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5 Minutes With Zaheer Nooruddin

27th May 2014

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Zaheer Nooruddin is a senior integrated communications leader in APAC. He is a prolific influencer (22K followers on Twitter @DIGIBLE) with extensive digital and social media strategy experience that spans the Mobile & Technology, Media & Entertainment, Banking, Travel & Tourism, Education and Healthcare sectors. We grabbed him for a quick morning chat to gain his insights on the digital landscape.

What are your digital / technology priorities for the year ahead?

From the agency side, keeping track of what clients need in the world of communications and marketing. Making sure we’re digital first in their approach, whilst keeping software and solutions cost effective. Being quicker, faster, better etc. Bear in mind technology can’t replace everything!

Which brands or businesses are using digital / technology to its full potential and how?

Not many brands are using it to it’s full potential. There’s a huge transformation process in relation to the world of social, mobile etc, and so much change to how communications and marketing is done from a business perspective. Brands are largely coming to terms with what’s available, and trying to move quickly. The banking domain is leading the consumer journey with the ability to understand how consumers need to access information across regions. They recognize the different requirements in emerging and established markets. Hospitality, travel etc are also doing it well.

What emerging technologies or trends should people be aware of?

People should generally be aware of real time in marketing, communications and the concept of real time, the talent focus etc. It speaks to research, analytics, mobile, marketing etc. How do you create content? How do you respond to customers? It’s very important for your brand.

What is the importance of video in the digital landscape from your perspective?

It’s super, super important! It’s a no brainer in terms of how customers consume information. Video is content that consumers like to access, which needs to be front and centre in any content strategy, but must tailor to the region. For instance this morning on the bus, I was reading the news via an app but then actually switched over to YouTube to watch a summary.

How are people’s roles and positions in companies changing with the emergence of digital and technology?

It’s an absolute seismic shift! I see what digital has done to organizations, over the next few years or even sooner; people who don’t really understand digital and technology will realize what it is doing to their business, particularly sales people, new business heads. If they don’t get it, they are redundant. They need to catch up, this is perhaps why we’re seeing younger people moving up the corporate ladder quickly. They ‘get’ it.

What’s the best piece of innovation you have seen in recent time and why?

The bicycle! *Laughs* No seriously, anything that disrupts the market place is good. Uber is a great example, a lot of people are using this new service. There’s generally great disruptive innovation in that sector, Airbnb is another good example.

How has employee engagement changed in recent times and how do you ensure that you have the highest levels among your employees?

Talent is moving and companies are changing. HR and the business leaders need to engage their people in order to keep them motivated. Companies are taking it a lot more seriously and we’re seeing more budgeting now. Companies are searching for new ways to manage, having an intranet that no one uses is not really employee engagement! Recently I met a client who said it’s a huge concern for them, so much so that even the board is talking about it; the need to figure out how to harness social. How does Twitter contribute to employee engagement? Can it? Thinking about technology in order to do it better, in a richer more substantial way and create really great content. It takes time and effort! Regarding employee engagement in APAC, right now is that turning point. The conversation is happening.

Lastly, what’s your favourite local food?

Oh definitely chilli crab, fish head curry, any South Indian food!