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The industry needs both independents and traditional agencies: Julian Boulding

Founder & President of thenetworkone, Boulding is a staunch supporter of independent agencies across the world

Roshni Nair | Mumbai | September 14, 2016

Julian-Boulding Julian Boulding

It is a romantic idea – being your own boss, calling the shots and having the creative freedom to do what you really want. When tempers fly in a meeting room, it is often because one party doesn’t agree to the other’s idea. This is true even in advertising agencies where creative people often get easily frustrated because of the cramps big network agencies put on their thinking caps. This is when independent agencies come into play.

Creative professionals leave big names to start off small but strong. India has seen its share of independent agencies making their foray into the field, like Taproot, Infectious, Scarecrow, Famous Innovations, to name a few.

Julian Boulding, Founder & President, thenetworkone, thinks people start out on their own because it is a better opportunity. “I have to say people start out on their own because they think they can do better. Some people start because there is no way forward for them to go inside the company. It could also happen with people who think they don’t fit in but are ready to be entrepreneurs,” he said.

But while people do start out on their own to escape the dos’ and don’ts of a large organisation, there are examples galore of independent agencies being bought out by big network agencies. So do people start out in the hope that they will be bought out in the future for handsome profits?

“Some people have a very clear intention to do that. CHI in the UK had a clear five-year plan that they wanted to start an agency, build it up and sell it in five years. But most times you start something because you have a passion for it and because you think you can do it better than other people. But if you start something with an eye on selling out, most often people will stop being adventurous. A lot of agencies stop being adventurous and it wrecks the agency,” said Boulding.

Speaking about the independent agency scene in India, Boulding said, “Two to three years ago I was quite depressed because some of the ones that had pioneered the culture in India and seemed to be successful, like Taproot and Law & Kenneth, sold out to French and Japanese companies. It made me wonder what was happening to the independent tradition in India but now you see the rise of new players. I hope there is a new generation of independents because the industry needs both the independents and the traditional agencies as well.”

A strong supporter of independent agencies across the world, Boulding was hosted by Famous Innovations at an event in Mumbai yesterday to celebrate standing alone.


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