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#DigitalDialogue: India is learning to live online - Chetan Asher

Chetan Asher, Co-founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide
Chetan Asher, Co-founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide

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.

Chetan Asher, Co-founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide, analyses how India has been increasingly embracing digital in the current scenario. According to Asher, the single focus for businesses should be on how to connect functions across the organisation through digital bridges.

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

The current scenario is pushing companies to rethink the whole process. Industries and functions are being disrupted at a massive scale at the moment. Companies which have been nimble and have responded to the situation swiftly will see themselves in good stead. There have been instances where certain brands have overnight established direct to consumer channels with an e-commerce storefront and hybrid apps.

It is time to move from WHY to HOW. The single focus should be on how to connect functions across the organisation through digital bridges. Also, it is important to not see digital adoption as a one off project. Companies have to prepare for a journey and set the first few milestones as quick wins in this journey.

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

All data available clearly indicates that digital has become the go-to medium for the consumer. The consumer habits research done by our insights division GIPSI, too, indicated that there is a huge surge in digital across categories, right from banking to live aartis. India is learning to live online and that’s the new normal. This is also a good time to use digital to not just be in front of the consumer and ensure top of mind recall, but also catch new users who are embracing digital for the first time.

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 should be focused on ensuring seamless integration of technology across the chain and not just in marketing. Consumer delight should be at the core of digital transformation.

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

Innovation in today’s times is not necessarily about inventions, but possibly about a new lens to the problem and coming up with quick solutions. It is all about reinvention of your business to make it relevant to today’s time. Digital innovation should be targeted at improving consumer touchpoints, only then will it deliver on business results.

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

Companies have been forced to upskill their people and equip them with digital tools as a business continuity exercise during these times. Employees have also learned the ropes and have now settled into working in the new digital ecosystem. However, we all want to go back to our old normal and when things ease up, companies will have to ensure that the new environment and tools are not discarded for the old way of operating. Hence, continuous reskilling will be required.

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