From Digital Relevance To Organised Chaos, Sudhir Nair, SVP And Head, Shares The Journey At Grey Digital

Interview with Sudhir Nair, Sr. Vice President and Head at Grey Digital to understand the work the agency is doing on social and digital, challenges of social media and the future.

It’s the first day of the week and Sudhir Nair has been into a never ending conference call. He pings me back and promises to be with me over the telephone in the next thirty minutes and he does. Loads of work has kept the Sr. Vice President and Head at Grey Digital busy, was the first thing Sudhir told me, while exchanging pleasantries.

I came across Sudhir last year while the digital industry in the country was appreciating the work the agency had done for Volkswagen Jetta on Twitter. Sudhir, who will have a 13-year old work association with Grey Digital very soon, tells me proudly that it was one of the finest works from the agency and one can safely accept that the industry saw something of that kind for the first time. I didn’t differ as the campaign was amazing with a fresh concept that allowed Twitter users to enjoy with the brand while having conversations and winning big.

From Digital Relevance to Organised Chaos

[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”left_pull”]Digital today is no more linear. For me digital today is Organised Chaos.[/pullquote]

Grey Digital has been in the digital space in the country since 2001 and sustained while the industry was witnessing the dot com burst. The two member team has grown over the years to stand at ninety today. Meanwhile Grey Global was acquired by WPP in 2004. But, the results started showing in 2008 when clients started paying for ideas, informs the computer science graduate, while talking to me from his Mumbai base.

Moving ahead, the agency got technology into its arm, ventured into social four years back. Today the agency covers the whole of the digital aspect but it is staying ahead of the curve with a vision that kicked of two years back, under the guidance of Sudhir. The first phase of ‘Digital Relevance’ has come to an end and it is into ‘Organised Chaos’ - a term that defines Digital in its current form, says Sudhir.

“Digital today is no more linear. You don’t need to do ten things to be successful in digital. For me digital today is ‘Organised Chaos’,” he shares, while discussing the vision he has for his agency. He further explains that despite a 100 things happening before us only 20 or 30 things catch our attention at the most.

“Thanks to the digital revolution, we have become multi-tasking persons and we easily pick up the 20 things that attract us. The same logic we are trying to apply to brands and making the ‘Organised Chaos’ work for them,” he adds.

Ideas that stood out in Grey Digital

Some of these ideas have been implemented over the time with established brands that have associated with Grey for a longer duration, for the sheer belief that the agency pitches ideas rather than campaigns. Volkswagen has been one such brand that the agency has done some very innovative work for. After the Jetta Twitter initiative, the agency used YouTube to build interactive videos to provide a virtual experience of the car by answering the consumers’ most commonly asked questions in a humorous way.

Sudhir added a few more to the list of amazing work the agency has been doing for some time now. Bournvita’s ‘Tayari jeet ki’ initiative for its chocolate flavoured health drink - that stresses on the importance of inculcating good habits in children as a preparation to win in life - was another one that stood out. Armed with the TVC, the agency created a Facebook app called ‘Baat badhao. Aadat banao’ where one could start a new habit with some help from Facebook friends. On Twitter the brand also roped in moms to host contests with Shoppers Stop gift vouchers to be won. Needless to say the campaign hashtag #BVTGoodHabits did trend.

While the agency has incorporated social as an idea, at the same time, it has been keenly pushing clients to concentrate on Online Reputation Management (ORM). “The general perception is changing. Clients are realizing that it is affecting their business and hence they are becoming more open,” adds Sudhir, while talking about how the industry is responding to ORM solutions. Though he says that a lot more has to be done in the space to bring more brands into confidence.

ROI dilemma of clients and road ahead for the market

[pullquote id=”lhipull” class=”left_pull”]Industry is realizing the importance of content in digital and perceptions of ROI has changed.[/pullquote]

But has the ROI question dissolved or clients are still hunting for answers, was my next question. Sudhir says the industry is realizing the importance of content in digital which was not the case initially. “Two years back the market was all about fan aggregation and now if you need to sustain that you need conversations which ultimately brings to content, our selling point,” he informs on the changing perceptions in the industry.

Before winding up, the man who has been at the onset to the digital revolution in the country, thinks that going further the market will see three  major changes: a) Consolidation of digital space, b) Industry leading towards mobile, and c) Second screen demand continues to grow.

The industry is already witnessing the early signs of the mentioned observations and Grey Digital as an agency is focusing on mobile as one of the exciting pieces of digital.

Image courtesy: Digital Asia Festival