One of the original mavericks of Indian Adland, Arun Nanda has once again charted out an aggressive road ahead for Rediffusion Y&R – the agency that had, at the time of its launch in 1973, challenged perceived limitations of advertising and had successfully proved that there was more to the business than just writing slogans and drawing pictures. Rediffusion YR was amongst one of the first agencies to establish what could be achieved from meaningful agency and client relationships.
While Rediffusion has lived through a testing transition phase in recent times, Nanda informed that his optimism now, on the agency’s future, comes on the back of a successful year.
In a conversation with exchange4media, he said, “The year 2011 was the highest profit year ever for Rediffusion YR. Our profits are more than the overall size of some agencies. It has been a record year in our history, so forget Colgate, forget Airtel – that is all in the past now.”
More importantly, the agency is gearing up for a stronger 2012, informed Nanda. Targeting an aggressive growth number for the year ahead, Rediffusion is eyeing at least 25 per cent more than what the agency achieved in 2011.
And the agency has lined up the steps to accomplish this target.
Of teams & tools
At the heart of its growth strategy continues to be Rediffusion’s people. After putting its A-Team in place under the charge of D Rajappa, Rediffusion YR has focussed on bringing in young talent in the mix. “The agency is once again seeing a younger generation of talent, most of who are in their mid-20s, bringing a sharper sense of the current communication ecosystem and rearing to move forward. We have been working towards this for a while, hiring from within the country and outside and doing what was required to get great talent in the system again,” said Nanda.
The second step is leveraging its global access to Y&R’s (Young and Rubicam) tools. While Rediffusion has paid for the recently announced BAV (Brand Asset Valuator), the move has given it access to one of the most powerful tools from the Y&R arsenal. “If you believe it is that good, first put your money on it and back it fully before you ask a client to pay for it,” remarked Nanda.
BAV was seen in India earlier as well – once in 2003 and another time in a reworked avatar in 2007. However, in its pristine form, this is the first time that BAV will be available in the Indian market. Recalling the thought process behind launching BAV now, Nanda said, “I was clear that if we are ever going to do it again, we are going to do it right. In the last year and a half, we recruited the right planning people because there was no point in getting this great tool without the right people to handle it. The next question was funding. I was clear again it would not be client but agency funding because then, you are not obligated in any form.”
Investing in self
Spending on BAV was investing in the agency itself, as far as Nanda is concerned. Because he believes that this was something Rediffusion YR needed to do to improve its own knowledge, capability, its offering and the value add it brings to the table. He stated, “You have to be true to yourself first - that is what mavericks are about. You first ensure that when you tell clients you are good, you are as good as you can be.”
The agency is set to achieve its growth targets, reiterated Nanda, and added, “I know we will achieve it. There are only two growth drivers in our business – the value add you can give, which is ensuring your knowledge on the right road and second, the work you do is competitive, relevant and great. And we are focussing on both of these aspects intensively.”
Much of Nanda’s own time at present is spent with the Tata Companies given the Tata assignment to his that comes on four pillars – public relations, public affairs, brand and strategic advisor. Officially being an advisor to the Tata management, and working through the diversified spread of its businesses, Nanda is charged with renewed energy that is reflecting once again in his ways.