Day Two At #watsummit

Day Two at #watsummit another interesting panel discussion.

WAT Summit 2013
WAT Summit 2012

Panel 5: Socialization of the Web

From a heavy dose at day 1, we started off day 2 at the WATSummit still trying to figure out – is it the Dawn of the Digital age? The first panel ‘Socialization of the web’ had some of our favorite people on it though we were also keen to know Nikhil Rungta – Country Marketing Head, Google India and have a personal talk with him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it, so the panel commenced with Pradeep Chopra – CEO, Digital Vidya, Sanjay Mehta– Founder & Joint CEO, Social Wavelength and Rajiv Dingra – Founder & CEO, WATMedia Pvt. Ltd. Sanjay who was moderating the show started with sharing some interesting facts about social media, how it is shaping up in India. Pradeep emphasized on a basic fact that today everyone is going mad behind engagement, which is fine, but you need a decent fan count to make that engagement count. Rajiv who has witnessed this market from his early twenties said that for him the one defining factor was when there was a passive and categorical shift of the web. Our activities are more social, brands are more open and today more or less every device is web enabled. With this Rajiv also highlighted one of the most questioned fact that: Today people are not aware how much to share.

The panel also touched upon a very sensitive issue of Online Reputation Management, which is getting more important day by day and the panelists had a consensus that 2012 will see brands investing more on ORM.

Rajiv also expressed his thoughts on the relevant problem of social media marketing agencies today that they try to create social presence on all available networks present. He said that it is insane and humanly not possible to control them. To quote one of the favorite thoughts in this panel: [pullquote id=”lhipull”, class=”center_pull”]Eat less, Eat well.[/pullquote] The panel also touched upon Google plus and their thoughts on the social search too, which has been covered in a separate post here. Socialization of web has been interesting with its merits and demerits and 2012 onwards we are going to see some more defining moments.

Panel 6: Clicks Vs. Conversations – The Real Measurement for Digital Advertising/Campaigns

From the world of socialization, the next panel moved into the world of numbers and measuring the effectiveness of digital campaigns. To moderate the panel we had a veteran from the digital world who started his career from the Doordarshan days, Mahesh Murthy– Founder, Pinstorm & Managing Partner, Seedfund. The panel had the likes of Rajesh Lalwani – Founder & Principal, Blogworks, Amar Goel – Founder & Chairman, Komli Media, Ronny Raichura – Practice Head of Paid Search, Communicate2, Karthik Srinivasan – Head of Digital Strategy, Edelman.

Mahesh started the discussion first by inviting the backbenchers to come and sit in the front to make the discussion more engaging and social. However the incentives from Mahesh failed to pull the crowd from the back. Moving ahead Mahesh asked Ronny’s thoughts on ads and specially Facebook ads. Ronny felt that Facebook ads have a great potential as you can target to granular levels of a fan. A thought, which contradicts with Ben’s thoughts expressed at the keynote. Ronny also said that he did not want the social search to equate to Edgerank.

Rajesh who runs a successful digital agency Blogworks and also watches the market very closely said that the spending on social has increased and will increase in 2012. However he said that it is not clicks vs. conversations. For him if a brand were looking for sales and value he would go the way of ‘Clicks’ and if he is looking for engagement or Conversations he will go the social way. With this Mahesh added an interesting fact that [pullquote id=”lhipull”, class=”center_pull”]Last October quarter for television was down and the reason was digital.[/pullquote]

Moving on with the discussion, Karthik shared a thought that Digital and social advertising leads to more time spent by fans on it when compared to other traditional forms of advertising and it is the way ahead.

Mahesh also focused on a burning question, “Can we measure it and how do we do it for a fan page that has a million fans?”

Amar said that there is still no definite standard set of measurement and sentiment analysis defined by categories is one way to look ahead. Rajesh added that not all conversations are equal. Negative is not only negative, finding where they are coming from, etc. helps them to measure.

Mahesh shared a three level index that they use to measure engagement. It is Proximity Index, Sharing Index and Questions or Feedback. So at Pinstorm they try to place fans in these three broad categories and try to understand what kind of engagement they are driving.

Mahesh also asked the panel on their client’s budgets and how much they wish to spend this year. The general consensus was that brands are doubling their budgets this year for digital.

A very interesting discussion it was and Mahesh ended the discussion with this thought: I am more concerned about word of mouth.

Panel 7: The Search for Creative Brilliance in Digital Media

The panel commenced post lunch with a discussion revolving around the dearth of digital creativity in India moderated by Nishad Ramachandran – VP & Head, iContract. Tarana Mehta  – VP – Strategy & Business Development, Webchutney believed the reasons to be problems in harnessing the talent and the lack of support from educational organizations despite loads of talent in the country.  Aashish Solanki – Founder & Principal Designer, NetBrahma Studios shared another hurdle to creativity that he had personally faced where clients wanted their sites to be designed just like a popular one that was already doing well. The need for clients or brand managers to evolve was a strong point discussed here. Carlton D’Silva – Creative Director, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. spoke about the Mahindra XUV campaign created by them using augmented reality. He said this wouldn’t have been possible without the brand manager giving his consent.

Karlton also highlighted the fact that [pullquote id=”lhipull”, class=”center_pull”]Currently traditional is driving the digital media whereas it should be the other way round.[/pullquote] Further the panel touched upon the need to carry forward the offline experience to an online one seamlessly and whether going digital meant creating a Facebook page alone. Nishad ended the panel on a positive feel citing a rather exciting TV serial ad designed like a Facebook page on the front page of a newspaper!

We are probably going to see much more mediums getting blended in the search for brilliance in creativity.

Panel 8: Start up Vs. VC Perspective

The last panel discussion of the day and a most talked of topic in the startup circle. Sudhir Syal – Editor & Co anchor, Starting Up moderated the panel that composed of Sasha Mirchandani – Managing Partner  & Founder, Kae Capital and Co Founder, Mumbai Angels, Rahul Khanna – Managing Director, Canaan India and Alok Kejriwal – CO Founder & CEO, Games2win India.

A panel very similar to last year’s WAT Summit, 2011 discussed on the common but important topics such as when is the right time to approach the VC, what preparation one should do, amount of research to be done on VC’s before approaching them, when one should exit, etc. Alok who is an entrepreneur himself said that Indian entrepreneurs need to be more flexible and realistic which he finds missing in most of them. Rahul added to it and Shasha shared some exciting things of the market and mistakes they had done which turned into learnings. An interesting discussion, which had Alok’s one-liners to make it interesting.[pullquote id=”lhipull”, class=”center_pull”]There is no Lord Krishna in the world of VC funding who will come to give you the money when planning exit strategy.[/pullquote]

So with that day two ended and that also meant the closure of WAT Summit 2012. We definitely had moved ahead in the learning curve and also happened to catch up with our Twitter friends. So before we wind this up, we wish to congratulate Rajiv and his pretty young team who made WAT Summit 2012 happen.