Companies & agencies need to use hyperlocal insights: Vivek Merani

At the e4m Digital 40 under 40 Summit, Merani, MD at Magnon eg+, said companies need to work with vernacular content creators as well as pivot their own messaging to different vernaculars

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 15, 2021 11:24 AM  | 3 min read

From Mad Men drinking references to encouraging the audience to stand up and move around their seats to “add steps” to the health trackers many were wearing, Vivek Merani, Managing Director at Magnon eg+, kept his speaker session at the recently held e4m 40 Under 40 Summit both engaging and evocative.

Speaking on finding inspiration and how digital marketers can stay innovative in a world full of clichés, Merani began his vision of the future by first looking at the past. Noting how the Greeks held their philosophical debates and symposia after getting drunk, he said the first cliché was that advertisers got drunk together and brainstormed ideas for brands, though the pandemic and work-from-home arrangement has put paid to that idea.

“Over the course of this pandemic, I read a few books on how to innovate, because as advertisers and marketers, that’s something we constantly have to do: innovate and develop new ideas. And a book I’d suggest is ‘Where good ideas come from’, which really inspired and spoke about how slow hunches lead to ideas,” said Merani, noting that these are small insights from different places that eventually collide and form a big idea.

Speaking about how often the best innovations are inspired by things happening around you, Merani said that the theory of “adjacent possible” by Stuart Kaufmann can be particularly useful to new generations of digital marketers as the industry continues to evolve at a fast pace.

“Would YouTube have worked in 1990? It’s always been a great concept, but the internet penetration and speed was nowhere near making it viable. So adjacent possible are the places where you can innovate in the next phase, as logistics and surroundings make it possible, and that is what needs to be done,” said Merani, referring to how digital marketers can develop new ideas and campaigns for brands in a rapidly moving market.

Merani elaborated on how every brand wants marketers to do something innovative, and every year the digital marketing space sees more clichés with keywords like consumer journey, UGC, visual design, and block chain always being added, leading advertising professionals to a constant race to keep up.

“We’re seeing all these clichés, or nomenclature if you prefer, coming together now in the digital space and that’s where we will adapt,” he said, adding that data points like Google show that 90 per cent new internet users in India use the medium in regional languages, and it is what will drive marketing in the near future.

“We’ve also been told to focus on rurban (rural + urban) populations, who largely use vernacular.  As per consumer segmentation, users speak in 22 languages, whereas brands use only one or two. In that sense, news channels are far more evolved than brands or ad agencies, and that evolution needs to happen for us,” said Merani, concluding that companies and agencies need to use hyperlocal insights and work with vernacular content creators as well as pivot their own messaging to different vernaculars to keep innovating and finding inspiration. 

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