Large chunk of our sales comes from digital: MD &CEO, Mahindra Holidays

Kavinder Singh talks about the brand’s advertising and marketing strategy and tells us how it has has played an integral role in the rise in its standalone net profit to Rs 38.55 crore

Misbaah Mansuri 21-May-2018

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd (MHRIL) recently reported a 21.15 per cent rise in its standalone net profit to Rs 38.55 crore for the quarter ended March 2017-18.  In a conversation with exchange4media, Kavinder Singh, MD & CEO, MHRIL, shares how the brand’s advertising and marketing strategy has played an integral role in the growth of the company.

“We’ve seen significant traction over the past five-six years and have reported fantastic growth in last three years. Our CAGR is in the range of 15-16%. It used to be in single digit earlier. We have almost doubled our growth over the last three years,” said Singh.

Talking about the brand’s advertising initiatives, Singh said the company releases 80-100 ad films during a year and these ads are pushed through digital platforms.

Singh let out that a large portion of the brand’s marketing budget goes in digital, followed by TV and print. “Our target group is the upper layer of India’s society,” he said.

Singh also shared that a considerably large chunk of the company’s sales now comes from digital as compared to previous years. “As much as 18% of my sales comes from advertising and communication through digital medium. This number was just 6-7% a couple of years ago,” said Singh.

He continued, “Marketing efforts play an integral role in acquiring new members as well as providing unique experiences to the existing members. It helps our company with memberships and creating memorable experiences for our members. It also helps us come up with interesting activities and promotions for engaging our existing as well as prospective members.”

Singh said the company leverages VR in their films to seamlessly transport people to holiday destinations and essay the beauty of their brand and this has been a strong draw.

The MD tells us that the advent of OTAs has been a challenge that the brand has battled successfully. “There is a significant amount of trust that people place in our brand,” Singh said.

Singh told us that the company is investing Rs 600 crore to develop 600 new units. “Going forward, the focus will be on using our digital assets in a big way to reach out to our target audience,” he concluded.

Misbaah reports on advertising industry. Based in Mumbai, she interviews industry leaders in the creative, advertising and marketing space, reports news updates in the ad space. She drives the ‘Chillout’ section, and regularly reviews ad campaigns. In the past she has reported on mainline news, travel and lifestyle.

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Ashok Amritraj honoured by the French Government

Indian producer in Hollywood & Hyde Park Entertainment Founder, Amritraj, was conferred with the French distinction of Order National du Merite for his contribution to the arts in France & the world

exchange4media Staff 20 hours ago

Ashok amritraj

Renowned Indian producer in Hollywood, Hyde Park Entertainment Founder, Ashok Amritraj, was conferred with the French distinction of Order National du Merite awarded by the President of the French Republic on December 14.

At a ceremony in Mumbai, Amritraj was presented with the Knight of the Order of Arts and of Letters (Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) medal. Present at the ceremony were French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Ambassador of France in India, H.E. Alexandre Ziegler.

The Order of Merit is part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor, and is awarded “to recognise eminent artists as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.”

Amritraj enjoyed a successful professional tennis career prior to establishing Hyde Park in 1999.  He has produced over 100 movies in the span of his 30 year career.

In 2016, Amritraj was recognised by the United Nations for his role as a committed agent of change in his native country. Amritraj was appointed by U.N. India as its first Goodwill Ambassador for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty and hunger alleviation, improvements in water and sanitation, and promoting gender equality.

“I am humbled and privileged to receive this honour. I would like to thank the government of France for the Order National Du Merite and for recognising my journey in the world of cinema. This award is a tribute to the growing cooperation between the film industries of France and India, an idea whose time has come,” expressed Amritraj.
 

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IPRCCC 2018: Panel discussion on corporate social responsibility and nation building

Industry experts from Discovery India, Centre for Social Research, Home Credit, PR HUB, Quick Relations, and The Sedibus spoke at the ninth edition of IPRCCC

exchange4media Staff 22 hours ago

IPRCCC 2018

The ninth edition of IPRCCC saw a panel discussion themed ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Nation building’, where talks revolved around how communication supports in building blocks, bridging the gap between social responsibility and corporate governance.

Eminent names amongst the panellists were Sameer Bajaj, Director - Corporate Communications and External Affairs, Discovery India; Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research; Nidhi Malik, Vice President- Communications & CSR, Home Credit; Xavier Prabhu, Founder & MD, PR HUB; PK Khurana, Chairman & MD, Quick Relations; Deepa Balasubramanian, Head of Corporate Affairs, Malaxmi Group CEO, The Sedibus. The session was chaired by Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, exchange4media Group.

Watch the video here, and scroll down to read the discussion: 

Initiating the session with how the term CSR can be made more ‘humanised’ rather than business centric, Balasubramaniam added, “Consumers identify brand through human connect and that’s what is precisely happening these days.” 

Talking about the need to redefine CSR, Prabhu added, “By saying CSR, you are already putting the corporate insight and that itself limits you from an outreach perspective. It should be changed upside down to focus more on the impact that it creates.” 

Speaking about whether brands should be more subtle when it comes to CSR and allow it to speak for itself, Malik added, “The day we stop taking CSR as a marketing tool and really take it as a social responsibility, things will change.” 

Speaking about how the whole CSR approach needs to be changed, Kumari added, “Earlier what we knew about the CSR was the foundations of the corporations. Doing some kind of a work, which nobody knew was going on. Today, it has opened up because the way the Government is looking at things like sanitation, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and so many schemes and programmes. Also, as long as you call it a responsibility, it becomes a kind of a forced thing. We can call it accountability or something that you really want to contribute to.” 

Talking about what the future holds for CSR, Bajaj said, “Results show that by 2019, 50,000 crores will be spent by corporate in CSR. This is a good indicator but it needs to go deeper and we need to be more focused”

The session moved ahead with discussion around the challenges in maintaining the ethos in the corporate hierarchy with regard to CSR. Balasubramaniam added, “It is very important that there is unison in thought when CSR is being implemented and the message does not get lost in the hierarchy.” Further, Khurana added, “Unless the communication teams understand the core values of the CSR, they cannot communicate effectively. Communication team needs to go to each and every element of the CSR activity, understand it, bifurcate it and then communicate it.” 

Talking about the need to create value beyond the business, Prabhu added, “What people are asking today is whether you are genuine in doing the CSR and is it creating the desired impact?” Talking further about the need of CSR to come from the core business belief of the business, Bajaj added, “Leadership and individuals can change but the business does not. What does your business stand for, what are the values that you live for and what is that area which you think will engage the most with your audiences and where you can create an impact will create a long term value.”

Concluding the sessions with whether companies are realising that consumers are watching them closely when it comes to CSR, Mallik added, “Developed countries like America have seen that the purchasing goes up by almost 57 per cent wherein the companies are more emotional and socially active.” 

 

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IPRCCC 2018: Panel discussion: Blurring lines between communication and marketing strategy

The panel discussion revolved particularly on every business or corporate wanting to identify their communication channel as building blocks for their marketing and communication strategy

exchange4media Staff 22 hours ago

IPRCCC 2018

At the ninth edition of India Public Relations and Corporate Communications Conference 2018 (IPRCCC) saw a panel discussion themed ‘Blurring lines between communication and marketing strategy. How to draw the distinction between the two?’

Watch the video here, and scroll down to read the discussion:

The panel was graced by Anamika Sirohi, Vice President & Head of Marketing Hindware; Archana Jain, Founder, PR Pundit; Shobha Vasudevan, Head - Corporate Communications and PR at Dell; Neelima Burra, Country Marketing Director, HP; Aditya Tandon, Marketing Head, News 18 and was chaired by Nandini Chatterjee, Executive Director and Chief Communications Officer at PWC India. 

The panel discussion revolved particularly on every business or corporate wanting to identify their communication channel as building blocks for their marketing and communication strategy. Marketing and communication works in parallel, however the lines are blurring considering the shift towards digital media communication from traditional media communication. In certain case marketing take precedence, in certain case PR take precedence.  How to define the blurring lines especially when marketing companies offer PR as part and parcel of their strategy and PR companies marketing as part of their services. Finding the right channel is a key. 

The discussion started with the opening thoughts by Chatterjee of PWC India, “Communication is important and is radically changing and the marketers are always finding the right way to communicate, to connect and gage with the audience so that they can meet the business objectives, to increase brand awareness or to get leads.” 

Further to this, all panellists agreed that communication and marketing are integrated and thus they evolved the topic to PR & Marketing. Jain of PR Pundit, believed that the best practices are born out of integrated marketing. In the old days there was so much to there was so much more on opportunities to chase and then came the whole digital space. The brand has to have a natural fit in the platform that the PR agency tries to weave the story and hence it has authenticity at the heart of it. If it is effortlessly fitting in the platform the marketers will say a yes, but because it is becoming forceful thus the lines are blurring. 

Speaking of increase in investment in branded content, Vasudevan of Dell said, “It is beginning. Authenticity is definitely the keyword here.”  

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IPRCCC 2018: Silence is golden if you can afford it & have planned for it: Rohit Bansal

Bansal, Group Head of Communications, Reliance Industries addressed a session at the ninth edition of India Public Relations and Corporate Communications Conference 2018 (IPRCCC)

exchange4media Staff 22 hours ago

Rohit Bansal

At the ninth edition of India Public Relations and Corporate Communications Conference 2018 (IPRCCC), Rohit Bansal, Group Head of Communications, Reliance Industries spoke about ‘When silence isn’t golden, responding to crises in communication’.

Watch the video here, and scroll down to read the discussion:

Explaining that silence was golden only if it was planned and strategic, Bansal said, “People are getting all kinds of information across multiple platforms; they hardly see the kind of spin that is being loaded into it. So I think silence is golden so long as you have done a lot of thinking ahead of the curve.”

“I feel silence is golden if you have done your work, you have anticipated to the point of paranoia about all the kinds of things that can be potentially thrown at you as a product, as a brand or as a service. Silence is golden so long as you can afford it and you have planned for it,” he added.

Citing example of the recent viral video featuring a food delivery man tasting food to be delivered and how brands could avoid such instances which are sometimes beyond their control, Bansal said, “There is no absolute black and white in silence vs. speaking, but there is great benefit for all of us as corporate communications leaders to know that a lot of planning can happen well before the event, and that is what we should be actually focusing on.”

Bansal also urged communications professionals to do scenario building a lot earlier in order to pre-empt situations that could have adverse impact on the brand.

“The planning has to happen much earlier. I think mistakes in such situation happen in quick succession because there is pressure to perform and to show your counter narrative. Leaderships have to understand that they need to do scenario building a lot earlier.”
 

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Tech Mahindra Foundation announces #MainBhiHero campaign

The movement aims to bridge the widening gap between India’s healthcare infrastructure and highly skilled healthcare professionals

exchange4media Staff 15 hours ago

TechMahindraFoundation

The #Mainbhihero movement, flagship initiative of Tech Mahindra Foundation, the CSR arm of Tech Mahindra Pvt. Ltd. is back with another round to encourage the underprivileged youth of our nation to take-up healthcare courses and secure jobs with leading hospitals and multispecialty as Allied Healthcare Professionals.

The movement aims to bridge the widening gap between India’s healthcare infrastructure and highly skilled healthcare professionals. Thus, it reaches out to different sections of society (mainly the low income groups) and encourages them to join paramedical courses, become allied healthcare professionals and contribute towards the country’s low ranked healthcare infrastructure.

Commenting on the movement, CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, said, “Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) is about being in a symbiotic relationship with our immediate surroundings, communities, society and the world at large.The #MainBhiHero movement, not only encourages us to further the ISR initiative and Rise for Good but also addresses the issue of skill gap faced by the industry today. I urge one and all to contribute towards this initiative that aims at creating a pool of skilled and qualified healthcare professionals.”

Speaking about the initiative, Dr. Loveleen Kacker, CEO, Tech Mahindra Foundation, says, “At the Tech Mahindra SMART Academies for Healthcare, we are trying to change the definition of the word Hero. The youth come here as students and leaves as healthcare professionals with lifelong skills, employment, and a feeling to serve and improve the healthcare services of our country. Now that's exactly like a Hero.”

India has been ranked 145 among 195 countries in Healthcare access and quality. With such a huge shortage of over 4 million Allied Healthcare Professionals, our country is fighting a new battle of its own healthcare infrastructure.

The initiative #Mainbhihero under Tech Mahindra’s SMART Academy for Healthcare creates awareness around the important role of Allied Healthcare Professionals in our country’s healthcare infrastructure.

Moreover, #Mainbhihero movement also reaches out to hospitals and various medical facilities to join the initiative as Training and Placement partners of Tech Mahindra’s SMART Academy.

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Isobar launches India’s first ever UGC-led Voice Mobile Banner for Forevermark Diamonds

To initiate the campaign, Isobar created an interactive banner across relevant apps used by women that focus on areas pertaining to cooking, fitness, beauty and lifestyle

exchange4media Staff 22 hours ago

IsobarForevermark

Isobar India, the digital agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, has partnered with Forevermark Diamonds to launch India’s first User Generated Content led Voice Mobile Banner. The collaboration stands as a testimony to India’s rising voice-based interactions, growing at a rate of 270% year-on-year, as reported by Google & Amazon Alexa.

For this festive season, Forevermark has launched the ‘Half Carat Diamond’ campaign under the theme - ‘The Better Half Within Me’. The film portrays women protagonists pursuing their dreams and passions.

The campaign is based on the insight that women generally tend to keep their passions to themselves even as they continue to focus more on their family's needs. Hence, through this campaign, the brand intends to give its users a unique platform to share their hobbies and talents through an immersive experience.

To initiate the campaign, Isobar created an interactive banner across relevant apps used by women that focus on areas pertaining to cooking, fitness, beauty and lifestyle, amongst others; and to engage them with the banner, women were asked to speak about their passion into their mobile microphones. This led them to a final frame with Forevermark’s video and a customised message containing the keyed-in passion, which could be shared via WhatsApp and Facebook.

It is pertinent to note here that, of the 22000 women engaged with the communication, 71% were open to sharing their passion points with the brand. The overall campaign reach until now is more than 1 million, with an engagement rate of over 2%.

Commenting on the campaign, Toranj Mehta, Marketing Director -Forevermark India said, “The Forevermark Half Carat campaign is based on the insight that women, whilst taking care of their family, like to pursue their own passions and follow their dreams. We are encouraging women to let this half of theirs shine. This innovation fits the objective perfectly and allows women to voice out their passions. The numbers we have seen from this innovation are very encouraging and we will look at more such voice activated units in the future.”

Speaking on the execution of the campaign, Shekhar Mhaskar, Executive Vice President - Isobar India said, “The innovation resonates aptly with the brand’s message of celebrating the better half within a woman. Literally and figuratively, this mobile innovation gives women a platform to (voice) their passions and have them heard. We would love to take this thought forward with Forevermark to drive a movement for women where they can make their passions come alive.”

Commenting on the campaign, Priyanka Shah - Senior Director Mobile- Isobar India said, “Voice is clearly the future. As per a report by Mind Mold and Staistica, we will witness 200 billion voice searches per month by 2020 and there will be 1.83 billion consumers worldwide using AI voice assistants by 2021. Hence we thought of an idea that could deliver the creative message by tactically using the voice platform. The campaign idea brought forward the beautiful concept of embracing your ‘better half’, which lies within you, by prompting the user to voice out their passions. It’s a small step towards Voice revolution and the response rates have made this innovation a stronger case study for deeper future engagements.”

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Peps unveils new brand positioning with #DreamMakers campaign

Through the #DreamMakers platform, Peps aims to create a property that will fuel the consumer’s dreams by helping them sleep better, wake up with a purpose to perform and achieve more

exchange4media Staff 22 hours ago

DreamMakers

Peps Industries Pvt. Ltd., has announced its new brand positioning - ‘DreamMakers’. In line with its core brand philosophy to help Indians sleep better and as a part of a strategic brand repositioning exercise, Peps released its latest #DreamMakers series with two television commercials and radio ad spots.

Conceptualized by Phantom Ideas, which recently won the brand’s creative mandate, this is the first in a series of 10 to 30 second spots highlighting Peps’ proposition of a good night’s sleep as vital to chase dreams.

Through the #DreamMakers platform, Peps aims to create a property that will fuel the consumer’s dreams by helping them sleep better, wake up with a purpose to perform and consequently achieve better. The campaign, using a 360-degree approach, seeks to establish a larger scope and role for the brand and strengthen the consumer relationship, by taking it beyond the product and making it a part of their hopes and aspirations. Tapping into the zeitgeist of young Indians from across the country, pursuing goals and ambitions, that were unthinkable among earlier generations, #DreamMakers encourages Indians to dream big, take on greater challenges and succeed.

The basic insight behind the campaign comes from the dominant outlook that cuts across young Indians as they dare to aspire and go after their dreams. And that in an increasingly cluttered and competitive environment, a good sleep is a pre-requisite to see dreams turning into reality. The two films show young Indians chasing their dreams – a female boxer wakes up from bed rejuvenated with a good night’s sleep to chase her dream head on in the boxing ring. A young astronaut gives purpose to his energy by waking up refreshed to fulfil his dream.

Speaking on the new brand positioning, K. Madhavan, Managing Director, Peps Industries says, “Peps has led by example with respect to disruptive innovation in the mattress category. With the new brand narrative, we seek to bring a fresh perspective in the spring mattress category via product innovations that will shift focus from great sleep to waking up refreshed with a purpose. Thereby, harnessing one’s ability to perform at their peak to chase and achieve their goals.”

Commenting on the campaign  Robert Anthoney, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Phantom Ideas, the creative consultants and marketing partners for Peps said “To start with, it has introduced yet another fresh perspective through a compelling proposition that seeks to ‘give purpose to energy’. When Peps got on board, the mandate was clear – Change the narrative. Take the brand to the next level. When we observed the consumer and category canvas, we realised there is a tremendous opportunity to add purpose to post-sleep energy by plugging into the dominant mood that was sweeping the country, especially with the age cohort that would dominate the emerging consumer demographics.”

Peps - Dream Makers - Boxing

Peps - Dream Makers - Astronaut

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iProspect India launches an initiative to empower women led by CEO, Rubeena Singh

Women@iProspect will see women leaders discuss issues affecting women at work, challenges faced, how to create a work-life balance, safety and leadership, and more

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago

Women@iProspect

Digital performance agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, iProspect India, announces an initiative for its women employees. A part of Women@DAN, the initiative, will focus on three essential parameters – safety, gender diversity and leadership.

Women@iProspect will see women leaders discuss issues affecting women at work, challenges faced, how to create a work-life balance etc. The initiative, a regular feature every quarter, will be led by iProspect India’s CEO, Rubeena Singh.

The initiative comprises:

  • Women’s Network – Women employees will exchange ideas on how they can grow in their career and become the next women leaders. 
  • Connecting minds – To get an outside POV, a successful women leader from other industry or company will have an interactive session with employees wherein she will talk about her journey to the top.
  • Therapy day – Women can (anonymously) talk to a counsellor/therapist on how to create a successful work-life balance. And other issues impacting their personal and professional growth.
  • Identify and mentor – Senior leadership team will identify 2-3 women employees and put them on a fast-track wherein they will be mentored for a year to reach the next level in their career graph.

Talking about the initiative, Singh said, “iProspect has always believed in enriching and helping its employees grow. Through this initiative we want to empower diversity as well as help women reach senior roles with much more confidence. It is sad to see that while women form almost half of India’s population, their representation at workforce is very little and it further shrinks at senior levels. At iProspect, we want to change that.” 

The first session was held on December 10 wherein ICICI Bank’s Deputy General Manager – Marketing and Communications, Azmat Habibulla, shared her story. “It is a great initiative undertaken by iProspect and I believe we need such initiatives across boards to help women rise to become leaders of tomorrow. At ICICI too have various initiatives to help women employees overcome challenges that many of them face at certain life stages,” she said.  

The company believes in equal opportunities for all hence the initiative, titled Women@iProspect it will even see men participating. 
 

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IPRCCC 2018: Panel discussion on branding and what it was 30 years ago

At the e4m IPRCCC media experts, Sanjeev Handa of Maruti Suzuki, Senior Editor Madhavan Narayanan, Indian-Australian Influencer Raj Suri, and Samir Vora of Daily Hunt discuss the topic

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago

Panel Discussion IPRCCC

At the ninth edition of exchange4media IPRCC Conference that took place on December 13 at the The Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon, media veterans took over the podium to highlight their views on ‘how corporate leaders are custodians of the brands reputation.’

Watch the video here, and scroll down to read the full discussion:

Moderating the Session, Madhavan Narayanan, Senior Editor, Writer, Mentor, Consultant put up a question to his fellow panellists on how the whole concept of branding has changed? How is branding today different from what it was 30 years ago? What has been the peculiar change over the years?

Adding to which, Sanjeev Handa, Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications, Maruti Suzuki added branding has not changed much. “Branding to me as I have seen in 18 plus years of my career, it hasn’t changed much.  Branding might have changed for the eminent writers who have now moved on to version 2, version 3, 4 or 5, which are all technological sides. Now if you go to essence of branding it hasn’t changed much. We tend to live with the legacy we have been carrying for long, for example, have I changed my name or has Maruti Suzuki changed its name and the answer is no because that marks the eminent essence of the brand that keeps its customer connected,” said Handa.

Contributing to Handa’s reply, Raj Suri, Indian-Australian Influencer, Brand Consultant, said, “The branding has not changed much although we are and will always re-invent which is a contradiction. For example, today most CEOs are also a CMO. These CEOs are not on social media but if you see back in Australia there are many CEOs who are very active on all those social media platforms and are talking about philosophy which is totally in sync with the company terms they are working with.”

Suri further concluded his answer by giving an example, how social media has played an integral role in bringing out the change in branding.
“Let me give you an example if a CEO posts something on his social media from his personal life, a message is directly delivered to his team mates about his personality which is a win-win situation for the team mates to know more about their CXOs,” added Suri.

Samir Vora, CMO, Daily Hunt, also emphasised on how indulgence of social media has played a critical part in this whole scenario of changing era. "In some ways I believe that brands have not changed much,  but if you look at the general picture, I think brands have so many movements that I think it has to be true especially when we all know there has been indulgence of social media in defining branding,” explained Vora.

Moving on to the next question which Narayanan further emphasised and talked about the gap between the brands and millennials. “What challenges did a brand face or from a CXO perspective how difficult it is to communicate with the newer generation?” asked Narayanan.
Coming from an automobile industry, Handa prompted on the importance of a newer content presented in different way to the millennials. “The challenge is to communicate with the younger generation who are often called as Millennials. They don’t want to grab a snackable news but they want it to be served differently. Despite of the fact that we are living in an attention deficit era, millennials are attracted to the conventional yet newer forms of producing content,” added Handa.

Adding to the same, Suri said, “According to an Australia data it says the real growth engine is in small business. Let me give you an example of a client, they started as a real estate company, these guys were built on social media, they started talking about the properties, they were not controlled by the topic. They started from bottom and went up to build the principles.”

He concluded his statement further saying, “When you have not grown up yourselves as millennials, you are under-estimating yourself.”
Further talking about the brand’s image and reputation, Vora gave the instances and couple of examples of brands who stood out and spoke about their image and work. “There is a fabulous example of Zomato and their series of advertisements which was loved by few and criticised by few. But the brand stood for themselves, spoke about their work, cleared the misunderstandings and delivered what they wanted to,” he added.

Further discussing about how the trust is maintained among the multiple stakeholder, Vora added, “Trust becomes a very important factor. From a content relationship point of view we only work with the branded ones. It is important when brand goes on digital it is very important to work with the right publishers.”

There has always been a window between CXO and the employers, to maintain that gap, the employers and CXO needs to be on the same page for better understandings.

“2018 has been a learning and what have saved us is the fact that we were transparent, communicated very clearly for both internal and external stakeholders. For CXO the authenticity and trust will have connection with the customer directly. Today’s world is tech driven, people have actual and virtual presence, for CXO to be successful it is important that CXO has to make sure that virtual becomes the real,” said Vora.

Adding to the same, Vora added, “I have been lucky to work with Umang Bedi. For him his employers come first because if employers are happy then customers are happy and by product becomes successful automatically.”
 

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IPRCCC 2018: In a Fireside Chat, experts say all media will co-exist

At the IPRCCC 2018, RJ Khurafati Nitin and Charles ‘Biharilal’ Thomson spoke about the battle for audience attention, consumption of content outside India and the YouTube phenomenon

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago

IPRCCCfiresidechat

At IPRCCC, 2018 in New Delhi, the audience witnessed to an informal dialogue on mediums of communication between renowned RJ Khurafati Nitin and Charles ‘Biharilal’ Thomson. The conversation started off from language, war for audience attention, media and widespread phenomena YouTube.

Watch the video or continue reading:

Nitin asked if Thomson found the digital world to be cluttered with too much happening. He asked, “What works, what doesn’t work? There’s no formula to it.” Thomson from his experience insisted on a success formula. “YouTube works on algorithms. There’s an interesting science behind it as well. I tell everyone whenever they put content online it should bring a smile on the face of the viewer. The chances of it going viral increase as well.”

The conversation moved to mediums where Nitin pondered out loud if war amongst social, television, radio and print exists. “Each has its own space and can’t eat into the other’s space.” As it turns out there is a friction in communicating to people. That’s the real war. Medium is going to evolve as pointed out by one of the members in the audience.

Talking of digital, the increasing dependence on YouTube amongst the youth is another widespread phenomena, Thomson pointed out from his experiences. He came across a smart 16 year-old from England and her brother. “What dawned on me was her knowledge was limited to books (during exams) and YouTube. She had zero knowledge outside YouTube. So as we move down the age group we see that their reality is completely different.” Then there is the challenge of monetising digital content Thomson observed.

Also with telecom players offering Netflix and Amazon Prime Video India free for the first few months, there is a huge consumption of content with no relation to India, as pointed out by Thomson. “The Indian youth is absorbing a huge amount of content which has no relationship to India. There is a huge change happening. Also, foreigners are picking up on India a lot faster than local Indians,’ he commented.

He shared an example of how an OTT service provider Vuclip has taken on and beaten Netflix in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore by offering diverse content of Tamil, regional and Korean content. It has picked up a large library over a period of time.

The conversation again shifted to YouTube and every youngsters' obsession with it. “Every young kid is becoming a YouTuber. One out of two has spark and rise. They are now the most influential people in the country,” Thomson remarked.

The other thing Thomson shared about YouTube was the search result for ‘Hindi YouTuber’ which he observed to be quite amazing, both on reach and audience front. “The top Hindi YouTuber is getting almost 20mn subscribers. It is a fast-changing world.”

In the flow of the conversation, he actually mentioned how India is ‘tailor-made’ for him as every person in the village recognises him due to his popular character Biharilal.

The session was concluded on the lines that there will be a constant change in media, but all of them will co-exist whether its radio, digital, print and radio. Nitin summed it, “The charm of a newspaper will never go away. Kabhi koi aage kabhi koi peeche (sometime the medium will be ahead or behind each other).

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