What brands expect from media agencies

In a panel discussion at Goafest 2024, titled ‘The Changing Expectations from a Media Client Leader,’ media agency leaders delved into the evolving expectations placed on media client leaders and the challenges they face in meeting these demands

Niveditha Kalyanaraman
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Mumbai: In a panel discussion at Goafest 2024 titled ‘The Changing Expectations from a Media Client Leader,’ Vaishali Verma, CEO of Initiative India, described the media agency transformation as a gear shift from different people playing different roles in an agency. Cut to now, she believes the agencies have shifted to a 'one-man show' way of working. 

According to her, the client category and nature of the business drive the prerequisites for picking a client leader. 

She also opined that striking the right kind of chord with the client is important.

“We work a lot on getting the right chemistry with the client, and there is a lot of prep work going on behind it," she added. 

Reflecting on the deliverables of a client lead, Anita Kotwani, CEO of Media South Asia at Dentsu, emphasised that a client leader must be committed to securing wins for their clients and enhancing their profitability.

Adding to it, Ajay Gupte, CEO of Wavemaker South Asia, said that the first deliverable comes from understanding the consumer journey and understanding what's working for the consumer.

"And second, if a client leader is obsessed with understanding things even better, you will find the solution," he added.

According to him, having the right attitude is key to being a good client leader. Understanding the consumer journey and being obsessed with client satisfaction are crucial aspects of becoming a successful client leader.

Gupte acknowledged that much has changed in the industry, but the fundamentals remain the same, such as the importance of understanding the client's needs. 

He also pointed out that change is a constant, and a client leader must evolve with market shifts and the information available, maintaining a client-centric approach.

When discussing advice for becoming a top client leader, Kotwani emphasised the importance of learning.

While concluding the panel discussion, the industry experts highlighted the notable trends with Gen Z entering marketing roles.

Considering that millennials are increasingly occupying client leadership roles while managing Gen Z teams, industry experts note the nuanced differences in expectations. 

"Gen Z's approach to work-life balance differs from previous generations, fundamental needs such as recognition, celebration, and continuous learning remain unchanged," said Gupte. 

Tanmay Mohanty, CEO of Publicis Media Services India, said, "One notable trend with the new generation entering management roles is their belief in their employability and versatility. They don't feel confined to just media planning or digital work, they want to explore and engage in various tasks all the time. 

He believes that agencies need to be proactive in guiding and supporting them, to groom GenZ client leaders.