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2021 will all be about people centricity

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Guest Column: Marketing must be a win-win for all involved, customers, brands & agencies, says Anita Kotwani, CEO, Carat India

As we enter 2021, the world, and with it, the marketing in this new world will have changed at a fundamental level.

With all the fluidity and unpredictability of this change, one thing for sure is that focus on people centricity will now be paramount. Marketing structures across businesses are changing to adapt to this renewed focus. We can sense a change in the marketing teams & structures in the businesses as well, from moving core human interactions inhouse to building stronger teams to understand humans behind the customers. These changes are leading to an evolving role for agencies as well.

To remain relevant in this evolved reality, we all will need to refocus on ‘people’ at the centre of our problem-solving approaches. The business which is able to do so in practicality and not just in theory will be the only ones left standing a decade from now. The year 2021 will be a critical first step towards this, where the focus on people needs to already start reflecting in the media lead experiences created by agencies, creating pull instead of the usual push communications. Are we ready for the challenge?

You will also see Carat shifting gears to push boundaries and make an industry-first move, to adopt a new way of thinking & planning. This new approach will aid us to deliver our commitment to every business we work with i.e. to be their partners to know “people” better, proactively advocating “for” the people, and hence, “design”, find & deliver value exchange in each experience.

Being empathetic is the only way forward for all of us. Really understanding people’s needs, acting with empathy, and showing a greater willingness to collaborate is more important than ever. The new reality is that marketing now must be a win-win for all involved – customers, brands & agencies. And hence, a focus on new ways to create rich experiences that deliver real value for people is going to be not just our but the industry’s north star.

How do we gear up for this in the refreshing year of 2021?

Newer sources of growth: With the reshuffling order of categories in consumer’s lives, the market is also expected to reshuffle this year at a higher rate. The new needs have to lead to the aggressive rise of new industries, which are now a higher source of growth. Health-tech, Edu-tech & innovative niche products will be the growth drivers. We better be ready to match their growth trajectory.

People, not businesses & brands: The bedrock for a successful relationship too lies in understanding the humans at the center of business teams and understanding their challenges & needs. This understanding will lead to a differentiated & customized streamlining of systems, processes, and discipline to stronger service delivery across clients & categories. We all prosper together with this approach of custom fit processes together.

Seamless integrated models: The need for integrated offerings of services has been a demand in the market for some time. ‘Seamlessly’ being the key challenge here, which will need to be solved across verticals this year. T-model teams are expected to become the solution, where we seamlessly bring in the core people on business along with area specialists as one task force. This integration will have the talent pool across data, digital, content, creative, social, tech, and commerce, working collaboratively for clients to drive business goals.

Talent pool nudging: To be able to deliver the integrated solutions, there is a furious need to re-bridge & reshaping our talent pools into integrated solution providers. Be it clients’ leads, strategists & planners, a model of constant cross learnings & upskilling is the future way for each individual. Talent transformation is the theme keeping the needs of our ‘people’ at center i.e. our task forces. Laying a path of high growth for them and empowering them for this growth trajectory is the key.

Inclusivity in culture: An inclusive culture will automatically sprout when we start delivering to people’s needs internally. A unique mix of stronger cultures of flexibility, applaud, appreciation, support & nudging is what the future will be. With unknown circumstances throwing some unexpected challenges at us this year, we need to now evolve the role of culture and human understanding professionals within agencies, to create a strong sense of open culture & belonging for all employees. With physical workspace boundaries having dissolved this year, it is more imperative than ever to create an inclusive and equal culture for employees to grow in.

2021 is the first step towards a big change where the ecosystem will undergo major reshuffling. We together need to shape a future that is integrative, collaborative, inviting & innovative. We say, bring it on 2021, we are ready.

About the author / 

Anita Kotwani

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