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Role of agencies getting squeezed as brands find it easier to go directly to consumers, says Cheil India's Sanjeev Jasani

In a conversation with, the Chief Operating Officer of Cheil India says ad agencies can easily be replaced if they don't play a role in the growth of a clients’ business. Jasani says clients now want more accountability from their agencies

Sanjeev Jasani

Consulting, content and commerce will be the three core focus areas for Cheil India in 2021 as it seeks to partner with all its clients in their growth journey. 

Speaking with, Sanjeev Jasani, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Cheil India, said the role of agencies is getting squeezed and to remain relevant, they must ensure they are contributing in the business growth of clients. 

“A lot of brands find it easier to go directly to consumers. A plethora of SAAS-based tools also make it easy for brands to manage their own communication. So the role of the agency is getting squeezed.”

"Unless communication agencies don’t make themselves a part of growing the business of clients, they will be very easily replaced," he said. 

Being nimble to manage large-scale changes is what Cheil India takes pride in.

Jasani said brands are looking for novel ways to sell to their consumers and communication isn't the only tool they would rely on. He said consumer experience in commerce plays a major role. 

“I feel agencies are not thinking in that direction and clients too are not looking in that direction yet. They still think communication is the solution to all their problems. But this will change fast. We are gearing up in that direction,” said Jasani.

Jasani said the agency works with clients more as business partners than just being communication partners. "We have helped our clients through digital transformation and found ways to safeguard their business and unlock hidden potential. So eventually if your client does well, you do well. We are in this together."

Cheil India’s focus in the last two years had been on larger clients to build a strong base for itself.  Jasani believes large clients expecting more from agencies pushes them to unlock new areas, which add value to the business of clients and opens up opportunities for agencies. Unless it’s a win-win situation, the marriage will never last. 

Apart from business, Cheil has been extremely cautious when it comes to the health of its employees. “We have taken every possible measure to ensure that they are safe and have a healthy working environment,” Jasani said.

Jasani said clients asking for more accountability are normal as the pandemic has taught everyone to extract more from what they already have. “Large clients understand that value comes at a price and the price cuts are hence temporary in nature.”

"The pandemic has affected Cheil India but not as much as the agency had anticipated it to be. The plans we chalked to counter the pandemic has worked and covered most of the ground for the agency," he said.

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