As the Bates-David Enterprise has finally been created, senior staff members and employers of this new agency attended a two-day intensive workshop in both Mumbai and Delhi last week, which was conducted by a team of senior international faculty who had flown down from Hong Kong and Singapore.
Senior-level professionals from the client servicing, planning and creative departments, including those from David and 141 Sercon, came together for this orientation that attempted to answer some questions about what was expected and where the agency was heading.
Subhash Kamath, CEO, Bates-David Enterprise, said, “We’ve introduced a new process or framework to integrate our planning and creative processes and generate better business-building ideas and solutions for our clients, based on our philosophy of change. It’s an exciting new way of doing things and helps us think beyond just television commercials. Instead, the challenge is to come out with 360-degree breakthrough ideas,” he said.
With the commencement of this workshop, Bates-David Enterprise is all set for the challenges of the future. “The two extremely important areas that we are planning to concentrate on include digital and retail. Digital is an important area and we’re moving very quickly into developing our understanding in that domain, as well as bringing in the required skill sets, both in creative and planning,” added Kamath.
Kamath expressed that in the coming year, the focus of the agency would be in terms of consolidation for the business, and in bringing out integration between different teams and ideas. “We will be looking very closely at how different teams can function with each other, so that we are able to bring out winning solutions for our brands. Our planners, who are into creative and account management, will have to work very closely to generate ideas together,” he said.
Kamath feels that both Bates and David had been similar. “The kind of people that both places had was young, passionate and hardworking. There is sincerity and honesty with which both teams approach any task. We will ensure that this is not lost. Both David and Bates Enterprise had an open office culture, and were extremely ‘hierarchy-less’ and transparent in their ways of functioning. We would want to nurture and cherish that too. The place will continue to have a relaxed atmosphere, alongside the hard work and late nights,” he said.
Even as the organisation may suffer from the risk of losing older clients with the price of this new identity, Kamath is positive their efforts will succeed. “We’ve met most of our clients already and have created structures with minimum disruption and maximum continuity, as far as their brands are concerned. Happily, most of the clients have been very supportive and encouraging. Now, it’s upto us to produce the kind of work that they had placed their faith upon. I’m very confident that my team will live up to it.”
Kamath added that despite all the uncertainty that comes with mergers, they managed to come together as a strong team and is positive that the work will speak for itself.
“We have tremendous support from our seniors at Bates Asia and at WPP, who’ve always been there for us and are constantly pushing us to achieve high benchmarks. So it’s a great future we’re all looking at,” he concluded.
Goodbye to David
Even as the Bates-David Enterprise is growing, Brand David, which shut shop last week to become a part of the new agency, celebrated the end of one journey. Josy Paul, who resigned from Brand David after the merger was announced and is on his way to join JWT as National Creative Director, said that the last few days at David were some of the most cherished ones.
On the last day, Brand David threw a ‘Last Day Last Show’ party for friends and colleagues at O&M and scribbled on the walls of the office. “It was the most imaginative graffiti I’ve seen. It was about us, and it was a work of pure art from the heart,” Paul said.
Paul added, “The last day was the end of a wonderful chapter in our lives. People exchanged notes, books, T-shirts and souvenirs. We left David with a promise that we’d all be back together, in a new avatar.”
“The agency was alive with emotion. People were hanging onto each other like they wouldn’t let go. Everybody realised how precious each of us were. We had become a part of each other. It felt as though we had created an ecosystem, and we were all intrinsic to its well-being. The sense of interdependence was palpable,” said Paul further.
The outdoor arm of David called Wall Street David is still around with the new agency. “They are doing some great work and are carrying our flag higher, faster and further,” he expressed.
Paul is nostalgic about those office get-togethers, the late ‘sitting-arounds’ to discuss life, and the weekends they had all spent together. “There was no insecurity, there was only tremendously confidence. We all knew that David wouldn’t die, since David was alive in spirit. It was not about the size or the name on the door. For us, this was just a little pause. We looked at it as people going out to discover new worlds and use this passion and experience to see if they can make a difference outside,” he said.