Blockchain is still in the nascent stage for the overall advertising industry in India: Shekhar Mhaskar, Isobar India
By: Yohan P Chawla
Shekhar Mhaskar is the Chief Growth Officer at Isobar India. He is responsible for overseeing key national accounts and business development with a clear strategic vision for growth.
Shekhar has been part of the digital advertising industry for more than 2 decades with a varied experience in heading Digital SBUs at renowned agencies like Ogilvy One, Cheil Worldwide, and Maxus, he also straddled being a successful entrepreneur before taking up the mandate at Isobar.
With industry experience spanning across Television, Film, Internet, eCommerce, Mobile, Social, Online Media and New Technology; across industry verticals like FMCG, IT, Entertainment, BFSI, Education and Telecom, Shekhar is truly the master of all.
In this Straight talk he talks about the various campaigns Isobar has conceptualized recently, blockchain technology, their plans ahead and a lot more.
How has the creative and technology business been at Isobar? Which have been the areas of growth for the agency this year?
The year so far has been stupendous. We have been really focusing our energies on our existing top clients to partner with them in their digital transformation journeys to deliver business results.
We recently completed a phase of digital transformation for Weschool, one of the premier business schools, by creating a technology ecosystem to bring together disparate functions of admissions, thus leading to efficiencies and higher intake at reduced costs than before.
For myschoolreviews.com, we ran the campaign - 'Her Courage Lessons', which aimed at imparting lessons to parents, to help them raise little girls to become fearless women in a society that is male dominated. The campaign has also seen its entry into this year's Cannes festival.
For Bobbi Brown, the makeup and skincare brand from Estée Lauder, we won a Gold at ABBY 2019, for a campaign where we integrated Artificial Intelligence with local weather data & real-time lifestyle content consumption behaviour to deliver highly customised messages to the target audience.
We partnered with the National Geographic Channel to draw the fleeting attention of millennials to the issue of imperishable plastic by smartly using the ephemeral Facebook Story into a story that never dies. They were made to realize how plastic isn't ephemeral, and encouraged them to think twice before using plastic, and care for the planet.
Evidently the focus areas of growth have been in the realm of integrated solutions for brands with quintessential and bespoke amalgamation of creative, technology and media.
How has Isobar used Blockchain for its clients and what is its importance? Any interesting case studies that you can share?
There is no doubt that Blockchain technology is going to be immensely fruitful for marketers and advertisers. The prudent implementation in various industries and services like digital media, advertising, manufacturing, education, hospitality, agriculture, ticketing, and many otherswill help nip prevalent fraud in the bud and pave the way for transparency and an unambiguous view of the entire lifecycle of production, transactions, processes, deliveries and remuneration etc.
When it comes to the digital media spends we see a lot of spillage which cannot be tracked completely, and the ROI measured is somewhat estimated. Blockchain helps track those spends and associate ROI to the last paisa spent. Thus, the reduced spillage ultimately resultingin higher ROI.
As far as the utilisation of blockchain for brands is concerned, it is still in the nascent stage for the overall advertising industry in India. Having said that, Isobar pioneered and successfully ran the first ever blockchain-powered digital media campaign in the auto industry with CEAT Tyres,this February. Campaigns like these help to nip fraud in the bud and pave the way for transparent, unambiguous view of transactions andmeasurement of digital media campaigns. We are in conversations with brands to leverage blockchain, beyond just its use in media about which you will hear from us soon.
In terms of adoption of digital technologies such as block chain etc. what sort of challenges do you face with clients?
While brands understand the concept of blockchain and its many benefits, they don't want to take a risk of investing in it. They want to see real-life use cases to believe in it. This is typically the same situation almost more than five years ago when brands were not ready to risk investing in digital marketing. But now the digital spends are close to 40 per cent of their entire marketing budgets. Hoping that the gestation period with blockchain is much shorter.
How is Isobar's Innovation lab been doing? Any interesting work that's been worthy of mention?
The Isobar Nowlab is always teeming with action, where the geeks continue to build some path-breaking interventions. We are in fact in the process of giving a major facelift to the lab, which in the new avatar, promises brands a peek into inspiring experiences that are relatable and easily adaptable to address their business challenges. We are also very proud that a core team from the lab recently presented a home-grown skill for a lifestyle brand, at the world-famous Alexa Cup competition. Keeping our fingers crossed.
What are the key plans for 2019? How do you plan to achieve them?
It will be a continuum of our focus on offering bespoke integrated solutions to existing and new clients. More importantly, the solutions will be aimed at consulting and empowering clients to successfully implement digital transformation solutions that drive business results.