Last Tuesday was my last day at Carat. I will take another leap of faith to another venture and building a new kind of life. It’s been only a year I worked with Carat but it felt like a long time because there were so many things happened during my time there. Starting a new division was not an easy task and one year was a really short time to get things going really well. I hope what I did was sufficiently enough for that new division to keep rolling without me. After all, it was practically a one man show during my time.

Media Approach

One thing I love about working with Carat was the experience and the challenge. I never had a stint with a media agency before so I was quite thrilling to learn a different way of seeing and approaching “interactive media”.

I came from an interactive production background, I saw things base on user experience, I did things accordingly to user’s requirement and needs and trying to make user could finished their tasks or goals. It was purely a user centric approach to get things done. It was a basic “how”.

However, media approach was quite different. In the end it still back to the “how” but the approach added another layer on top of it, the “why” layer. Interactive media was all about usage, there was no point of building an “interactivity” nobody use. Media was all about marketing effort to reach people.

Traditional media like television, newspaper, magazine, radio, billboard and others were channels to deliver the message from the advertiser (commercial or non-commercial) to people. Traditional campaign relied on one way communication and using media as its loudspeaker. Interactive (or digital) media like internet, mobile and digital installation had the ability to “interact” with people, which means multiple way communication and both or more parties were using the loudspeaker both way. That particular character brought every parties on a equal footing. Good news for customers and advertisers who care for the customers but bad news for most advertisers since most of them were not ready, even prepared, to deal with the reduce of power. To make things worse, there is a common understanding that if you need to advertise heavily then your product (whatever that is) is not good enough.

People used interactive media to achieve something, to get things done or just to have fun. The advertisers want people to aware of their message, to make people at least tried their products or to boost their sales. So the basic question was “Why people want to use interactive media which actually a part of a marketing effort?”.

Different Ball-game

In the near future, as near as next year, it will be a different ball-game for the advertisers. Of course it will be so naive to predict the death of traditional media, especially in Indonesia where traditional media still hold the biggest influence but it also very naive to ignore the rise of interactive (digital) media to influence the people especially those who had digital access privilege.

Advertisers just not had to listen, they also had to respond. It may help to has a dedicated ‘digital media task team’ in the company to handle this new and growing level of interactivity. It will not be easy since the current economy situation forced most advertisers to cut down the budget or even the employee. Although, doing it correctly and elegantly will has its own reward when the economy started to recover again.

A simple magic mantra would be “Join the conversation”. It was an easy things to say but in reality it was not easy to do.

Epilogue

I was leaving Carat. I was leaving a simple legacy, an Interactive Division (which is now part of the Diversified Division) and its network in the media provider and partner. I was learning a lot of things related to the media industry and business. I was happy and grateful to be a part of an exciting and challenging company like Carat. Now it’s my time to move on. New company, new challenge and new country.

It’s about time.