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We’ve grown 10-12 times in last three years: iProspect India chief Vivek Bhargava

Artificial intelligence, machine learning is going to change the feel of advertising, according to Bhargava

Archit Ambekar | Mumbai | April 27, 2016

Vivek Bhargava Vivek Bhargava

The agency that had multiple identities in India but reverted to its original name iProspect about six months ago is the global digital performance agency of Dentsu Aegis Network and is one of the largest digital performance agencies in the world. caught up with iProspect India CEO Vivek Bhargava over a coffee to talk about the agency he built from scratch.

Has the rebranding worked for you?

After the acquisition of Communicate 2 by Dentsu Aegis Network, we were iProspect Communicate 2 in India, while globally we were iProspect. It made more sense for us to keep the global identity in India as well for all practical purposes. The transition was very smooth as global brands like Microsoft, Mondelez and others knew us as iProspect.

How different is the experience of marketing offline for online brands and vice versa?

I think the core objective we’re setting is wrong. Think of advertising. Advertising is about attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA). The thing is whether you do it through conventional media or digital media, it’s impossible to measure the ‘attention, interest and desire’. Have you created the intention to purchase or not? You don’t know till the person purchases it (the product). The person purchases it and that’s action. So, in the case of both digital and conventional media, you can measure it (attention, interest, desire) in that (action).

The advertisements you remember will be (effective) when you want to ‘take an action’ of purchase. So, if you want to buy a phone, you will remember the ad in the newspaper. Only five to ten per cent or less of the target audience is in the buying cycle of a particular product ? irrespective of whether they notice it (the advertisement) online or offline.

The way one should look at it, is the metric of measurement, which should be the same (for both online and offline). One should never say that in digital, I can buy so I’m going to measure it that way. When you will remember advertising is determined by when you want to buy.

Advertising works on the AIDA principle. The principle works on both digital and conventional media and the measurement for both should be kept the same. If you are measuring conventional media with a brand track study, then measure digital too with the same brand track study.

Do you think it is an effective method?

Just keep the measurement technique the same. If you are spending $100 on television and a brand track study tells you how your $100 has worked, then spend the same $100 on digital media and do a similar study and see how your dollars have worked.

How are you helping clients build their brands?

I think the biggest value we’ve delivered to our partners is hand-holding them through the entire process, educating them and making them digitally fit. I think the more digitally fit you are, the more effective you will be in digital. We play the role of consultant to our partners and walk through the entire journey with them ? unlike other consultants who give an achievements blueprint.

How has your business been last year?

I started this company way back in 1997. Between 1997 and 2011, nothing happened. I like to joke about it, for those ‘14 years of vanvaas is over’ and now ‘Diwali’ (prosperity) has come. The last four or five years have been Diwali. Our business has grown almost 10-12 times in the last three years. We’ve had a phenomenal growth. We’ve doubled compared to last year.

Your opinion on the need for more recognition for digital agencies?

I think it is happening. Lots of brands are spending 40 per cent to 50 per cent of their advertising expenditure on digital. In the coming years, this number will only grow. Eventually digital will be the sunrise industry and I don’t think we have to worry about recognition. Unfortunately, the sunset industry has to worry about it.

What kind of trends do you visualize in the future?

There are three or four technologies that are becoming very big in the digital space. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is going to change the feel of advertising. Optimization can soon be done on a minute by minute basis ? 24 hours a day ? 365 days a year ? and that is the opportunity that machines will provide, for making advertising more effective. Data is going to be very critical. New technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality is, I think, again an industry that will revolutionize the way we advertise. The experience is something that will change the way one remembers and engages with a brand.

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