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Ajay Tawde

Digital Strategy Director

Ogilvy Indonesia




“If you understood in 1995 the opportunities & threats that the internet would present to your company or industry, what would you have done differently? That is where we are today with blockchain”

In the last two decades, technology has reshaped how we communicate. We have often met breakthroughs with resistance: social media, e-commerce, key opinion leaders … a large section of society underestimated their impact. So, if you have heard about blockchain, but want to know why you should care, read on.

But first, let’s de-jargonize. Almost every large corporate office, warehouse or factory that runs on computers is accompanied by an almost dungeon-like server room. This room usually has huge metal units with blinking lights and an elite group of IT professionals operating in the background like ninjas. It is on these backend units that all of a business’s day-to-day data and information are stored.

However, in the last five years, we have seen how susceptible we all are to hacking and data theft. And this is where the value of blockchain lies. At a very basic level, blockchain takes the information stored on servers and redistributes it over a global network of devices connected to the internet (called decentralization). In doing so, blockchain also encrypts the data, making it almost impossible to crack (think of the Da Vinci Code).

So Blockchain and Bitcoin aren’t the same thing? No. Blockchain is a form of technology. Think of it in terms of the internet. There is the internet and then there is social media, e-commerce, email and so on, which are all applications of the internet. Similarly, digital currency is an application of blockchain, and Bitcoin is one form of digital currency.

The Royal Wedding!

What happens when the oldest prince of business world (marketing) decides to go outside the royal family and get married to the newest form of technology (blockchain) – a bride who is at least a century younger him? And what will their royal children look like?

First child – blockchain advertising

Imagine having an internal meeting where you could view your ad performance with different platforms and publishers without needing to beg different people for their numbers and reports. Sounds like a fun meeting, right?

Think of it like this; currently, every time an ad is fetched and is served on a device, a digital entry gets made in a book. Currently, only the ad platform owners have access to this book, but with the application of blockchain, everyone – whether it’s your CEO, your agency or an auditor – can look into the book at any point in time to make key decisions.  

This might sound alien and futuristic, however in 2018, Unilever, working with IBM, Fusion Seven and Mindshare/Group M, have launched the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a pilot advertising platform based on blockchain, for Dove.

Second child – blockchain e-commerce
Imagine Michael. He has successfully launched his own hairstyling product in Jakarta. He has been selling it through various barber shops in South Jakarta. In fact, a few people from Lampung, Makassar and even Aceh have been asking for it on his Instagram account. Now, if Michael wants to explore e-commerce in these areas, he will quickly realize that only a third of Indonesians currently have a bank account, and this makes him dependent on cash-on-delivery, which is not just slow and risky, but also adds expense.

However, if the Indonesian government launched and regulated its own cryptocurrency, an e-rupiah, Michael could start expanding into more cities because his clients would not need a bank account to shop online. Sounds far-fetched? The government of Sweden is already exploring the idea of launching an e-Krona.

So, when are you getting married?

It’s the question that every young Indonesian adult hears if they have both a stable job and a stable relationship. Now, we as professionals in the advertising and marketing need to ask ourselves the same thing, but first we must give up our commitment phobia and bias against new technology.

Unless we start educating ourselves - as well as our team members - on blockchain a new startup or a new brand might “swipe right” first with blockchain, effectively delaying your marriage. But if you, your team and company go about it the right way, who knows how many more children can be born? To learn more about blockchain, search for “Unleashing The Blockchain” by Ogilvy Consulting on SlideShare.