India’s New (Business) Leadership

Published June 30, 2009   permalink

I've just concluded an amazing business trip to New Dehli, Bangalore, and Mumbai. Though my expectations for the trip were high--India is an exciting place to do business--I was completely unprepared for the reception I received.

Beginning with New Dehli, working with india's 2020 Media we presented a series of 8-hour workshops on social media. In New Dehli there were in excess of 100 participants, filling the ballroom of the Hyatt. In Bangalore and Mumbai, the overflow audience actually resulted in turning away those desiring to purchase tickets once the venues had sold out. Filling a venue is always the goal: seeing actual demand beyond that capacity really drove home how energized the India market is in terms of its readiness and interest in social media based marketing.

In working with participants across a range of industries--the hands-on nature of the workshops provided people with the opportunity to join me on the stage and present various components of the plans they were building--I was struck by this new leadership class. What I felt I was observing was quite profound: You could literally see the next class of business leaders and professionals sensing the importance of the Social Web--the place where conversations that impact their businesses will occur--and committing themselves to doing something constructive now rather than waiting. This is a contrast to the US, where many businesses and agencies are still hesitating in their recognition of consumers' impact via social media.

The net result is likely to be a rapid movement into social media across businesses in India, to the benefit of those business. Given the process acceleration that often accompanies technology induced advancement this will occur faster than it has in other locations. For example, as the 3G spectrum auctions begin this fall, the outcome is likely to be a very rapid expansion of social networking and related content services that proliferate on the mobile platform, introducing a wider audience to social media more quickly than would happen if say, broadband to the home or widespread purchase of laptop-based computing platforms were required.

In summary, I am excited about what I experienced and look forward to continuing to work with the people I met on this trip. It was an incredible awareness opportunity for me, and I am appreciative of the efforts of everyone who attended, and to the people of 2020 Media who worked so hard to make these sessions successful.

Reader's Comments

Dave: My collegues and I have just begun reading your book and we love it so far. We are all small boutique type consultants specializing in management/HR. You reference a template for a marketing plan in your book. I was wondering where to find that. I looked on and did not see it. We are looking forward to implmenting some of your great ideas. Cathy

By Cathy Missildine-Martin

Cathy- I appreciate your purchasing my book and taking your time to work through it. You will find the marketing plan template I referenced here: You will see the sign-up form. Not to worry—Shama will not send you anything other than the plan and tips. wink Dave

By evansdave

Hi I teach Communications at a b school and chanced on your blog in the course of my readings on blogs as a genre. Found some of your insights truly interesting & thought provoking. In the light of your recent Indian experience, I would like to hear your thoughts on the corporate blogging scenario in India? Are Indian companies serious about this platform and do you think they are using this media effectively? Parvati.

By parvati

Parvati- My experience to date (gaining more—heading back to India this weekend) is that India’s “social media community” (something on the order of 40-50 million people, 15 - 35, etc.) is not only using the tools but using them in insightful ways. This in turn is driving significant interest in social media in businesses, so the blogging base—both personal and corporate—is growing fast. As the 3G auctions occur, and social moves to mobile I’d expect this to accelerate. Personally, I am really intrigued and interested in learning a *lot* more about what is happening in India—again, from both a business and personal use pov, the interest in social media and in tools like company blogs is high. There are of course the issues of “What if someone says something bad…” but at the same time people seem willing to try and understand that all sides of the conversation are in fact “part of the conversation.” This may be a biased pov in the sense that I’ve tended to meet people: for example, people I’ve met at my workshops who want to learn about social media as it applies to business. If I had to bet, I’d say social media will be really important for business in India sooner rather than later. Very strong business culture, English (still the default language of the net) is commonly spoken, and the typical education level is quite high within this demographic, all within a culture that strongly values thought and thought processes. D

By evansdave