Holistic solutions and integrated marketing plans are on the drawing boards and future course of actions of just about any agency today, more so with the ones that are competing at the global level. The merger of FCB with Draft, a player in the marketing services domain, in 2005 was seen as a significant step internationally as it brought together players of two domains to offer all kinds of media solutions.
With Draft heads taking over the leadership of Draft FCB, an indication of non-traditional media finding prominence in the Draft FCB scheme of affairs was indicated. Explaining more on the rationale of the merger, Draft FCB’s COO and President, Laurence Boschetto, divulged, “There were a couple of things that were happening in Draft and FCB as separate operating units. On the Draft side, we clearly had become the No. 1 marketing services company in North America. We had direct promotions, retail database, strategic planning, and basically it was our expertise.”
“On the FCB side, they were very well known globally with a global network. But what they didn’t have was the level of proficiency on a high regard in the direct, digital, promotion and retail space. In today’s times, the game is about ‘How do you get global businesses?’ We had a network, but our network wasn’t that strong. Their network existed, but they didn’t have that many global accounts to link it to – so we looked at the two organisations from a marriage point of view.”
He explained that whether it was cultural alignment, management philosophy or having the same goals and aspirations, the two organisations were very similar and hence, saw this as a great opportunity to address the needs of the market place.
“If you look at the clients, they are asking for things today that don’t exist. They have been asking for channel-agnosticism, discipline neutrality and business solutions that don’t necessarily approach it from a single discipline point of view, like a traditional 30- or 60-second spot,” said Boschetto.
He further said that the international advertising business had so far not done a good job of discussing things like channel-agnostics. “As discipline experts, we have people that are proficient in branding, public relations, retail, direct response, direct mail, but, none of them cut across. We haven’t done a great job as an industry to cross-pollinate, what I call, the renaissance market communication leaders. Clients are saying that they want channel-agnosticism to develop business solutions and not simply an advertising solution. How do you cultivate a whole new crop of experts that is schooled and skilled in this?” he asked.
“It’s really taking a look and saying, we need to elevate the way clients look at the agencies today. They shouldn’t just be looking at you from a tactical or an execution point of view. They should be bringing you to the table to talk about their business issues, and how they should be developing new relationships, new alliances and how marketing communication,” observed Boschetto.
The Draft FCB solution to this is to set up different systems of bringing the right talent to the table to address the clients’ issues. Boschetto believed that the need was of a full palette. “That’s why we have assembled an integrated offering. Now we have all the colours I need to create and develop the picture for the client and it’s all wrapped up and packaged under a single management with a single P&L, as opposed to mini holding companies that despite having each of the similar offerings are developed in silos.”
With this as the founding ground, Boschetto was in India to unveil the new philosophy that would be implemented across various regions. India is the hub for the South East Asian Regions and FCB Ulka’s Anil Kapoor is the President of the region.
Giving his point of view on the subject, Kapoor said, “What we are trying to say is that we are not about advertising but about strategy. So, before you think of all the intricacies of advertising, you think of strategy and that will be to decide if your solution may be digital, direct or television. That is what FCB Ulka stands for and that’s why we call ourselves media-agnostic. It’s not just about new-medias but about understanding the client’s requirements, knowledge base, database, accountability and ‘Return on Ideas’, which is a term we have coined and copyrighted.”
FCB Ulka gears up to go the Draft FCB way