Think Transformation, Think Razorfish!

The following article is originally published in The Financial Express by Mr. Jaideep Mehta (MD, IDC India & South Asia)

New ways of consuming IT are emerging

Many analysts and observers cite 2015 as one of the most challenging years for the IT industry. Financial performance was challenged relative to historical numbers.

Many analysts and observers cite 2015 as one of the most challenging years for the IT industry. Financial performance was challenged relative to historical numbers. Large players are struggling to fire up growth, and margin maintenance is becoming a significant challenge. With some notable exceptions such as Mindtree, Tier 2 and small companies are more severely impacted on both counts. The forecast of 12-14% growth seems, sadly, unachievable: high single digits is probably a more realistic number. Talent retention is on the agenda like never before and top technologists decamp for the greener pastures of the booming start up world. Then, there are the markets: aside from the relatively bright demand in the USA, global markets range from slow to downright grim.
These are symptoms of a more problematic phenomenon. History will judge 2015 as the year when the traditional high profit, high growth model of the industry started being dismantled. 2016 will see an acceleration of this fundamental disruption. The key driver is the industrialisation of the technology sector, massively disruptive innovation, and the resultant emergence of new ways of consuming IT.

The digital transformation wave has pervaded corporations globally. The IDC Digital Transformation Maturityscape Index, built on more than 2500 assessments globally, shows that more than 60% of the companies are at Stage 2 or 3 on a 1-5 scale. Many are still struggling to get off the starting blocks, but realise it’s a game of survival. Practically every company we speak with, anywhere geographically and across vertical industries, is actively investing to understand and leverage digital technologies, processes and methods to drive superior business performance.

Consequently, in 2015, 120% of industry growth has been driven by these investments: traditional IT, though 70% of total spending, is shrinking by 4.5%. In other words, what the IT services industry is best at doing is in secular recession.

The challenge for the Indian companies is that these programmes are driven through high engagement and high iteration projects, which do not lend themselves to offshoring. So, the traditional advantage they brought to the table is substantially reduced. Organisations are building front-end or “on site” teams to be able to give clients the assurance of service, and to demonstrate capabilities.

As digital transformation starts with customer facing processes, the software underlying these programmes tends to be design-led. A capability that fundamentally does not exist in the engineer-dominated industry which failed to see the wave coming, and steadfastly ignored all leading indicators till it was too late. Now, it is collectively scrambling to buy this capability, often at premium prices and with post-acquisition integration challenges such as salesforce integration and enablement, cultural fits and margin dilution issues.

Finally, engaging clients on digital transformation initiatives demands depth of end-user industry knowledge and consulting capability which is rare: to partner with a bank on retail banking customer transformation programmes, for example, demands a depth of understanding of retail banking processes, customer preferences, channel migration issues and digital marketing disciplines which even the largest organisations find themselves challenged with. Consulting and domain teams are being invested in to overcome this challenge. Tuck in acquisitions buttress existing capability.

All in all, digital transformation programmes remain a challenging business for the industry to dominate. It has ceded ground to the likes of Accenture, Razorfish and others who are significantly outperforming the industry from a growth performance perspective.

Click here to read the complete article

Digital Case Study – Maruti recreates the National Anthem in #DZire2Unite

Digital Case Study

#DZire2Unite –  An Initiative by Maruti Suzuki

The youth of today is eager to unite for a cause. A recent example of the same was when everyone used rainbow filters on their Facebook DP’s on the legalisation of gay marriage in USA.

There are also certain things that every Indian youth holds close to his heart. For example, our National Anthem has an emotional connect with the people and it still gives goose bumps to every Indian, each time they hear it. Our National anthem is such an important symbol that it has been rendered afresh by bollywood Actors, Music celebrities and artists like AR Rehman etc.  And now, the crème de la creme of the music industry consisting of 11 of the country’s best musicians will collaborate to recreate the national anthem.

However, it is easy for stars and big names to recreate the national anthem.

Maruti (along with Talenthouse) discovered that if the same opportunity was presented to the passionate artists of our country, they would put in their heart and soul to do the same. Hence, this Independence day, Talenthouse created a short contest and opened it to its database of filmmakers, singers, actors, directors etc. And the response was phenomenal. We received around 200 musical compositions and scripts, recreating the national anthem. The top five were the most moving.

This artistic desire to unite through the national anthem resonated with the brand ethos of Maruti Dzire, who celebrate this desire and passion in people. On the occasion of 1 million Maruti cars being sold, the brand decided to support these young passionate artists by pitching in.

Our young artists recreated the anthem with great enthusiasm. For eg. Raghav Mehta is the young composer who has worked for talenthouse projects like Nerolac, Axe etc and Harpal Singh is a young film maker who has directed for several Talenthouse projects like Horlicks etc . These two artists have been living with the Desire to Unite Anthem plot for the last two years waiting for it to see the light of the day. Given the chance, they’re all set to release.

This Independence Day, Maruti & Talenthouse will release the national anthem recreated by these young passionate artists and encourage people to like and share it.

Digital Marketing Course ‘Squared’ is now in India

 

For all those who wish to enter the Digital Marketing industry in India, these are truly fascinating time. Google has just launched their much popular and award winning online learning platform “Squared” in India as well. Squared programme has been crowdsourced by leading employers to meet the need for high calibre digital talent and leadership.

I seriously wish if something like this existed when I started working 10 years ago in the Digital Advertising space. There was a huge vacuum for freshers like me. Most of that learning happened on the job itself. There were very limited trusted resources to know more about digital marketing as a science.

A clinically crafted course by Industry experts, squared is an ideal for Marketing managers, advertising leaders, Digital Talent Hunters ( I think they badly need this one as they have limited clue about the profile of candidates they are looking for). One of the most critical features of the course would be collaboration, which, to me is the best form of learning in today’s times.

Squared was first piloted in Britain, where more than 300 employees from 60 agencies and advertisers participated over a period of time.

“Digital is an integral part of any successful brand strategy today, yet finding people with the right skills on digital is a constant challenge. Squared focuses on addressing this need,” said Punitha Arumugam, head of agency business (India and SEA) at Google.

Google will kick off the Squared programme on June 22 in India.

 

Digital Case Study – eCommerce – Faballey wants you to #unfollow

For the past few days, Fab Alley’s viral commercial by NewYork based standup comedian Radhika Vaiz has created enough storm in the advertising & marketing corridors. In the film, Vaz talks about women and their struggle to conform to fashion trends.

For an ad of such boldness, it was obvious to attract the attention from everything. Since the day it is launched, the ad has gone viral & has already touched around 200,000 hits on Faballey’s youtube channel.


The views that are coming from the industry experts are mixed. While few strategists see this as a huge risk taken by the brand which may backfire due to some gaps in its execution.

Expert’s opinion about #unfollow

In one of the interviews given to afaqs.com, advertising veteran Prathap Suthan’s from banginthemiddle said:

He fears that the brand has fired all its guns at the same time by showing a very niche professional, who is an older, unconventional, and atypical model, speaking a language that’s way ahead of daily speak, and not wearing anything at all.

There is no doubt that Radhika’s ‘bare it all’ act has delivered a huge shock value and it also carries enough arsenal to shake up the cluttered e-commerce ad space which is largely restricted to daily deals & coupons. But by using this bold script, Jack In The Box team may have caused a severe harm to Faballey’s positioning by alienating a sizable chunk of women audience.

The stand up script used by Radhika in the controversial video ‘WHAT THE F**K SHOULD I WEAR?’ is too difficult to follow for an average person. Needless to say that the humor is way too above the sensibilities of a large section of indian population.

Here’s what Eshita Jayaswal from Webchutney has to say about the campaign on twitter:

But she also made a very interesting comment on the topic that shows the irony within the Fab Alley’s brand messaging and I quote:

‘While the brand asks one to ‘unfollow’ it continues to have segments like “Trends”, “Lookbook” and “New In”. If FabAlley wants to break category clutter with such powerful communication, it needs to walk the talk and break away from the typical ecommerce/retail nomenclature that has become a norm in this space.’

Fab Alley has made a bold attempt to create some breathing space in a world dominated by Shoppers Stop, Myntra & Jabong.com of the world.

CEO’s view

While the entire advertising seems to be warming up to the viral, Tanvi Malik, co-founder Faballey.com is in no mood to go defensive about their strategy. In her interview with afaqs.com, she made it absolutely clear that  her brand is here to cause some serious disruption in the thinking of women as to how they can liberate themselves from the shackles of people’s perception & judgements.

‘FabAlley wants to be an empowering, feminist brand. We do not want to operate in the shallow, trend-oriented space’ ~ Tanvi Malik, Co-Founder – Faballey.com

Click here to read the entire interview with Tanvi Malik.

Older, Angrier, Hairier, Unladylike Radhika Vaz

By no means you can call her a girl next door because she is not. Born in Mumbai, Radhika Vaz moved to New York and realized she wanted to be a stand-up comedian. Her humor can be a little uncomfortable for many as the F-word is sitting on the edge of her tongue. In one of her interview given to the Times of India, she responded about her un-womanlike mannerisms & personality by saying,

‘I am barely a woman’

I went through her twitter page, and some of her tweets are real fun to read 🙂    

Being a feminist, Radhika wholeheartedly endorses Faballey’s views about the liberty of expression when it comes to women fashion (it is quite visible in her stand up act too). She is actively promoting the brand through her social pages and in the media. No doubt, having a multi-dimensional personality who is a writer, feminist and a stand up comedian is a great advantage for any women fashion brand.

Social Media Response

The video viral campaign had every recipe to trend on the twitter timelines, and so it did. Faballey’s #unfollow campaign has asked a lot of question to their audience and people (especially women are responding to it) with absolute nonchalance.

#unfollow campaign by faballey.com

The brand has created a separate hashtag #BeAnUnfollower to capture the moods around the #unfollow campaign and engage with their potential customers. They are also prompting the audience to liberate their views & come out of cliches related to their personal fashion. Create your own style statement by not following the herd mentality.

Here are some interesting tweets around #BeAnUnfollower campaign:

My view

I think strategically, innovative tools around fashion discovery or curated fashion will create newer opportunities for e-commerce companies in 2015. To say that boldness never pays in India would be a myopic point of view. Definitely a pat on the back for the Jack In The Box team to break the cliche advertising followed by most of the digital agencies. This may just prompt a lot of retail brands to re-look at their current content strategy. However, using nudity for shock value may just be a little too much for a newer brand like faballey.com.

Digital Case Study – FMCG – Mcdowells #No1Yaari

With video advertising becoming the most potent engagement weapon in the digital marketing parlance, brands & ad agencies have quickly grabbed this opportunity with both hands & using it to maximise their advertising ROI.

Mcdowells, as a brand, has been a big fan of using long & short form videos in the past to promote their brand message. Clearly, their spends have gone up significantly in the last 3-4 years, especially into digital. I am sure a lot is to do with their target segment which is mainly SEC A,B Youth & young adults. Continue reading