Digital marketing has accelerated at an unbelievable speed, exceeding all predictions and expectations
Logicserve Digitalrecently announced that it clocked 55% CAGR over the last 6 years and witnessed accelerated growth across verticals, Creative (70%+), Data & Insights and Technology (90%+) in CY 2021 compared to CY 2020.
- We speak to
Prasad Shejale, Founder & CEO, Logicserve Digital about the agency’s journey so far and what lies ahead.
He further told us about the biggest challenges that lie ahead for the agency and digital marketing ecosystem, how the agency is preparing for the third wave and boosting its employees' morale and his vision for 2022.
Q. Prasad, how was 2021 for Logicserve Digital and for the digital advertising industry?
It’s an exciting time of change we’re living in. We’ve come a long way in these past years, and more so since 2020. In 2021, we won 61 new accounts across Media, Creative, Data & Insights and Technology and 20 new accounts for our eMarket service. We successfully added multiple new categories of brands to our portfolio including E-commerce, Fintech, BFSI, FMCG, Gaming, Consumer Durables, F & B, Health & Pharma, B2B, IT, Media, & Entertainment. Additionally, we partnered with some well-known names in the industry, including Canara HSBC, Domino’s, Ebro India, Fresh To Home, Future Generali, Haier, iMocha, Jubilant FoodWorks, Reynolds, Wakefit, resulting in 150+ total India clients. Overall, it has been a phenomenal 2021!
From the industry perspective, many changes have happened in the past year. We have seen a huge growth in this industry, something that was only expected to happen in the next 5-10 years. More and more users have adopted the digital ways of doing things. Brands too are embracing the digital industry, including the ones who weren’t very active or totally inactive on digital earlier. The industry has definitely seen positive growth and helped businesses defy the odds and continue their success journey while allowing them to provide delightful experiences to their customers. In my opinion, some of the key trends that dominated 2021 include Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), Digital Security, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Customer-centric vision, Contactless solutions, digital payments, etc.
Q. What will be the biggest challenges and opportunities for the advertising industry in 2022? How are you preparing yourself to face it?
During the latter half of 2021, people went outside to meet their friends and family and celebrated the festivities after a long wait. As we move into the grips of the highly infectious Omicron variant, once again, digital continues to ensure people's safety, life continuity, and is a necessary support system. Sometimes, it might be challenging for marketers to embrace emerging technologies disrupting the digital medium, skill-up, and keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem. Furthermore, how people of different age groups interact with technology will transform incredibly over the next five to ten years. The ability of some brands to keep pace with this accelerated pace of transformation will define if they will lead the game or just be bystanders. Hence, bridging the gaps with technology, newer trends, and the correct identification of relevant tools might challenge the industry.
In terms of opportunities, I think 5G has been making good progress, and I am sure we will soon see it become mainstream this year. It offers a wide range of benefits right from the increased capacity for delivery of new content and services. It will lead brands to deliver unique experiences in unthinkable ways, that too at incredible speed. The major trends that we have been talking about in the past few years, like AR, VR, etc., will finally prevail in consumers' lives with high-speed internet availability.
Foraying into regional is another great opportunity for brands this year. As per reports by Google India, only 20% of the Indian population can speak English and 45% of the local language users prefer accessing content exclusively in regional languages. So, it's a no-brainer that we have seen an upward trend in the last few years where brands are making original content in respective regional languages for maximum impact and reach.
At Logicserve Digital, we have always focused on a solutions-led approach for our business. The restructuring of our verticals revived and synchronized the energies of our team members. So, in 2020, amid the pandemic, we could quickly pivot our model to ensure customer experience was not compromised at any level. We also follow our Logicserve Digital Transformation Framework (LDTF) that combines our capabilities across Media, Creative, Data & Insights and Technology and helps us curate apt and result-oriented solutions for our clients’ specific needs. This agility in our business focus, digital expertise, and cultural transformation allows us to adjust our strategy according to the latest market changes. We embrace changing consumer behavior, shifting buyer choices, increased inclination towards quality products, etc., to deliver more creative and personalized experiences that ultimately ensure our clients remain category leaders. Furthermore, our brand values, mission, and vision prepare us for any uncertainty that might come ahead.
Q. How will you ensure that you keep the momentum going this year?
As you can see, our constant evolution has helped us yield phenomenal results with incredible new growth records in 2021. Banking on our team's capabilities, knowledge, and skills, we have overachieved customer expectations by leaps and bounds. Our workforce is the engine behind our growth, and we are in a better position than we were in the pre-pandemic era. I am delighted that we have successfully restored our clients' trust; as a result, they trust us on our expertise to lead their digital functions.
We have aligned our priorities properly - People, Purpose, Partnership, and then Performance to lead the brand to glory as we move ahead in 2022. Our teams will deal with the first 3Ps with compassion and determination, and hence we are sure 'Performance' would follow.
Q. What is the one thing digital/advertising agencies need to change and keep in mind this year?
Technology and capabilities always come with lots of responsibilities too. We have to build socially acceptable rules and follow those as we embrace trends like in the virtual world too. Rest everything, I am sure, will fall into place when the basics are adhered to by the agencies.
For instance, as technology gets cheaper and with the advent of quantum computing, innovative experiences will be delivered much faster in the metaverse. In that respect, expensive occasions like travel to exotic places, which probably was possible for those who are economically well off, is now also possible for those who are not economically well off. And thus, a new virtual world will be for everyone and not just people from big cities.
Hence, agencies need to be responsible for keeping the virtual world's space healthy and positive. The social construct that has built us, as a human race, needs to be followed in the virtual world too.
Q. How is the agency making life better for its employees considering we're heading into another wave?
We have a positive outlook for 2022. Employee safety has been and will be a focal point for all our decisions while ensuring business continuity. We hope that the Omicron wave can be controlled in Q1 of 2022 with proper guidelines and a vaccination drive and our efforts will be concentrated towards this very goal of the industry and government.
We are delicately working on a plan to consider Flexi working once again along with Flexi timing with a greater focus on results rather than efforts. We have already installed thermal scanners and contactless hand sanitizers in the office premises along with a system to ensure that the number of employees in the office is always at the lowest optimum.
Apart from a well-conceptualized hybrid work policy, our Emergency Response Team (ERT) ensures employees get the necessary aid. Furthermore, our HR teams are well equipped to help teammates in real-time with initiatives like regular health check-ups.
Q. How has the pandemic impacted the relationship between agencies and clients?
The uncertainty has brought the agencies and clients closer with seamless collaboration. Particularly for us at Logicserve Digital, we have been following our Logicserve Digital Transformation Framework (LDTF) that has helped us focus on building digital businesses for our clients in a holistic way. Our workforce is an engine behind our exponential growth and has left no stone unturned in delivering 100% satisfaction to our clients. Our teams quickly adopted a hybrid set-up to make sure that the customer's transition towards 100% digital is smooth and seamless. It gives me pride to say that our employees are our brand custodians and work as an extended team of our clients with a ‘WE’ spirit.
Furthermore, our growth verticals, customized approaches per changing buying personas, and ability to harp on the latest trends prepare our teams to provide excellent support to clients 24x7. And the fact that our clients know that we are more of their partners in their journey gives us an edge.
Q. Consumer behavior has also changed drastically. We are all anxious again and there is still uncertainty looming around. The kind of communications a brand comes up with during a crisis can either help win consumer trust or work completely the other way around. So when you work on any campaigns for your clients, how will you ensure that you are treading that line to really make sure that you get it right?
Brands have increased interest in breaking clutter and building awareness about their products/ services in digital media. Once they have achieved their awareness goals, they are looking at enhancing it further and driving quality leads. With the uncertainty peaking again, digital ad spending is bound to succeed as users are more open to making purchases online from the comfort and safety of their homes. Brands and agency partners are well aware about how the consumer behaviour changed during the pandemic. This has happened before too but now the shock value has gone down. Even with regards to the pandemic, we have witnessed two waves already and hence have a better understanding about how the consumer has evolved. We need to be relevant as well as sensitive when we connect with them while maintaining a fine balance that allows effective communication without overdoing it. This is where I feel agency partners play a significant role, in terms of guiding brands to communicate with audiences in an ethical and compassionate manner.
When we work with brands, we are always mindful about the situations, are sensitive towards consumer sentiments and communicate with empathy. We shall continue to follow this approach. We never focus on overselling and rather emphasize on keeping the communication going and maintaining the relationship with consumers in a sensitive way. This way they are aware about the brand and their offerings, have a good recall and will come back to them when the need arises. Customers do understand when a brand knows how to maintain the fine balance of communicating without overdoing it and when you portray this in your communication, they are bound to notice it. Also, the empathy cap has to be there always. Always communicate with empathy and the people will surely get the message.
Q. What would your focus areas for this year be?
An integral part of our success has been the company's people-first approach i.e. ability to convert employees into brand ambassadors through community building and elevating customer advocacy with an unparalleled support system. As we move ahead ‘people’ will be our priority both from an internal and external standpoint i.e. employees and customers. We also intend to enhance new areas under LDTF for better client experience. We have added new products under our initiative of Data Solutions that will help our clients build better efficiencies for their digital business. We love to work with great brands and that shall continue for all our verticals, whether it is media, creative, data & insights or technology. We want to move closer to our goal of being a truly integrated digital marketing & transformation company. Our Leadership team focuses on 3Ts – Trends, Talent & Texture. That shall continue for us to define new areas as they come and to build our talent pool for all the new changes that we make to help our clients grow their digital business and communication. From an expansion perspective, growing inorganically is on cards for this year.
Q. What kind of growth have you seen over the years and what's your target for this fiscal?
We saw Y-O-Y revenue increase as client confidence restored and the brand's spending levels became more resilient and predictable in 2021 compared to 2020. In addition, we were well-positioned to capitalize on the growing need from clients across domains for expertise around transforming customer experiences through the core capabilities across Media, Creative, Data & Insights, and Technology, as well as the new eMarket initiative.
Logicserve Digital clocked 55% CAGR over the last six years, our media managed grew by 186% in Calendar year (CY) 2021 compared to CY 2020, and we witnessed accelerated growth across verticals, Creative (70%+), Data & Insights and Technology (90%+) in CY 2021 compared to CY 2020. For 2022, even at a large base of ours, we are aiming at a 100% growth rate.
Q. What are your plans for 2022, in terms of expansion, new business targets, talent acquisition, and technology development?
In 2021, we grew phenomenally across all areas of our business. Our headcount increased by 27%. This year, we are looking at growing by 100% and with that we will be looking for new talent required to support this growth. Our talent requirements are across the hierarchy. There is a huge focus to get the best of talent available in the country, but apart from that, we are also putting in a lot of effort into hiring and grooming new talent by training freshers. Inorganic growth will also add to our talent pool as the year proceeds. Our products through our data solutions vertical are ready to help enhance our offerings thereby benefiting our clients in their expansion journey as well.
Q. Lastly, the pandemic has brought with it a lot of learnings. What are your major learnings from this experience so far?
The past year has taught us a lot and pushed us, in a way, to go back to the basics and follow an empathetic and humane approach in everything we do. It taught us the importance of perseverance and resilience. It urged us to let go of old ways of doing things, figure out alternatives and quickly adapt to the changes to be able to stand strong in the market. Hence, the Corporate Empathy Relationship (CER) will be central to our action plan