All posts by Deepak Jolly

Blogs at Consocia

Progress and nature can grow together – this is the new story that needs to be told

As communicators, the stories about community engagement and CSR need to have a different narrative. Unlike corporate stories, they need more EQ than IQ. These stories have to be more experiential. I have been lucky to have held operational roles along with my communications and external affairs assignments. I am sharing my experiences and I hope it is useful for my fraternity colleagues.


‘East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet’ said, Rudyard Kipling beautifully expressing how difficult it is to bring opposing viewpoints together. There are strong opposing views among most people when we discuss what kind of approach business and development need to take. Many say that there should be an ‘environment first’ approach while others say that ‘development and business first’ is what is required. In my career, I have had myriad opportunities to witness firsthand the difference that can be made via interventions focused on the environment and I would like to share some of my experiences that show how an environment friendly approach creates a win-win situation.*


My fondest and most nostalgic memories are inextricably connected with mango trees and my grandmother. I was born in Ferozpur and my grandmother was one of the strongest influences of my childhood. It was from her that I learnt to love trees and the environment. I remember to this day, when she held my hand and led me to plant my first sapling. Later, she used to take me back to make me water and care for the plant. That summer, at the age of three I came to know how the genesis of a mighty tree can be a seed, small enough to fit into the palm of a child. As a child, when I was growing up, I grew to cherish the motto of our school “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”(the world is one family). If we try to understand this age old gem of wisdom now in the context of the 20th century, we see that it is a rallying cry to regard the environment as an intrinsic part of our lives, and also that cherishing the planet is one of the highest of virtues.


As I grew up, while I continued to cherish the virtues of protecting the environment, I got few chances to make my mark. Finally, when I joined Coca-Cola in 2005 the company gave me the task on Water Management in the community and other community related initiatives which became my passion.


My fondest memory is when I got called “Mr. Rainwater Harvesting” by the then Chief Minister of Delhi, the late Mrs. Shiela Dixit when I was celebrating the World Environment Day. Later, I also had a chance to kick start a PET bottle recycling project. With goals such as water replenishment, enhancing water recycling, corporates today have done a lot of efforts to conserve water, increase afforestation and ensure the Waste Management programmes are a part and parcel of the company.


Later in 2010, I was inspired by Latika Thukral, Founder of Iamgurgaon and her ideal of planting a million trees. Collectively, my company and other corporates in Gurgaon supported a nursery towards growing a million trees, most of them in the 600 acre biodiversity park. As I was driving past the Biodiversity Park yesterday, I checked to see if the many trees I planted were still standing there. It was a matter of great pride and pleasure for me, when I saw that almost all had flourished and were standing tall and proud.


Innovation and progress in society today have come at a great cost to the environment. The pandemic has shown us that we are all interconnected. Protecting the environment is protecting ourselves. Recently, a member of the condominium where I stay, told me that monkeys were becoming regular intruders in our buildings. I responded that our simian friends were the original inhabitants of the land, and this land had once belonged to them. As the philosophical saying goes, let us protect the environment ‘tan se, man se and dhan se’ – with body, mind and money. This is the only way we can leave a better world for our children.

Fighting Corona: Learnings from Successful Modelsto Overcome COVID-19

Fighting Corona: Learnings from Successful Modelsto Overcome COVID-19

Consocia Advisory has lot of expertise of Risk management, Business Continuity as well as Crisis management. In the current COVID 19 situation,Consocia on one hand is helping manyclients to restore business continuity and at the same time, in an effort to sharpen our understanding ofthe crisismanagement, we aretrying to learn from successes and failures in different parts of the world to manage Corona crisis -the biggest crisis the world is facing today.Different Cities/Countrieshave adopted different models to combat and contain Corona. A comparative assessment of these models and learnings derived from them -pave the road for devising future strategies.

There is no Silver Bullet: South Korea, imposed least restrictions, mainly because imposing regulations was easy due to immense social trust and availability of technology. As common people in South Korea are adept at using all pervasive technology,they used technology to contain the spread of COVID 19and leveraged people support.In India, becauseof different population dynamics, lack ofresources, low adoption of technology etc.containment zones have been created,the size of which is dependent on the population density and availability of medical resources, awareness of massese.g. the Agra model has larger hotspot zones. Political leadership used motivational messaging for self-regulationand lock down.

Corona Crisis Management teaches us: Despite having the same goal, authorities adopted for different approaches in aforementioned places. The biggest learning for crisis management professionals, such as ourselves, is that the point that there is no ‘one problem –one solution’.

Committed and clear Leadership, Early intervention, Close collaboration, Multifunctional teams, Strict SOPs, proper Escalation matrix and clear-cut Communication, Awareness at all levels and Constant Monitoringare thecommon golden rules followed inall the four models that witnessed great success. The key to success for business managers and crisis managers is to evolve and devise strategies which reflect their specific circumstances, business scenario, core competencies ,dependenciesand their target audience, asthere is no standard formula. Crisis Management would always remain an Art as much as its Science.

COVID-19 Response-Driven Business Transformation for Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry

COVID-19 Response-Driven Business Transformation for Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry

The COVID-19 crisis is predominantly a humanitarian challenge, impacting the world at large. This eclectic reality is compass to the perspectives to follow. At the time of writing, the total COVID cases across the globe exceeded 5.8 million, increasing at an immoderate pace. Healthcare professionals and front-line public health workers are battling the pandemic, while putting their own lives at risk. With the pace of rise in COVID cases, healthcare infrastructure overload is the key area of concern.

Governments have implemented strict social distancing protocols among other restrictions to control the growth in the number of cases. Industries and Governments are trying to address the challenges arising from this crisis by working together to help the direct and indirect victims this crisis has brought about, all while hoping, coordinating and searching for an effective treatment or vaccine that would be the most crucial aspect of an impactful exit strategy. Until then, scaled-up testing is the go-to protocol for clarity on the intensity and spread of the virus. The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, thereby becomes the most crucial stakeholder to pull the world out of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The global pharmaceutical and healthcare industry stakeholders have been working together with unprecedented coordination leveraging global expertise towards phased testing of antibodies and vaccines. The World Economic Forum has reported that the phase-wise testing is progressing at an unparalleled pace, with process reports and feedbacks which earlier took weeks to process, getting responses over weekends and within days.

The pandemic has brought out the lack of resilience in the health systems around the globe and how they were inadequately prepared to deal with multiple health challenges. The most important lesson that it taught the world was to strengthen its healthcare infrastructure. The disruptive challenges caused by this pandemic for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry are manifold.


On a global scale, pharmaceutical and medical product supply chains are struggling to keep pace with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. The disruptive effects of COVID-19 have placed enormous strain on the global supply of medical products, increasing the risk of shortages.


Although production across various industries and regions in China have been gradually resuming since late February, global pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, who heavily source directly and indirectly from China, are now exposed to high risks in supply shortages over the upcoming months due to limited operational capacity. India, which is a major exporter of pharmaceutical products to several countries including the U.S, is also constrained. Despite the retraction on the ban imposed on the export of hydroxychloroquine, the biggest challenge remains to be the supply chain disruptions and operational difficulties in scaling up production to meet the surge in demand.


Tackling of the COVID-19 crisis is likely to have long term global implications. A country like India with certain strong basic aspects like a well-distributed pharmaceutical industry can develop its own models of nation-building by combining public health requirements and economy for national development.

Impact Assessment of COVID-19 on the Industry

With the number of cases on the rise, the society at large has been more attentive to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, which will impose both positive and negative consequences across different sub-sectors. In the short term, there will be a variety of impacts on pharma companies, healthcare institutions, pharmaceutical distribution and health insurance. In the medium to long-term, the impact on the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are relatively positive. These are as follows:

For pharma companies, positive impact areas include the increasing demand for drugs for prevention and treatment of coronavirus as well as the unprecedented attention for vaccine development.


The aspects of negative impact for the pharma industry are decreasing sales for chronic disease drugs and reduced promotion of innovative drugs with focus stagnant on COVID-19 response now. New drug launches could also be impacted because of this.


For healthcare providers and institutions, positive impact areas are accelerated development of Internet of Medical Things (IOMT), faster development of hierarchical medical systems with the involvement of community medical institutes. The prevalent demand surge could also provide opportunities for more third-party testing centres to alleviate resource shortage in healthcare institutions. The downside for healthcare institutes due to COVID-19 is the decrease in the footfall of patients seeking elective or non-emergency treatments. This could contribute to significant operational losses.


Within pharmaceutical distribution and retail, favourable winds are imminent for online pharmacies with increased user base for app based prescription drug delivery services.


Facing this emergency, Government regulators, medical educational universities and institutions along with pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers have responded and adjusted quickly, by deconstructing the genomic sequence of the virus, manufacturing testing and diagnosis kits, screening for potential drugs as well as conducting clinical research, publishing procedures, policies and technical guidance on clinical trials. This is testimony to the impressive progress towards collaborative innovation in medicine.

Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry Impact in the Short term and Requirements in the Long-Term

Strategy towards Business Transformation

Strategy towards Business TransformationA critical aspect of moving ahead and envisaging a conducive environment for business transformation is monitoring & establishing the ability to respond. The industry will have to bring about the resurgence together by building on the trust and confidence of both its community and allies. This can be facilitated by steps towards protecting their people & communicating frequently to ensure that the staff understands what to do and is aligned to the top management vision for recovery and transformation.


Organizations need to assess the extent of short-term exposure & key dependencies across the organization and rapidly set-up robust response team structures, governance & processes to ensure consistency and seal gaps and delay in communication. The Organization needs to establish decision authority for response team leadership & link to board of management


It is important to ensure the latest sources of facts & intelligence that can be disseminated to the rest of an organization on a daily basis while working with global & local health authorities, regulators and stakeholders to stay compliant to health advisories and standard protocols. There is the need to design immediate stabilization initiatives and a proportionate response mechanism while reaching out to peer organizations and sharing best practices within the industry.


Another important criteria to evaluate for business transformation is to understand the risk on the business and quantify exposures.


The organization should identify commercial and business exposures and implications in the second half of 2020 and beyond with respect to business operations reviews, supply chain and operational constraints. Wherever possible, quantify the potential implications on business and financials. This will then lead to developing the approach to track and report risks on impact including operational issues, strategic perspectives & financial resilience.


The organization should be able to develop a resiliency planwith focus on an updated demand planning, operating model & network optimization. Further, it would be beneficial to periodically stress test the adopted operational, strategic & financial resiliency measures.


The third key aspect to incorporate within the transformation plan is to consider the long-term commercial implications for the industry at large and the business entity in particular. The organizations would do well to revisit the existing business models to identify & capture opportunities to mitigate & differentiate business through products, integrating and coordinating between plant sites among others. If not committed yet, now is the time to invest in digital and build digital tools to augment offline process and enable large scale solutions


Going forward, greater coordination will be a requisite across the ecosystem while improve organizational coordination internally as well as with key health authorities and stakeholders to develop coordination plans inclusively. Businesses need to evaluate supply chain readiness to enhance supply chain measures.

Product Management Capability Evaluation Model for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Manufacturers

Industry Outlook –The Indian Perspective

The Indian generic pharmaceutical sector has always been a reliable source for cheap medicines for the world. But the outbreak has created several shortcomings for the industry because of shortage of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) supply. What the industry can immediately focus is on manufacturing that can be done with available raw materials and linking with the Indian supply chain instead of waiting for the revival of the global value chain.


The industry should form a consultation group of public health experts and medical personnel who can identify and prioritise requirements in the case of the outbreak of the epidemic and calibrate the production.


The urgent action required is to boost medical supplies. These include sanitizers, disinfectants, face masks, surgical gloves, protective gears for health personnel, test kits, infrared thermometers, scanners, ventilators, inhalers and so on. Some of these are high end technology but most require low level of technology only and can be easily manufactured. What could be done is that apart from the conventional pharmaceutical and medical equipment industry, other sectors of industry can join forces for ramped up manufacturing to meet the surging demand in the light of reduced demand for luxury products, thereby buffering some economic impact on themselves as well.


MSME is a sector that needs high focus in this endeavour of twining public health and economic development. This crisis situation could be made into an opportunity for MSMEs. They need to be given special incentives for producing low end technology items in medical and sanitary equipment like masks, gloves, cottons, etc. That will revive the stagnant sector.


The healthcare sector is facing a downturn compared to the pre-COVID state. Despite more than 60% share of bed capacity, the private healthcare sector’s financial performance was severely constrained. Stipulation of lockdown measures has further constrained the financial performance by March-end causing providers to make operational losses. If the situation persists, providers will face severe liquidity crisis with cash balance likely to cover operating losses only for 1-2 months. Operating losses are estimated to the tune of Rs 4,500 crore for a month and Rs 13,400 crore for a quarter if revenues are at 50% considering occupancy of 35%.


Liquidity infusion, indirect and direct tax benefits and fixed cost subsidies are among the key recommendations for financial relief to the sector through short-term interest free/ concessional interest loans and immediate release of complete dues locked with Central and State government authorities. It is indeed a relief that the government has taken steps to implement these measures.

It is necessary to develop the medical education models that are tuned to not only the public health needs but are also suited to the levels of pharmaceutical industry in the country, so that they become co-players in strategic national development.

Cushioning the COVID impact on our clients: Consocia’s value driven services providing dynamic solutions

As COVID-19 grew into a global crisis, Consocia realized the need to support industry colleagues in dealing with the biggest challenge faced ever in recent times that of business continuity. In response to the situation, we were swift in curating an in-house crack team comprising experts in research and insights; stakeholder database generation; content; government relations and public policy.

Consocia Advisory engaged Central and State Governments besides many Districts through strategic narrative backed by data to highlight the need of the hour in the fight against the deadly pandemic. We urged immediate orders to restore Client’s ability to manufacture, warehouse, transport and distribute the client’s essential products across the country.

Presently, Consocia is working with several enterprises for business continuity as well as crisis management. In the last few weeks, we have helped opening of plants and warehouses of the Indian entity of a global disinfectant company in 6 states including in Red zones as well as
Containment areas, besides that of a renowned lighting solutions company in two states (Haryana and Karnataka) already while they are now looking for our assistance in three more states.

Within a few days of being on-boarded, through our 24×7 support, we were able to secure not only policy interventions for manufacturing but also for warehousing, logistics and distribution as well as access to staff & workers. In the process, we were able to assure the Central and State Government stakeholders that all due precautions are being taken to prevent and contain COVID 19. We even helped with internal SOPs for transportation and staff movement.

We are helping the apex body representing the Shopping Malls across India against the debilitating impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on them. On behalf of SCAI, Consocia has crafted several interventions to draw the attention of the stakeholders and policy-makers on the plight of the industry and reinforcing reasons for Malls to be considered for resuming operations in a staggered manner, for the post-lockdown phase. At the same time, Consocia is working with the empowered Group of Ministers and Committees for COVID-19 response as well as the RBI seeking urgent financial stimulus for the sector and amplifying the initiatives through media engagement from time to time.

The upcoming editions of the dynamics of business transformation white paper series will focus on specific industries with strategies and outcome driven solutions to positively impact business outlook for business recovery and continuity in the COVID-adjusted world.

COVID-19 is a long battle for the industry. As your trusted well-wisher, our team is available to support you during these uncertain times in the areas of business continuity planning, public affairs, public policy and government relations. Contact us:

Blogs at Consocia

What an Idea sirjee – and the rise of online communication in a post-corona world

I recall that over 10 years ago, Idea Cellular made an immensely popular and meaningful series of ads with a smart  tagline of – What an Idea sirjee. Who would have ever thought that most of global education would be imparted on smartphones in 2020. The core of the campaign was a series of ideas which had the potential to cause powerful social change and overcome the problems that society is facing. It addressed issues like communal divide, keeping in touch with loved ones, overcoming barriers of languages and also the challenge to provide quality education for millions across the country.  


The ad I am referring to has actor Abhishek Bachchan playing the part of a school principal who is profoundly moved due to a highly emotional scene where a father is struggling to get admission for his son. In a compelling representation of the challenges that millions of families across the country face, the father is roughly pushed out. The character representing the principal is so profoundly touched by the incident that he exerts himself in prayer and gets a brainwave while doing so. He starts a virtual school where he is able to connect millions of children online. The character later thanks God saying – What an Idea sirjee.


I recall this ad for three reasons. The first one is that the ad can now accurately be called prophetic. The second reason is my deep personal attachment for the cause of childhood education. The third is the high degree of relevance of this topic today. 


With nostalgia, I recall that in 2010, I was a part of team Coca-Cola and at that time I was at the helm of the “Support My School” campaign. I had a chance to see first-hand, the challenges faced in rural education, especially for the girl child. The ambitious campaign was started with a tie up with a leading TV channel. Initial funds came from the global foundation of Coca-Cola but we needed additional money to fund the programme. It was quite a challenge to stitch together a coalition between Coca-Cola, a leading TV channel, a UN body and several other Indian NGOs. The campaign was a resounding success. Over 1000 schools were a part of the programme and several million dollars were generated to implement the programmes in these schools. Over a hundred corporates, foundations and NGOs participated in the success of the programme. Providing good essential facilities in schools is one of the most important factors in retaining students in schools and since this program was highly successful in this regard, I derive a great deal of satisfaction from the same.


Online communication and online education are truly exciting for me as I feel that the reach and scope of digital media is unlimited. Community professionals too are amazed at the possibilities for business communication and online education.  I and my colleagues are constantly in touch with clients, each other and business stakeholders using multiple tools of technology like Zoom, Google Meets, Hangouts, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Interestingly, almost all these platforms have been made free for schools and educational institutes for a few months.  


In a recent experience, my teams have been instrumental in organising webinars for Shopping Centers Association of India, (SCAI) to create awareness on the safety processes of malls and organised retail shopping complexes. We have been able to reach out to and engage with thousands of people. The videos have generated thousands of views from community and other stakeholders. The webinars have been highly successful in dispelling myths and clearing doubts on various important concerns. Panels of business experts presented factual information to correct erroneous beliefs. Publications took note of the facts and started reporting balanced news stories which highlighted the problems of the sector. 


JKLU a rapidly growing university is offering online training sessions for students like various other institutions. Additionally, they are examining new technologies and processes to ensure online examinations, online evaluations and even online laboratories. Popular learning apps like Byjus are witnessing unprecedented growth and are offering some free classes as sampling to school students. And what are the schools doing to engage with junior classes like KG and Nursery? I have seen tiny tot family members attending classes sitting on parents laps, studying via homemade videos of teachers on pre-primary and primary concepts.  


Over the next few months, as online classes continue, it will be most important for parents to help their children imbibe the values and ideals of hard work. Parents are getting the unique insider view of their children studying in classes and these moments are actually special for them.


The communications professionals of today can use a wide variety of formats to package their campaigns as high quality home shot videos can be created almost anywhere. Additionally, the wide plethora of editing and finishing tools online provide campaign creation capabilities to the savvy professional. Keeping this in view, at Consocia Advisory, I encourage all the team members to keep learning new skill sets and we have a robust in house training program to help encourage employee development in a structured manner. 


Click, edit, create and post will be the new mantra now for communication professionals as they learn to develop and deploy campaigns for their brands and companies. The challenges and the opportunities here are huge. The learning curve for many professionals will be steep, but will give them rewards as they develop their skillsets towards the requirements of community in a post Covid world.

Business Recovery and Continuity in the COVID-Adjusted World

Business Recovery and Continuity in the COVID-Adjusted World

The challenge being posed by COVID-19 and the repercussions it’s creating, has continued to impact global stakeholders significantly. Societies, irrespective of geopolitical differences have suffered significant losses, emotionally and economically. It is a crisis that has profound implications for companies globally. From the complete or partial shutdown of factories, to supply chain disruptions, to labour shortages to cash flow stress, companies are feeling the business and financial shock of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, effective interventions are starting to show promising outcomes.
Impact on sectors and business depends on intensity and shape of the health and economic recovery, especially in an extended fight phase

To prudently navigate the COVID-19 crisis, particularly putting into foresight, the possibility of an extended ‘fight’ against the virus, the phase requires integrated action by governments and business leaders

Companies have to be predictive and proactive in their decisionmaking to ensure continuity and build resilience.The initial response to the immediate response mechanism of the pandemic needs to evolve into business continuity strategies. Innovative intervention mechanisms are required to ensure compliance to existing protocols of social distancing, restricted services, hygiene etc. while embracing newfound opportunities and avenues to ensure growth.

An integrated perspective on health/medical progression, governmental responses, societal reactions, and economic implications is required to asses the conditions effectively.

An integrated perspective: Navigating the COVID crisis

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the global productbased systems have been challenged by factory shutdowns, demand surges for essential goods, stockpiling and panic-buying, along with shifting consumer preferences (e.g. online over physical). This has raised new and unprecedented questions on the level of resilience of global value chains and the overall approach to manufacturing.

Adjusting and overcoming these disruptions require new forms of collaboration across companies and industries to ensure business continuity while protecting employees and improving resilience of delivery channels for the future.


As global value chains have traditionally been optimized for costcompetitiveness reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic proves that companies need to reorient towards new approaches, which are prone to risk competitiveness. Additionally, they need to build new strategies in collaboration with governments to be able to adapt and respond to future shocks.

The lessons that the implications of COVID-19 has made the business communities realize are about having an integrated perspective in overcoming a crisis through a phased approach.


Three phases that  ncompass the society’s navigation of the fallout caused by this pandemic are: control, contain and carry on.

The initial phase after a pandemic outbreak is control, where the goal is to urgently limit number of confirmed cases, especially critical care, social distancing and partial business closures outside a few, lead to economic recession with large employment impact. This entails the control phase.


In the second phase, where the global businesses are moving towards at this point in time is contain, where businesses are finding paths to collectively fight the virus, restart the economy, and support society in balancing lives and livelihood. Moderate economic activity,
some business reopening and social distancing at a sustainable level are key observations on the existent scenario. The world is transitioning towards phase 2 of containment currently.

The third phase of carrying on would be dependant on several aspects including vaccine/ anti-body development along with effective stimulus provided at the Governmental level. Disease controlled through vaccine/cure/ herd immunity and treatment within sustainable medical capacities possible. Reactivated economy withtrong business rebound and job growth, social restrictions limited or completely suspended. The transition delay from phase 2 to phase 3 will have to be carefully evaluated based on the factors mentioned above.


The critical factors for effective progression towards phase 3 are institutional capabilities in disease progression, health care system capacity, and response; Government policies and economic stimulus; business & public engagement and response.

Key aspects that will structure the economic outcomes during and post the pandemic crisis

Being prepared for post-pandemic recovery

Businesses can consider the phased approach of control, contain and carry on as analogous to short-term, medium term and long term outlook to recognize and address topics that are upsetting their current business model. There is a requirement for them to advance long haul strategies with plans of action cultivating virtual collaborations across the value chain, a lean and coordinated technological intervention modules and to create enterprises with
digital flexibility and cyber resilience.


For every business, the key strategic priority to navigate the crisis would be effective workforce management, with a people first mentality. An impactful workforce transformation plan that aims to create a highly adaptive disruptor culture capable of adapting to constant change enabled through communication across all levels through virtual platforms, employee assistance programs and leveraging the opportunity to re-skill and up-skill the team will be crucial in future-proofing the work force.

Product development and distribution will adopt a new normal of customer preferences amidst protocols of social distancing, work from home, accessing data online, cancellation of large events and general business losses. Redesigning business models and distribution channels should be aligned to customer needs as well as impact of external environment. Product innovation will come to the fore replacing the traditional long-term product life-cycle strategy.


Product distribution strategies will also have to factor in its approach to enable virtual and contactless sales. Businesses will have to leverage the growing customer awareness and the accelerated rate of digital adoption.


Capitalizing on technology for process excellence will be the pillar of strength amidst restricted access to physical contact. This is where processes can be strengthened to ensure digital interaction is a strength for the business through seamless digital servicing capabilities and encouraging self-service through an easy customer user interface for service queries and retain brand loyalty and customer satisfaction through an agile customer relationship management system with intelligent automation. Heavy investment in technology and process automation will be value-driven investments for business recovery and continuity.

Risk management will be crucial as businesses get ready to recover from the fallout caused by the pandemic. With additional reliance on technology interfaces, the cyber risks associated with it also emerge. Challenges to data security and privacy looms large. A strong information security policy and architecture will help overcome this risk, in addition to ramping up organizational security. To tackle regulatory risks, Government authorities should be reached
out through proper channels, to ensure business stimulus packages and to avoid non-compliance as well as delays in financial disclosures. It is the ideal time for business owners and entrepreneurs to learn from the crisis and develop a strong business model.

Sentimental analysis backed sectoral outlook

Rebooting the economy: The Indian perspective

The Prime Minister has announced the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” economic stimulus package to the tune of INR 20 Lakh Crores, effectively setting aside 10% of the Country’s GDP to reboot the Country’s demand-consumption ratio with focus on the 5 Pillars Of India’s Self-Reliance with an economy with potential for quantum jump, infrastructure, tech-driven system, demography and demand based intelligence-driven supply system. The strategy of the economic reboot will have to be driven by promoting local products facilitated by significant reforms around land, revenue and ease of doing business.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), many economies may face negative per capita income growth in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In its recent forecast, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) indicated a clear fall in world trade between 13 per cent and 32 per cent in 2020, considerably the highest fall since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The IMF has also reduced growth forecast for the Indian economy, projecting a GDP growth of 1.9 per cent in 2020. In its recent World Economic Outlook, the IMF does project a rebound in the growth of the Indian economy in 2021, at a rate of 7.4 per cent. This is reassuring data that brings hope.

Although India has been successful till date in containing the spread of the virus, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal economic activity and life in the country. India’s trade has been severely disrupted. Currently, businesses are very vulnerable to the unfolding economic crisis. People have been facing a sudden loss in their incomes, causing a major drop in demand. To rescue the economy, India has announced a range of fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. The major aim of this stimulus is similar to the conventional Keynesian prescription of ‘pump-priming’, whereby
income transfers to people having higher marginal propensity to spend can boost up the declining demand.


In driving the country’s economic recovery, the key directions at the Governmental level entail global and regional cooperation, structural reforms across sectors aided by fiscal and monetary stimulus. People at the moment are locked in homes, and hence, are unable to spend or earn. First and foremost step towards the reboot is to restore confidence in the economic system and the governance. Improved and coordinated responses from
stakeholders are critical at this point.


The country needs to continue with the fiscal stimulus packages for sometime at least till the economy rebounds. Labour-intensive sectors require focus. India will have to route the incentives to better support agriculture, MSMEs, logistics and transportation, exports and imports, health etc. Here, international cooperation may help countries to minimise the overlaps by sharing information, encourage smart implementation and avoid the pro-cyclical stimulus impacted by market fluctuations. Promoting smart implementation of packages may generate higher dividends to the economy.

Prospective strategies for India towards the goal of self-reliance and geopolitical cooperation


Structural reforms are inevitable at this point. Higher spending in food security, fighting poverty, technology and innovation, strengthening international trade, nutrition and livelihoods, public health and capital flow, smart and green logistics, enhancing the quality of human capital and education standards, strengthening institutions and governance needs to be areas of focus.

Countries have to invest more in healthcare, both management and facilities. New social and behavioural norms – “social distancing”, “wearing masks”, “maintaining hygiene”, etc., are the new normal, and we have to adjust with such new norms amid the pandemic. India has an important role to play in the post Covid-19 world, and it is immensely useful for the country to stay engaged in such global discussions. While there are substantial challenges and concerns, India must resist the temptation for quick fixes that do not address
the underlying concerns and avoid permanent solution. Structural reforms are must and should continue to focus on strengthening the country’s economic fundamentals—only then can they contribute meaningfully towards a more robust and resilient Indian economy.

But, the concerted action by the countries in the world will surely turn the tide. India has great opportunities in this context, especially looking at the composition of global value chains in the world trade. Overall, COVID-19 has brought untold misery to a large section of low income individuals across the globe. The uncertainty about future looms heavily in the mind of both consumers and producers.

The MSME sector, especially in our competitive engineering goods manufacturing, provides great prospects for employment and growth in the economy. The need of the hour is to carefully chalk out plans for the future resurgence of economic activity in the nation.

For the next few months, management of the economy and the management of public health need to go hand in hand. While India needs to learn from other countries, at the same time, it has substantial scope for learning from within India. In the management of the Corona crisis, it also depended on how state governments managed the crisis. Similar approach is needed for management of the economy as well. Strategies cannot be fixed for the entire country for all times to come. They need to be dynamic and flexible. States need to be empowered, be it through allowing them to go for fiscal expansion or deciding on the level of restrictions that they would like to impose in different areas or the exemptions that might be allowed. The Centre needs to support them with information and technical advice, logistics, material support, and financial assistance.

However, the Centre needs to be more concerned about the exports as the failure to revive it quickly can have serious long-term impacts. A comprehensive strategy addressing the impact of the current crisis may put the Indian economy back on a sustained growth path and strengthen the country’s trade and foreign policy.

The need of the hour therefore, is to evolve new and innovative mechanisms to overcome the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.

Cushioning the COVID impact on our clients: Consocia’s value driven services providing dynamic solutions

As COVID-19 grew into a global crisis, Consocia realized the need to support industry colleagues in dealing with the biggest challenge faced ever in recent times that of business continuity. In response to the situation, we were swift in curating an in-house crack team comprising experts in research and insights; stakeholder database generation; content; government relations and public policy.

Consocia Advisory engaged Central and State Governments besides many Districts through strategic narrative backed by data to highlight the need of the hour in the fight against the deadly pandemic. We urged immediate orders to restore Client’s ability to manufacture, warehouse, transport and distribute the client’s essential products across the country.

Presently, Consocia is working with several enterprises for business continuity as well as crisis management. In the last few weeks, we have helped opening of plants and warehouses of the Indian entity of a global disinfectant company in 6 states including in Red zones as well as
Containment areas, besides that of a renowned lighting solutions company in two states (Haryana and Karnataka) already while they are now looking for our assistance in three more states.

Within a few days of being on-boarded, through our 24×7 support, we were able to secure not only policy interventions for manufacturing but also for warehousing, logistics and distribution as well as access to staff & workers. In the process, we were able to assure the Central and State Government stakeholders that all due precautions are being taken to prevent and contain COVID 19. We even helped with internal SOPs for transportation and staff movement.

We are helping the apex body representing the Shopping Malls across India against the debilitating impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on them. On behalf of SCAI, Consocia has crafted several interventions to draw the attention of the stakeholders and policy-makers on the plight of the industry and reinforcing reasons for Malls to be considered for resuming operations in a staggered manner, for the post-lockdown phase. At the same time, Consocia is working with the empowered Group of Ministers and Committees for COVID-19 response as well as the RBI seeking urgent financial stimulus for the sector and amplifying the initiatives through media engagement from time to time.

The upcoming editions of the dynamics of business transformation white paper series will focus on specific industries with strategies and outcome driven solutions to positively impact business outlook for business recovery and continuity in the COVID-adjusted world.

COVID-19 is a long battle for the industry. As your trusted well-wisher, our team is available to support you during these uncertain times in the areas of business continuity planning, public affairs, public policy and government relations. Contact us:

Blogs at Consocia

Strengthening employee wellness in the wake of COVID-19

The impact of the Corona virus has created a strong need for companies to overhaul their initiatives towards employee wellness. According to health experts, sudden changes of habits resulting from prolonged work from home, worry about self and family members and enforced isolation are all significant mental and physical pressures which can lead to stress and physical ailments. Companies are reevaluating the measures they can take in order to help their employees stay sharp, healthy and productive.


I recently saw an interview of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson, Biocon where she shared her views on the care required for the lifting of the lockdown and gave the 3 T mantra of aggressive testing, tracing and treating. She also stressed that livelihoods are also very important and we need to start a planned exit which strikes a balance between lives and livelihood.  


Companies should also keep an Emergency Response Protocol well prepared with various guidelines that can mitigate problems and guide employees on what needs to be done in case any COVID 19 case is detected among employees. These guidelines should be circulated to all and should include the government instructions on the do’s and don’ts for all employees. Clearly, office administrators need to be careful to sustain the best hygiene practices that can create a safe working environment for all employees.


At Consocia Advisory, today was our first working day back in the office after over two months. While working from home still continues for some associates, we have set up hygiene and safety protocols at the office. We ensure vacant space between each employee and have sanitisation of surfaces multiple times a day. We are also following strict social distancing in conference rooms, meal areas and other common areas to ensure that employees are protected and kept safe.


Now many companies are opening their offices after having started their manufacturing operations and some of them are setting examples to show the way in preventive hygiene practices at the workspace. The way the social distancing norms have come up by the Shopping Centers Association Of India, (SCAI) is very comforting and exemplary. They will be controlling the entry and exit of the number of footfalls in the malls and will only allow 78 sq feet per person as a part of the social distancing norms.


Companies are using employee communications to drive and sustain awareness about their wellness programs. Several companies are providing free medical consultations to their employees and their families so that they can get advice on simple health measures related to diets, food, exercise and other medical queries. Besides the services of doctors, companies are also hiring nutritionists which can help individuals and families achieve healthy balanced meal plans.


Companies are also hiring mental health experts like clinical psychologists as many employees have behavioral and attitudinal changes due to the experience of a prolonged work-from-home for the first time. The strain of sitting at one place sans interaction with teams and colleagues can be very demotivating for many employees. Calls and video conferences have only a limited role in uplifting the morale while working from home, opine experts.


Important stress busters that can make a significant impact are yoga and meditation opine experts. They help in providing agility and calm the mind so that the impact of the stress factors is diluted. Companies are connecting employees with professionals who can train them in these stress busters. Often, there are enough capable people in house who can double up on the role of training employees. 


Telemedicine and online consultation of doctors enable employees and families of employees to consult medical professionals without leaving their homes. This helps employees and families get access to good quality medical help even if they are staying in remote locations.


The emerging trend of virtual fitness sessions, where employees can attend fitness programs online is growing rapidly. Virtual fitness allows thousands of people to take advantage of high quality trainers and also choose training programs best suited to their needs. In fact, online training may offer a far higher number of choices. Companies are connecting their employees to such training programmers. 


Fitness and health apps are the latest fitness tools that health enthusiasts use to keep track of fitness regimen, which may include reminders for exercise, hydration, stretching food and sleep.  Additionally, there are even mindfulness apps which help in reminding people to do mindfulness exercises like deep breathing exercises etc.  Experts say proper use of these apps can help the efforts to be more self-aware about healthy practices.  Some companies which have large employee strength, have gone to the extent of creating employee help desks with 24×7 advice. This can be used by employees to take information about symptoms and nearest treatment centers etc.


The thread which can bring together these various initiatives is a robust employee communications program. Periodic engagement with employees via team and individual calls, video meetings, emailers from the company have to be initiated and sustained so that employees do not feel disconnected from the office environment or feel that their efforts are not being recognised. One should be able to remove the fear and create the right environment for a safe work environment in the office. Special rewards and recognition programs for those who come forward and help in removing and mitigating the fear will boost company morale considerably. For communicators, this is a time to strengthen internal communications as employees are likely to be subjected to fake news. Speed will be essential to ensure that everyone is well versed on the present situation in the company and employee redressal will be critical.

Blogs at Consocia

How India’s largest disaster rehabilitation programme was conceived and implemented

One of the worst humanitarian crises that India has ever seen was the 2001 earthquake that happened in Bhuj, Gujarat, on 26 January. According to various reports, more than a million structures were damaged or destroyed, and 26 villages suffered losses of almost all their buildings. The scale of the disaster was enormous. Governments, private firms, and corporates started mobilising and facilitating help. The initial flow of humanitarian assistance in the first 2 weeks was focussed on emergency supplies of food and medicines as well as tents for people to stay.


This is the context to what happened next in terms of building India’s largest philanthropic coalition which would go on to build 5 thousand homes, 27 anganwadis, hospitals, and giving employment to many people ensuring that the craftsmen were able to sell their crafts in the US and bringing smiles back to hundreds and thousands of people who were earthquake-ravaged.


I used to work at Pepsico India at the time and my boss PM Sinha tasked me to brainstorm and develop an action plan which would look beyond the immediate relief measures and create a long term impact on rehabilitating the villages which had suffered so heavily in this disaster. We decided that forming a broader coalition with reputed business bodies and roping in more partners would enhance our reach and effectiveness. While doing an on ground need assessment study, we realised that besides the ongoing ground level efforts, a long term and impactful rehabilitation project would have to involve these major components – housing, fund sourcing, fund management and communication – an inherent strength of Pepsi as one of the best known FMCG brands in the world.


The lynchpin of the communications campaign was a film with the participation of our then brand ambassador Mr Amitabh Bacchan. We developed a 30 second film directed by Mr Santosh Sivan with a strong emotional appeal for funding. We approached all the TV channels like Fox, Sony, Star and many others who agreed to air this film on their channels free of cost.


Since we wanted to raise money from abroad, there were legal challenges to the effort as well. Therefore, we partnered with a multinational NGO operating in India. Additionally, although there were many voluntary donor organisations with funds available globally, they didn’t have credible organisations to partner with. We were able to provide them with a credible alternative. The final contours of the foundation were finalised during a meeting with Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General, FICCI and PM Sinha, Chairman, Pepsico India. A very strong management committee was set up including top management from Pepsi, FICCI and CARE India. We targeted a fund corpus of 4 million dollars and the Pepsico foundation seeded half a million dollars into the fund. We also created a partnership with CARE India and that’s how FICCI-CARE, Gujarat Rehabilitation Project was created to create houses and infrastructure for the villages requiring relief. This would provide them with houses to stay, providing significant relief from the enormous challenge of not having a roof over their heads.


I must give full credit to Dr Amit Mitra, currently the finance minister of Bengal, who ensured that any lead which I gave him, for small or large organisations were always approached and followed up. We approached several well known donor organisations, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, USID, the American Indian foundation and several others. The impact we created was that we were able to generate up to 26 Million dollar. This amount of funding, at this rate of speed is indeed rare in the history of private funds for disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction.


During the reconstruction of houses, we ensured that artisan and craftsmen from the villages were employed giving a boost to rural employment in the area. All the bricks for the construction were sourced locally, and people were able to generate employment by making bricks as well. We hired a construction team led by armed officers, hired CFO level auditors and got construction designs verified by earthquake specialist Dr Arya, confirmed that the design of the houses would withstand up to 9 richter scale earthquakes. In the course of rebuilding houses in the 26 villages. we even took fresh land for construction. We also interacted with the commissioner Mr Man Singh, who was the then rehabilitation commissioner and received an enormous amount of support from him. He told us we would also be able to work with the big Chief Minister relief fund. So, 30% of the funding came through the Chief Minister relief fund. As a project, we had started with half a million dollars of Pepsico Foundation funding, which multiplied itself 52 times to raise 26 million dollars and additionally received 30% more government funding.


I still vividly remember one Gujarat village in particular, Nani Charai. I had kept an amount of Pepsico Foundation funds exclusively for rebuilding one of them. I have had further occasions to travel to Kandla from Bhuj, and on that route when I see the Pepsi sign on a water tank in that village, it makes me emotional and I swell with pride, with the recollection of the best coalition project I did, which helped thousands of lives and brought smiles to so many faces.

Blogs at Consocia

How Covid-19 lockdown has changed the way we eat, live and stay connected

The famous movie starring Julia Roberts, “Eat, pray, love”, has become a catchphrase, representing in a sense, the basic necessities of life in modern society. The character in the movie is on a journey in life seeking meaning in order to discover her true self and achieves some fundamental realisations about the nature of life. COVID-19 too has created such a situation across the world that across all classes of society, many of us have come to a common realisation of what the “essentials” of our life are, and how those who have them are fortunate indeed. The pandemic has wreaked such havoc in societies all across the world that, as society and individuals we have fundamentally changed all the basic habits that have defined how we live.

My family members and I are experimenting with new dishes and learning more about food. My wife runs a food blog, Vaishalee’s Tips & Treats and we are experimenting with one new dish a day. Yesterday she baked Buns which turned out fluffy and delicious, better than the store bought ones that use preservatives. And having hot buns straight out of the oven was a new high. Over and over again, we are able to make food that we usually bought at stores or had at restaurants like Jalebis . Homemade Papri, GolgappeChaat, Biryani, Breads, Cake, Pizza including the base etc at home together using traditional processes of cooking, with time, patience and love. Friends on social groups too, are sharing and trying out recipes of new dishes everyday. Baking and Cooking has brought families together as a common source of joy. Prior to the lockdown many office goers had food in the office canteens or Cafeterias or ordered in through delivery portals, now home cooked food has a new safety and joy.

In the lockdown,  households are shifting to traditional patterns of cooking instead of using ready made, packaged foods. This is a huge shift in consumption habits for the more developed markets across the country. If consumers’ preferences shift to traditional patterns of consumption, it would be a major challenge for many companies selling packaged foods and for the entire restaurant industry. They would need to reinvent themselves completely, either in terms of their product or in terms of their marketing, or both. Restaurateurs are facing extremely difficult and challenging times. Their outlets are facing severe losses and they need to enhance customer traffic to outlets as soon as the lockdown ends. Additionally, implementing social distancing norms and will further eat into their costs. 

As a society, we have started looking inwards in all our daily activities and prayers. As a devotee of god Hanuman, I had been going to the temple every Tuesday for the past 40 years. However, I am now worshiping at home with equally firm conviction and there is a deep realisation that if God is in our heart, worshipping at home is equally meaningful as worshiping at the temple outside.

Along with our ways of worshipping, our mode of work too has undergone a drastic change, as millions of people are now working virtually. Tiny tots, of Nursery and KG classes are attending video classes. For business organisations online seminars and conferences, video calls and meetings, digitally shared documents and reporting via instant messaging applications have become the new normal. They were present earlier as well, however, post the lockdowns globally, these forms of communication have experienced explosive growth for business purposes. ‘Zooming’ now has become a commonly used verb to denote online conferencing instead of speed. When the name of a brand becomes common parlance, one can safely say that the use of the product or the category has been well and truly established in everyday life.

Due to the lockdown and new ways of working from home we are saving on time travelling to work and we are able to spend abundant time with our loved ones at home, cooking, playing board games or singing together etc This is certainly creating more love and bonding in our lives.

Even more drastic changes have come about in our pursuits of leisure, entertainment, business, social and cultural activities. With virtual family dinners and get-togethers for birthdays or other occasions, live streaming of musical albums instead of musical shows and virtual prayer meetings becoming the accepted norm everywhere, humans have become digitally connected and physically isolated. My group of walking friends meet online every day at 7:15 pm. Earlier, I used to think that working from home was impossible for me, and I am sure millions of people around the world would have felt the same. Now I have already become accustomed to leading my teams for virtual work sessions. Recently, I moderated a health webinar which is just one among the many that are to come.

This trend is not expected to vanish soon. A large Indian multinational IT company has announced its plans to continue remote working till September and many other companies are in the process of making similar plans. What are the new and emerging challenges for marketing in a world where customer behaviour has changed so radically? Companies marketing foods, dining chains, musical events, travel, entertainment shows and malls as well as  many other categories of products will require a re-think in the way they do business.

Communicators have begun creating campaigns to carry out continuous customer engagement so that there is better recall among customers. However, it is most important for brands and companies to not only ensure safety and social distancing but also inform all the key stakeholders of the business about the steps taken to ensure the same. This will go a long way to help alleviate the anxiety in the minds of customers, when they contemplate going out post the lockdown. Therefore, assurance of safety will become a key message in all the communications that are done by brands, across all categories.

Blogs at Consocia

Ad wars and brand wars

In my earlier years at Unilever, I saw the launch of Ariel by P&G, and Unliver reacted by launching a campaign on how Ariel was not good for coloured clothes. This campaign was done at a time when detergents were used by fewer housewives in India. Consumers at the time saw the largest brand wars of the category in the early 90’s, and the impact was so high that detergent powders became a way of life.

In 1993, Coke was re launched in India after a gap of 16 years. Pepsi, which had been launched in India in 1990, saw its rival walking away with the most prestigious event – the cricket World Cup. How could Pepsi be kept away from this event? I had joined Pepsico India in 1995, and was a part of the team which was building bridges with teenagers. We took pride in building a brand for the new generation. Well, some of the media at that time called it, “The time of Cola wars”.

Pepsi, which was the largest sponsor of cricket in India could not miss this highly significant opportunity. So, if Coke was the official beverage sponsor, what would Pepsi be doing, was the question being asked, by loyal consumers. So how did Pepsi win back the share of mind? While brand Coke was busy with its biggest campaign of communications for the World Cup, Pepsi was getting ready to do the unconventional. The campaign was called “Nothing Official About It and came from research insights that teenagers do not like the term”Official”.

With this campaign, Pepsi first got into its fold, all the top players of cricket playing countries. Even the most famous cricket umpire in the world – Dickie Bird was also roped into the campaign, saying “There is nothing official about it.” The campaign created media and advertising history and is regarded by the advertising and marketing fraternity as one of the most successful campaigns ever.

The tremendous success of the campaign led to the line “Nothing Official About It” becoming a catchphrase in popular vocabulary. The campaign was strategically brilliant and the Pepsi brand was shown to be fun and irreverent as opposed to the “official” sponsor. During this four month campaign, I spoke to almost every publication in the country, about how Pepsi’s strategy won the hearts and minds of Indians.

I remember that the Indian media, and publications from across the world including the UK, Canada, South Africa and Australia wrote about this campaign in their newspapers. But the best compliment was by an English author, who wrote about the passion of cricket in the sub continent, and mentioned how the brands leveraged this passion in their journey of Indian operations. So much so, that he named one chapter of the book – “Nothing Official About It”.

I have also seen telecom wars in 2003 to 2005 where Airtel and Vodafone, Airtel v/s Reliance Communications both helped in raising the category the way the cola wars had done. While Vodafone came with the launch of its mascot (the Pug) in 2003, Airtel came up with – Express Yourself campaign. These campaigns really raised the bar for the category. People still ask me, who benefitted in these so called ‘brand wars’ and my answer is always simple – it’s the consumer.