While we understand that these are difficult times and there seems to be no end to the lockdown; digital agencies continue to provide their expertise to brands in order to guide their brand communication strategies with responsible messaging at the heart of it.
In our endeavor to bring views that matter and completely different, Medianews4u spoke to Shrenik Gandhi Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder – White Rivers Media to understand the nuances of agency life during the lockdown and the introduction of work from home along with the many new normal posts the lockdown.
As a leading Digital agency, how are you coping with this lockdown?
I have been a very strong advocate of these three words in the past as well and I think they apply more than ever now – Learn, Unlearn & Relearn. This is the time when we have to learn about the new things happening in the world of digital. We are learning each day at a time. There are a lot of standard marketing practices need to be unlearned, if we keep them in the mind and blindly copy paste, the brand will be butchered. Also, there are a gazillion set of things that are to be relearn and adapted. So, I think the standard formula that has been given across the agencies is Learn, Unlearn & Relearn in this situation of lockdown.
This crisis is seeing a lot of disruption, what is your strategy to stay ahead of the curve?
Yes, there has to be a lot of disruption and our strategy is simple. The three core values of our organization are passion, street smartness, and honesty. We are trying to apply the same across every single aspect of business with a lot more agility and vigilance. Street smartness helps us identify new opportunities. Honesty helps us be honest in terms of communications for the brands, by being empathetic and not selling it on the face. Passion is the driver in spite of the whole lockdown. We are all guns blazing and guess have been fortunate enough to be blessed with a lot of good work and promising pitches. Passion, Street Smartness and Honesty are the three values which are helping us stay ahead of the curve.
How are clients responding, is business being affected?
Clients are responding in a very mixed fashion. There have been some clients who have had a knee jerk reaction to the whole situation and they had to pause our services. While there are a lot of clients who are being empathetic enough to the customers and continue brand building activities and not going ahead with sales driven activities. The third and the most interesting set of clients are the ones who have huddled up and are now making a much stronger strategy not only for the lockdown period but are also planning for days, weeks and months that will come after the lockdown. So these are the 3 mix of clients and it is an interesting journey and new experience for every single person in the agency.
How are the teams being motivated at this time of crisis?
To be honest, the teams are naturally motivated, we have strong fundamentals and strong core values which is keeping the teams naturally motivated. Other than that there are a lot of HR activities which are happening through the lockdown period. There has been an entire digital talent show held, there digital town halls taking place, we are having online Zumba sessions and a lot more interesting activities to make sure that even if teams are divided in terms of geographies they are united in terms of creativity.
Are you seeing a tectonic shift in the way branding and communication will be adapted by clients?
Oh yes absolutely! Tectonic might be the perfect way to describe the change in the way branding and communication is being adopted. No old rules of marketing might survive at least in this lockdown period. Brands have to be agile and brands have to evolve and keep doing better and keep doing more creative stuff while continue being empathetic to the customers. I think this period might put in a lot of brands on the level playing field and this lockdown period might also get a never seen before opportunity for a lot of time.
How are you seeing the Post COVID 19 scenario for the Digital business?
I think COVID-19 would be a blessing in disguise for the digital industry because the kind of the digital adoption we have seen across spectrums. You would have noticed that a lot of people who were never this digital-savvy are adopting and practicing a lot more digital. Zoom has been a blessing, it has got a lot more digital connectivity and has got people a lot closer than people would have felt. Also digital is positively impacting not only youth but also people across age groups. We are now seeing grand moms attending church masses over Zoom to moms attending yoga sessions on video calls to kids who are attending classes on video. Digital is being adopted right left center and I think digital as an industry is going to see great traction as soon as the lockdown is done. It will be a driver for consumption even after lockdown.