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Do All Strategies Need To Be Avant-Garde?

Today, let’s just pick up one arm of Digital, i.e., e-commerce, where the market size in India is expected to cross $50 Billion in FY22.

Photo Credit : Avant-garde strategy/Twitter


I still remember the times when 3 things were important from a status perspective – cordless phone, Maruti Esteem or Contessa, and the Television that we owned. Of course, this was before the mobile and internet era.  

Today, let’s just pick up one arm of Digital, i.e., e-commerce, where the market size in India is expected to cross $50 Billion in FY22. The strong momentum attained during COVID first wave seems to continue and it is expected that the Indian Market will hit the $120 - $140 billion range by FY26 (CAGR of 25 -30 per cent). Considering the overall e-commerce penetration in India stands at 4.6 per cent, these numbers look promising. And, today there also exists a Thrasio model where over $300 million has been invested in Indian startups based on the Thrasio concept. 

I wish my grandfather was still alive, he would have been excited to see so many ‘Genies’ fulfilling his wishes at just one click, though I still feel he would have still been contended with his analogue HMT watch and going to the local Kirana shop, walking down to the post office and bank for updating his passbook.  

Life at an integrated agency is vivacious and high energy. With multiple briefs in different categories to decode, it puts us in a place where we get the opportunity to view both a panoramic and yet an in-depth perspective of the needs vs wants of a particular brand or product, realizing that we live in an extremely diverse nation, with 23 languages, 415 dialects, 19,500 mother tongues with a rich cultural heritage be it art, literature or food that has evolved leaps and bounds. 

What has become more important today is measuring the impact of relationships of an individual consumer with a particular product or service. Also, predicting to solve a specific need of the consumer. Be it multi, cross or omni-channel, understanding, connecting and reaching out to the consumer to solve two essential things – a business challenge for the brand and building on trust. And let’s be honest, the consumer journey has become complex. It is not about just telling a story; it is a thin line of the story being told to stay relevant at a given moment and also enabling such content that may possibly be re-purposed.  

 Having had the opportunity to work on a plethora of pitches for multiple brands, I am sharing four of my thoughts on how to approach a brief – 

Cohort Team 

The moment a brief arrives, it is important to form a core team on every nuance – decoding the brief, consensus on the way to approach, strategy, positioning, creative, copy, and media.  It is end-to-end teamwork with one driver of the project who binds everything together from start to finish. 

Don’t just read the Brief, de-code the brief  

Only if all kinds of thoughts could be expressed clearly in words every time, it would be utopian. As much formatted a brief or questionnaire is, there are things that need to be decoded. For that, it is important to think through the deeper questions. Be it competition analysis, be it target audience, it is important to find both data and relevant examples. From 2 TV Channels, 2 Radio stations we as consumers are now there on e-commerce, music streaming, podcasts, OTT, news, entertainment to name a few. 

Don’t think Avant-Garde, Think Connect  

20 years back we did not have so much data, neither so much technology, be it mar-tech, ad-tech or predictive-tech.  As far as I understand normal human psychology, people relate to something which is simple and connects to the heart. And that is juxtaposed with the paradox that humans do also have a tendency to like a flavor of challenge or as we call it a challenge in this process of connection.  Hence, before thinking of a strategy out of the box, it is important to think within the box. Innovative and new does not necessarily translate into campaign success. Connecting at the right moment with the intent of the consumer and mapping it over a period of time does the magic.  

Don’t think of Research as just another tick mark 

The way we approach to research (I call it homework) forms a strong pedestal. The paradox is that it needs to be relevant, fast, and driven by both data and sensibilities. The core assumption being the consumer is informed, does his or her research before purchasing a product and that is exactly what we need to understand - the touchpoints and the buying behavior.  Most of the magic today happens in the consideration phase. Clearly defining that are we solving a need or a want is one of the first steps and in tandem the traditional method of talking to a handpicked set of people, along with online surveys 

And, my favorite has always been, mix heart with the mind and everything comes together. Also, it is important to work towards simplifying the complex rather than to work the other way round. Wishing everyone a very happy festive season.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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digital e-commerce market india

Ankoor Dasguupta

Ankoor Dasguupta is the Vice President - Media at Hashtag Orange. With two decades of work experience, Ankoor identifies himself as a learner, mentor and a strong believer in network effects and nurturing relationships. Connect with Ankoor on LinkedIn. Twitter handle is @AnkoorNow

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