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Any global CEO not paying attention to India will lose big, says Jean Lin, Global CEO, Isobar

In an interview with BestMediaInfo, Lin said she doesn't see traditional media being killed by digital media in India. She said in an economy as large as India, there was a scope for a lot of media models to coexist and she saw a lot of growth potential in the Indian digital craft

Jean Lin

India is sitting on the cusp of the kind of growth that China had five years ago, Jean Lin, Global CEO, Isobar, told BestMediaInfo.com in an interview.

"We have prioritised India as one of the most important markets. In a few years’ time, it could be defining the ways similar to the growth of China five years ago," Lin said.

"Investment in India is really on top of the list. I think for any global CEO, if you don’t pay attention to India and its economy, you will lose big," she said.

When asked whether digital media would gradually overtake traditional media in India as well, Lin said. "I don’t believe that traditional media will go away. Actually, consumers do not have two worlds. They have one. One that combines analogue and digital, physical and virtual and the integration of that is actually the key. So whoever can get this integration right, will win," he said.

Excerpts:

Looking at the Lions winners this year, could it be said that advertising with social cause is becoming a general trend?

What we see this year, it is actually quite balanced. We see entries that are brand-led or charity, social cause-led. A lot of brands are obviously trying to do good for the entire world and enhance people’s life as well. Technology is helping social causes in enhancing the way they engage with the audience. However, the number is quite balanced; many brands are doing good work in transforming their business.

So when you say charity, do you mean big brands do charity or you are talking about NGOs?

NGO is obviously charity-driven but there is some collaboration between NGOs and brands in enhancing people’s life. Then there is CSR work from brands directly.

There was not even a shortlist from India in the Digital Craft category. What do you think is the reason?

First of all, it is very difficult to be even shortlisted at Cannes Lions as you have to win over competition. India is a very vibrant digital economy. There’s a lot that’s happening in different parts, especially related to mobile. In the digital art category, we were rewarding technological art which is something that takes time to build up because when you are crafting things there are so many elements that you have to be able to do well individually but then integrate it to make the experience better. Therefore, we see that trend for different countries coming into this landscape at different times and lifecycle of that economy. It takes time for the craft element to be perfected along the processes. So, I see this as a reason. I see great potential for the future for craft as a practice to be a mature art.

Would you like to invest more in India keeping focus on quality not volume in digital advertising?

I don’t see this unique to India. It is a phenomenon when a fast-growing economy is challenged by speed and rightly so because the business focus in a quickly expanding economy will be to make sure that it actually creates enough supply to meet the demand.

India is one of our fastest growing markets in the world. In a few years’ time, it could be defining the ways similar to the growth of China five years ago.

So, investment behind India has never been stopped or slowed down. Actually, we prioritise India as one of the most important markets that we see in a few years’ time. So the investment in India is really on top of the list. I think for any global CEO, if you don’t pay attention to India and its economy, you will lose big.

Where do you place Isobar in comparison to Web Chutney in India?

Web Chutney and Isobar, in India, have a different starting point. However, in the end, everybody will be moving towards the centre to create experiences that are enabled by tactic and creativity; that’s the end game that everybody needs to move into from different starting points.

Considering India’s geography, do you see traditional media will be challenged by digital soon in India as well?

I think the question there is what is traditional media? If you apply digital economy thinking, you can actually have very different product service offerings. The way I look at India is that I think there could be a lot new media business model considering the scale of the market. I don’t believe that traditional media will go away. I think anyone who said that digital will overtake or kill traditional media, is looking at it from the angle that consumers have two worlds. Actually, they have one world. One that combines analogue and digital, physical and virtual and the integration of that is actually the key. So, whoever can get this integration right will win.

What challenges do you see when it comes to creating digital innovation?

I feel that the most important part is that you need be brave. We need clients to be braver. We need clients to pay more attention to craft that actually enhances the brand and customer experience. With all clients embracing this as a big trend and the journey consumer is moving into, it will be challenging for the agency sector to create innovation because they need to be given some room to innovate while there are so many talent that actually can create innovation. This is the area that I think the overall global market needs to tap into.

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