BestMediaInfo provides a glimpse of the thoughts shared by brand specialists and advertising honchos on building brands and the role of agencies in a digital world
Jagadeesh Krishnamurthy | Delhi | March 23, 2015
Ad:tech 2015, the two-day conference on digital advertising held in Gurgaon on March 19-20, 2015 played host to several sessions dedicated to the digital advertising and marketing domain. Attended by over 3,000 professionals from the connected domains, the event provided a platform for networking and updating oneself with the ever growing digital domain.
Day one featured a keynote discussion on ‘How brands can add value to conversations?’ Moderated by Anita Nayyar, CEO, India and South Asia, Havas Media, the panel comprised Deepak Jolly, VP, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia; Vikas Mehta, CMO, Lowe Lintas and ED, Linteractive; Vivek Nayer, CMO, Mahindra & Mahindra; and George Kovoor, Senior Creative Director, OgilvyOne.
Talking about the importance of how brands can become a part of social media conversations, Jolly shared the example of Coke Zero’s launch in India which was distributed exclusively through Amazon. "It created the required buzz. In 48 hours, about 100,000 cans were ordered,” he said.
Observing that brands cannot engineer conversations anymore, Lowe’s Mehta said, “The onus is on brands to find conversation and build on it. Lifebuoy played a role in creating conversation around health by picking on a subject of infant mortality. But it was not a CSR activity. Rather, it was a brand building activity, which led to sales.”
Sharing a similar thought, Mahindra’s Nayer said, "Brands are no longer heroes. The conversations are happening with or without brands. It is, as mentioned by Unilever’s Welde, extremely important to have conversations with a fit-of-purpose. Content, while important, should be real, engaging and meaningful.”
Explaining how Mahindra & Mahindra has picked on 'adventure' as a consumer trend and built on it, Nayer talked about the off-roading events and eventual online conversations that have led to the brand’s instant connect with adventure. Nayer held that each brand needs to find a relevant topic where it can fit in, and “should not force-fit itself into a conversation”.
‘Do we need to reinvent the agency model?’
In another session titled ‘Do we need to reinvent the agency model in the emerging technology driven social era?’ panellists talked about how agencies have saddled up in the face of growing importance of digital.
The panellists included Mandeep Malhotra, Executive Director, DDB Mudra Group and President and Head, DDB MudraMax–OOH, Retail and Experiential; Ajit Verghese, MD - Asia Pacific, Maxus; Anisha Motwani, Director and CMO, Max Life Insurance; Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network - South Asia; and Mohit Ganju, SVP, IndusInd Bank. The session was moderated by Manish Vij, Founder, Smile Vun Group.
Motwani was of the opinion that Max Life wants to utilise every resource in an optimum way, and to that extent, they have different agencies for different roles. “Every agency has its key understanding of the market,” she remarked.
Meanwhile, Maxus’ Verghese believes that agencies need to help clients evolve to understand the evolution of mediums. He said, “We keep mentioning about agencies as buying agencies and we do keep buying, but I wanted to ask the market, who is paying for planning? Is there anybody who is paying for planning or creativity or business results?”
Bhasin believes that agencies would love to be remunerated on performance. “What clients actually pay for are just two things. One is the idea on his or her brand, and two, the agency’s voice of the consumer which they bring to you – what they think is right and will connect with the consumer in which way. That is what the key role of the agency has to be,” he observed.