He Answers
Beerajaah Sswain
Vice President, Digital & Emerging Media OmnicomMediaGroup
Beerajaah is the Digital and Emerging Media lead for OMD's operations across India & South Asia with 12+ years of Digital media expertise. He is responsible for integrating all forms of "Digital Strategy" into the organization, across client businesses, whether it's ideation or accountability.
His Questions
Raja Sanyal
Head of Marketing, Barclays Wealth India
Raja Sanyal joined Barclays in February 2008 as Head of Marketing. In a career spanning 11 years, Raja has worked with media houses, dot coms and banks and is a guest speaker at various reputed institutes.
Raja Sanyal: Internet is considered to be an interactive media, but unfortunately we do not see any path breaking concept or innovation in this space in India.
Beerajaah Sswain: Yes, Internet is considered to be an interactive media which should ideally lead to innovations in this space. There have been innovations in the past but I would agree that these have been very sporadic in nature. We still are building up necessary infrastructure as a country and in the last few years we have gathered some momentum here. There have been good innovations, the most recent one being the live broadcast of IPL on YouTube, a first of its kind event in the world. India had witnessed another one very recently which was the world’s first MMOG cricket championship by Zapak. We all know about Sunsilk GOG which was one of the best earlier examples which started the trend of thinking “out of the box” for all marketers as far as using internet in the marketing mix. Gradually we have seen clients/agencies getting their grasp on this medium getting better day by day. This trend will continue in the coming future especially since this will be driven by consumers through their changing consumption habits. Innovations will come as the medium will reassert itself; key is for all of us to think how we can use it better to connect with our consumers.
Raja Sanyal: If there was one thing you would like to change about the online media space, what would it be?
Beerajaah Sswain: Definitely the infrastructure and the access to the masses…. If you see the other developing countries like a China or even countries in Africa and South America internet access is being made very cheaper or absolutely free for the common people. In India we are still grappling with this change due to various reasons. This has to change rapidly to bring more people on to the medium at a rapid pace especially through our government’s efforts. The more the consumers, the more the opportunity to create revenue and innovations on this medium. The 2nd other important thing we need to work on is to create multi-lingual content capabilities. Most of the masses require this as India is such a diverse country with multiple cultures and dialects. If we get both these things right I think we have got the right combination to push development really faster in our country.
Raja Sanyal: Unlike traditional or conventional media where every innovation has been given enough time to develop, the changes in the online space is so rapid that before one adapts to a new technology, you have another one that’s hit you. How do you think as an advertiser and as an user one is suppose to handle this fast paced change?
Beerajaah Sswain: Primarily this change happens through technology push but only through user acceptance. So consumers really are the ones who drive change and are a part of it. Advertisers/Agencies are the followers here which is why they have difficulty and it quite overwhelms them. I believe every advertiser is a consumer too and if they start experiencing technology like the consumers do, it would be more easier for them to understand and adapt to it. Today advertisers rely on getting information around them through agencies and other sources rather than do it themselves. These handoffs actually delay the process of knowledge transfer and hence one is always catching up. I am sure if we spend a couple of minutes in a day to experience/learn/read about new things happening in our environment and be consumers once again we will be better off. Pull is always better than push…
Raja Sanyal: How convinced are you to convince your client to make online an integral part of the plan? As mostly it is the most insignificant part of a media plan.
Beerajaah Sswain: We believe it is about seeing if the medium is relevant from the campaign point of view. Convincing your client is about selling an idea. But it is very important that you are convincing your client on the relevancy of the medium in the plan. A good seller might end up selling an irrelevant medium to the client for a campaign but will end up finally killing the medium as the medium will never perform up to expectations. Hence we always advocate the need of the online medium in a plan. You will always see advertisers reaching out to the youth always embracing this medium as they know it is relevant. Yes, we are always very confident of convincing clients about this medium if it makes sense for their audiences and products.
Raja Sanyal: It is likely to take another 10 – 15 years before internet comes of age in India in terms of usage and penetration. What do you think particularly will be the role of media during this time?
Beerajaah Sswain: I honestly don’t think it will take that long a time for this transformation to come in. We would be dead as a country by then if it happens at that pace. Today the whole meaning of internet is being redefined in our country through a whole new device called the mobile. Internet access through this portable device is now a reality and with the 3G coming in it will just get easier for the masses. The role of media will always be fuel these new platforms/access points/devices by their revenue creating potential. Media will connect different stakeholders of this new ecosystem in definitive manner where everyone will have a role to play starting from the consumers till the advertisers across the value chain.
Raja Sanyal: Why does India not produce good bloggers?
Beerajaah Sswain: I think India is still getting to the whole new world of social networking. The initial traction has been very good with the launch of Orkut then followed by the facebook’s and the Twitter’s of the world. We have our very own successful networks and platforms which indicate that we are just scratching the surface when it comes to social networking. According to the recent industry data there is a good amount of the people who are consuming blogs, but at the same time Indians have been found wanting of producing good bloggers. Professional blogging demands a lot of time and effort especially to create a good following who constantly follow the content. In India we still do have the environment which allows people to become good consistent bloggers even if they want to. But as the medium becomes more mature we will see good content creators and though leaders coming to the fore who will spend more time and effort and pursue it more than a hobby.
In conversation with

Vineet Mathur

Anita Nayyar

Rahul Marwaha

Shruti Kapoor

R.P. Singh

Gopa Kumar

Sandeep Singh

Rajiv Dubey

Yuzdi Badhniwalla

Nilesh Chhabria

Vishal Chinchankar

Shantanu Sirohi

Unny Radhakrishnan

Sudhir MD

Madan Sanglikar

Uma Sivakumar

Beerajaah Sswain

Raja Sanyal

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