Guest Column: Technology is primed to be yoked to the creative cart: Shubhranshu Singh

From a business standpoint, recognising a trend presupposes an intent that comes to fruition faster, stronger and better thanks to the trend

e4m by Shubhranshu Singh
Published: Mar 1, 2018 8:57 AM  | 6 min read

The word 'trend' itself originates from an Old Viking word 'trendan' which means a warm sea current that runs in a particular direction. The Viking warriors out on a raid would see one and put their rowing boats on it to minimize effort and 'ride the trend' of warm rushing water.

Therefore, from a business standpoint, recognizing a trend presupposes an intent that comes to fruition faster, stronger and better thanks to the trend.

Trends emerge from social evolution, technological disruptions, demographic churn, etc. They also have a life cycle. They are reflective of maturing social norm, business imperatives and cultural mood. But that they represent the force and inevitability of an idea whose time has come, is not to be doubted.

Here are some of the acknowledged trends that will drive and influence the period of the next couple of years in Indian marketing:

Youngest First

Gen Z is the largest pool of valuable customers. Nearly 400 million Indians were born after the year 2000. That is simply a staggering number that will upturn all presuppositions. The 'young as majority' trend will continue till 2040 as the peak birth rate has been achieved only in the recent past. We are, at once, dealing with a population of mammoth size that has no link with the past. A new definition of almost everything to do with signifiers, cultural icons, language and tone shall have to be attempted.

It is about the experience, stupid

You Only Live Once is the prime social sentiment with both Millennials and Gen Z. Fly at full throttle. Career genuflection or the hunger for possessions come much later in the priority list.

Brand offerings therefore need to have 'Joie De Vivre' as their essence. A distant, superintended interaction devoid of intimacy will not make customers out of samplers.

The brand needs a purpose and mission

Mere success is not enough. A better tomorrow must trump meaningless consumption. The threats to us as a species on this planet now have a sense of finality and unavoidable urgency. Brands and businesses are often seen more in the vanguard of action than governments of sovereign nations. Consumers will reward activism with preference.

Hyperlocal must coexist with Global

Rapid growth in urbanization and urban centres means an organic ecosystem that demands and provides a viable market for 'my city, my world, my plan.' At the same time, emotional separation with consumers anywhere in the world is shrinking. Global consumers, in terms of mind set, who are residents of hyperlocal viable economic units - that's the mosaic.

Pop strata is not a necessary or sufficient filter for mapping consumer typologies.

Influencers matter, but not as hired mercenaries. A relationship of true conviction and advocacy must exist

Last week a tweet from Kylie Jenner about Snapchat made the stock tumble throughout trading hours and close 6 per cent down which meant US $1.3 billion of value eroded in a single day. Influencers have responsibilities. They can create serious value, cause awareness, sampling and even get an opt-in for their followers onto a brand program.

Vanity metrics will vapourize if still about the interruptive

It has to be about stable, scalable and share gain enablers. Performance on social is great for priming up internal 'I deserve a promotion' videos but business value seems elusive or unidentifiable. There is little direct and sole attribution. Take all claims to the contrary cum grano salis the value that is emerging clearly is fostering a sense of community, increasing interactions, building dialogue and getting real time feedback. This is worth its weight in gold. Why would interruptive plain vanilla advertising get prime mind space on digital or social?

Technology will finally be yoked to the Creative cart

Some things seem destined to exist for seminars and powerpoint slides on future plans. Everyone seems to know of them. No one seems to have done anything more than tinkering. Then suddenly, one or more of these explode when critical mass is reached. Then, there is no one you know who doesn't claim to be the pioneer who started it all. On a serious note, what commitment in terms of quantum of funds is backing VR, AR, AI out of the sum? Any creative renditions of marketing outreach and amplification on scale that have relied on these? Q.E.D.

Not one but many in the Marketing business

No one agency relationship brings expertise across domains. While marketing operations on the client side are loath to proliferate agency relationships, the problem is of specific skills and competencies. 
In a way, India is still insulated given our poor ad spend as a percentage of global spends and the traditional bastions have not been breached. But the Barnum Woods are moving.

The CMO - CFO - CIO troika will ask for more operating entities to work and partner with. The days of distinction between marketing consultants, production houses, creative agencies, digital shops, data and insight mavens and designers are coming to an end as marketing becomes more about continuity and experience and a web of associations than smart advertising alone.

Programmatic -Personalized- But When?

Unanimity in the manifesto being passed around yet no concrete tidal wave has hit our beaches yet. Why not?

Advertising shorter than a yawn

For all its vilification, the 30 sec regime is so institutionalized that it is staying on well past its sunset time. Yawn.

You Tube's 6 sec unit struck root. Advertisers came on board. Lethargy and inertia cannot restrain business need beyond a time. Against the full blast of stormy winds from an angry Ad world, it has struck root.

Think 5-10 seconds. It is possible. Perhaps, inevitable.

In summary, my list is only an affirmation as a practitioner of what seems here to stay. Some curve balls may be thrown and may be unanticipated. Such entropy can only help in stirring things positively. The method seems only to be to let the best ideas emerge, win and flourish.

Some corporate careers may survive on proclamations and spin but corporate enterprises will need commitment, experimentation, practice and belief.

Don't forget, the future is the very next second.

Shubhranshu Singh is a marketer based out of Mumbai.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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