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Critical for CMOs to sanely navigate change without losing sight of the fundamentals, says Prasoon Joshi

In an exclusive conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, the veteran adman talks about the trends that dominated 2019 and the advertising industry outlook for 2020. Joshi, the CEO and CCO of McCann Worldgroup India, and Chairman McCann Asia Pacific talks about the impact technology will have on consumer behaviour

Prasoon Joshi

The trend of micro-moments— the one unit in time when the consumer goes from seeing to think and discuss, decide and buy literally in moments—is interesting and will continue to expand, feels Prasoon Joshi.

In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Joshi, CEO and CCO of McCann Worldgroup India, and Chairman McCann Asia Pacific talked about the key advertising trends and changing relationship between clients and agencies.

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“Exploring new client opportunities is important, but what’s even more important is to consistently deliver great solutions for existing clients and partner them in their ups and downs. By doing that you not only live up to the expectations of your clients but also achieve a rhythmic organic growth,” he said.

Excerpts:

How was 2019 for the agency in terms of growth?

India has been going through a rapid change and it’s important that an industry like ours is in sync with the changes and knows the pulse of the market. That’s what our focus has been. We understand 2019 has been a challenging year in the larger economic context. However, we have much to cheer about in our journey. Our teams across India continue to win new business consistently. Since I started running McCann operations in India, I have always reiterated that growth is a mindset. Exploring new client opportunities is important but what’s even more important is to consistently deliver great solutions for existing clients and partner them in their ups and downs. By doing that you not only live up to the expectations of your clients, but you also achieve a rhythmic organic growth. Our growth currently signifies the same.

What is the overall growth that you are expecting in 2020, and what’s your strategy to achieve that?

What is significant and underpins our approach is our integration vision — with close to 50% of MWG revenue coming in for clients where more than one MWG discipline is engaged.

This is extremely important. Even at the IPG level, this open architecture model is followed. We are a global company with a deep understanding of the local culture — and it’s not an easy balance to perfect. This is achieved by consciously working on it. We also truly believe in diversity: be it diversity of talent, ideas or of disciplines and when you have a culture of assimilation, you can see that reflecting in your work and growth.

According to you, what trends will help shape the advertising and marketing space in 2020?

Firstly, what’s going to play an important role in this environment of too many variables are consistency and reliability. As things around us change every moment, the importance of a stable partnership between client and agency would be critical. We have to be the unshakeable pillar of strength for clients.

Of course, we will continue to see the world around us changing at breakneck speed — mobile and smartphones with 5G technology, finer AI, interactive and VR experiences, the expected increase in voice search being the new focus. All this will impact how consumers engage not only with ads but communication and entertainment across the spectrum.

For me, the increasing trend of micro-moments— the one unit in time when the consumer goes from see-think-discuss-decide-buy literally in moments is interesting.

As marketers and communicators, we also need to find a match between our ‘brand story’ and the consumers’ who are increasingly consumed with ‘my story’ – and the mindset of ‘the most interesting thing is me’. Many brands would pursue the move beyond brand storytelling to a more strategic value creation mode.

What would be critical in this sea of omnichannel presence is for the marketing director/CMO and team to navigate change without losing sight of the fundamentals sanely.

What according to you, is the pain point for the creative industry?

To find and retain talent that has the experience and the nimbleness to build brands in times of constant change. Today, the shelf life of an idea is diminishing, and there’s a lack of patience. People should commit to letting a fledgeling idea take off and fly.

We saw a lot of churn in the creative team of McCann in late 2018 and early 2019. How well placed is the agency now in terms of its creative strength? How have things changed after Ashish joined the agency as the creative head?

Let me be clear here; Changes at McCann India are all by design. We have an uncompromising performance culture and long-term approach towards people’s careers. The ones who join us with clarity of this vision, understand the value of this and natural churn is bound to happen here, which is healthy.

McCann India has not only been consistently sweeping international creative awards for years now from Grand Prix at Cannes, Clios, One Show or even the Black Pencil at D&AD to leading India’s win at Spikes or Adfest.

All this is achieved due to constant upgrade of talent, skills and infusion of fresh, along with stable leadership and consistent creative-led culture. The fact that many of our current creative leaders apart from Ashish, like Abhinav and Kapil, has decided to re-join McCann is a testimony to the creative culture we have nurtured over the years which is unparalleled. As far as Ashish is concerned, he is one of the most mature and finest minds in our country today. I am not just positive but simply sure that he will further build and nurture our creative product.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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