Nitin has 19 years of work experience in Digital Transformation, Product Design & User Experience and Digital Industry. Currently, he is leading Digital Transformation for IndiGo Airlines at Gurgaon, India. He specializes in leading multi-functional teams and establishing the best user experience practices and processes in the organizations. He has built robust monetizable products for the biggest Internet companies in India. He has great experience in handling the large global platforms across the globe. He loves making seamless experience across devices and digital touchpoints across platforms with effective communication for the customers in Digital Industry. He is an expert in crafting the lovable experience for consumers through simple and usable products.
Let’s See What he has to say about the Digital Industry
According to you, how important is brand value for any brand in the market?
Brands are what you build by creating experiences for your customers. People buy from the brands they trust, and it is the feel-good factor that drives them back. Brand value and perception is almost a decision-making factor in this competitive world. It sometimes takes years or even decades to build a brand and perhaps just a day to damage it in the present digital era. There may be many brands out there offering products or services similar to yours; however, customers will go with the brand, which created value for them. Brands must go that extra mile to understand the said and unsaid needs of their customers while creating additional value and a long-lasting impression. IMO, brand equity and brand value go hand in hand. Brand equity refers to the importance of a brand in the customer’s eyes, while the brand value is the financial significance the brand carries.
How has been the journey from head of product design to becoming VP of Digital? What are the major differences between both roles?
I would say it has been a beautiful journey; almost two decades of building lovable digital platforms in the Indian ecosystem has provided me with several opportunities to learn. I cherish the ups and downs of this thrilling yet insightful ride. There are many similarities and very few differences between the roles; Customer Empathy, Customer Experience, and User Journeys being the common thread. Everything is about crafting brand experiences for targeted user segments. Heading Product Design and User Experience involves a strong focus on a single stream; however, leading the Digital function requires a 360-degree view of customer experience starting from customer acquisition to retention while ensuring the best ROI without compromising on the brand’s core promises. It’s nearly impossible to serve customers without employing digital channels, and digital experiences are becoming the primary type of experience for them. As Digital head, it’s about having a bigger canvas to paint.
Does your prior experience in Product Design and User Experience helped you in creating the world-class digital customer experience?
I was fortunate to walk this path. Product Design and User Experience go hand in hand and are vital for successful digital transformation. The product is always core to digital experience, and so is the customer. Brands keep trying to transform their businesses digitally, but the ones to succeed are those who have adopted design thinking to understand the customer needs. Customer expectations are rising and will continue to evolve. I practice Design Thinking to excel in crafting a holistic digital customer experience, which contributes to the overall brand experience. Design Thinking plays a critical role in making a customer-centric experience, and if your design delights customers while creating the experience they look for, you have done it! I had the privilege of working closely with some fantastic brands like Indiatimes, Rediff, Bharti Airtel, Naukri, 99acres, Jeevansathi, Shiksha, Yatra, TravelGuru, Commonfloor, Quikr before finally landing at IndiGo. From everything that I have learned over these years, the key focus remains on areas that help solve problems for the masses. At IndiGo, it is a constant endeavor to shape our digital platforms while adding immense value to our customer’s journey. Everything we do must support the brand’s core value of being hassle-free!
What do you think are the most important factors in creating the value of any brand?
Key human skills like empathy, collaboration, leadership, innovation, communication, empowerment, trust, curiosity, and creativity have to be embedded in our processes to create brand value. Great User Experience and Customer Experience leads to an exceptional brand experience. Crafting an excellent customer experience requires tact, thoughtfulness, and the willingness to look at every interaction from the customer’s point of view while building trust and celebrating them at all touchpoints in their journey. The art of creating brand loyalty is a lot of hard work and can be achieved by iterative design thinking. For IndiGo, the brand promise revolves around: On-time performance, Courteous and Hassle-Free Service, and Affordable Fares.
How significant is the digital presence for any of the brands in the Digital Industry?
Over the past decade, the way we live our lives has completely gone digital, including how we explore, research, shop, and buy. Great value for money, ease, convenience, trust, security, and broader choices are shifting the users online; digital devices with fast-changing technology & design are empowering customers to research, consume, react, share, and express freely. Time is such that if customers are unable to find information about your business online, it questions your credibility. Digital Transformation has made many traditional businesses irrelevant. In the next wave of growth, over 200-300 million internet users will experience brands on digital channels for the very first time, and Digital experiences are becoming the primary type of experience for most customers. A ‘digital presence’ is no longer good to have, it’s essential to survive. It’s about offering experiences and creating value in a customer’s journey, and new-age brands must ensure that they are not left behind. With an increased online presence, staying on top of the trends and tailoring solutions specific to customer needs must become a top priority for brands. Digital presence is one of the most important investments for a brand to make, leading to faster traction, adaption, and retention. Overall engagement for many leading global brands fetches higher ROI with a good digital presence.
What do you think is the right practice to create your digital presence?
There can be no right or wrong answer to this question. Let me share my view on this. Digital presence begins with the right branding, offering relevant and meaningful content, selecting the right channel mix, and crafting personalized user experiences. It’s challenging to make it big in business, especially when there is such stiff competition in this digital era. Being digital enables your customers to easily access your products and services while allowing you to get to your target audience faster and cost-effectively. No extent of Digital presence will be good enough if a brand fails to understand the customer; here is when Design Thinking comes into the picture. This also calls for a seamless omnichannel experience for the customers instead of one in silos to ensure a sustained experience at all touchpoints. A brand’s digital presence has changed the landscape of consumerism, as most customers now prefer buying from brands they find on digital platforms. Social Media and interactive video content will drive more traction going forward, and simple yet effective ideas conveyed through storytelling will build brand engagement with the right set of customers. Digital has empowered SMEs to compete with big brands on small budgets. When managed effectively, it gives them laser-focused control over where and how they should invest for better ROI while allowing them to make faster and wiser decisions backed by data and customer insights. Going digital is not only an affordable but also a very effective form of establishing your brand and increasing the reach irrespective of the size of your business.
According to you how important is digital credibility for any brand and how do you manage it?
A customer’s perception plays a vital role in the digital age, and I would define credibility as the voice of the customer, usually in the form of ratings and reviews. Credibility is important because it helps to influence people’s patterns, behaviors, and thoughts. With the world literally at our fingertips, customers place trust in online search results. It is essential to leave a good impression on the customer at every interaction in their journey. Brands need to move from providing reactive Customer Service to proactive Customer Experience by being farsighted about the evolving customer needs, identifying pain points in their purchase journey, and proactively taking care of it. A proactive presence is critical to create digital resilience and protect the most valuable asset of a company – its reputation! Building credibility does not require complex changes in the processes; it merely needs a brand, to be honest, transparent, and consistent in its interaction across channels while embracing customer empathy. The right channel mix of digital and influencer marketing is also helping many brands to have the edge over others. Influencers have the power to affect the customer’s purchase decision as segment leaders. Even though I feel that happy customers are the best influencers, word of mouth and social reviews still work the best.
How do you think is the digital industry working in current times?
India’s core digital sectors account for 7-8 % of the GDP, and this is expected to double in the next 5 years. During this period, we will see most of the businesses and brands going through digital transformation, and it will be key to their survival. In terms of the adoption of digital technology, Media is one of six industries (along with automotive, consumer, electricity, healthcare, and logistics) under the focus of the World Economic Forum. Digital Industry has opened new ways for production, logistics, and delivery, and offers better means to cater to the changing needs of the consumers across sectors. In the future scenario, digital will continue to solve the challenges of the ecosystem while adding value to the customer with the adaption of new technology. The ecosystem is evolving with start-ups, which are challenging traditional and big businesses. From big private enterprises to large public sector companies, SMEs to new-age start-ups, the pace of digital transformation across the board is incredible. A robust digital ecosystem is a key to India’s $5 trillion economy vision. It’s going to be Make in India for the world.
We at Next Big Brand, Thank Mr. Sethi for his valuable knowledge and insight of the Digital Industry. Sending best wishes from Team NBB.