After working in six cities across three countries, I came back to India in 2012 to join Hakuhodo. In the time that I had been away, a new India had been born. This new India had embraced globalism with a strong local flavor. At once international and Indian, the country had mutated global trends to suit Indian culture, values and tastes. Into this hybrid world, brands needed to re-interpret themselves to stay relevant and aspirational.
Over the past few years at Hakuhodo we have worked hard to reinvent ourselves to become a communication agency for this new reality. We did this by putting brand experience at the center of our thinking and of our agency culture.
Appealing to the new Indian (and global) sei-katsu-sha is a challenge. This Indian is increasingly skeptical of brands, advertising and corporate promises. Our answer to the challenge is to focus not on what we say but on what we do. To focus on real value that a brand can deliver. One tends to equate brand experience with retail. While retail does play a crucial role, brand experience needs to transcend retail to involve every touch-point. From digital and data, to events and activation, and traditional mass media communication. Focusing on brand experience forces the brand and us to focus on interactivity—two way communication—and on being just one degree away from the customer.
The only way to deliver on this mandate is to break traditional agency structures and create new partnerships and flexible work places. To change the mindset that is focused on creating advertising to focus instead on creating new meaning in people’s lives. To build a team that is willing to go beyond job descriptions and explore new skills. A team that brings personal passion to work and keeps pushing the boundaries of new thinking.
Travel excites me, and this journey excites us at Hakuhodo.Sync. in India.
Roles and titles current when this article was published in August 2018.