Vishwas Anand | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2019

Vishwas Anand

Content Marketing & Communications Lead


“I believe in content power much like people power that can spark a revolution for today's brands”

An expert in both content and thought leadership, Vishwas Anand sees corporate narratives and executive decisions as intertwined, with the former amplifying companies’ goals and the latter paving the way to bring them to fruition. Anand currently handles content marketing and communications for the Infosys Knowledge Institute, the research and thought leadership arm for the Indian IT giant, as India’s first external member. Anand brings experience from a varied career. His resume includes senior comms roles at IDG companies such as Aspire and Systems. Early on, he was a newspaper columnist and software engineer. Anand’s forward-thinking take on the role of communications in business has not gone unnoticed. The World Federation of Marketing Professionals and the World Marketing Congress are among the organizations that have recognized his accomplishments. 

How do you define innovation?
For me, innovation is about fostering creativity through a platform for authenticity, accuracy and agility — my 3A content model—to thrive. I believe in content power much like people power that can spark a revolution for today's brands. Differentiated storytelling is only possible when a brand can adopt the 3A content model to not only know how to succeed with the 3As but also learn from failures in any of the As to make a quick comeback and turnaround.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Nike's 'Dream Crazier' campaign. It was inspiring to see them use the power of influencers like Serena Williams and Ellen, and media publishers like NowThis to create buzz for a viral campaign.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
I particularly like Ogilvy for the campaigns they run in India especially because I’m learning new things in parenting with my under 2-year-old son. The brand created great online tutorials for newbie dads on ‘how to burp a baby’ and ‘change diapers’ that resonated with me. Their campaign on motherhood #MomsNeedHugsToo was very heartwarming as well. Apart from Ogilvy, I’ve loved the emotional appeal associated with campaigns from brands like Amul, Nissan, Dabur Vatika, British Airways, Coca Cola, Vicks and Bajaj to name a few.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
I believe innovation is realized when people find value in a unique model you develop to help them realize their goals. However, creating a mindset change for disruptive thinking to set in is the hardest to execute. While the world was talking about using common keywords for Google rankings, I was willing to break away from the mould and create brand differentiation through thought leadership.  While websites could rank well in a few categories, that is not necessarily thought leadership. Thought leadership is built through focused research and creative ideas so that frameworks and models are created for data-driven storytelling to blossom. 

I pioneered and crafted a strategy around thought leadership for my previous firm and created content marketing best practices so that brands don’t follow a beaten path. While firms focused on short-term results, I believed in the value of building content capital. Campaigns are time-bound but quality content would stand the test of time. My philosophy of “contentworthiness” has featured in my interviews for the Red Book of Content Marketing 2018, Digital Dexterity Report 2019, Hindustan Times, WittyPen, Digital Vidya, Breakfast Leadership podcast among others apart from conferences and summits. The moment people started realizing the value of my models and frameworks and finding value in it was special and ‘innovative’.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Personally, I admire my mother for her approach to innovating with limited resources and bureaucratic hurdles. We were brought up to realize that you could achieve anything in life if you work for it and believe in your abilities to make a difference to society. She’s a doctor by profession and I admire her ability to serve the patient community selflessly and come up with solutions that addressed health issues through an authentic voice, accurate skill and more important an agility that was unmatched. She did a stint with WHO and won the prestigious Women, Girls and HIV Investigator Prize offered jointly by the International AIDS Society-Industry Liaison Forum and UNAIDS for innovative approaches in mainstreaming the Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) Program with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in India.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I meditate to rediscover my passion and eventually my creative juices start flowing again.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Embrace innovation for what it is, not what you can find in it. Too often campaigns are not run because they can’t survive content by committee. Embrace a culture of risk-taking that involves taking the best creative inputs while also ignoring the ones that don’t fit into your strategy, even if they come from a senior person.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I’m passionate about my current job as it’s what I love doing. However, if I weren’t in it, I’d probably start my own content marketing agency.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
I love the subtle humour of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, especially the Jeeves and Wooster series. Difficult to pick one among the lot, but if I were to choose it would be “The Inimitable Jeeves”.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
I’ve always been a morning person. 5 AM is when I’m extremely fresh and can think of a dozen things to do during my day.