that you need real intelligence to know where to apply Artificial Intelligence. The ecosystem of content will be very large and diversified with newer players emerging for different roles.
How do you see digital media, specifically content marketing, evolving in future? What are the top three trends you foresee for 2018?
In 2018, digital advertising will begin to move away from social media and search platforms and become more personal with the consumer. A lot of brands will initiate customized multilingual content-driven engagement on identified platforms with non-toxic content. Ads may no longer be ads but will evolve into product engagement sessions. A lot of brand-owned content destinations will be created, where the brands are in control of the content while offering more intimate communication to existing and prospective customers.
What are the future plans for iRealities?
We will be launching our brand called iRealities Live, which will create proprietary content through events. We call this Ted-next Generation. iRealities will start telling stories of everybody by getting into more interactive and more engaging content. We will also be launching the iRealities Institute, which will be a top-class institute creating industry-ready talent for digital media and content industry by ensuring hands-on training experience for a student on live projects.
Finally, we will be scaling our operations globally with a focus on GCC countries, the US and other European countries.
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