On June 29, 2007, the late Steve Jobs had rolled out the first ever iPhone — a game changer in the world of technology, mobile telephony and the digital ecosystem itself. This was followed by the launch of Amazon’s Kindle — also in the same year. The year 2007 has been significant for some other revolutionary developments in India as well — like the launch of Flipkart which introduced a new format of online commerce; or even the entry of companies like Audi and Volkswagen in India. The past decade has been exciting for the branding and marketing world, to say the least. For BrandWagon’s tenth anniversary special issue (out with Financial Express today), we have a panel of 10 experts across various industries summarising the key learnings of the past decade.
Devangshu Dutta, founder-chief executive of Third Eyesight highlights how the health and wellness industry has been undergoing a contemporary makeover over the past decade, thanks to the entry of brands like Shahnaz Husain, VLCC, Biotique and more recently, Patanjali. The market is still evolving, allowing other brands to develop either as standalone names or as extensions of spiritual and holistic healing foundations such as Sri Sri Tattva, Isha Arogya and others. No matter how the industry and the government move, from the consumer’s point of view, the juggernaut is now rolling, he says.
Then there’s Alagu Balaraman, partner and MD, CGN Global India, who speaks of the e-commerce revolution — from getting people to book a railway ticket at a street corner where a shopkeeper had a computer to buying clothes from an online site or saying that e-retailers will go mobile only, this is an industry that has aggressively gone in for change.
Furthermore, the mobile revolution means a change in content consumption patterns. The ubiquitous smartphone streaming content of our choice is something we take for granted today. But turn back the clock just a few years and you will find that the story was very different. Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, takes us through that journey, also highlighting that the future is one where all screens will be connected and India will be a land of a billion unicasts (instead of broadcast). One cannot take a look at the content landscape without a mention of BARCs India, the joint industry initiative formed by broadcasters, advertisers and agencies for television audience measurement.
Paritosh Joshi, principal, Provocateur Advisory, gives an overview of the challenging environment in which BARC India came into being, and the way forward. As far as programming on Hindi general entertainment channels is concerned, changes include moving from a single channel world to a multi-channel universe where weekly dramas ruled but increasingly catered to a growing mass audience, writes Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment. But today, entertainment on television is poised at a cliff’s edge and this is the opportunity that beckons content creators.
The formats for consumption of news have also undergone a digital metamorphosis, highlights AndBeyond.Media’s CEO, Karan Gupta. To succeed as a news outlet in the online space means to recognise that digital consumers expect a personalised experience while viewing content online and on the go, across channels and devices.
Clearly, technology has taken leaps this past decade and, according to Arnav Neel Ghosh, managing director, Blippar India, for brands to succeed today, they need to culturally adapt to this change. Especially in the area of immersive tech (artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and internet of things), the biggest challenge for brands will be sustaining the proposition beyond the initial ‘wow’ factor. But with businesses and industries taking another look at their business models to the emergence of completely new models, the risk of missteps go up as well. Santosh Desai, managing director and CEO of Future Brands, summarises the decade of ‘brand crises’, and dissects three brands in particular — Nestle’s Maggi, Samsung’s Note 7 and Uber, and the lessons therein.
Changing brand dynamics also percolated to changing ad agency paradigms, with several admen and adwomen severing ties with networks and launching their own independent outfits. Pratap Bose, who launched The Social Street in 2015, feels that with more creative freedom comes the responsibility of doing great work and preferably on big brands.
Among the most key developments of the decade gone past was the launch of the Indian Premiere League (IPL), a cricketing property that became a launch platform for smartphones and e-commerce companies looking to gain maximum ad eyeballs. When IPL debuted in 2008, it created a furore among cricket fans. Come 2017, advertising and marketing calendars are built around the property, shares Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties. Clearly, a decade of tech, a decade of glitz, a decade of changes. All this and more, in today’s BrandWagon!