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BE Informals: Rajiv Dingra's lessons on moderating a power-packed panel

17 Jul 2018

BE Informals: Rajiv Dingra's lessons on moderating a power-packed panel

The founder and CEO of WATConsult took the stage at BE Informals to pilot the discussion on content marketing for millennials

WATConsult's Rajiv Dingra, has been shifting serious weight in the advertising world for over a decade. 

Dingra took charge of moderating the panel at BE Informals' Mumbai session, 'The Content Marketing Edition' with panellists , Sanjay Mehta of Mirum India, Geometry Encompass' Roshan Abbas, Pepperfry's Kashyap Vadapalli, Kaya Clinic's Arvind R.P and Star TV Network's Venke Sharma.

"There is no one quite like Rajiv in the digital space right now," Ashish Bhasin once said at an event in 2015. He had a point. Dingra bristles with wit and is the real deal-authentically cool and intelligent, anything but the stereotype of a standard-issue agency head with nothing to say and a rictus grin to match. Having just returned from the French Riviera for Cannes Lions, he shares his thoughts on the subject 'Millennials’ Rules of Engagement: Ad or Content?' .

When quizzed on whether he would divulge tips on how he successfully moderated the BE Informals panel, he said, "Well, firstly, I was really happy when the topic was sent to me because it said that millennials were classified as the group born between the 1980s to 2000, which would make me the only millennial on the panel, so maybe I could say whatever I want and get away with it. But jokes apart, my process is very simple. I looked at 'ad' and 'content' as seperate elements. 
As a moderator, you should be able to argue on both sides. I look at the marketers point of view, the agencies' point of view as well as the consumers point of view. If you’re not able to do that and put each aspect at loggerheads, great discussions won’t happen. So that’s my thumb rule for being a moderator. I need to look at the core subject from everybody’s perspective, how I’ve viewed the same topic and what would I be saying and then draw those points out and argue them."

What about something important he learned from the panel as a moderator? Dingra pauses for a moment before answering, "You can’t have advertising pitted against content in a discussion. A great ad needs to have great content, otherwise it can’t be a great ad- that was a learning. Some of the examples that were shared from the panel like the ‘Da Da Ding’ by Nike, is an example of a great ad which was great content as well. In today's digital world, where there’s no limitation to the length of the ad, great content can be created that can work like great advertising."

When asked if anything took him by surprise during the discussion, Dingra said, "It’s not surprising but more of a reinforcement what Roshan [Abbas] said about purpose. Purpose is a great one-word advertising value to take away- Saying okay, brands need to, in the new millennial-based world, find their purpose. Find why they exist. And then they need to translate that purpose into advertising. That according to me was the single point reinforcement takeaway from the panel."

So what were his final takes on 'The Millennials’ Rules of Engagement: Ad or Content?', without skipping a beat he says, "First, I learned that millennial are not people who are born in from 1980’s to 2000s, it isn’t defined by when you’re born, but is defined by how digitally native you are, how you consume content, how engaged you are in the digital ecosystem. I also learned that millennial have unique traits. They have a plethora of choices, they are very self-expressive, almost to the point of being shallow. They’re unstoppable, confident and sure of what they want," he says signing off.
 

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