Exclusive | An App is not a mobile strategy, Razorfish's Stark

Motivated and inspired by what's next, Razorfish helps its clients navigate the unknown, drive change and transform business. One of the pioneers of marketing in the digital age, Razorfish has a unique blend of technology, creativity and media at its core.

The agency’s world class capabilities in strategic consulting, experience design, brand building, technology platforms, data services, retail/commerce and media services enable transformational work for clients including McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz USA, Microsoft, Nike China, Unilever and Uniqlo. Razorfish’s team of 3000+ experts span 25 regions, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

During a visit to India, we at Adgully caught up with Jonny Stark, SVP, Razorfish to know about his plans in India and way forward.

Digital Revolution

Commenting on the digital revolution Stark said, “There are a lot of brands who want to get onto the road of digital transformation and make it the core of their businesses and they are the ones that are definitely steps ahead of others. In a growing economy the question is do digital agencies need to come to social agencies anymore? Does digital marketing even exist or should it just be marketing? Actually digital should be a part of what we use for organization both internally within the organization to communicate, collaborate and make things happen and with external processes as well."

He adds, “It’s interesting because I think they sense the right gear from talking to people and from my observation in the Indian market that seems to be lacking. It is not as developed as some of the other markets and I wonder whether it is a case of client-organization unbracing it. If not is it because they are nervous or they don’t understand what’s working for them right now seems to be working, or how much longer is questionable. Is it the lack of right kind of talent in the market or would it be both.”

Client Focus

Stark wants to focus on all possible categories. He said, “From a business point of view, the key criterion for selecting a client is that they need to be ready to embrace to digital transformation. For us, it’s less about the category and more about their willingness to want to go on that journey. Because we’ve got department specialists in retail who specialise in FMCG, we work with a huge profile of retail brands globally. But I think the key criterion in this is about business, we want people to be on the go, to make a change because there are a lot of clients that still almost head and sand, not willing to engage to this properly."

"If you come to us and you don’t really want to do this digital thing then let’s face it; we’re going to get frustrated with you and you’re going to get frustrated with us. Hence we want to ensure that we work with partners that genuinely want to change," he went on to add.

Brands in India

The agency has worked with Eureka Forbes and is one their biggest clients in India.

Mobile vs Digital

In Stark’s opinion one really can’t separate mobile from digital. On a personal front, Stark says, “I think for me, when you talk digital, I think mobile because I’m always putting myself in the mind set what people are trying to talk to and mobile first is a reality for other markets.”

He adds, “The other thing I can harp upon is that an App is not Mobile Strategy. A lot of times brands confuse an App with a mobile strategy. That’s not a mobile strategy. One should think from their website being mobile enabled. Through that you can have apps and services that are mobile enabled. One needs to start with who I am talking to? What am I talking about? And get into an engagement. Is it that I’m trying to do a customer engagement, is it that I’m trying to promote awareness of the product. The pennier more the task is that you can decide who actually is this to be served via mobile, is this something that we need to create or is it something that we need to create that is more desktop driven. One must start making decisions about what the best possible solution might be. So if you look at a retail brand then I’d be looking at how could digital play a role in your store.  So that’s what we need to do. What world is digital on? Is it in the real world or whether it’s virtual presence? How does that actually enhance or add to the overall value to the customer in a retail sector? From making sure they can do their research, to making sure their search is online.”

He further adds, “We actually think on how we can add value through different challenges. So that’s the way we’d like to think. You know people think in terms of I would have gone for an ad campaign or I want to do this or do that. But for us it’s how do we get inside the organization and actually build different touch points.”

Global insights on Digital

Stark shares his viewpoints on the functioning of international markets. He said, “If you look at South East Asia, it’s obviously the most developed. But interestingly, mobile is still important there because people nowadays have smart phones and it’s a growing smart phone market. Most of them have a text mobile.  And that means that text messaging campaigns can still be relevant in that particular market vs if you’re in Australia it’s a very mobile first market, same in Europe and in the USA. I think for me it’s interesting because we spend so much of our lives on these devices and we have a different relationship with mobiles and other devices. The big shift for the generation is to understand the role of different devices in their lives and then we can build everything around it.”

Importance of Mobile

Stark says, “Mobile is important. Also if you get it wrong it’s a problem.  People talk about mobile advertising being more relevant. But what they don’t realize is that you can still spam people on the mobile and people aren’t giving you many chances.”

He adds, “In a platform that is supposed to be more relevant, contextually that we have never seen before, still half the people serving out there say this is not relevant to me. And that’s a problem, that’s a big problem. Which is why we all are excited about content. Facebook serves us content with News Feed which is great, but now its pushing an ad within a Facebook News Feed where a piece of content engages someone and drives to do something to take an action.”


Sharing insights on the trends Stark says, “I think it’s the same as globally. Typically you find consumer goods brands like Nike going digital. They tend to be the ones that would go first with consumer technology.  They’re always trying to work out where the consumer is going and they are pretty good at their research.  Then you’ve got your big corporates who find your services, big infrastructure companies who try to go digital but are slow at it. Retail is going big in digital. They’ve started to realize that they need to have ecommerce and social commerce.”

Way Forward

Speaking about the way forward Stark says, “We want to leverage our technology platform in India and use those services. But I guess we want to build more of the ancillary services to the strongest consulting practice around UX, VX, and customer experience and drive the creative content. So it’s just about building stronger capabilities. Equally we have to make sure that people are ready for that. This year is a good year for us to capitalize the market place. We’ve got a really good story to tell and some great case studies so we will go out and talk about it.” By Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit



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