CAS16
Internet of We! - Ashok Lalla from The Future of Digital for Brands


Ashok Lalla is currently a Digital & Marketing Advisor and helps brands use Digital more effectively to deliver greater business and brand impact.

An award-winning global and regional Digital, Brand and Social Media Marketing leader, he has more than 22 years of marketing and business experience across industries, including over 16 years in the Digital space.

Ashok has the unique distinction of managing worldwide Digital Marketing for two Indian-born global brands – Taj Hotels for 9 years starting in 2000, and Infosys for 3 years. And here are his 5 Questions with CAS16.

1. "Internet of things" or "Internet of Me" which appeals more?

I think with the increased interconnectedness amongst people across geographies, and the increased propensity to express, share and interact, it's more about the "Internet of We" that's relevant today.

2. 3 hacks you would recommend for brands to be on the cutting edge of tech

"Hack" is probably oversimplifying things, but what is important is...

- Technology or platforms or social networks are not ends in themselves but mere enablers. It is important to anchor whatever one does as a business, brand or individual in an understanding of one's consumers, and to create linkages based on a strong, single pertinent idea. And not to get carried away by the newest 'shiny toy' in town!
- Focus on tech that serves one's consumers better. Think consumer-in, not brand-out.
- Collaborate with others in the development of the strategy and its deployment so as to stay current with trends out there, rather than rely on doing it all by oneself with resources which are often out dated.

3. A key difference in the way start-ups and enterprises approach digital?

Most startups look to skip the stage of brand building and instead look to acquire customers right away. This results in rampant price discounting and incentives, which may attract customers in the short term but do little to build a strong brand that customers seek out and are willing to pay for in the long term.

Also, thinking social media is free is far from the truth. While setting up a social media page maybe free, managing it effectively to deliver business results takes significant time, money and effort.

Established businesses usually take a more balanced, mature view towards digital, though it is not uncommon for them too to focus on lower order and fairly meaningless metrics such as increasing views and shares, and growing fan numbers and seeking virality of their content.

4. If you were not a digital marketer, what would you be?

I almost joined television media in the early days of the satellite revolution in India, and later was offered a job in the retail industry long before it exploded in India. But even if I had joined either of these industries, seeing how central digital is to both businesses, I would have probably ended up being an early digital proponent in these spaces too.

5. 1 reason not to miss your session at CAS16

You'll have to come hear me and find out!

Hopefully, you'll find more than 1 reason why it was worth being at my session :)

Ashok Lalla is a speaker at Click Asia Summit 2016, the Largest Digital Transformation and Marketing Event in Asia (April 21-22, Taj lands End, Mumbai)

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