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.
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.