2015 has begun on an affirmative note for India as we have witnessed some momentous events which could well be gestures of an enriching future for the country ahead. Governance at the Centre seems to be building a strong connect with the common man, global ties with allies gets robust, prices, subsidies and the mantra ‘Made in India’ resonating across sectors, marks an indication that India would soon take centre stage as it forges ahead to socio –economic prosperity, in the next few years. And 2015 very much seems to the first step in that direction:
Retail stores and e-commerce to get a techno-facelift:
In India, retail stores culture continues to flourish even though there has been an onslaught on e-commerce sites, enticing the consumer with convenience shopping. Retail shops and malls provide the physical environment for consumers to meet, connect and celebrate and so it is more than a venue for picking up products. But in order to co exist with online portals, retail outlets need to enhance the consumer experience by infusing technology to its offering – be it integrating digital media, electronic displays, augmented reality or special effects in trial room. 2015 will witness new experience for shoppers to the way retailers connect. E commerce too will enhance the experience of shopping online.
CSR will not be a ‘service’ but responsibility:
CSR has largely been a peripheral activity for most companies, who were seeking goodwill among stakeholders and the society at large. Barring a few large pioneer corporate houses, rest of the sector has shown apathy to share their coffers for social development. But the CSR Act issued by the government and requirement of all corporates to save 2% earnings for CSR has helped streamline the activity. 2015 will see a further strengthening of this ecosystem, with stricter governance and need for transparency in funds shared and deployed. There is a need for having accountability for the funds in order to ensure genuine social development and restore the faith in the art of giving.
Marketing in the digital age; not digital marketing:
In 2021, India will have close to 500 million consumers, which are a challenge as well as an opportunity for marketers ahead. Innovation will be the key this year to set a solid ground to drive brand marketing for the next decade. Premium products in each category will need a different thinking and marketers will have to take that leap, and not stay put with old school techniques of brand measures and awareness factors. Rural markets will be the new battleground for consumption products and anew strategies need to be planned as the consumption patterns changing. Interesting example is that of skin cream category has displaced packer tea! to enter into the top ten distributed list. With the boom in social media and smartphone/internet penetration, the need is to look at marketing in the digital age as opposed to digital marketing. Consumer choices and preferences are fast changing and marketers need to be at pace with the consumer. Brands managers need to look at brand relationship and stay close to the consumer. The cricket World Cup is round the corner, be optimistic for some refreshing brand engagements around the sporting extravaganza
Paradigm shift in Technology:
India will be the second largest mobile users by 2016 and by the next decade, we will be a testbed for global innovation with a set of technologies that will transform the country. The game will belong to new entrants who can build scalable business and existing players who are nimble enough to adapt to new strategies beyond their core business. Technology will play a paradigm role in enhancing services to the community like education, healthcare and banking, especially to the rural areas. Cloud computing will help harness data analytics and research in remote areas. Such new business avenues will drive the next generation entrepreneurs to create affordable technology solutions and will have the luxury to use talent in a flexible way with the growing number of free lance skill available in the market. Consumers now want to connect and control their relationship with the vendor, they demand for more information and want to stay connected with track their services, hence 2015 will see a growth is data collection frequency and more intricate data analytics as businesses look to understand their consumer better.
Content will be king in entertainment:
India is the largest producer of movies in the world with a huge potential for growth in the global market. We have a robust infrastructure with over 1000 TV channels, about 700 movies, 550 radio stations, 600 event companies and close to 5000 movies screens, but do we have the local talent or skill workforce to match this infrastructure? The entertainment industry influences a major population of the country and hence it can be the right medium to drive national interest issues and culture to answer some pertinent questions among the youth. Content can drive social change and create a platform for budding refreshing talent to showcase their genius. The need is to reconnect with the smartphone generation of today who consume content differently, and hence it is imperative to have poetry, drama and arts in schools to engage creatively with these young minds. 2015 will see many international artists and production houses seeking partnership in India and if we can filter new techniques and creative ways to engage with the youth, this collaboration will bear fruit into a more secures, open and forward society.
The changing workplace:
Traditionally, corporate workplaces have been a merely plug and play sort of environment, which has witnessed a paradigm shift over the years with many MNCs entering India. The need to create a environment conducive for work and the need to nuture talent has led to companies investing in creating better workplace. 2015 will witness a further enhancement of this effort as most companies look to innovate their workplaces – by offering more control and choice to the workers. Office spaces demand ample area to walk, sit, ideate and have alternate work areas away from their desks. Workplace culture will be suiting for employees with varied personalities and interest, such that introverts also get space and opportunity to engage and succeed. Aesthetics, quality of services, personal well being, recreational options etc. are gaining importance at workplace today as employees are being empowered. New work formats, virtual offices, etc. are gaining preferences among employees as they are looking to options to work at their choice. Interestingly offices will now transform to avenues of ideation and creative, qualitative engagement for work, where ambience, culture, employee engagement will all be interconnected into a holistic offering synonyms to the company and at same time custom made to suit the employee.