Revival & Survival: There’s no lockdown for ideas - Josy Paul

Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India
Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India

Prepared or not, India has to gear up for an exit strategy for the 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.

Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India, is upbeat about India’s recovery. He believes that the COVID-19 experience is a crash course for all of us and that what has started as disruption and uncertainty will lead us to a better place.

What does the new normal look like? How much has the COVID-19 crisis disrupted business operations?

It’s amazing how everybody has adapted to the new way of working. Meetings start on time, and we are getting more done. There’s no lockdown for ideas. Of course, we miss the corridor chats and the terrace conversations and the office-ashram gupshup. But we try to work it out between team video calls, while being mindful of the situation at home and the environment outside. Social distance is making the team come closer!

What should be the blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy?

There’s no better blueprint for a post-COVID-19 economy than an open mind. The COVID-19 experience is a crash course for all of us. We are all graduating at the same time. 

What are the 5 key measures needed to ensure a speedy business revival for the Advertising industry?

  1. An open mind
  2. A well-oiled creative engine that’s adaptive
  3. Full awareness of the present
  4. The ability to reinvent oneself and the system for speed and efficiency
  5. Daily exercise

How are you strategising for the remaining quarters of this Financial Year 2021?

In the last 45 days, we’ve been at home and creating furiously. We’ve almost presented an idea a day. That’s what we are offering our clients. We are fortunate that many of our clients are initiating relevant action. You’ll see the work soon. When things start getting better outside, we are ready. The important thing is to stay true to what our brands stand for, and to communicate sensitively keeping the human context at heart.

How do you see businesses and the Government working together to undo the lockdown disruption and address the market uncertainties?

There is no security, only opportunity. It’s good for businesses to take the lead and design systems and models that create faster market turnaround, while keeping health and safety at heart. Partnerships with the Government will hasten the process. What starts as disruption and uncertainty will lead us to a better place.

How do you visualise the economy and your sector a year later? How much would it have recovered by then?

I believe the economy will bounce back, with communication playing a key role. Government, industry bodies, lobby groups, companies, brands and all kinds of institutions will agree that the right communication will lead to greater morale and excitement in the market. Increased engagement will impact consumer sentiment positively. This collective optimism will feed the economy. Communication has the power to change the energy.


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