Goafest 2014: Quick Bytes From Marketing Biggies

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Goa | In Advertising | May 31, 2014
A quick glance at what some brand marketing heavyweights said at the conclave.

On Day Two of Goafest 2014, Discovery Channel hosted a conclave in which some marketing honchos shared their views on agencies, branding and more.

Edited Excerpts.

L to R - Narasimhan, Tripathy, Satpathy, Marshan, Warke, Warrier - 'The Clients'

Sanjay Warke, Country Head, DS Division, Toshiba India (Keynote Speaker, Conclave)

"Some key principles for a 'mutually maximally beneficial' client-agency relationship: These principles may look commonsensical and simplistic but are very important. Keep calm and walk in my shoes - agencies should understand what keeps the client awake at night and vice versa. Always get a reality check. This is an offshoot of the previous point about the importance of empathy.Do a bit of crystal ball gazing: Don't just tell me 'what is'; show me 'what if'. Don't just look to 'crack the brief'.Use your imagination. Find a balance between instinct and research. Believe in your own idea. If you don't stand by your ideas, no one will."

Deepika Warrier, VP, PepsiCo

"Even if you think you have a 'sucky' client, it makes business sense to have a little empathy. We live in a real-time world; it's not just about great creative ideas. It is about real time marketing campaigns. Success is a two-way street. The brand team and the agency team are 'One Team'. Ultimately, it is not about 'brand people' and 'agency people'; all of us are 'marketing people'. We need to take away this transactional, 'power balance' relationshipbetween agencies and clients, and work as one solid team."

Sanjay Tripathy, EVP, HDFC Standard Life

"Agencies help clients stay young! When the agency guys come to our office, we all dress a bit differently! Radical thinking helps. Insights don't come to you when you are sitting at a desk. You need to roam around and go out into the field to get insights. Agencies have the ability to bring in an 'outside-in' perspective.It is not 'my brand' or 'your brand'. It is 'our common brand'. It is no longer one single campaign that matters. We need to move beyond the 30 second ad and embrace evolving media channels. We live in a complicated environment with apps, social, cloud, mobile... we need to create 'micro-campaigns' in such a complex environment. We need to think about the brand all the time. Agencies needn't wait for the brief to start thinking."

Anuradha Narasimhan, Director, Marketing, Britannia Industries

"Some of the things we clients get wrong: unclear brief, changing brief, too much input, we want too many messages in one piece of creative, we want too many media pieces in one single media brief, we don't share enough data and understanding with our agency partners, we don't share ideas upstream enough, we tend to keep our agencies task-based, there are too many constraints, too many holy cows (put those two seconds here and that logo there and that jingle here, etc.), and I exercise the 'client's power to veto' what the agency comes up with!I am guilty of all these things!Also, I really think agencies have become over-specialised today."

Sameer Satpathy, EVP and Business Head, Marico Limited

"Advertising is in a very unique position today. In the days ahead only strong brands will survive. The message and the medium will converge. What is creative all about? Is it going to be the TVC? I don't know. I don't know what is going to work. Is this current business model optimal? Will it survive the next 5-10 years? Maybe. Is the new communication model in place? Do you have the right talent - managerial and 'crea-technical'? Value is created in the interface. Decoupling is easy, but real value will be created by integration. Resource allocation between the long term and short term is the key. Expand the talent market. Advertising is a mad world; you need mad men to run it! The real question for agencies is: Are you in the business of building brands or delivering creative solutions?"

Karthi Marshan, head, marketing, Kotak Mahindra Group

"I spoke to agency professionals and crowd-sourced the answer to the question: 'If you had to go up on stage and talk about what frustrates you about clients, what would you say?' Do clients tend to write copy for the agencies? Some tend to feel digital ads are not really 'creative'. One of the questions that came up was: 'Can clients compensate us for our ideas and not just for the execution?' So, should there be more performance-based work? One agency person told me: 'Hourly rates are for factory workers. We should not be remunerated for 'time spent' but should be remunerated for our ideas first.' What's your take on these questions?"

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