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Smartest thing to do now is to stay positive, do scenario planning and be flexible, says Tarun Rai of Wunderman Thompson

In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, the Chairman and Group CEO, Wunderman Thompson, South Asia, said the real long-term economic impact can be ascertained after the world and India defeats coronavirus and it’s too early for any predictions

Tarun Rai

After emerging from an economic slowdown last year, advertising agencies were quite hopeful for making profits in 2020. Their dreams, however, have been abruptly halted by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

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The countrywide lockdown might not have affected the work of agencies on a large scale, but they are losing on time, months and occasions for full-fledged work and monies.

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In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Tarun Rai, Chairman and Group CEO, Wunderman Thompson, South Asia, said, “The real long-term economic impact on agencies can be ascertained after the world and India defeats coronavirus.”

It’s too early for agencies to say whether the recovery will be V-shaped, U-shaped or a  deep long period of recession but the smartest thing to do right now is to stay positive, do scenario planning and be flexible, suggests Rai.

In a previous interaction with BestMediaInfo.com, Rai stated that the agency has plans for a higher conversion rate this year, with 15% of revenues from new business. With the changing dynamic situation, plans and goals could get tough to achieve.

“It is such a dynamic situation and is changing every day. We, therefore, have to be flexible and agile in our planning and are working on different possible scenarios,” said Rai. 

WT is very conscious for its employees who are doing an amazing job working from home. The agency is keeping the morale of the team high with regular communication and encourages them to maintain the schedule of a regular workday.

“The enabled WFH (work from home) technology is not just to have work meetings but also to have a coffee, a drink with colleagues and friends. We have only had about a week of WFH and there are, at least, a couple of more weeks to ago. Fatigue will set in, and we need to guard against it,” he said. 

WPP has decided to cut cost by freezing new hires; reviewing freelance expenditure; stopping discretionary costs, including travel and hotels, and the costs of award shows and postponing planned salary increases for 2020 as the crisis impacts revenues.

“We have not taken any confirmed decision on our participation in award shows. We will see how many do take place. Also, we will be careful about where we should be spending the money in the second half of the year,” Rai said.


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