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Off lately I have been meeting a whole lot of people in the ecosystem in Dubai who tell me they are into digital transformation and I get excited about the growing opportunities that is therefore getting created given Middle East is still a few years behind when it comes to knowledge and understanding of the digital eco-system. Though some of the best experiences of digital consumer journey, globally, are brands originating from here.

I get excited given MEA is still way behind the APAC region leave alone developed markets like US however the moment I get into conversation with such folks I realize how misguided their whole interpretation is of what digital transformation is all about.

That worries me because these are the people shaping what their respective organisations aspire to be in the digital world and I wonder how competent organisations land up recruiting some of the most compromised talent you could think off when there is no dearth of money to go and hire the best from different parts of the world. I am not saying that they aren’t doing that but if you are serious of building a business online then it is an investment for the future and therefore talent becomes the most important aspect given the millions and billions one is expecting from going traditional to online for example. There is risk too, not every business can go online and I want to bring that out in this article.

What does it to take?

1) Talent
2) Capital
3) Expertise
4) Commitment
5) Shared vision

Before I write on the above, let me clear what I believe is Digital Transformation.

You don’t transform bits and pieces, you just transform in total. This effectively means that digital transformation is a long continuous process of changing the way your organization works. Right from the organization’s business to its processes, to its activities, to its operations, everything changes. This change also means redundancy or upgradation of knowledge and in companies where you have had people from the yesteryear generations the change is slow. Therefore, identifying what can change now and what is continuous but time bound is a strategic call the organization needs to take right at the board level keeping in mind the dynamics of the organization’s business and its model. It needs vision at the top to begin with and needs absolute clarity and relentless communication right below, barriers that existed needs to be broken and this can only happen when the CEO is involved in the transformation of change given the impact it will bring for society at large.

You are changing how you did business, you are changing the way you are addressing the consumer, you are changing the way problems are going to be solved, you are basically changing everyday walk of life and this isn’t no easy job so let’s be clear boys and girls digital transformation is how you are changing everything that is going to impact what you are about to accelerate and if you don’t know what it is going to be then I am sorry, you are not the person to be piloting the plane.

First up it must be customer centric then their experience, which gets translated to getting them to focus on product and service offerings through innovation to then making it available at various digital touch points, which becomes your placement for distribution to then market it digitally, acquire customers digitally to fulfilling it digitally all the way back to corporate control and governance.

Digital transformation is huge and that requires the five points I mentioned earlier.


Will you find the right talent? Off-course not, how on earth will you find the mix of retail and digital trading for example? There is a dearth of talent and the ones that exist are not wanting to join some experiment leaving a secured job. So, what do you do?

You look for hustlers from the digital domain. They might not have the retail experience but they may know the customer LTV processes that are digital. There might be some who would know how to acquire some customers, there might be some who would know how to retain a customer. Bring a mix of all these hustlers, put a leader who is experienced and patient with this millennial lot and see the magic brew. They start feeling the power of ownership because it’s their business then, each one of them have a task to achieve and let the leader direct what the tasks should be keeping in mind the organizational objectives.

But if you put someone who is an SEM expert to that of a lead role then god save you.


This board has spent significant years in expanding to where this business is. It has taken time, investments and failures. The patience you showed building brick and mortar for 25 years has been immense, so keep that patience on for maybe 5 more years because what you’ve achieved in 25 is about to be doubled in 5 but if you expect that to happen in 1 then you should practice running the Mount Everest till you master it before demanding it here.

So, capital is critical and transformation is investment and not cost, end results are profits so make sure you know the difference right at the start before you get into digital transformation.


Your business expertise as a CEO is priceless that will be the greatest value you bring in during transformation. Because it is you who is going to drive this to a success and make no mistake digital transformation’s success is fully owned by the CEO.

Results post transformation is team work but the ownership of success is in one person’s hand and that is the CEO. Let me clarify why? Because it is the CEO who is not only going to identify the resources but it is he who is also the one who is going to plug the gaps and know, which are the ones that are immediate and which are the ones that are time bound but continuous. It could take up to 5 years for large organizations to transform fully.

Banks and government organizations are great examples that have transformed fully in matured markets. Traditional retail didn’t, which is why you have Amazon, Flipkart, Souq etc of the world which have become multi-million dollar businesses. Macy’s on the other hand is tottering to become a destination digitally likewise with say a Target. That is because they took longer in making the right decisions in their journey of digital transformation and it is also because the old leadership was old and traditional and could not foresee what the future of shopping is like.


Let’s make no mistake, if you embark on digital transformation then there is no half measures like I mentioned in the beginning. You might take time but the transformation is not in bits and pieces, it’s in total.

So, there should be absolute commitment from the board and back the CEO who is involved in the whole process. It must be relentless and absolute.

Shared Vision:

This is a very critical aspect for the C Suite group. You must be able to communicate to everyone right up to the peon and security as to why you have embarked on what you have and they should know what they need to embrace.

So, detailing is extremely important at every level and the processes can’t have any gaps whatsoever because even hustlers need to know their boundaries so that they don’t go overboard. Because that would be a mess.

Look all you guys and girls who meet me now and then and tell me you are into digital transformation and can’t have a conversation on what you do, focus because let me assure you, you will be out of the job sooner than later!

Written by Rammohan Sundaram,MD & SVP C1X, APMEA

New York Festivals® AME Awards® for the World’s Best Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness™ is now accepting entries for the 2018 competition.

“The AME Awards has a 24-year legacy of rigorously monitoring the advertising industry and honoring global campaigns that successfully demonstrate innovative solutions to challenging marketing problems that achieve measurable results,” said Michael Demetriades, SVP Executive Director of the AME Awards.

The Grand Jury is comprised of interactive and multidisciplinary marketers, media planners, strategy directors, social media experts, and creative directors recruited from around the globe. Jury members will evaluate entries based on four specific criteria, each weighted by importance: Challenge/Strategy/Objectives - 20%; Creativity - 25%; Execution - 25%; and Results/Effectiveness - 30%.

“AME’s Grand Jury is a collective of five regional juries, allowing all entries to be judged with cultural relevance within their own region by award-winning creatives from that market,” said Demetriades.

AME’s Grand Jury awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze to the highest scoring entries through two rounds of regional judging to ensure scoring accounts for cultural and economic relevance. This round also selects the AME Green Award winner—the highest scoring, Gold-winning entry for a company whose emphasis is on resource conservation and negative environmental impact. Gold-winning work from all regions is judged by the full international Grand Jury to determine a Platinum Award for each of the five regions (North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific) and the International Grand AME Award.

The 2017 AME Grand Jury honored Serviceplan Group Germany with the AME Grand Award for “DOT - The first Braille Smartwatch” (technology) for DOT. Dentsu Japan received top honors earning the 2017 AME Regional Platinum Award/Asia-Pacific for “Second Life Toys” for Organ Transplant. Zulu Alpha Kilo Canada was in the winner’s circle, earning the 2017 AME Regional Platinum Award for “Say No to Spec” for Zulu Alpha Kilo. Impact BBDO Cairo earned the 2017AME Regional Platinum Award/Middle East/Africa for “The Game Before the Game” for Chipsy. TBWA Santiago Mangada Puno was recognized with the AME Green Award for “Dirty Watercolor” for client ABS CBN Foundation. To view the 2017 AME Awards winner’s showcase, please visit: HERE.

The deadline to enter the 2018 AME Awards is November 30, 2017.

If the the latest report of comScore MMX, Mobile Metrix (Mobile Web & App), July 2017, is anything to go by, News 18 has consistently held it’s rank at #3 – desktop as well as mobile.

The digital platform has recorded a consistency in the News/Information - General news category and looks forward to crossing this mark in the August ’17 comScore report.

Speaking on the success, Business Head of News18.com, Rajiv Singh said, “It gives us great satisfaction to attain high engagement numbers for the month of July. This stands testimony to the network having achieved the right mix of content to keep the viewers tuned into our digital platform. While this is a significant accomplishment, we are still on the path to deliver more breakthrough content to our consumers.”

For a brand that is just a little over a year old, the numbers speak volumes of its content diversity, growing readership and stickiness. For instance, when it came to desktop, [M] News 18’s total unique visitors as well as total minutes were 6.156 million and 85 million. Similar story when it came to Mobile web & app – [M] News 18 has firmly held it’s 3rd position with 22.3 million total Unique visitors and whopping 243 million total minutes.

News18.com is also recognized for its one-of-the-kind offerings such as CricketNext and Compare India, amongst others. The digital arm of the Network18 group recently, has also added stock prices to its offering for their reader’s benefit

The Bond of Love’ on 16th September at 9 PM

While one of them is the ‘Star of the Millennium’, the other is one of the biggest and most successful entertainers of the country; one is famous for his baritone, the other is loved for his charm and fitness. But what lies common between them is the immense audience love they receive. With a glorious career that has earned them loyal fans, Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar have been two of the most loved actors in Bollywood. Zee Cinema, World’s Largest Theatre for Hindi Movies is treating Akshay Kumar’s fans this month with their popular property ‘Shanivaar Ki Raat Akshay Ke Saath’. This weekend the channel will showcase ‘Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love’ which will premiere for the first time on television on Saturday, 16th September at 9 PM.

Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love is the first film where Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar shared screen space and later delivered several hits including Aankhen, Khakee, Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo, Waqt - The Race Against Time and Family - Ties Of Blood. Starring Khiladi Kumar and Big B in the lead, the film also stars Karisma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Mohnish Behl in pivotal roles. Talking about the film, director Suneel Darshan said, “Akshay was the biggest beneficiary of the success of the films we have done together. Ek Rishta was a great opportunity for him as he got to uplift his work and be at par with Amitabh, the God of cinema. These films showcase the evolution of Akshay as an actor.” The most sought after music composer duo of 90s and early 2000s Nadeem-Shravan gave some melodious tunes in the film.

On completing his overseas education, Ajay (Akshay Kumar) returns to India where his father Vijay Kapoor (Amitabh Bachchan), a successful businessman, expects him to join the family business. While Ajay has plans of his own, Rajesh Purohit (Mohnish Behl) enters their family and tries to impress Vijay. Unaware of his hidden motives and angered by Ajay’s decision, Vijay gives the power of attorney to Rajesh and gets him married to his daughter Priti (Juhi Chawla). Things change for the Kapoors when Rajesh makes living difficult for them.

Will Ajay go back to his estranged family and save them?

‘Shanivaar Ki Raat Akshay Ke Saath’ celebrates the magnificent journey of Akshay Kumar with his time-honored hidden gems that will telecast for the first time on television.

Watch the superstars Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love’ on Saturday, 16th September at 9 PM only on Zee Cinema

Thursday, 14 September 2017 00:00

Midas Awards & Skitish Media Present Funny Money

New York Festivals Midas Awards & Skitish Media Present Funny Money: A Night with James Altucher and Live Comedy

Stand Up Performances by Comedians Yamaneika Saunders, Joe List, and Mark Normand

New York Festivals® Midas Awards® for the World’s Best Financial Advertising™ with Skitish Media will present Funny Money, a night of networking and comedy featuring author/entrepreneur, James Altucher and performances by standup comedians, Yamaneika Saunders, Joe List, and Mark Normand.

Join the Midas Awards and Skitish Media on September 27th at 6pm at Stand Up NY for an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and networking and entertainment. The entertainment kicks off with James Altucher, founder of Reset Inc. and co-founder of StockPickr sharing his personal insights on branding and continues with hilarious sets performed by three of the comedy world’s most talented and recognized young comedians.

“This event is an opportunity for creatives and executives who work in financial advertising as well as on the brand side to take an evening off, connect with their peers, hear James’ perspectives on branding and perhaps take life a little less seriously with the help of these talented comedians,” said Scott Rose, Executive Director, Midas Awards.

Altucher will take to the stage to discuss his unique views on Branding based on his experience as a successful entrepreneur, investor, and writer. He has started and run more than 20 companies, some which failed, several of which he sold for large exits, in addition to also running venture capital funds, hedge funds and angel funds. “Effective branding is about doing,” said James Altucher, “it’s about showing that the brand and the customer can communicate honestly, that they understand each other and that they relate by speaking directly to each other in a two-way conversation. Brands can create conversations by being their authentic self, by showing their true personality, by honestly revealing what’s important about the brand and what is of interest to their audience. Tools like youthful advertising and comedy have proven to be instrumental in creating an authentic conversation and developing a relationship with consumers where brand speak and listen.”

The author of eleven books including the motivational bestseller, “Choose Yourself,” Altucher has inspired people both in person through hundreds of events and through weekly Q&A Twitter sessions on topics including money, stress, fear, and much more. His writing has appeared in major national media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, ABC, Elephant Journal, Tech Crunch, Forbes, and CNBC. Altucher’s blog, The Altucher Confidential, has attracted more than 10 million readers since its launch in 2010.

Also Performing at Funny Money:

Stand Up comedian, Yamaneika Saunders has been featured on NBC's Last Comic Standing and AXS TV's Gotham Comedy Live, and competed on Season 2 of Jeff Ross's Roast Battle on Comedy Central. She co-starred in Oxygen's Funny Girls, a docu-series. Saunders was a series regular on Comedy Central's animated online series In Security and has been a guest star on numerous shows including: The Jim Gaffigan Show, Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and TruTV shows Comedy Knockout and Friends of the People. Her voiceover work can be heard on Inside Amy Schumer.

Comedian Joe List has been featured on Conan, The Late Show with David Letterman, and was a finalist on NBC's Last Comic Standing. List had his only half-hour comedy special on Comedy Central and his albums 'So Far No Good' and 'Are You Mad at Me?' can be heard regularly on Sirius Radio. In 2016, he opened for Louis CK on his international tour throughout the USA and Europe including three performances at Madison Square Garden.

Mark Normand, won Caroline’s, NYC’s premier comedy nightclub, March Madness competition winning the top comedian slot over 63 other comedians. Normand has performed in his own Comedy Central half-hour special, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, TBS’s CONAN, as well as INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, TruTv, Best Week Ever, Last Comic Standing, and @Midnight. He released a Comedy Central album titled "Still Got It." Voted the Village Voice's "Best Comedian of 2013", Mark appeared on “John Oliver’s New York Standup Show” in 2012 on Comedy Central and was picked as one of Comedy Central's "Comics to Watch."

Skitish Media is Midas’ partner in Funny Money. They are a creative agency located at Stand Up NY Comedy Club. Skitish leverages its deep roster of comedic talent to create engaging and funny content for brands.

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