Brands need to have a re-look at conventional brand-building structuresÂ to win the post-pandemic battleground, says Anil Nair, CEO, VMLY&R India.
Talking about the key trends that will dominate 2021, Nair saidÂ changing digital behaviour of consumers andÂ increasing maturity in using digital productsÂ andÂ services have led to increased expectations from brands.
âBrands of tomorrow will no longer be judged against their category peers but also across other categories in the areas of digital hygiene, salience, CX, e-commerce speed to market, etc. The customer today has a choiceÂ andÂ is willing to exercise it ruthlessly andÂ is not fazed by big brand reputation or loyalty,â Nair said.
Â "Any brand is only as good as its last positive experience.Â AndÂ which is where one needs to turn to platforms, technologies, data sciences, internal reorientations, etc., to consistently deliver this experience.â
Nair said brands need to get out their product mindsetÂ andÂ get into a product+service+content framework.
According to Nair, 2021 will be the year of customer experience and commerce. Brands that invest in both these areas will reap benefits over the next decade.
âBrands that will have a myopic conventional view will see disruptions in the way that people consider, consumeÂ andÂ evangelise their favourite brands. The other big trend we will see is a âDavid syndromeâ where brand behemothsÂ andÂ Goliaths will be threatened by disruptions, innovationsÂ andÂ rank outsiders redefining competition. The digital zeitgeist has truly levelled the playing fieldÂ andÂ democratised hitherto oligarchic structures, be it media or brands or agencies.â
VMLY&R India's growth strategy for next year
According to Nair,Â a combination of agencyâs diversified services and its client business mix has fortuitously helped VMLY&R stay afloat and keep the head above water in a tough year like 2020.
âThe first couple of months of the pandemic had everyone in a tizzy with clients scrambling to repair broken supply chains and production. But most of our clients scrambled well to get their businesses back on track and in categories that have seen steady growth, right from FMCG to hardware and jewellery brands to tractors.â
âWe finished strong in 2020 and intend to drive it with the same passion for 2021.Â Our investments in commerce, data-driven marketing, CXÂ andÂ content came to the rescue,â Nair said.
Talking about the growth projections for the next year,Â he said, "The first quarter may be a bit sluggish but I foresee things picking up after that.â
âThis pandemic brought us some immense learningsÂ andÂ unlocked opportunity areas in new channels, new ways of storytelling, investments in new platforms, etc., which we will continue driving forward in 2021,â said Nair.
Last year, the agency had plans to open a branch office in Bangalore.
âWe were all set to open our Bangalore office till the pandemic brought everything to a halt. But then the pandemic also gave us work from home, which has now allowed us to go beyond geographical limitations. Having said that, the South is an important sector for usÂ andÂ we will be looking at this with the utmost seriousness the moment life returns to normal,â Nair said.