'Digital is here for a long haul'

e4m recently unveiled the Impact Digital Power 100 List. The event was attended by top business leaders, who shared why digital will be a powerful tool to connect with consumers in the future

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 29, 2021 7:07 PM

Last few months saw the world change unprecedentedly. Covid 19 sent everyone home and altered lives overnight. One such big change that the pandemic brought about is the shift to online. From groceries to medicines and from clothes to jewelleries, everything is being bought online and the habit of visiting physical stores is fast changing. With the change in consumer lifestyle, changes the marketing trends. So as consumers shifted online, so did more and more brands.

Not that digital marketing was not growing before Covid hit the world, but the pandemic accelerated this growth. And with a massive increase in online sales, businesses expect this shift to be intense and stay here for a long haul. In fact, marketers are looking at the digital wave as a breakthrough that will make the medium one of the most powerful tools to connect with consumers in the future.

Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited, sees this shift to the digital world as an opportunity “for traditional media to adopt digital technologies to reach out to more Indians with better information.”

“This epidemic has accelerated the digital journey and provided it the much needed acceleration. We need to leverage digital technology to make a fundamental shift in the quality of education, healthcare, creating new business models which in turn can create jobs. This is an opportunity for us to leapfrog and become the world leaders in advanced manufacturing, harnessing data, analytics, and AI. Digital, not just from the lens of communication, has today the power to change the entire country,” said Mehta at an event organised by exchange4media to unveil the popular Impact Digital Power 100 List.

“I’m pleased that HUL started working on the re-imagination agenda five years back, with the entire idea is to use data and technology to bring about a profound change in how we interact with the consumers and give them a better experience. We have put data and technology at the heart of our business model. This is a massive opportunity for the Indian IT industry to move up the value chain, for traditional media to adopt digital technologies to reach out to more Indians with better information. We should use the low-cost of data combined with the increased penetration of low-cost smartphones, and use them with this massive amount of data for the greater public wellbeing. We should protect privacy but treat data as a national asset,” Mehta shared.

The pandemic hit businesses across sectors, speeding up their adoption of digital technologies by several years. In a short span of few months, the heath crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies do business.

When it comes to digital adoption, ITC Limited has been one of the leaders. According to Hemant Malik, Divisional CEO, Foods Business, ITC Limited, his teams have “taken very aggressively to this format for all across brands."

“We have believed in trying and testing out newer solutions, we believed that this is the new world. Digital is the new way of marketing, and there are new learnings that are coming in,” Malik added.

So formidable has been the digital wave that even the hospitality industry, which has traditionally been a high-touch sector, quickly responded to the situation and took to the online medium.

Says Ritesh Agarwal, CEO, OYO Rooms, “The hospitality industry went from being a high-touch sector to being contactless. The pandemic gave us a lens into the future and we have learned to never let a crisis go to waste. At OYO, it has allowed us to re-assess and reflect that the power of technology, data, and innovation create industry-first measures. This will allow us to adapt to the new normal, making 2021 a year of OYO’s resurgence. With Covid vaccine, I’m excited about the possibilities 2021 has to offer while we as an industry charred a new footpath.”

The Impact Digital Power 100 List honours business leaders who have helped propel the digital ecosystem in India.

Prasoon Joshi, CEO & CCO, McCann Worldgroup India, who featured on the list, also graced the event.  

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