Himanshu Arora, co-founder, Social Panga, spoke about the key achievements of the agency in 2023, tasks on his to-do list for 2024, advertising trends that will grab the spotlight in 2024, and a lot more.

From a business point of view, what were the agency’s key achievements this year?

The year 2023 has been good in several ways. First, we opened up a lot of opportunities related to new technologies. From a business standpoint, we expanded our operations in Delhi and Dubai. Third, we launched our own influencer vertical, the TVU. Fourth, we formed our group that helped us scale to the next level, eye IPO plans, and set the roadmap for the next three to five years.

What are the key marketing trends that stood out for you in 2023?

With TikTok getting banned in 2020 and Meta focusing on Instagram reels, the focus of different channels or platforms has been on video content. But the way content reels have gone to a different level is most surprising. People generate content from their mobile phones, and we are consuming that content. Relatable content has a different meaning altogether.

We have seen how different brands are using content creators and how it has opened up a different distribution channel altogether, both from a product point of view and from a celebrity or communication standpoint. And people have started appreciating what the content creator economy brings to the table.

Consumerism has picked up a bit. Brands have started looking at profitability and other important metrics. And that’s also allowed to remove a lot of inefficiencies when one plunges money into startups and other things. So the conversation concerning marketing has been a lot more focused on profitability.

Since Social Panga has a solution-driven approach to production, content generation, and influencer content creators, brands have started appreciating us a lot more.

Due to our consumer-first approach, brands have started coming to us with consumer-focused briefs and not service-related briefs. Because when you look at profitability and the pieces, the consumer is at the core of it.

What are the key tasks that you have listed on your to-do list for 2024?

First and foremost is how technology and AI can start helping brands to not just innovate but do business as usual. We want to socialise a lot of brands and make them aware of what we intend to do and how we want to leverage them in our day-to-day operations.

The second is expanding our influencer vertical to the next level.

Thirdly, we have started operations in Dubai and other geographies.

Point number four is that we have very strong global aspirations related to creativity. We won a few awards in 2023. We won the Shorty Impact Award, an international award in 2023. We want to expand our horizons on a global level. We want to look at 2024 from an independent group and network standpoint. We would like to see how much we can expand ourselves globally.

What advertising trends will come under the spotlight in 2024?

Apart from AI, brands will leverage short-form reel content for the next core. Videos have been a talking point for a while now. But the way reels are shaping up is very different from the way other video content is.

Historically, people used to have public viewing on television. Then they moved to having a television in their homes. Now every mobile phone is a different content-creating platform. Subcultures play a very important role out there.

Every individual is a different culture, and the content or information consumption platforms or patterns are very different. So the moment we start seeing and understanding those subcultures, our advertising, our approach, will be a lot more focused and direct versus having a generic approach towards them.

Cultural advertising and marketing will go to a different level in the next couple of years.

How do you see 2024 turning out for the advertising industry?

There are two pieces to this: advertising spends, and innovation in communication. Spend is a by-product of external factors which we generally don’t have control over.

But in 2024, we have to see how brands do not take a generic approach. For example, FMCG players or retail players. Initially, they used to dub or translate into regional languages. But in the last two years and the future, the cultural nuances also need to come across when they are framing their advertising solution.

There is no concept of D2C. It’s a consumer-focused brand. And we have seen this with Mamaearth and their focus on the IPO. In 2024, I want to see how these brands focus on consumers rather than channels.

Luxury space has opened up a lot more. I want to see if some innovation originates from India in the luxury space.

Because we look at the global brand from a luxury standpoint, we would like to see how luxury expands in 2024 and 2025.

We have to see if there are luxury brands also starting to come in or just advertising from India. It’s time that Indian brands also start catering to the consumerism of India.


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