Interview: Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Vivaki

On his recent visit to India, Rishad Tobaccowala spoke to Neha Saraiya of

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Interview: Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Vivaki

Interview: Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Vivaki

"I don't expect the next generation of things coming from the new companies, I see them from the existing companies or the combination of existing companies"

Neha Saraiya | Delhi | November 17, 2011

Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy & innovation officer, Vivaki, has over 30 years of marketing experience across several industries including Denuo, Starcom IP, Giant Step, and Publicis Groupe Media. His deep penchant for on next generation marketing enabled by new technologies and changing expectations of people has made him a pioneer in the arena of internet advertising.

In a brief interaction with, Tobaccowala shared his insights about social medium, its future and the next big platform.

Currently looking at the facebook and twitter usage trends, what kind of engagement are the consumers actually looking at? Can we look at more evolved forms?

There could be localised forms. Instead of looking at the platforms we must focus on people. They like to share and connect and this allows people to connect and share and scale. We just happen to be the platform that have made easy to do so. In the future there may be newer platforms that as of now we don't know. But what we know that people will keep sharing and connecting and what will they share? They will share content, videos and pictures. And as they do that you and I will spend a lot of time looking at that. On facebook 2/3 of the time, people are busy looking photographs. So it's not a social platform but its photograph distribution network. The evolution really is the idea of paid, owned (clients owned assets) and earned media (what people are talking and distributing). It will be a big part because the networks allow you to share and connect. It's very hard to tell what comes next, because people did not see facebook or twitter, but in some ways it's a game that is getting closer and closer, towards the end v/s the beginning. Because we have so much time to spend on social networks, and a social network is only as good as how many people are on it. The future social networks, that one you should look at i.e. and that is like facebook and twitter have been married and given a birth to a child.

If you look at the social networking sites today, a lot of niche or specific platforms have sprung in. To what degree do you see it happening?

I think that the next generation of social sites will come from the children of two or extremly narrow niche sites as they are deep about like farming or photography. Not just photography like shooting ducks. This much of niche. Google and facebook will allow for private network. For eg we have a private network across 50 people, who across our Vivaki companies share social learning's, not everybody can't get in to until we approve it, one has to get it approved from our social leader, he has got a list you have to be social lead of one of our agencies or to be on our board of directors. It's a closed network; nobody can see what we are doing in that network. But we have group Vivaki that is open to anybody. And what tends to happen that there are things that we will be narrower. So one of the reasons that Google will do very well is because they underline structures when people are not using circles. But the underlying architecture is trying to build around these narrow things. I don't expect the next generation of things coming from the new companies, I see them from the existing companies or the combination of existing companies.  Certain things slow down, like in search or content distribution of social, there is nothing that is happening new in this field.

So, what are the few things that will come up rapidly?

Another next big thing will be maps, location based applications. A lot of future will not be new things, but a combination of these things in interesting things. I think Mobility and social network will bring a lot of new in to it. In the long run, on demand video delivered over the internet on to your television sets.

What are new experiments on the mobile platform?

Right now mobile is not so developed despite what everybody says. It's less than 1 billion market. I believe that it's not an advertising market. I mean when I say it, I don't mean that people will not advertise on it, but advertising is not what mobile exist for, it's for utility and services. Like if I am here, I happen to rent a car, then who can provide a car to me would be crucial. Like Uber is a service in Newyork & Chicago wherein you pick up a call, press a button and in ten minutes they will deliver a car to you. In future you can see avis doing that. Imagine a service from HP, when you get the printer, wherein you just scan the printer number. It's a marketing service and not an ad. I don't understand that why anybody would want an ad. I also see things like promotion, like i also check it on Foursquare, when i checked in at a restaurant for the first time at Chicago, please show this to the waitress and we will give you a 20% discount. The restaurant across basically said next time come to us we will give you a free drink. That's a marketing service and not ad which is so much more effective than running an ad.