Namah Chawla

How will 'consulgencies' drive the new marketing ecosystem?

Prashant Kumar, founder, Entropia's debut book ‘Made in Future: A story of marketing, media and content for our times’ is a crash course for aspiring marketers and creative leaders of future.

Prashant Kumar is the founder of Entropia, Malaysia based full-service agency that was acquired by Accenture in June 2021. Prior to this, Kumar has served as the president, Asia world markets, IPG Mediabrands.

‘Made in Future: A story of marketing, media and content for our times’, his debut book, has been published by Penguin India. Speaking about the purpose that his book aims to serve, Kumar says that over the last 20 years, the way a story is told, as well as content, channel choices and consumer expectations have all been disrupted.

“While execution has evolved, the marketing strategies today are still using the templates and frameworks of the past era. There still exists a wide chasm where marketing strategy happens and where the marketplace is. And, that is the single largest unlocked opportunity that exists in the global marketing industry. This is the vision with which I started writing the book,” adds Kumar.

Kumar has received some great reviews from youngsters and ambitious executives, who don't want to wait for years to become marketing heads and chief marketing officers. “They are seeing this book as a learning ladder. It is easy to be ambitious. But the biggest challenge is, how do you accelerate these learnings? The book finds its purpose here,” says Kumar.

The coming up of ‘consulgencies’

Kumar sees a trend of agencies being acquired by consultancies. “When Entropia was launched in 2016, our vision was to become a ‘consulgency’. We could see the value that consultancies and agencies brought to the marketing services ecosystem. But the fact that the two worked at two ends of the spectrum and operated in silos, created a schizophrenic marketing discipline, which we were not comfortable with.”

Consultancies will be acquiring more and more agencies to develop agency capabilities. Kumar also sees a counter trend, i.e., agency groups developing more data and tech capabilities.

“If you look at the acquisition trends across media agencies, they have picked up assets, which are in the tech and data areas, in order to gain more depth. The two industries are coming together. And, there has never been a better time to be at the centre of this ‘consulgency’ revolution,” Kumar says.

Branding evolution

It is a no-brainer that brand building and how marketing works, have evolved massively over the past decades.

Sharing his perspective about these changes, Kumar states, “For thousands of years, brands were made by anecdotes. If you look at the Hindu Gods, Rama and Krishna and Shiva, they all used to be kings who were branded as Gods over thousands of years. And, it happened through stories. All our scriptures were originally songs and stories that travelled across regions over a long period of time.”

Kumar elaborates that over the last 200 years, after the introduction of mass media, brands started using advertising. It became the mainstay because of its efficient control and scale. Hence, mass media advertising became the way to build brands.

“There are many brands that are made of content, over the last 20 years. Be it Tesla, Apple, Google or Facebook, you rarely see them doing a lot of advertising. It may include some advertising, but there is a lot more peer to peer, influencer and experiential content,” explains Kumar.

As per him, over the last few years, many brands have moved towards data-driven experiences. Today, every brand needs to provide great customer experience, in terms of UX and UI. Otherwise, consumers will not stick with them.

Creative talent of future

The book states that content architecture is made of five content pipes - influencer content, peer to peer content, editorial content, advertising content and experiential content. All these have different strengths and weaknesses, and must be deployed in different roles in order to address specific bottlenecks in the customer journey.

Kumar says that future leaders need to be conversant and deploy different types of content in their communication or creative strategy.

“Additionally, it is high time that creative leaders are comfortable working with data scientists and analytics experts. Because, just as creative people tell a story, data tells a story as well. It is important that the two stories are aligned to build data-driven experiences," Kumar signs off.

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