‘The trick is to stay ahead of the curve. Think different, think innovatively’

Guest Column: Sandiip Kapur, Founder & Managing Director of Promodome Communications, on how to sustain business in times of the recent economic slowdown

by Sandiip Kapur
Published - Aug 30, 2019 9:13 AM Updated: Aug 30, 2019 10:07 AM
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If the conversation in the last couple of years leading to the 2019 election in Delhi revolved mostly around slowing down of business. Now, the new song on everyone’s lips is – it’s over 70 days since Modi 2.0, what is the government doing? Auto Sales are down, manufacturing is down, various sectors are showing a slowdown.

So, what does the future look like for the advertising business?

Yes, there has been a slowdown but I am looking forward to a spurt in business, from private as well as government sector. Building up 360-degree capabilities over a period of time and a diverse portfolio of clients, major brands from across the sectors, helped. We decided that we will not be dependent on either a sector or a discipline for our business. If we have private brands like Maruti, Hindware, CII, IEEMA, JW Marriott etc as our clients, we also have PSU majors like GAIL, Indian Oil, NBCC, POWERGRID etc on our client roster. Plus, government clients like Delhi Police, Himachal Tourism among others.

In addition, a big chunk of our business in recent times has come from events and activation, as well as digital media. And it is these strengths that will help us stay ahead as business begins to get better. I am sure that most agencies, especially mid-size agencies like ours will grow rapidly.

Digital is the new tool in town and people speak of it as the panacea for all ills. They say – TV has long eclipsed print and now digital is eating them up both. But those who think like this are only displaying their ignorance. Millions of Indians continue to spend time in front of their TV sets and print readership has gone up because if people aren’t buying a physical copy, they are reading the papers on line.

The task of each media has been getting redefined. For example, if print media indeed was dead, why would Amazon print four pages of ads, with the front page jacket, every time it has a sale? Why do the city supplements carry two or three sections of as many as 40 pages starting day one of Navaratras and go on like this till Diwali? How is it that top programs on GECs still command rates of Rs 3-4 lakhs for every ten second spot? If Digital indeed had killed these two media, then how is that we are still witnessing these things?

The trick is to stay ahead of the curve. Think different, think innovatively, and use the same media to engage consumers in a fresh manner.  Some ministries are using story- telling on radio to promote schemes and programs.

One of the possible areas that we are eyeing with eagerness is the new breed of Indian entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs understand the power of advertising and also have a good understanding of communication and media. Hence, this could be the growth engine.

Meanwhile, the hot topic across business, media and agency circles is: Q1 has been bad, and nobody knows what Q2 & Q3 will bring. Most people believe that from a difficult situation in Q1, there may not be a sharp and total turnaround in Q2, and are thus looking at Q3 to achieve stability and sanity in business.

What then, for media and agency business? I request the Government, especially PM and FM to work towards energizing the economy. Otherwise, not only will existing businesses find the going tough, a lot of people thinking of start-up ventures may give up on their plans. Plus ad agencies that had created special cells for government businesses may have to lay off people and that wouldn’t be a happy situation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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