Revival & Survival: Humankind has seen & survived worse - Hari Krishnan
Prepared or not, India has now moved on to the ‘Unlock – 1’ phase as an exit strategy for the two-month long lockdown period. It is definitely a changed world that India is entering now, and we will have to learn to live with the Coronavirus in our midst.
A lot has been written, debated and discussed over how much the economy and business operations have been hit. We, at Adgully, aim to look at the revival story. What does it take to jumpstart an economy? That is the great narrative that we are following up as part of our ‘Revival and Survival’ series.
Hari Krishnan, CEO, Mullen Lintas, is optimistic about the economic recovery as India goes into ‘Unlock’ mode. He states that several ‘new normals’ have emerged during the COVID-19 period, which will possibly continue in all likelihood.
What does the new normal look like? How much has the COVID-19 crisis disrupted business operations?
The disruption has been quite severe across industries and naturally, when our clients are affected, we would also be affected, as partners. The impact of disruption is evident in terms of business results and day to day operations. In fact, it is also a dynamic environment, with projections changing every week.
In this context, there are many ‘new normals’ that have emerged during this period and will possibly continue in all likelihood.
- Geography is History: Physical presence does not matter anymore as much as it used to. Everybody has embraced the reality of managing meetings and interactions remotely and that is a new normal that’s likely to continue.
- Efficiency Rules: Whether it is media spends or creativity, the focus would be higher on efficiency, at a time when results are uncertain.
- Shareability wins: The shareability potential of an idea will become a key filter at a time like this because any amount of earned media and organic reach will be worth its weight in gold.
- Technology embrace: A new reality across industries. From virtual showrooms to voice assists to apps, it’s all here to stay.
What should be the blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy?
The blueprint for growth would pivot around demand generation and employment generation.
With a global shake-up looming large on the manufacturing industry, economic revival in the Indian context would depend heavily on attracting FDI, which requires agility and action in terms of policy framework and clearances. With the rate of unemployment being extremely high and casual labour scarce, there should be clear and measurable steps to ensure business continuity – from policy decisions to labour laws.
Demand will vary across industries and product categories. There is already an infusion of credit into the market with the repo rates having come down. While this will revive a lot of industries and generate consumer demand, it is the responsibility of banks and FIs to ensure that this does not lead to another NPA crisis in the future.
What are the 5 key measures needed to ensure a speedy business revival for the Advertising Industry?
- Ensuring business continuity and safety of employees
- Being more collaborative to emerge stronger in terms of skills and capabilities
- Being agile & adaptive to respond to different evolving situations.
- Building trust while emerging out of a societal crisis, amongst clients, consumers and employees
- Keeping the Digital Ecosystem at the core of Brand Communication framework
How are you strategising for the remaining quarters of this Financial Year 2021?
We are being cautious, especially with any new investments. All strategies are being monitored on a daily/ weekly and monthly basis. There are new categories emerging, while some existing ones are evolving into something else. So, our primary efforts are in partnering our clients in adding value to stabilise their businesses and to explore new emerging opportunities.
How do you see businesses and the Government working together to undo the lockdown disruption and address the market uncertainties?
The Government’s intent has to be supported by the industry. So, business and the Government should join hands on policy formulation that leads to demand and employment generation. I think reassuring and winning the trust of migrant labour is also important. They are the invisible pillars for many industries. Winning their trust and providing them reliable employment should be on top of the agenda.
How do you visualise the economy and your sector a year later? How much would it have recovered by then?
Everybody is optimistic of a recovery, which begins towards the end of the year and progresses from thereon. The development and availability of a vaccine would go a long way in the society regaining faith and things getting back to normal. Humankind has seen and survived even worse, so feeling optimistic and confident about the future. Water will find its level.