Information overload, sustainable innovation, and the social media revolution – SPJ Alumni Spotlight with Divjot Singh (Digital Leader, GE)

“As a marketeer, I believe every online channel to be different from each other. The key is to figure out your niche and your community and to be present there. Yesterday’s Facebook might be today’s Instagram or TikTok and for some, it might be nothing like being on LinkedIn. Platforms will keep changing – but the storytelling to your communities won’t.”

Divjot Singh (Global MBA 2008)
Regional Manager – North Americas for Grid Services
GE, Canada

Could you give us a brief introduction of your personal, educational, and professional backgrounds?

Post SP Jain, I was campus recruited into Alstom Power in Dubai. I worked in the Power Sector as a Sales Manager, then grew to handle Regional Marketing for the Middle East, after which I was the Regional Strategy Leader for the Middle East and India regions.

Once our company was acquired by GE, I worked as an Intrapreneur and ran a start-up for building a marketplace for the Power Industry. We had to close the start-up due to some challenges, after which, I moved to Canada with GE, while working as a Regional Sales Manager for Grid Services. My role required me to handle Eastern and Central Canada and the midwest US.

Personally, I am blessed with two daughters who keep me busy. Once we moved to Canada, my wife started her entrepreneurship venture with an Immigration Consulting practice to help Students and PR aspirants to Canada.

You graduated from SP Jain back in 2008. Are there any fond memories from your time at school that you still remember?

Are you talking about our sleepless nights or the fun we had exploring Singapore and Dubai? (Back when I was at SP Jain, the school followed a twin-city model, which seems like history now, since the new tri-city model came into place.) All I can say is that my time at SP Jain was one of the best years of my life. I cherish so many memories from then – right from the opening night with the Dean and night outs with friends (read detour at Clarke Quay) to the random walks with our professors and the time where we helped each other in securing placements. We made some lifelong friends along the way.

How does a leader like you keep himself abreast of industry in an era of information overload?

Information is changing very rapidly and sometimes it is difficult to keep pace. The best practice is to keep an aim in mind, assess the facts available, cross-check the information, and make a decision using the information in hand before moving ahead. Many times, data is ambiguous – and in those times, models like the DIKW (Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom) pyramid come in handy.

Most likely, you won’t have access to all the data at all times. Mistakes are bound to happen occasionally. I believe that we should be eager to learn and humble enough to accept that our decisions may not be perfect every time. Have the courage to believe that progress is better than perfection.

Electric Cars and other environment-friendly innovations are on the rise. As a thought leader, do you think these are a temporary trend or a dent in the way industries have been operating?

Climate change is a reality and there is no denying the fact. The environment-friendly focus is the need of the hour and I believe that we, as a society, are being awakened by changes in and around which we are observing. As companies or corporates, we are now becoming cognizant of the roles we play in society.

There is so much happening in NGOs, start-ups, corporates, and government regulations and the focus is on everything from product development to product usage to product recycling. Even investors today are interested in solutions or companies which are environment friendly.

Rise in electric cars, wind generation, harnessing solar power, ocean cleaning projects, and discontinuing the usage of single-use plastic are all steps in the right direction.  Every country and company are adopting this change now. Some are pretty advanced and thoughtful while others are figuring out the best way forward for them and their stakeholders. To me, this is thoughtful thinking and a way forward for us as an organisation or even our society as a whole.

Social media is a paradigm where brands want to become people and people want to become brands. What is your mantra for online branding as a marketeer?

With the fast adaption of digitisation came the need for human connection. Today, technology makes it easier to form micro-communities based on interest, backgrounds, cultures, and demographics. In these micro-communities, there is a big urge to give back and hence, people started sharing. As the landscape is changing quickly, brands need influencers to raise awareness among the vastly spread and huge number of micro-communities. So, I believe that this new trend is a win-win for both.

As a marketeer, I believe every online channel to be different from each other. The key is to figure out your niche and your community and to be present there. Yesterday’s Facebook might be today’s Instagram or TikTok and for some, it might be nothing like being on LinkedIn. Platforms will keep changing – but the storytelling to your communities won’t.  For your right channel: Be there, be quick, and be responsive.

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