The Publicis Groupe agency L&K Saatchi & Saatchi is expecting a double-digit growth in 2018. The year 2017, which saw the exit of the agency’s Founder and Chairman Praveen Kenneth, was better than the previous year even after the demonetisation and GST tremors, Anil Nair, CEO and Managing Partner at L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, told BestMediaInfo.com.
“When I started off 2017, I had certain expectations in terms of growth and I must say that I’m a little short on that, which was expected, but realistically we have grown fairly strongly from 2016 with healthy profits. So I cannot complain. Things have been tough but we found the way to survive.”
The advertising industry had to face the brunt of demonetisation and GST in 2017 and due to which a lot of work was kept on the backburner. The marketers cut down on their marketing budgets, which in turn hurt the media and communication companies.
Nair said, “Especially in the pharma industry, we have had some clients that have postponed their new launches to the next year. A lot of good initiatives kept on the backburner should realise in 2018. We can’t extricate ourselves from the challenges of the economy and hence I would say that it has been a challenging year but we have managed to use our resources and capabilities to do better than expected despite the bad times.”
Nair said that Publicis Groupe’s recently launched international strategy of ‘The Power of One’ helped them achieve their goals. As part of the strategy, the group companies pool in their resources and actually make all services available to all clients of all agencies.
For L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, more work from the clients would be the growth drivers in the year 2018. Nair said, “I am always in favour of growing with the clients. If my client grows at 10 per cent, I grow at 10 per cent. I would like to get more briefs from my clients on things like activation, digital transformation, digital transformation and data analytics.”
Growing profitability pressure, competition, newer and independent agencies and the rise in the number of freelancers are throwing pressure on the existing agencies to take up work at a reduced cost. They also do work on a project basis as and when it comes.
But L&K Saatchi & Saatchi believes in long-term relationships with the clients. That does not mean the agency doesn’t pick projects; it does. Nair explained the rationale, “Although we have done a lot of projects, we look at the project task from a different lens. Where we see the projects as a cost-saving effort by the client, we walk out of it. We are absolutely a relationship agency and we want to be partners and therefore we believe short-term approach may not work.”
He said, “We are where we are simply because of certain relationships where clients had faith in our abilities and we had grown together. I know the circumstances outside are changing and getting more and more cost-based conversation but there is still enough number of clients who really understand the value of a good partner.”
2017 was a good year for L&K Saatchi & Saatchi in terms of account wins as well. The creative agency won businesses of Sterling Holidays, Tata Metaliks, Cipla Health, Bauli, GKB Opticals, and Kalyan Jewellers.
The year was more significant for the agency because of the exit of Kenneth after the final sale of his shareholding to the Publicis Groupe in October. The agency was the largest and one of the most successful independent communication companies in India, before becoming a part of Publicis Groupe in January 2014, to create L&K | Saatchi & Saatchi.