White Rivers Media’s Shrenik shares his insights on challenges that the advertising industry is facing, goals and plans for WRM.
Shrenik Gandhi, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, White Rivers Media talks about the trends emerging in digital marketing, evolution of social media platforms, focus areas of the agency in the coming years and more.
He also talks about how we can overcome the challenge of data availability due to cookie depreciation and user privacy settings.
On an industry level, what are some of the challenges that the advertising landscape and industry heads are facing this year?
Digital advertising has undergone quite a revolution and now we have multiple newer and advanced marketing options. While these possibilities make content creation much more interesting and strong, the need to understand these many tools and tactics may also become challenging at times.
We are in an era of digital marketing where data is crucial for assessing user behavior and personalized targeting. But the data availability is sometimes a challenge due to cookie depreciation and user privacy settings. We can overcome this with agility and appropriate strategizing.
Balancing the right messaging at relevant moments is another testing aspect. Billions of people across the globe have so many moments every day. Imagine the mother lode of opportunities for content creators! But yes, an equally big task is to assess them and act accordingly without exaggeration.
How has digital marketing grown in the last few years and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Social media marketing has particularly grown rapidly in the last few years with such widespread and easy availability of smartphones and social networking sites. By 2023, the number of people using the internet in India is expected to reach almost 650+ million. With such extensive reach, we need to constantly keep evolving and adapting to user behavior patterns and needs.
A personalized customer approach by leveraging technologies like AI and ML is also now becoming a game changer as it helps build strong connections between the brand and its consumers.
Social platforms are actively evolving to engage more users. Short-form content is gaining billions of daily views and high traction. Influencer marketing and regional content creation have also taken advertising a notch up with its high potential for consumer reach.
Gamification is another emerging trend with about 430 million mobile gamers in India, which is expected to grow even further in the coming years.
With White Rivers Media completing almost a decade, what are some of the learnings you would like to share with the agency folks? What does the future of the agency model look like?
With the fast-evolving technology, it is imperative to remain adept in order to provide the best possible services to our brands. Strategic partnerships to utilize the best technology tools and a digital transformation is a way ahead to integrate the multiple required skills.
Content creation with trends that are up to the minute is vital. Social media is on a rise with more than three billion active monthly users worldwide. And with mobile being the primarily used device, websites that are mobile optimized with a good UX are ranked higher.
Such specialized awareness and expertise are the need of the hour to cement all gaps that may exist in putting together the most beneficial strategies for our clients. This is what our agency does. When the need arises, we restructure and work in a multipod system where a tight team with the required skill sets collaborates and works vigorously to deliver the best.
The advertising industry has witnessed many changes in the last decade, what do you think remains constant?
What remains constant and shall remain so is the need to build strong customer relationships. Meaningful relations with consumers lead to loyalty, which ultimately results in long-term profits.
Modern technologies like AI, natural language processing and understanding (NLP, NLU), and advanced support can enrich a customer’s experience and help with strong relationship building. The new ChatGPT is also a promising optimizing language model that can help with predictive AI-driven content for mass customization at scale.
How can brands and agencies sustain a longer shelf-life of the campaign?
Consumers react or engage with content when it is adding value to their interests. So to ensure a longer shelf-life of campaigns, relevance is the key. Even if something great is created, if there’s no help or relevance for the target customers, it cannot sustain for long.
Trending ideas can be used to thoughtfully weave the narratives along with the tech features of the platforms selected to come up with some value-adding campaigns. Listening to customers and engaging them for further brand narrative also goes a long way.
The year is almost coming to an end, what would be some of your focus areas in the coming year? What can be expected from White Rivers Media in 2023?
White Rivers Media believes in the philosophy to ‘be the most’ and give our most to the world of advertising. A very thin line exists between ‘most’ and ‘best’. While our objective is being the ‘most’, being the ‘best’ would be something great to achieve as well.
We stand true to our belief in creative effectiveness. Campaigns just for the sake of awards are something we have never done and never intend to do. The real award for any campaign that we do is true ROI for the brand and shall always be.
A lot more recognition of the Indian agency ecosystem across the globe is something we would strive to achieve.
What is the winning formula that participants can take note of?
Integrity and originality should be the baseline for any work. And when it is complemented with creativity, expertise, and innovation, it can make content significantly stand out.
Thoughtful relevant strategies with apt technology can drive business outcomes and ROI for brands.
The quality of work should overthrow the quantity. Also, it is wise to stick to simplicity if that’s what is needed in the relevant case instead of complicating things.
What qualities are you looking for in the participants to spot the winner this year at SAMMIEs and what are your expectations from the nominees?
Subtle, smooth innovation without seeming forced is what anyone expects to see and can make a participant stand out. With the gallons of trends and technologies available for content creation, going overboard is easy but critical.
A thoughtful balance of simple yet creative and original with value addition are some aspects that can change the game.