#DigitalDialogue: “Brands spending more on digital ads now will recover faster”

Hetal Khalsa, Co-founder, Chief Creative Officer, PivotRoots
Hetal Khalsa, Co-founder, Chief Creative Officer, PivotRoots

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has led to a challenging economic situation and uncertainty in the market. Some of the businesses are responding by cutting down on spends, salary cuts and even laying off employees, while others are taking affirmative action to gain the most out of limited resources and fortifying themselves for the new normal once the crisis abates.

While digital has been on a growth trajectory even before the pandemic, the global crisis has accelerated digital transformation in businesses. Most industry experts believe that Digital will lead the industry’s recovery and will permeate through every sector.

As a build up to our marquee event DIGIXX 2020, Adgully is continuing with its new series, #DigitalDialogue, which will have a special focus on the digital sector, how Digital is paving the way forward for companies and brands and how it will be a brand-building imperative.

Hetal Khalsa, Co-founder, Chief Creative Officer, PivotRoots

How can companies and agencies accelerate their digital transformation process in the current scenario?

The pandemic has forced the world to function entirely digitally with or without choice. The world as a whole is trying to work together to deal with the crisis. It is getting difficult for the business community to sustain with ease due to social distancing. COVID-19 has indeed led or forced many organizations to adopt digitalization. Digital has become the only way to go about it and if companies have to survive and grow, they have to be digital-first. Hence, it is important, especially for governments, public sector agencies and institutions where lockdown and social distancing is directly affecting the operations to go digital. This will ensure minimal impact as it seems the situation won't change for a coming few months.

Additionally, I think these are great times for companies to re-wire their business strategies, think of new business avenues to build their products/ solutions better. One can digitise products to help sustain the new normal and ensure business continuity.

Companies have to think of using digital to automate and transform processes and train the existing team on being digital-first.

How can Digital lead the recovery for brands in the new normal?

There are high chances that brands who are spending more on digital advertising during this crisis are expected to recover faster. Studies have shown that consumers tend to stop buying brands if they don’t have the right solution during the crisis. The brands must use the proper digital platforms or solutions to address consumers’ issue first and then think about their profits to keep the trust and retain them. Brands like Swiggy or Zomato not only partnering and helping deliver food to people and the needy, but also partnering with Marico to provide essential goods. On the other hand, Grofers, Amazon, Bigbasket and Medlife are serving/ delivering daily essentials without the customer having to step out of the home.

The pandemic has impacted the travel and hospitality industry the most. It is really impressive to see how brands like MakeMyTrip have moved to new business lines to build sustainability and means to increase revenues by launching online gourmet delivery services.

These times are also leading companies to think about how to invest in fast-growth business lines to build recoveries.

What kind of investments are most needed to create the technology environment that will allow companies and agencies to thrive in the new normal?

Investments depend on the business, size and forward plan of expanding the organisation. More than the investment, we should focus on solving consumers’ problems with seamless technology and common digital platform, which is easily accessible. The higher investment towards customer satisfaction will lead to lasting and higher ROI (Return on investment). Technology has been playing a crucial role in our lives for the past two decades. It has become a one-time investment with high returns and requirement of less manual work which saves time for both the business and the consumers.

How can digital innovation be turned into a business-building imperative?

Companies are aware that the current crisis is going to result in a conspicuous change which will last for a while. Digital innovation is more of a necessity now to combat the current challenges and it would be imperative for any business to bring in digital innovation – be it in their internal processes, product & service offerings, interactions with their clients, or their marketing initiatives. Adoptions like overnight digital transformation, virtual customer/ client engagement, using digital channel as their core marketing medium, considering remote working as one of the core structures, reskilling, online training, etc., will contribute to the business building, which is essential for the present and future scenario.

What steps can companies and agencies take to reskill their workforce to work in a new digital ecosystem when the recovery begins?

While companies are embracing digital and want to build digital transformation – reskilling the workforce and investing in training is supercritical here for the entire model to work during this period. There are a lot of courses available online (free & paid). Organisations must get those sessions arranged for the employees and help them learn the new way of working. This will help the teams to adopt new approach faster – the faster the teams move, the faster the companies grow as the team needs no induction or training about the business.

We need to upskill the existing workforce to make them efficient to use the necessary tools; this will help save time and help them work on an auto-mode seamless from home or anywhere. Few practices such as video team meetings and client meetings should come into practice as normality.


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