agencyfaqs! News Bureau
Leo Burnett has launched its global integrated communications division, Leo Activation, in India, with the aim of providing clients with specialist services in the areas of event design, management and execution, consumer and trade promotions, product trial sampling and specialist channel marketing. Heading this initiative is ex-Thompson Connect man Tarun Chauhan, who has taken charge as general manager - diversified services, Leo Burnett India.
Chauhan, who will be responsible for developing and launching similar initiatives for the agency in India, insists that Activation is high-priority within the agency. "There is a very strong need for Activation in this country," he says. "Forty per cent of advertising budgets today go into below-the-line activity, which makes it a Rs 2,500-to-Rs 3,000-crore industry. Everyone acknowledges that a 30-second ad is not enough and you need to reach out to individuals on a one-to-one basis. The problem is that many agencies do not fully understand the medium and its vehicles. Running a half-baked promo - with a few ads and some fancy prizes - just to shore up mid-season sales is not going to get you conversions. The below-the-line process in India is too isolated. What you need meticulously planned holistic solutions."
While Activation has been launched keeping in mind Leo Burnett clients, the unit aims to cater to independent clients too. "We are currently working with Leo Burnett clients. And while we will certainly address those clients not in the Leo Burnett roster, our energies will not be spent in that direction right now. But being an independent profit centre, any business is top priority." Chauhan reveals that Activation is already in talks with two non-Burnett clients.
Currently, Activation has put together a team in Mumbai, while it has started hiring people in Delhi. Activation cells in Leo Burnett's other offices will follow, "as and when we understand the needs in the other offices", says Chauhan. He adds that some very senior people have already moved into Activation, and more are in the process of joining.
Talking about the challenges ahead, Chauhan says, "One of the big tasks is figuring out how to introduce and leverage the benefits of technology. The quicker we make technology a part of the marketing mix, the better. Of course, interactivity and CRM were buzzwords three years ago, but people still have no clue about how these figure. You have three credit cards of a particular bank, yet someone is always calling you from the same bank and trying to sell you another card. As you see, the right hand has no clue what the left is doing. See the potential for Activation? We just need to organize the industry and make it more scientific."
That Activation is not an event management company Chauhan takes pains to point out. "What we do is understand what a brand needs," he says. "If a brand needs X kind of solution, we commission professionals from the industry that offers that solution to do our job. In that sense, our expertise is more the 'software' or thinking." He also says that this is Activation's differentiator. "What people do is create a bouquet of services, and push one or the other down the client's throat. Not us. We offer tailor-made solutions by fulfilling the brand's needs, not the agency's needs."
Chauhan is not willing to put a figure on targets. "I am not worried about numbers… yet," he says. "Suffice it to say that there's a huge opportunity out there. All you need is to get the business model right.
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