'Technology is also determining the way we are growing as an industry’

Atul Sharma, managing director, Ruder Finn India, shares his 20-year journey in the PR industryin the eighth episode of ‘PR leadership podcast series’

e4m by Ruchika Jha
Published: Sep 8, 2022 2:54 PM  | 3 min read
atul sharma

The world of public relations is not limited to media alone. During its initial years, the professionals had to be smart, sharp and swift. More than capability and skills, a professional’s attitude mattered a lot. If one has the intent, will and ability to try something new, he/she will always succeed.

To talk more about the growth of the PR industry over the years and what more lies ahead, exchange4media PR and Corp Comm had an insightful conversation with Atul Sharma, managing director, Ruder Finn India, in the eighth episode of ‘PR leadership podcast series’. In this episode, Sharma shared his journey in the PR industry. He also spoke about his contribution as the president of Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI) and some of their initiatives, his key learnings throughout his career and more.

Speaking about his key learnings in his 20-year journey as a PR professional, Sharma said, “I learnt that PR is a people-intensive industry. Right from the engagements that we used to have with our stakeholders to communication council, which we would pass on to our clients, I realised that people would be the foundation. I also realised that building strong teams is going to be a fundamental pretext of how we are going to make a strong consulting firm. If we look at Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, technology is also determining the way we are growing as an industry. I think that is true for every possible industry because technology is changing the way every sector is evolving and growing. In public relations, it is going to be way more pertinent because so far, we have been very manpower intensive, but I see that with new technology change, there is going to be a lot of dependency on automating processes done by people.”

Sharing his experience as the president of PRCAI, Sharma elucidated, “PRCAI is an interesting journey. In 2017, I was thinking of ways to contribute to the overall industry. That is when PRCAI came in. I got elected as vice president in 2018 and in 2020, I took over from Nitin Mantri as the president of PRCAI. I think from there we have made big strides. One of the intent from our side was very clear that we wanted to make sure that PR is seen as a professional, ethical and a prosperous industry. So, I think every intent, every action of ours is guided in that direction. Now PRCAI is a 100-member strong organisation which is focussed on its member firms as well as the corporate communication fraternity. When we started out in 2020, which was right in the middle of the pandemic, we felt how much could we do. Since we all were held up in our homes, we were trying to figure out how to work remotely and to bring association together. We started the practice of weekly meetings. We used to get on zoom and talk about what is happening, how every member is coping with the stress coming from businesses or our own people coming down with Covid.”

Concluding the session, Sharma conveyed a message to the young guns of the PR industry. He mentioned that whenever he sits with the young talents of his firm he always says that one should never rely on external stimuli to learn. “Always keep on assessing yourself whether you learn enough or not. If you are not learning enough, extend your hand. The universe will help you. They should be responsible for their own learning and in case they are not getting the mentoring from their managers, then they should ask for it,” Sharma added.

Please click below to listen to our podcast:

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‘Good strategic communication is critical for business success’

Atul Ahluwalia, Founding Partners, First Partners, delivered the keynote address at the e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 under 40 Conference

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 2:27 PM   |   2 min read

PR

Last week, e4m hosted the 4th edition of the annual e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Summit and Awards 2022 in Gurugram. At the conference, Atul Ahluwalia, Founding Partners, First Partners, delivered the keynote address.

Ahluwalia opened his address by talking about the challenges that millennials of today will be facing going forward when they take up leadership roles in the industry. He said, “The first challenge is the fact that India is a shining star today - therefore the big task at hand is to take Indian PR global in terms of the standards of our practice. I do not completely agree that PR is a lot of media and hence we need to elevate the function of PR itself. Besides reputation building, we must work aggressively in helping build our client’s business. We have to be a CXO function and thus you need to play a very important role. Good strategic communication is absolutely critical for business success and that is something you have to prove.” 

Further speaking about the challenges for the next set of PR Leadership, Ahluwalia talked about addressing the PR industry’s role towards climate change. He said millennials need to take climate change seriously.

Talking about the importance of the surroundings and the conversations happening, Ahluwalia said, “Don’t be blinkered about what your organisation has to say, also look at what are the other conversations happening around and the key chatter. Look at how your narrative can be more elevated. More critically, you have to have a more elevated track that will add to nation-building and not just organisation-building. That is when PR is going to be taken very seriously and you have the onus to take ahead.”

The final set of challenges that lie ahead for the millennials in PR today, according to Ahluwalia, is going to be the adaption of evolving tech and the lack of good talent. He elaborated, “My generation was more tuned to traditional media and we have tried to adopt digital as well, but you will have to take up more technologies like metaverse and many others. And the last one that is necessary is talent. How is Indian PR industry can take global centre stage? That is going to take more support and talent. You can only attract the best talent if you are doing great work yourself.”

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‘A PR firm needs to understand nuances of a regional market to be successful’

At e4m 40 Under 40 PR and Corp Comm Summit, industry leaders discussed about expanding territorial reach in the regional market

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 2:08 PM   |   3 min read

PR

The e4m 40 Under 40 PR and Corp Comm Summit, 2023, saw an intriguing panel discussion on the success of PR agencies when they expand their territorial reach in the regional market.

On the panel were Nikita Nanda, Vice-President, Adfactors PR; Karishma Sain, CEO, Goodword Media, and Naina Jha, Associate Director, Grey Matters, took part in the panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Rishu Singh, Senior Manager, Corporate Communication, Fortis. 

Nanda shared that Adfactors has the largest regional network that gives them the advantage of cracking a good story. About challenges in the regional market, she said, "It's extremely homogeneous in nature as far as infrastructure is concerned, it's less developed. As far as the talent pool is concerned, it is very difficult to find the right kind of talent which understands the nuances of the particular region, demography, emotion and the psychographic of a particular area. The market of Kanpur behaves differently from Ludhiana and cracking this is extremely essential."

According to Naina, "The success in the regional market for a PR firm depends totally on how you understand the nuances of a particular market. The strategies that you apply in Metros will certainly not work in regional markets and it's always being said that every 100km the language changes, the food habit changes, and the purchasing habit changes. So you really need to understand the nuances and need to engage the micro-influencers who understand the market and can work a  great deal for you". 

Karishma shared about one of her entities Royal fables, in which the art, craft and cuisines of the Royalties are promoted. They got one of the leading filmmakers from the region of Awadh, from the House of Kotwara, Muzaffar Ali Onboard and a local designer as well and then they promoted Royal Fables through them.

Nikita gave the example of Tata Tea. The mandate was to help the artisans, especially post the pandemic and to connect and resonate with the brand. As an agency, they picked out 26 hand-painted kullahds, which represents the culture of every state and they linked it with Independence Day to give it a whole tropical outreach. It was received extremely well. While it was a national campaign, it was Essentially down to the roots. They also tied up with Rituraj Mohanty who did a digital Film to talk about the story of the artisans from their perspective. It was launched in each state and reached to the local artisans and they connected with it. Very few marketing dollars were spent on this campaign. This was one brilliant strategies to stay afloat in the regional market.”

Naina quoted an example of the work they did with the electricity board of Bihar. For this, they created two mascots i.e 'Bijli Didi' and 'Voltage Bhaiya'. They propose 'Voltage Bhaiya' as a consumer who has a lot of issues with the electricity company and 'Bijli Didi' will be giving all the answers on the behalf of the electricity company.  

The panelists also discussed the importance of micro-influencers as they understand the local audience better. They have a huge local connect and social following, which is very important for the promotion in the regional market.

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Kaizzen partners with TERI for World Sustainable Development Summit 2023 outreach

The WSDS 2023 is scheduled to be held from 22nd February 2023 to 24th February 2023

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 12:13 PM   |   2 min read

kaizen

Kaizzen, an integrated communication agency, has partnered with The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) to curate the media and social media outreach for the upcoming World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2023 to be held in New Delhi in February. 

The 22nd edition annual flagship event of the not-for-profit, policy research organization is scheduled to be held from 22nd February 2023 to 24th February 2023 at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. WSDS 2023 will focus on the umbrella theme: Mainstreaming Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience for Collective Action.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Shailly Kedia, Senior Fellow and Associate Director, TERI said: “The world is approaching the crucial midpoint of the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals. It is time for the global community to accelerate actions on sustainable development and climate resilience. It has been more than 50 years since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, popularly known as the 1972 Stockholm Conference. But we still have a long way to go especially in terms of horizontal and vertical integration of sustainable development across spheres. The World Sustainable Development Summit 2023 is planned to take these deliberations forward and discuss the collective action needed to come up with concrete roadmaps for the future.”

After bagging the communication mandate for the event, Vineet Handa, CEO, Kaizzen, said, “Kaizzen is proud to partner with TERI for the upcoming World Sustainable Development Summit 2023. It is one of the most important and impactful events around the world addressing pressing issues on climate change and sustainable development. It is a critical issue and it is necessary to take appropriate action on the issue to save mother Earth. We are grateful to TERI for this opportunity.” He added, "Communication – both online and offline – plays a pivotal role in sharing the deliberations with all the stakeholders. We are confident that Kaizzen will help to communicate our message on sustainable development to all the stakeholders. We are looking forward to work with the TERI to make the event a great success.” 

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Importance of digital PR in brand promotion

At e4m PR and Corp Comm 40under40 Summit, experts speak about various nuances of public relations when it comes to dealing with online audiences

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 11:51 AM   |   5 min read

PR summit

Public relations is one of the important tools to reach audiences and build credibility amongst them using a variety of tactics. Brands put forward their narrative and bank on it to grow their business across horizons. At the recently held e4m PR and Corp Comm 40under40 Summit, a panel of experts discussed the importance of digital PR in brand promotion. The experts spoke about various nuances of public relations when it comes to dealing with online audiences

The panel had Anand Prakash, Senior Group Head, Adfactors PR, Akanksha Jain, Head- Public Relations, Corporate Communications, Bharatpe; Kritika Padhy, Account Director, 80 dB communications; Bhawna Gupta, Director, Client Relations, Hill+Knowlton Strategies. The session was moderated by Ruhail Amin, Sr. Editor BW Businessworld & Exchange4media.

Starting the conversation about the cluttered space of online PR and how they are cutting through the clutter, Prakash of Adfactors said, “Digital PR has made the work of PR easier. One can do a scientific outreach, you can do more earned media. Comparing to marketing, where you can not only promise, here you can actually deliver.  There are a lot of platforms where you can go to map what kind of conversation is happening around the industry, and around the client. You can do good Google analytics, where the conversation tonality and the keywords are present with the statistics. 

“You might have a different perception about your brand because you are working in a company XYZ as a corp com person or a CEO but when you go and do research on the analytics, you will find a different reason for not having that kind of positioning that you deserve or you feel,” he said while speaking about the factor that can make the brand ahead of the clutter.

When asked about the challenges faced while executive PR through digital means, Jain of BharatPe said, “When it comes to challenges, there are a whole bunch of them, one being, you have two there are a lot of players out there, how do you differentiate yourself, how do you get the attention of your audience. Hence, it's important when a brand is trying to think through, its digital PR strategy to understand what it or what its audience would consume.”

“You have to also use multiple form factors in terms of content, it's not like one certain form factor works across channels. For example, YouTube does really well for our set of audience because they consume YouTube. But for a certain set of audience where your consumers are more regional, a Sharechat might do really well. Also the same set of content will not do well across channels as I said so for an employer brand, we are really leveraging LinkedIn and we're getting great traction out there but it may not do well for Twitter.”

Speaking on the importance of digital PR, Padhy of 80db Communications, said, “With the limited amount of space that traditional media offers us, now brands are focused on their target audience. If they have the right impressive element available to them, it is definitely easy to reach out to your target audience. It is very important to be sure of the type of information and the narrative that we are reaching out to the audience with.”

When asked about can brands do “out of box” things with digital PR, Gupta of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, said, “The out of box thing is all about where your consumer is, so what is the consumer consuming, how often they can see, what is the behavioral pattern. It all boils under this. So if you have your data analysis in place and you know the behavior of your consumer, you know what the consumption pattern is, you can curate your communication. What are we PR people doing, we're actually solving a communication problem, that's the Baseline. When we know the problem and we know where our consumer is, we can curate it. To answer the question of out-of-the-box, it all boils down to the fact of which tools, that you're using. I think this is where your creativity comes.”

When asked about how one can tackle crisis and what measure to to be taken in consideration, Jain said, “I think, in crisis, it's important to choose the words you want to fight and let go of some of the battles. There will be a lot of things that could come your way, which as a brand you should not say anything about, you should look at the long-term goal and the long-term vision that you have for the brand. Whatever is really damaging the reputation you will have to protect it with numbers, protect it with facts and I think that's how it works well.” Prakash and Padhy also spoke on similar lines when they said that brands should choose their battles and let go of some. 

Gupta on the other hand said, “Do not hide anything, the bigger the brand, the more is the pull. It becomes very imperative that you know your messaging, you know the situation, you know the story and you come out and talk to them. It becomes imperative that you tell your story, narrate it, engage with the customer. There's no hiding behind it. I rightly agree with what panelists said, you choose your words. Sometimes staying silent helps, sometimes saying less is more. But facing the realities always helps.”

 

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‘It is imperative that on-the-job training is given to young professionals’

A panel session at the recently-held e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 2022 Summit delved into the topic of how to make the young generation industry ready

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 7:03 AM   |   5 min read

PR comm

According to a 2021 estimate by the CIA World Factbook, India's median age is 28 years and it is gauged that by 2026, 64.8 per cent of India’s population would be in the working age of 15-64 years (as per an article by peoplematters.in). Indian millennials, currently straddling a number of about 400 million, are undoubtedly, one of the world's largest cohorts. It is their talent, flair and aptitude that will take the country forward. But for that to happen, it is imperative that these millennials and more so, the generation after them – the Gen Z – are offered and provided with apt guidance from an early age.

“How to make the youth industry ready?” was the topics that was deliberated upon at one of the  sessions of the e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Summit 2022. The panel was composed of Ayushi Arora, CEO and founder, Media Corridor; Madhvi Chaudhary, PR manager, Media Mic, and Nehha Gupta, AVP, Value360Communication, along with moderator Shrabasti Mallik, exchange4media.

Initiating the conversation, Mallik mentioned how experts have noticed a gap between education and the ever-evolving PR industry requirements. Sharing her views on how this gap can be addressed, Gupta said, “When it comes to education and the ever-evolving pr practices and the dynamics of this industry, the core point to address here is that many of us get a lot of industry 'gyaan' during our college time from industry leaders who come and give us pointers on what pr is and the pr tools that we are supposed to use. But when we actually come into the field, we are all clueless. We do not know how to resonate with the theory and the practical. So, it's very important to have an amalgamation of theory and practical. It is also imperative that on-the-job training is given to young professionals because I honestly believe that in communication, learning-on-the-job has nothing to do with theory. My suggestion is that if education institutes collaborate with industry bodies like PRCAI, it will help them revisit the curriculum and course content. That way, we will have smarter youth who will bring in more professionalism, which, in turn, will also address the business literacy and business etiquette.”

Agreeing with Gupta, Chaudhary added, “Post pandemic, the world has changed drastically. There has been digital transformation in almost every sector, and PR is no less. Adding to it, the lack of academic curriculum to keep pace with the changing industry had widened this gap. Even premium universities who have societies and communities built for every other mainstream field, be it consultancy, campus placements, marketing or advertising, they have nothing for PR. It is not promoted as a strong-foot mainstream field, which is sad to know. But I really feel this wide gap can be addressed if we, as PR professionals and youngsters, invest in self-learning and constant upskilling. Universities should really start exploring other ideas of engineering their curriculum. There should be internship-based curriculum where students can work on real-time industry projects and get to know what their planning to step into.”

Speaking from the perspective of the founder an CEO of a PR firm, Arora, first, admitted the existence of the gap. “That's definite,” she attested and added that the reason for its existence is because of the ever-evolving nature of the industry. “And it will always be. You can't, therefore change the foundation ground of what PR is. The theoretical knowledge that the institutes are imparting, you cannot change that. However, what can be done, in my opinion, is that you can redefine it – by running sessions with industry experts. Invite them to have in-person sessions with your students so they get the knowledge of an outside agency expert coming and talking to these future young, vibrant professionals on what lies on the other side of the table, because the students have not seen the world; they are only studying about it. So, the foundation ground is set. Second, I truly feel that there should be an exchange programme. That is one. Second, I truly feel that there should be an exchange programme. Imagine that you have a PGDM course in PR. Give three months of that to an agency you get to work with. They certify you further. So, when you are completing your course, you are just not ready, you are an industry-ready professional. When you are meeting somebody for an interview tomorrow, you don't just say that you graduated from a certain institute or college, you say that 'I already have a trainee experience; I was a professional while I was being educated',” Arora pointed out and elucidated the reason behind her opinion. “I come from a journalism background and completed my journalism education from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media. We did not have books. None. No theoretical knowledge. It was completely practical. We were asked to go out on the field, figure out a new story and come back. So when I was joined a media house, I did not say that I just about completed my education. I showed them the case studies that I worked on and the stories I have reported. Similarly, in PR, say when I am interviewing somebody, I would love it if they tell me that they have worked on an certain client with a certain agency and this is what they brought to the table. That just adds more starts to the resume,” she elaborated.

While there is no denying that it is the youth that will usher India into a new era, the onus of preparing that same vibrant and tenacious youth for the industry lies with academic institutions.

To know more, please watch the entire session in the video shared here.

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What brands expect from media and PR

At the PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Summit, a panel of industry experts shared insights on how media, public relations, and corporate communication fulfill the brand's purpose

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 12:31 PM   |   3 min read

PR comm

The PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Summit saw an interesting discussion between Rohit Bansal, Reliance Group Head of Communication, Reliance Industries Limited, and Ruhail Amin, Editor, Businessworld, and exchange4media on how public relations, media, and corporate communication are interconnected.

Before beginning the conversation, Amin shared how Bansal after experiencing some golden years in journalism entered corporate communication.

Bansal was requested to elaborate more on how Public Relations which was on the fringe, entered gradually into the corporate ecosystem and how it defines the inside story of the corporate and public relation world. Taking forward the conversation Bansal mentioned how he started his career back in 1992 with Times of India and further associated with Career 18, Zee Business, and Financial Express. He said that a decade or two back, it was easier to get the contacts of the ministers, secretaries, or principal secretaries, but today journalists have to go through media agencies, and corporate communication teams at the field levels and the headquarters to finally talk to the CXO. Besides following the structured way of communication, a journalist could also follow the disintermediation process to get the quotes in the stipulated time.

Further focusing more on the factors the brand must look into before hiring any agency, Bansal said, “It is just like what requires for any individual to be in the team, they have to show up, they have to be available at the time when we require them. To meet what brand demands, agencies must think like brands and entrepreneurs.” However, it is hard to find the kind of involvement the brand expects from media agencies. He also mentioned how a crisis can be converted into an opportunity that could differentiate brands in the market. Talking more in the discourse of what kind of environment Reliance industries has built over the years to communicate with the external world, Bansal said, “In Reliance industries, we have the most senior person working who runs his own agency, we have opted the hybrid mode which is more solution oriented.”

Discussing more what Founding Partner, First Partner, Atul Ahluwalia, mentioned in the panel discussion about how PR and media both are given the same connotation and judged on the same parameters ignoring the fact that the PR is more business-oriented, Ruhail requested Bansal to elaborate how media is no more remain confined and have started impacting brands and business in the current scenario. Bansal clearly stated that there is no difference between media, business, and brand custodianship. Also, brands must take the charge of their custodianship.

He also mentioned that there is a lot of proliferation dealing with media and journalists and how the brands would be dealing with the new AI-based concepts like ChatGPT. Before closing the conversation, Ruhail requested Bansal to elaborate on what Bansal mentioned earlier that people should be deserving before they talk about the seat at the high table, Bansal, said, “How actively brands are performing to meet the audience demands stands them out in the clutter of market and specify them as a deserving brand.”

Before closing the conversation Bansal explained how pushing a brand narrative not only helps brands in maintaining credibility in the market but also humanise the goal the brands try to achieve through the concept of Public relation. Bansal also elaborated on the ideal equation that the journalist and PR must maintain while covering stories. The story must be covered in a way that should state a balanced narrative and a clear representation of the facts shared by the brands.

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Obsession with the customer is the new normal: Atul Raja

At e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 under 40 Summit Atul Raja, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Wadhwani Foundation, delivered a keynote address

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 7:27 PM   |   5 min read

pR

At the e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 under 40 Summit, Atul Raja, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Wadhwani Foundation, delivered a keynote address on the ‘The Changing Face of Marketing in an Increasingly Digital World’, wherein he delved into the ever evolving marketing and communications industries as more interactions, transactions and everything in between move into a digital setting.

“There have been two defining shifts. The first is the strategic shift from brand-centricity to customer centricity, which is almost complete. Given that the pandemic has changed the rest of the world, why won’t it change marketing? And point two is the corollary of point one, in that obsession with the customer is the new normal now,” he said.

Taking these as the two jumping off points, Raja proceeded to lay down ten points which he said were involved with the transforming nature of marketing thanks to increased digitization during and post the pandemic.

“Firstly, the very economics of marketing has changed. Even smaller players can enter what I call the advertising dogfight,” he said adding, “I'm not saying that bigger players with deep pockets don't still have an advantage, but they no longer have a decisive advantage, and it's a more level playing field. So from a marketing perspective, a higher spend may no longer translate into a higher ROI.”

Secondly, Raja noted that inbound marketing has taken center stage, and with the media landscape virtually exploding, the number of footfalls coming into all platforms of these organizations is following suit. “These are the footfalls that have done a lot of research and are very pre-purchase savvy. Inherent to this is a tectonic shift from brand push to brand pull. When I started my career, we used to concentrate on pushing what we want to say through ads in different media, but today we have to put out what the consumers want to hear, and so inbound is changing the face of communications.”

Thirdly, Raja said that content has taken pre-eminence over creatives. “At the time of my induction into the advertising field, first we used to conceptualize creatives with our ad agencies and the content used to come in as an afterthought and that too has reversed today. Some brands are very content driven, like Zomato, which has a million and a half followers on Twitter and two million on Facebook. You'd think a brand like that would be concentrating on getting footfalls to their app, so how are they getting so much traction on their social media channels? It’s because they use so much humour and local cultural cues. I think content plays a big role in Zomato’s size.”

“Fourthly and critically, Data has come into marketing in a big way, and it is helping marketing in smart decisions, and if you look at scenario based marketing it is helping in measuring the ROI on your marketing in a very scientific manner,” said Raja, noting that recently, AB InBev said their sales have gone up by 80% by using the data of their 2.5 billion customers, while Nike is snapping up tech companies, as examples of how brands are harnessing the power of data.

The fifth point, Raja said, was that customers are increasingly promiscuous in their brand relationships. “Be it a manufacturer or a retailer or any other organization, their marketing departments are finding it very hard to find what will ensure consumer stickiness. I think brand and customer loyalty are going to be the bane of marketing in the future and will be very hard to figure out,” he said.

Another aspect is ad blindness. “50 per cent of internet users are averse to any kind of pop-ups. When AT&T introduced the very first ad banner back in 1994, the CTR (Click-through Rate) was 44 per cent, while today a CTR of 0.5 is considered very healthy. So marketers are going to have to figure out whether it is still worth spending on pop-ups and what are the alternatives,” noted Raja.

Seventh was the very changing nature of consumer engagement, with Raja observing, earlier, the typical marketing funnel had a wide base at the bottom, and that used to be called the considered set. He said, “It was where we attacked consumers first, then went down another level and attacked them again, and then reached the apex of the funnel where there are two three brands left and you would endeavor to be one of them. But now there is no considered set and the consumer starts by having only two or three brands so it becomes a channel to hit them directly and be on their list because there is no second opportunity.” 

Point number eight was the clutter and how brands could manage to avoid it. “I personally feel that to avoid clutter is to become part of the clutter. High frequency is high engagement. In six months’ time, I must have done 600 creatives. There used to be a time when we gave front page solus ad on TOI and a back page premium ad on HT, and we thought we were done for the quarter, but that's no longer the case,” said Raja, adding that today you needed a creative factory to leave any kind of impression on a consumer in a crowded market place.

“Then with digital media exploding today, I feel becoming human has become paramount. Today consumers are looking at brand values and that the values are those that they want to associate with. It's no longer just about functional features, and this digital explosion is bringing the human side of the brands to the fore,” said Raja.

And finally, “360 degree view of the consumer is paramount today. You have to dissect your consumer and understand them and what they want from every side and angle. It's all about deep consumer intelligence and insights, because if you don't understand your consumer, they will move out of your value chain very soon,” concluded Raja.    

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