Meera Sharath Chandra is an integrated creative professional with 30 years of experience. Former MD of WPP-company Syzygy UK and former executive creative director of Momentum Worldwide UK, Meera has worked in India as the president & national creative director at RMG Connect (JWT), and also at DDB.
She has been part of jury at many advertising festivals including Cannes Lions, One Show, Art Directors Club, and Clio. She is a regular speaker at international forums and a mentor at the School Of Communication Arts, London and also contributes towards the WWF "Save The Tiger" initiative.
As an entrepreneur, she has been on the board of an Intel-funded dotcom enterprise (Avigna Technologies) servicing clients in the US, Europe and Hong Kong, leading a 250-strong team. She has also worked with top brands like Nestle, Unilever, Ford and Citibank, and is now looking to invest all of this knowledge and expertise into her startup TigressTigress. It has been aptly named to capture the way she aims to make a mark in the world of digital marketing. Here, she shares some insights from an expert’s perspective:
YS: There's a lot of hoopla around digital marketing. What compelled you to start up right now?
MSC: I disagree with the word- hoopla. Digital communication is now a necessity and is fast becoming the mainstay and centre-piece of all marketing strategies and activity. India is at a wonderful stage of digital evolution and on the cusp of a breakthrough. Consumers are now net-savvy and increasingly always-online. Social media has become a powerful community glue and a powerful voice of the people. The mobile has truly become a unifier and a leveler.
YS: The market is filled with a plethora of digital marketing agencies, how is TigressTigress different?
MSC: The difference is in putting digital at the heart of integrated communication that works seamlessly across all consumer touch-points. The difference is in invaluable cross-geography and cross-media lessons that make conversations with consumers more meaningful and engaging.The difference is in putting consumer before brand, and brand before advertiser to make the engagement and the experience more relevant and rewarding. The difference is in specialist talent and expertise in India and overseas that can be deployed to find creative business solutions that are big on innovation and high on accountability.
YS: You've spent 30 years in advertising, how do you relate the offline and online fronts?
MSC: In my 30 years in the business, over 15 years have been in the digital space across the US, the UK, India and Hong Kong. This has been a great experience working not just on global brands but on challenging digital assignments. It is my belief that a holistic creative business solution requires equal amounts of experience in all disciplines. Without that truly joined-up communication cannot be achieved.
YS: Do the same strategies work for both? If not, what is the major difference?
MSC: Online behavior differs greatly from offline – as can be seen by the very interesting differences in behavioral economics. This is exactly why true integration can best be achieved by those who have well-rounded experience in above-the-line, below-the-line and online communication - so that they can make the lines blur completely for consumers.
She concludes with a word of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, saying that, “Now, more than ever before, there is a need for specialist skills in this space as brands need to engage in meaningful conversations with evolving consumers.”
Her words resonate with that of many others who believe in the potential of the digital word and the impact that it shall leave on the coming generations.