afaqs!

Pushkar Sane on the digitisation of life

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | November 23, 2007
On a visit to Mumbai, Starcom IP's Asia head Sane spoke on the digital wave that has arrived with a bang globally, and why advertisers shouldn't give it a miss any more

Pushkar & #BANNER1 & # Sane, general manager, Starcom IP Asia, was in Mumbai recently and, at a select press meet, spoke on the topic closest to his heart - the digital scenario, or what he called the digitisation of life itself. Sane began by dismissing the terms 'second life' and 'virtual world' because he said a consumer's online life is as real to her as anything else in the 'real' world. "This is especially true for 12-17 year olds," he observed.

According to Sane, we have all stepped into an era of compulsive connectivity (especially the use of cell phones), and sending and receiving SMSes sometimes serve as a means of killing time. "A majority of people don't switch off their cell phones unless in a flight, or unless their battery runs out," he joked. This era is also marked by multitasking and parallel conversations: One can now talk on the phone, send SMSes and chat on the web all at the same time.

Pushkar Sane
This multitasking has led to impatience and a paucity of time, which in turn has given birth to a language of convenience. "Short-hand, informal words, emoticons and a laconic outlook has replaced long winding words in communication," Sane said, "and this is a phenomenon across age groups." Impatience has also led to low attention spans amongst web surfers. "For instance, if a website takes long to open, is inundated with ads and pop-ups, or doesn't offer a visitor the content he wants immediately, he will switch to another site. This is particularly dangerous for transactional or travel and tourism sites," Sane said.

Sane went on to point out a very important phenomenon often ignored by brand managers - the consumer's increasing trust in unknown people (what the media industry calls word of mouth). For instance, reviews of movies, books and products on the web have the capacity to make or break things for a marketer.

Life is an open book on the web, said Sane. "You can Google anything on the Net," he said. It is no longer difficult to find out everything about someone, without even having met him in person. Sane was obviously hinting at social networking, which he said had the capacity to create a circle of influence, or the ability to swing opinions amongst peers or even strangers.

Sane said piracy of a different kind happens freely on the web. "People buy and consequently share software and music with their pals freely, which they would have to ordinarily pay for," he observed, adding that, perhaps, on the web, sharing doesn't amount to stealing.