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2020 looks tough for ad agencies but firms focusing on data and technology may do well, says Dheeraj Sinha of Leo Burnett

The MD India and CSO South Asia, Leo Burnett, says that 2020 will be tough for every industry, including advertising, but agencies that will focus on solving client’s business problems using technology and data will do well

Dheeraj Sinha

Innovative client solutions using data and technology will be the biggest growth drivers for agencies in 2020, said Dheeraj Sinha, MD India and CSO South Asia, Leo Burnett.          

According to Sinha, 2020 will be tough for every industry, including advertising, but agencies that will focus on solving client’s business problems using technology and data will do well.

Leo Burnett’s strategy is to continue growing as the new-age agency that chases great work and great growth. “We find our philosophy aligns well with clients who are looking to solve their problems using new-age materials,” he said.

According to Sinha, the way-forward for the industry is in creating new-age work using creativity to solve human problems and helping brands connect with their audience around a larger purpose. “We now live in a social media enabled, consumer-run world where brands have to ‘do’ rather than ‘talk’. The communications world embracing the maker culture should be the most powerful trend of 2020 of our industry,” he said.

Sinha said that The Power of One (PO1) model of the Publicis group is helping Leo Burnett deliver the best results for its clients.

“In today’s times, it’s impossible to build a coherent narrative for a brand if you are not able to navigate the consumer journey through multiple platforms such as television, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Netflix, right upto the retail experience. Power of One model brings all the services for clients under one roof. This is essential for building business success today. So, there are no shortcomings of the model,” said Sinha.

“The model asks for a very high degree of collaboration and constant skill-set upgradation of our talent across levels. We have to make sure that we continuously underline the culture behind PO1, especially when we hire talent from outside the system,” he adds.

According to Sinha, content is one of the key pieces of the new-age thinking mindset. On that front, the agency has ‘Content-Factory’, a content arm that is capable of thinking the entire content eco-system for any brand and executing it at fast speed. 

Sinha feels the biggest issue in the advertising space is to get good talent. “At Leo Burnett, we are staking our future on the future talent. Our strategy is to empower the young, so that they can build cutting-edge solutions for our clients. We now run two levels of recruitment programs, one at the graduate level where hire from the top colleges in India such as SRCC, LSR, IITs and so on. We also run a postgraduate programme where we hire from top postgraduate colleges such as MICA, NID and so on. We continue to invest in skill upgradation of our talent on a large scale."

The agency has won 34 new businesses in 2019, including some of the most iconic brands such as Airtel, Spotify, Tinder, CarDekho, Ola, Twitter and Skechers to name a few.

Spotify (Beat of a Billion, There’s a Playlist for That & Sunte Ja), Jeep (Jeep Democracy), Twitter (#WeTweet) Ola (Ola Restrooms), MTV (#VoteBecauseYouCan), HDFC Bank (#StopMithani) are the campaigns that won awards and recognition for the agency.

“We picked up a Silver Lion at Cannes and a Grand Prix at Spikes Asia this year for our blood donation campaign for HDFC bank titled #StopMithani. Our work for Spotify and P&G Shiksha also won big at Spikes Asia this year. Moving forward we plan to continue to focus on creating great work for our clients’ businesses,” said Sinha.

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