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BJP’s return to power signals positive roadmap for digital brands and agencies

Executives expect a positive shift in performance with digitisation policies

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MUMBAI: After a highly intense political show that ran over several months, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has once again staked its claim to the central power within the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to reign his second term. While the election results are yet to be announced, the trends till now have sealed the verdict in the favour of the party with it already getting majority on around 55 per cent of the seats and is leading in several others.

Termed as one of the most crucial ones fought in India, this election had all the political parties rely heavily on advertisements and marketing. Digital played a key role in the marketing mix of all the parties, especially BJP, that spent Rs 4.23 crore on over 25,000 ads on just Facebook, between February and May, as per the ad library report of the social media giant. The party spent an additional Rs 17 crore on Google platforms.

Just like the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, this time as well, the strong marketing game surely gave BJP an edge over other parties who were far behind it in the advertising game.

The Pivotals CEO and founder Pranshu Sikka says, “The elections this year have once again reiterated the traction of Brand Modi over everything else and redefined "Branding" in political parlance forever. Brand Modi seems to have created an invincible connect that has superseded every recorded barometer for political supremacy in this country.”

Grapes Digital founder and CEO Himanshu Arya quips, “An interesting point to make is that, with Modi, there has been an upsurge and upswing in way the digital content is being consumed by our audiences which it was not seen earlier. As we have all witnessed how the #Chowkidaar campaign was unexpectedly a huge hit. With the new government swearing in, we can now expect more stringent laws and policies in place, good governance, strong and steady industrial growth in various sectors. The new government does believe in the power of digital transformations and hence we can expect this sector to grow manifold in future."  

The returning government has not only itself made a spectacular use of digital media for its benefit but has been a catalyst in making the country one of the leading ones when it comes to access to digital media. The ‘Digital India’ campaign of the central government led to this medium becoming an integral part of the daily lives of the people even in the remotest corners of India. And that is why; most of the leaders in the digital brands and marketing industry are excited about this government’s second term.

Vertoz founder and chairman Hiren Shah says he is looking forward to the newly-elected government’s continued support to digitisation of the country. He expects that the stable political environment will also help the digital advertising medium to grow.

He says, “With this victory, a stable political environment will be maintained, making way for further growth and will holistically help many sectors for digitalisation of businesses and operating towards ‘Industry 4.0’. In turn, the digital advertising sector will also benefit. It will broaden the horizon for digital advertising and help the industry reach its full potential in terms of market penetration, thus enabling brands to offer customer-centric bespoke solutions.”

As per a McKinsey Global Institute report, with effective adoption of digital technologies across sectors in the country, India has the potential to target 275 million more digital subscribers in addition to the current 520+ million internet subscribers by 2023.

“Moreover, from a national perspective, we expect that the NDA government's internet penetration programs will help transform a large segment of rural India into digital villages, thus opening up the market,” Shah added.

MX Player CEO Karan Bedi is hopeful of a thriving environment for the OTT industry with a stable government in the centre. He says, “Indian OTT platforms have benefitted from the historically low data prices that are a product of the government’s favourable measures. As the country’s largest video streaming platform, we are excited about the potential for growth in digital-driven ecosystems across semi-urban and rural India. Technology and telecom infrastructure development in these areas will further accelerate our entry into smaller markets while offering OTT players the opportunity to innovate and flourish at scale. It will also help more indigenous talent to emerge and trigger a cycle of inclusive growth.”

Gaana CEO Prashan Agarwal is also positive about the performance of digital streaming platforms like his with the returning BJP government’s dedication towards strengthening new technologies.

He says, “The ongoing 4G revolution is a result of the favourable business environment created by the government's progressive policies. The rapid increase in the country’s internet population over the past few years has aided digital-first businesses like ours and triggered a widespread rise in customer-centric product development out of India. As the country’s leading music app, we are hopeful the newly appointed leadership will help establish a more favourable business environment that cements our country’s status as a global innovation hub.”

The industry’s hopes are pinned on the returning government’s 5-year long term. While digital executives are sure that the next few years are going to be an opportunity to thrive and shine for them, a few other industry insiders are expecting the government to put an increased focus on SMEs, education, and other relevant sectors.

Times Internet CEO Gautam Sinha is hopeful that the new government will extend support to technology and startup sectors. “We are hopeful the current government will continue with its progressive policies in the technology and startup sectors. The Indian startup sector has seen considerable boost in the past five years, and is now calling for bolder reforms. Clearer policy directions and enhanced ease of doing business will help establish a healthier ecosystem for large-scale businesses as well as tech entrepreneurs.”

Communicate India founder and CEO Akshaara Lalwani says, “From the new government, I hope that they continue to encourage ease of business and speed track opportunities, especially in the SME segment. I am also hopeful that the government will introduce best business practices which can put us on the global map of innovation and disruptive growth.”

She adds, “I believe there are two gaps which need to be filled by the government, to future-proof our talent. Our education system needs an overhaul, as there exists a massive skill gap, which can be addressed through a more practical, modern education system. The healthcare sector too is one which needs a revolution, to make it accessible to everyone and address the divide between the private and public sector.”

Lalwani also insists on the need to encourage and support more women entrepreneurs.

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd executive director and chief executive officer Mahesh Iyer mentions the need for a holistic view and corrective measures to be taken to revive the travel and aviation sector. “Given the recent challenges faced by the aviation sector due to the withdrawal of Jet Airways flights and other challenges faced by Indian carriers, we believe there is an urgent need for a holistic view and corrective measures to be taken to revive the sector. This is crucial and in the interest of the larger travel, tourism, hospitality and business environment.”

He also notes, “With the travel industry being a crucial contributor to the Indian economy’s employment and growth curve, we are confident that the newly elected government will strengthen the industry with continuity of its tourism friendly policies. We see the opportunity for increased focus on initiatives like UDAN, Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY); integrated development of pilgrimage destinations through Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), increased allocation towards enhancement of the e-visa initiative to include additional countries, development of new tourism circuits and attractions for the inbound traveller, along with a strong focus on infrastructure – roads, railways, cruises, waterways and sanitation.

TRA Research CEO N Chandramouli is of the view that second term for any government is a great chance for it to improve and better the earlier policies that have already been initiated. He points out that the focus of the new government should be on maintaining a balanced approach to the small business and its facilitation by the government, as it will give India the desired and expected fillip.

He states, “The businesses that need support and better functioning are startups and SMEs. The catalyst for growth and investment will only come if the government backs a trusted, independent Startup Rating ecosystem to help investors put their money behind the best-emerging technologies and innovations for health, nutrition, immunisation.”

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