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Goafest 2016: ‘Client-Agency Partnership - two way street’

The inferences of the first day’s sessions at the Goafest clearly concentrated on building stronger and more fruitful partnerships between agencies and brands

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Goa | April 8, 2016

[caption id="attachment_68063" align="alignnone" width="480"]Chandramouli Venkatesan Chandramouli Venkatesan[/caption]

The first day of the eleventh year of Goafest witnessed an interesting dialogue where three industry leaders spoke about how clients and agencies should form a strong partnership to work better.

Chandramouli Venkatesan, Managing Director, Mondelez India; Samar Singh Sheikhawat, SVP, Marketing, United Breweries Ltd; and Oliver Maletz, Head of connections planning, media and international communication at Volkswagen, AG shed light on the various aspects that clients and agencies should work harder.

According to Venkatesan, there are few key things that form a strong partnership. He takes an inspiration from the movie Sholay where ‘Jay and Veeru’ are together in all good and bad things. He also mentions about four underlying factors for a partnership - complementary strengths, shared purpose and passion, trust and friendship and the last one being to challenge each other to perform better.

He said, “It takes a lot of effort to create a partnership like Jay and Veeru. It’s a two way street and you get back exactly what you put in.” Trust, talent and processes are the three key things that an agency should do to strengthen the client-agency partnership. It takes a huge degree in generating trust. One can be bedrock for honest and open communication. One needs to invest in getting that trust, emphasises Venkatesan.

Stating an example for Cadbury, he says the trust has worked well for them as they were able to take risks. Some of Cadbury’s marketing campaigns like the Cadbury Gorilla, Bournvita’s Taiyyari jeet ki, Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, and Oreo’s digital campaign to support the gay pride internationally were all successful because they trusted the agency.

Talent, as per Venkatesan, is equally important. In winning the talent battle, there has to be disruption and that is how one will be able to build brand stewardship, consumer centricity and new media. While process is a barrier to creativity, it is also an enabler to creativity. Disneyland began with their theme park, only to grow into a wild ecosystem to make the Disney brand bigger.

Concluding, Venkatesan thinks that great partnerships always deliver outstanding results. Taking off from where the confectionery veteran landed, Sheikhawat has three different things that agencies should work harder at.

The first one is getting to know the client’s business better. Explaining, he said, “If you don’t understand the business, you won’t be able to make a good ad.” Exactly why in the alcohol industry, where the Indian government does not allow any form of direct advertisements, Kingfisher water has grown to a Rs 200 crore business and at the fourth spot in the space that it is in, he explains further.

The second one according to Sheikhawat is, understanding the consumer. In a country with multiple realities and rapidly changing consumer behaviour, it is not possible to replicate a strategy for all markets. It needs to be differentiated according to different markets.

Lastly, he wants agencies to be the creative solution for a client. They need to be the medium of delivering a message across multiple platforms.

While most of the points were covered by the above veterans, Maletz gave a perspective from the automobile industry. A client says ‘What can I do?’ While an agency says ‘What can we do?’ Maletz said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Concluding, Maletz feels there is no need to be innovative for the sake of being innovative. He feels that an agency should stop selling to them and start helping them. They need to be business partners and give meaningful value to a number of people.

[caption id="attachment_68068" align="alignnone" width="480"](Left-to-Right)-MK-Anand,-Nakul-Chopra,-Ambi-Parameswaran,-Ramesh-Narayan,-Arthur-Bastings (Left to Right) MK Anand, Nakul Chopra, Ambi Parameswaran, Ramesh Narayan, Arthur Bastings[/caption]

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