The last year tested everyone across the industry and agencies must now do away with putting across mediocre work, feels Anoop Dixit, Founder and CEO, COG Digital+Design. “We probably are the only generation to know what is best and worst. The world is now equipped to handle things when they go wrong. It is really painful to see a lot of mediocre work being done around,” he said.
Dixit claimed that COG Digital+Design has an edge over others as it looks at filling gaps between linear and digital. “When we started with the agency way back in 2013, we were clear that there is a huge gap between linear and digital in terms of creative output. That was a time when people were not really focused on digital, especially social media. We realised quite early that the future belongs to an integrated agency,” he said. “We are one of those agencies that seamlessly integrate mainline and digital. Except one or two, our entire roster of clients has been taking integrated solutions from us.”
“Another strength that we have is longevity. We have clients working with us for 5-7 years now and the only reason is that they get the entire solution under one roof,” he added.
While they always had strong bonds with their clients, the pandemic has further strengthened them, said Pallave Dixit, Co-Founder at COG Digital+Design. “The beauty of being an agency of our size is that we work very closely with our clients. We are very clear that the team which is going for the pitch will be the one that will work on that account as well,” she said.
Speaking about the perks of being an independent agency during a pandemic, Anoop Dixit said, “Every company has its own set of challenges and I’m sure networks have their own challenges. They have big offices and infrastructure which is of no use anymore. But for independent agencies, you have better ways of looking at where you can cut costs. Being independent gives you a lot of room to work freely, be more aggressive and go that extra mile. You don’t have to worry about the approvals coming to costs.”
With digital consumption growing many folds, Anoop Dixit said the digital space is very different from what it used to be. He also said that with a stiff margin, and no extra money to spend with advertisers, must look into marrying offline to online with more data insights. “E-commerce has to grow big. Tech will be a crucial part of automation, voice will be critical and relevant content in terms of vernacular will be the centre stage,” he said.
The agency recently opened offices in Gurugram and had 20 new hirings at a time when everyone was scaling down. Speaking about their plans for the year, Anoop Dixit revealed that they plan to open at two more locations in Mumbai and Bangalore soon.
“The idea is to go and work in these markets as well as we get a lot of enquiries from these markets. The entire team is excited and positive. The only thing we are not good at is marketing ourselves. We are so busy working for our clients day-to-day we realise that we need to market ourselves in the industry too,” he said.
He revealed they never stopped hiring new talent even during a pandemic and said they are always on the lookout for new talent. “We have people who are stalwarts in the industry. At the same time, we have team members from the past 5-7 years who had joined at the age of 21-22 and are now leading departments at 26-27. It is always refreshing to enter office space on Monday morning which is buzzing with screaming, shouting, laughter and that is only possible when you have a perfect mix of both,” he stated.
Dixit said the remuneration for creative agencies is returning as advertisers are opening up to communication in a larger way. “I think we all know that creative is a very subjective thing, but the industry at large is opening up again. The sentiments are getting better and it all started from Diwali. Diwali was the first ray of hope for everyone to bounce back as an industry. The festive period and the IPL happened at the same time.”
“Last year, brands opened up to communication in a far better way and are now looking for creative solutions. They are looking for cost-effective solutions and there’s nothing wrong with it. They are looking at not only creating content but how one can use technology and new-age media to take the content forward to the last-mile,” he added.