I am an Engineer, moved from Construction to IT. Advertising happened by accident, or you can call it a stroke of luck- Vishnu Sharma- Founder and CEO | Efficacy Worldwide
Here is the complete interaction...
1.You have a deep-rooted understanding of the communications world and data spanning 25 years. Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
Every Man has but one destiny said Veto Corleone in Godfather. I am an Engineer, moved from Construction to IT. Advertising happened by accident, or you can call it a stroke of luck. That's how I found my destiny years ago. I was lucky to join the media industry when it was growing exponentially and newer formats, publishers, broadcasters and advertisers were growing by the day. Being in the right place at the right time not only gave me a gallery view but also allowed me to participate in the media wars of yore, the competitive 2-wheeler industry, white goods and the big telecom boom followed by e-com and now ed tech, fintech, gaming and OTTs. On many occasions, it was baptisation by fire. I loved every moment of my journey and had the privilege to work with a few of the best minds in the industry. The journey continues to surprise me. Even recently, when established players across were struggling for business during Covid, we started this new chapter of Efficacy Worldwide and in less than a year. We have achieved a client roster and a turnover which is enviable by any standards (names and numbers withheld on purpose :) )
2.What has been your experience of pitching during the lockdown?
A lot of pitches during the lockdown were like window shopping from mature clients who were all trying to figure out new ideas and lower costs without actually changing their existing relationships. But most new-age tech clients were the ones who were onboarding new partners and those pitches were a delight to have. Even in the case of mature clients, we were lucky to win some of very reputed names which moved out from the big 5 due to the differential servicing levels which startups like us could offer and the big ones did not.
3.In the last few months, there has been a specific trend build up in the mobile marketing space? Your thoughts?
Mobile phones have brought in a massive change in the mobile marketing space through User-Generated Content. Conversational Chatbots, Social Commerce, and Shoppable Ads are a few trends which will be used extensively in the coming times. Mobile Commerce Growth, Location-Targeted Mobile Ads, Mobile audio marketing are a few use cases which will see increased adoption in the mobile marketing space. Rapid 5G Adoption leading to use of high data consuming technologies like augmented reality will be a new rage in creating path breaking communication for users on the go. Use of podcasts in audio mobile marketing, voice searches leading to D2C conversions will all see use cases in various categories. Mobile will keep surprising us with the adoption of new tech in advertising.
4.With clients inclined to spend less going forward, do you think advertising will have to work doubly hard to get results for marketers? What is your view?
It's not exactly right to say that advertisers are going to spend less going forward. The adex is growing and marketers are positive of the future. What is changing now is the focus on ROI. For agencies like us, who have an ROI driven approach and work on evolved tech driven platforms will not feel the need to work doubly hard. But agencies working on basic branding with limited focus on ROI and delivery will have to work many times harder.
5.Due to pandemic OTT platforms have seen a phenomenal rise.Do you think TV viewership is bound to go down in the long run?
The rise of OTTs was on the cards, the pandemic just accelerated the process. But the phenomenon of OTTs, connected TVs, short content platforms, online news portals and apps will lead to a decline in TV viewership. But the change will not be too quick to happen and too big to notice in the short term.
6.How has Influencer Marketing changed the course of brand visibility in recent times?
Influencer marketing has changed the way brands used to drive awareness and engagement. Influencer marketing is more relatable, not too ‘in the face’, and carries the credibility which has been lacking in conventional advertising. Rather than looking at one big celebrity the brands now engage an army of micro and nano influencers which help not only build brand salience in their follower base, but also generate the kind of engagement and WOM which brands have been chasing for long. Influencer marketing is here to stay but it is imperative that a uniform brand thought is sewed into the expression of various influencers, thus keeping the brand identity undiluted and communication standardised.
7.Due to shifting focus towards OTT, do you think theatrical releases will come down in the coming years?
With Shifting focus towards OTTs, theatrical releases will not be hit for large banners and big star-studded cinemas. OTTs have been a blessing for a large number of low budget movies with new star cast, who otherwise did not stand a chance with getting good distributors. So there will be 2 possible outcomes - some numbers may go down, but the content creators have a great opportunity to showcase themselves at various OTTs.
8.The Best Businesses Are Built Around Passion. What are your views on this?
Skillsets can be acquired or hired so is true for most of the resources required to run a successful agency business. What cannot be hired or bought is the attitude and passion. In my years at various global agencies and blue chip publishing houses, the key differentiator in the success quotient of different organizations has been the passion of the team, or the lack of it. My hiring mantra for the organisation and for the HR practice is to look for passionate people with the right attitude. Everything else falls in place. Efficacy is the best example of a passionate team and how we are delivering value to ourselves and our clients is a testimony to the above fact.
9.On a personal note, what have been the highlights of your career so far? Your key learnings?
The key highlight of my career has been the lasting relationships I’ve managed to build with clients and business stakeholders I have worked with over the years. Lasting relationships are built on mutual trust and delivery. Of course having spearheaded some of the biggest launches in Telecom, 2 wheelers, white goods and various other categories can be termed as highlights too - but I like to call them hygiene.
My key learning: We are in the business of delighting clients. When I say clients it's not only the marketing team at the client end but also the stakeholders in the value chain of their business. This also includes the audience to whom their communication is addressed to. As long as we are able to delight our customers with path breaking work, creatively, efficiently and on time - we shall continue to be in business and excel in it.