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Dec 07 2011

Exchange4media- IZONE


Sheldon Monteiro is a blogger, quality evangelist and technologist who has been with Sapient since 1995. Based out of Chicago, he leads Quality and Methodology for SapientNitro globally. Prior to his current role, Monteiro had led the delivery of various digital commerce and service platforms for leading Fortune 500 firms. He has extensive experience in solutions conception, enterprise architecture, product development and global implementation.

As a Global Capacity Lead, Shubhradeep Guha is responsible for building capabilities in line with SapientNitro’s go-to-market strategy. His remit includes building people capability as well as solution accelerators and product components for which he works closely with specialists in-house and alliance partners.

Guha has been with Sapient for 11 years, and brings a wealth of insight and knowledge of interactive trends having played a variety of roles across three continents. Before relocating to India last year, Guha was based out of Sapient’s London office. He is also on the European and India Leadership Teams, where his focus is on improving people experience at Sapient.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Sai Prasanna, Monteiro and Guha speak about how SapientNitro is helping brands leverage digital media and the digital revolution in India


Q. Please elaborate on SapientNitro’s work and presence in India.

SapientNitro, part of Sapient, is an integrated marketing and technology services firm. It fuses the best of creativity and technology to deliver superior customer experiences across both virtual and physical worlds. The company has a strong focus on multi-channel marketing and multi-channel commerce and technologies that bind them in order to influence customer behaviour across the spectrum of content, communication and commerce channels, resulting in deeper, more meaningful relationships between customers and brands. SapientNitro services global leaders such as Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Foot Locker, Singapore Airlines, Target, and Vodafone through our operations in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Our global scale – 35 offices in four continents – combined with offshore capabilities in India for both technology development and marketing production, allows us to deliver globally conceived, locally-tailored solutions across distributed networks. Our people in India contribute towards a sizeable amount of work being done by SapientNitro globally.

Q. The first Idea Engineer Exchange Conference was recently held in Bangalore. What was the event all about?

The Idea Engineer Exchange 2011 is a first in a series of exchanges for technologists being organised by SapientNitro. The event is focused on the implications of changing trends in consumer behaviour on businesses and on digital commerce, that is, the way people transact with brands today and buy from them. Our generation is witnessing a very dramatic change – consumers wielding significantly more power over brands than ever before, and the consequent shift in marketing dollars to digital, mobile, new media and other newer channels. Within that context, this event is a forum for knowledge sharing as well as for encouraging discussion, even debate, amongst senior technologists and experts who influence the design and build of digital commerce solutions today.

Q. What is your take on the digital revolution in India?

Interestingly, there are two different threads to consider here – the impact of digital itself, and probably more importantly, which channel/ device/ medium will people here adopt to leverage the digital world? The latter is extremely interesting because India will in all likelihood leapfrog the PC-generation which means (a) a bunch of lessons learnt in the West may not directly apply to us, and (b) organisations will need to innovate heavily to drive people to the devices/ channels of their choice. An extremely exciting prospect. How the above plays out will heavily influence the pace and shape of digital in India.

Q. What is SapientNitro’s contribution in helping brands to tap the potential of digital media?

SapientNitro is in the business of creating deeper, more meaningful relationships between customers and brands leveraging technology that binds them. We start by looking the role of digital in the lives of people – real people – a brand may be targeting. Digital plays the role of a disruptor as well as enabler and it is important to pick the opportunities where this can be worked on to help brand influence consumer behaviour. For example, we may help a brand use Facebook or similar social network to enable a woman to get reactions on a new dress, accessories or even her look from her friends, thereby driving brand affiliation as well as up-sell whilst immersing them in the experience. Or use the power of digital to enable brands leverage the immediate context of a consumer, like pointing them to an airport gift shop as they wait for a flight or to build an immersive experience on their mobile (sharing pictures, reactions, placing bets on the score) even as they watch a match in the stadium.

Q. Which verticals have the maximum potential in the digital commerce segment?

We are seeing the most movement as well as innovation in retail, BFSI and Automotive segments. Simply put, segments with high retail involvement, propensity for repeat transactions and risk of commoditisation (consequent need for increased brand affiliation) are the most active.

Q. What are some of the interesting/ popular campaigns executed by SapientNitro globally?

Some of our innovative campaigns would include Sneakerpedia (building and harnessing the power of communities through technology and social media), Share Happy (redefining usage of technology to tap into emotions and drive brand adoption), Coke, and the ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign.

Q. Who are some of the clients that you have worked with in India and what are the campaigns that you have executed for them?

In India, we are focused on working with our global clients with significant India presence. Clients such as Unilever, Coca-Cola and Citibank are looking at us to help with their digital marketing and social media strategy in India. We have undertaken social media and community management for Citibank. For Coke, we have supported IMC campaigns for Sprite and Burn. More recently, we have started working with Pernod Ricard (Seagrams) and have assisted them in digital marketing activities for The Blenders Pride Fashion Tour and The Chivas Studio.

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