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A Hybrid world will shape new business models & rules of engagement: Tuhina Pandey

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020.

Tuhina Pandey, Communications Leader, IBM India & South Asia, crystal gazes into the key trends that will dominate in 2021, which include a Hybrid world, era of cooperative competition, paradigm shift in media landscape and engaging employees.

Outlook for 2021

The Hybrid World: The world is truly Hybrid and 2021 will see this play out clearly. While it will be a ‘Digital First’ strategy as we come out of the lockdown, the world will eventually settle more as a Hybrid – both physical and digital. This Hybrid world will shape new business models, rules of engagement, talent pool, channels and styles of communication.

Era of Cooperative Competition: The need for co-operation and shared purpose took centre stage in 2020. The pandemic demanded a coherent response from all walks of society, polity, brands and firms towards the collective cause of the human race. Consumers are far more sensitive to the values that the brands stand for – well-being and welfare of the human civilization at large is at the very core of how people connect with a brand today.

Paradigm Shift in Media Landscape: News consumption soared at the onset of the pandemic, a trend which has held its trajectory so far. The mainstreaming of OTT (over-the-top) platforms, digital and social content, low cost/ light production formats are all trending. The rise of fake news and therefore the need and growth of fact checking industry is taking roots as well.

Employee Communication is the Next Frontier: Engaging employees is a clear challenge that emerged during the pandemic, the risk of over-communication and consumption fatigue setting in, is a boundary that was tested repeatedly. Video, podcast, infographics all were tried and test in various permutations and combinations. We will see employee communication much more in focus going forward and the strive for that perfect balance.

Great expectations

Unlocking of Life & Economy – I expect 2021 to unlock growth and bring in a sense of relative normalcy.

Robust Digital Infrastructure – In this digital era, the key to success is a strong digital backbone. I expect stable and sustainable connectivity and spend on digital infrastructure to power seamless environment of work and growth.

Key learnings from 2020

COVID-19 was and is by far the biggest teacher of our time. The world changed and so did the way we live and work. My top 3 lessons:

  • Less is certainly more, I lived out of a suitcase for months and it just helped declutter not just the physical environment, but also the mental and emotional framework.
  • For me, being adaptive and flexible was a big lesson. The heightened awareness of the sheer power of the human spirit to respond and adapt in crisis was evident all around.
  • Trust and relationships transcend channels of communication. The virtual screen may not be even close to meeting someone in person, the all-important eye contact, body language and the rapport, but if there is intent and emotional intelligence, relationships and trust can grow, survive and thrive in the virtual world just as well. This was certainly one of my key learnings.
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