CEO Series: “Organised Chaos” – A reality in digital

By Sudhir Nair, SVP & Head of Digital, Grey Digital India 

In 2009, when we were strategising on how we could differentiate ourselves from other agencies with digital practice; we felt we need to stand for something. It could very well be a philosophy that is relevant to what the medium’s strength is to decade long experience (there are very few agencies in India with a decade long digital experience).

We started with what we called the digital relevance. It would consider the various aspects of the digital space; as it existed then; and map the possibilities against the objectives. It clearly shows that there is no fixed entry point for brands; it is purely dependent on the goals.

It has been five years since; and a lot has changed in the digital landscape. Though the idea of “Digital Relevance” still holds good; it was important to take it to the next level. A contextual setting was required. Indians adopted technologies as soon as it was being made available. In the case of the digital medium in India; that dependency was being dwarfed by the rapid growth of mobile.

In today’s day and age, or rather the digital age, the consumer is the most tortured soul – tortured by brands, by the choices or options he has, the decisions he has to make, peer pressure, family pressure…and whatever else. This is unlikely to change. In fact, the clutter is just going to increase. Not just in terms of brand choices but also in terms of ever-changing digital content or technologies the consumers will absorb or adopt. In simple terms, it will be absolute chaos.

While I was trying to understand what chaos means in advertising and what it means specifically in digital, I thought of the “Chaos Theory”.

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future. (Edward Lorenz)

It also is an apt definition of where the digital world is headed or will be. A state of perpetual beta.

In this rather chaotic scenario; brands will find it increasingly difficult to grab the consumers’ attention, build/retain loyalty, engage with them, have conversations, be forgiven, increase awareness, build consideration, anticipate, transact and more.

Hence, what could possibly work is an “Organised Chaos” strategy.

Organised Chaos – is a planned approach of putting some method in the madness and expose consumers to different levels of communications. It is in by no means intended to be linear; cannot be one. We are looking at well planned/orchestrated communication patterns.

How do you organised chaos? There are 10 different key points I have mentioned, a combination of these should ideally work across all digital touch points; including social.

1. Know your consumer – Listen, learn and most importantly, remember

2. Constantly communicate – it cannot be just campaign to campaign or a new product launch

3. Define touch points – know what is irrelevant

4. Create patterns of communication – not for the brand or product but for the consumer

5. Data visualisation – don’t just visualise data, visualise message

6. Real-time messaging – these patterns are dynamic

7. Story telling patterns – inspire, surprise and flirt

8. Everything is an opportunity – including a crisis

9. In crisis – identify pigeons

10. End with the consumer(s)

If you apply the “Organised Chaos” strategy to any campaign; in my opinion, it will work at any stage (Though the order might change). The unfortunate reality of some digital campaigns today is the lack of a planned approach; to make sense out of data and understanding what each touch point means to the consumer. The natural tendency is to be present everywhere. Unfortunately in doing so; we tend to forget on what we set out to communicate to the consumer. This results in similar messaging across touch points without taking into account the strength of each.

While social means fishing where the fish is; you cannot catch all kinds of fish with the same fishing rod. Consumers are too smart for it. Social is part of almost everything; but one shouldn’t forget that Social is not everything about digital. To be able to lure consumers and stay connected with them all through their journey with the brand is a science in itself. Our attempt with “Organised Chaos” is to look at possibilities to that science.

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