Prof Arindam Chaudhuri of IIPM on MF HUSAIN
In as much, 21st century clients recognise that their brands need more diversity, flexibility, local flavour and therefore individual attention that is not possible in a big set-up with a mammoth array of clients needing constant attention. Result is that are increasingly abandoning their inhibitions in approaching individual agencies. “Clients are always seeking fresh ideas and perspective that would work for their brand and they don’t care if they come from an agency that is 20 years old or 2 years old. I think with the way things are going you would see more breakthrough work coming from newer agencies,” avers Ramki. Times of India (ToI), which recently shifted its entire creative account from JWT to start-up Taproot (promoted by Agnello Dias & Santosh Padhi) is one that firmly believes in that logic. Says Rahul Kansal, Brand Director, ToI, “There was no risk in shifting our account to an independent agency. Since we were using only the creative services of Agnello at JWT, it was a natural shift for us.”
Industry insiders believe that getting clients for start-ups run by renowned admen is hardly ever a problem. “Clients connect more with the names than agencies anyway,” they say. As ToI moved with Agnello, the Appy Fizz account moved from Grey to Creativeland Asia with Sajan Raj Kurup. Unlike media agencies, where negotiations and bulk business deals matter more, the creative part of the business is usually personality driven. Consciously or not, most guys who go independent are aware that their intellectual capital is their biggest investment into a new venture and clients will follow, whether or not they flaunt a plush office in a swank business area. In a marked departure from existing trends, Acharya (Cut The Crap) in fact totally did away with the regular office routine for his agency. “We don’t have a brick & mortar office. So the only investment that I have put up is the money for our weekly meetings at the best of places and partying wherever we felt like,” he grins, explaining that the only bit of serious money he invested was on technology (so his team could work from home easily) and membership to relevant archives on the web.
Interestingly, ask these independent creative shops and they are quick to say that the biggest challenge they faced was in swaying big ticket account from established agency (that was up for grabs, they aver), neither was raising funds a problem. The tough nut for them (hilariously) was the routine stuff like finding office space, hiring right talent, et al. As Agnello puts it, “Dealing with things that are not our forte, produced some hiccups. We were bemused with things like legalities, registrations, putting admin in place and all that.”
It is their agility, flexibility, quick reaction time and out-of-box creative thinking that is prompting multinats and large domestic clients to fall hook, line and sinker for independent agencies. But the end results were never pre-mediated. So what prompted these guys to give up their fat salary cheques and take the risk in the first place? Jacob answers that with his usual devil-may-care view: “There’s a risk in everything we do, isn’t there? Even standing under a tree has its own share of risks. The desire to create, build and more importantly, the excitement and challenges that go into building an agency overrides any perceived risk,” he points out.
Agnello is more accommodating. “Our only apprehension was whether we were too spoilt by success and looking a gift horse in the eye by chasing this idealistic notion (of going it alone) that perhaps did not exist in real world. But as we came closer to due date, we felt it was perhaps working in more or less the way we thought it would,” says Agnello. Given that ToI, Mid-Day and more followed suit, bet Agnello still feels spoilt for choice. Not just him, so far, most newly-formed independent agencies are having a dream run at the ad box office. The slowdown induced pressure on marketers to cut costs is also playing a role. While none of the independent guys admit it, fact is that start-up fees are at least 15% lesser than those with an established agency. And with that does not have marketer’s salivating in these troubled times, wonder what will...
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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