AI will be the big thing that will change the dynamics of this industry: Harsha Razdan

Harsha Razdan, CEO, South Asia, dentsu, and Abheek Biswas, AVP, Consumer Insights, dentsu, launched and introduced the much-awaited dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2024

by Shantanu David
Published - February 09, 2024
5 minutes To Read
AI will be the big thing that will change the dynamics of this industry: Harsha Razdan

The much-awaited dentsu e4m Digital Advertising Report 2024 was launched in Mumbai on February 8. The report was introduced by Harsha Razdan, CEO, South Asia, dentsu, and Abheek Biswas, AVP, Consumer Insights, dentsu.

Razdan, noting that this was the eighth edition of the report, explained why it has become a bible of sorts for people both within and outside of thedigital advertisingecosystem. “We've always been in the thick of digital, and have looked at honing our positioning for India as a tech and marketing consultancy. So, for any challenge or any question raised in the areas of marketing, business or tech, people should come to us.”

Asdentsuhas positioned itself as such, Razdan said there are two big pillars that the agency’s global vision of positioning talks about. “One big pillar is about us being a people-centered transformation company. What this means is that as an agency, we understand our people better, we understand our consumers better, and we understand our clients’ consumers better. We want to be a part of the changing journeys that each of our clients and or employees go through with more and more digital and AI coming in.

“The second pillar that we talk about is again very close to my heart. It is about us being a B2B2S, meaning business to business to society, company. We want to work more for society and do the right things for society. And if that means there are projects or programs that we can do, we will bend our backs to do those projects even better.”

Over the last eight or nine months, during Razdan’s tenure, dentsu has tried to bring this vision to life and there have been four streams that they've looked at to achieve it.

“The first stream has been an extreme client obsession: working around the client, everything else is secondary. The second stream is around AI, which we believe will be the big thing that will change the dynamics of this industry and for us at Dentsu as we go forward,” he said, adding that the third is sustainability and the fourth is innovation and creativity.

Biswas followed Razdan, remarking that when he had addressed the opening of the last report, he had ended his speech by paraphrasing Neal Armstrong’s famous line as ‘one small step for technology, one generational leap for mankind.

Since then, India has seen the success of Chandrayaan 3’s moon landing, the successful launching of the Aditya probe towards studying the sun, even as the world has witnessed a modern renaissance of sorts. As a technology demonstration of the kind of progress being made today, Biswas then introduced his virtual avatar to help him deliver the presentation.

This began by Biswas first crunching the numbers in terms of ad revenues (both past and forecast), their biggest industry contributors, and the forms in which they are being used, all of which can be reviewedhere.

Biswas then went on to speak about how this modern-day renaissance of the 21stcentury would augment it in the fields of technology, creativity and sustainability. “I call these the three pathways where this renaissance will happen and elevate humanity. The pathway of technology will be driven by a shift from Internet, mobile and social media to artificial intelligence and spatial computing.”

Advancements in artificial intelligence and generative AI are bringing in the next generation of business transformation and streamlining business functions at all levels. And with spatial computing, we are already seeing the impact of extended reality applications across industries beyond gaming and entertainment,” he said, noting it is also bringing about significant innovations in the sectors of healthcare, sports, tourism, and manufacturing sectors, among others, not least of which is education which has seen a transformation in the way it is taught and learned just in the last few years.

“The pathway of creativity to this modern renaissance will offer new dimensions of storytelling and artistic expressions. Video Advertising will continue its impact and effectiveness with artificial intelligence, streamlining the entire content creation process, which will foster a more effective and empowering landscapes for brands and content creators alike,” he said, pointing to instance like the undergoing changes in Influencer Marketing, as well as spatial experiences brought about by extended reality along with immersive storytelling, digital art and more.

And the third pillar of this modern renaissance, asserted Biswas, sustainability, will be driven by the goal of carbon neutrality and supporting the green initiative of green infrastructure, mobility and energy initiatives. “We've already seen many such initiatives even from India, like the electric mobility mission, the push for hybrid and electric vehicles manufacturing in the country, and biofuels. This journey into sustainability will represent a deep commitment not only to make India more developed, but also a healthier planet for generations to come.”

“And with this metamorphosis, technology and AI will not replace humanity, I repeat, will not replace humanity, but only augment it,” he said, concluding his remarks with the catchphrase of his favourite superhero’s words of up, up and away. “So, let’s put on our capes and get ready for this giant leap into infinity.”