Being founded in 2009. Grapes Digital made its presence as the digital-first agency. The agency is flaunting a huge clientele on one hand and a big team of more than 180 people, on the other. We had a chance to speak with Mr. Himanshu Arya, Founder & CEO of Grapes Digital. In the conversation, we talked about the new social media guidelines and much more. Take a look..
Q) How has 2020 and lockdown treated you in terms of performance and revenue?
COVID-19 brought a series of changes in business across sectors. When the lockdown was imposed the biggest hurdle for us was how to move to work from home, as we have always believed in working from offices. Our profession demands a lot of brainstorming sessions, meetings, chart our plans, and sitting together while working on projects or pitches. Anxiety levels were high as everyone feared job loss, and it happened at the time right before the appraisals.
However, we initiated steps to change it and allowed employees to work from home and we did not lay off a single employee as they are the biggest assets.
In the initial month, the revenue was badly hit by the economic fallout due to the pandemic. There was a lot of instability and clients tighten up their purses while slashing the marketing spends to deal with the unforeseen situation. We were also impacted and initially, we had to take salary cuts but gradually we learned from all the challenges leading in our ways, and worked effectively, and restored the full salary of all employees from August.
Later on, marketers realized that the virus is here to stay and digital medium can revolutionize the advertising landscape without digging a hole in the client’s pocket. This led companies to focus more on digital presence. Today, brands are interested in spending their marketing budget on digital media and this helped us to acquire new businesses, our revenue has started to rise again.
The pandemic has made brands realize that they can’t treat the digital medium as an alternate advertising platform. Digital has the potential to outperform traditional mediums when used sensibly.
Q) You are in a position to be connected with both brands as well as consumers. What behavioral changes have you noticed among the brand’s post-pandemic?
Brand’s behavior has changed post-pandemic, and the same is seen across various sectors. FMCG has seen a strong shift towards D2C models to be future-proof ready, automobile brands have moved to online sales model. In general, most of the brands have done great investments in digital vs mainline, and are considering digital as the first medium of communication post-pandemic.
Consumers have also shown a very strong digital-first approach, the overall digital penetration has increased in pandemic leading to much more decisions being taken online vs. pre-pandemic. Pandemic has accelerated the overall digital shift which would have otherwise taken a long time to reach this stage.
Q) Do you think digital marketing plays a vital role in a business generation?
Yes, there is no second thought about the same. Digital is measurable and more and more brands have taken the full-funnel approach online, from lead generation to actual sales, Digital marketing plays a vital role for any brand from FMCG to Education to Automobile, no brand today can think of its presence without digital being the first medium of choice. Even pre – Pandemic Digital played a crucial role for industries like Finance/ Fintech whereas not it’s across all industries.
Q) Government has regulated new guidelines for Social Media. What is your opinion on the same?
New Social media guidelines have brought more credibility to the platforms. Earlier platforms were being governed by their community guidelines which were vague and at the sole discretion of the platform themselves. With the government’s intervention, there is a layer attached on top along with timelines defined within which these social media platforms need to disclose/ close the queries, etc.
This is certainly better for Indian citizens. With new laws coming in, you can hold the platforms accountable for anything fishy running in the ecosystem. Since these platforms touch almost everyone directly or indirectly, regulating them becomes more important and this will make the industry more ethical as well. Government still needs to come a long way and close all loopholes in the system which are still open.
Q) What steps do you take to keep yourself and your team upbeat?
During the lockdown, we initiated some steps to stay connected with each other through online calls. That was the time when we all were confined to our homes, our responsibility was to encourage them so they feel motivated, and assist them in doing their jobs. For our employees, we are 24*7 open to discuss any issue, we at Grapes follow a flat structure so one doesn’t find too many layers to convey their issues.
Q) Where are you seeing Grapes Digital in the year 2021? What are your future plans and programs?
We have a couple of goals planned for this year: The first is to make sure that we do remarkable work for our clients, and preserve their trust. The second is to add new clients, and acquire new business developments and become a digital-first communication agency. We are also working to strengthen our team and expand the business into new markets.