Bangalore-based agency Disha Communications has scooped up an impressive list of clients this year. The agency conservatively estimates this year’s billings to be around Rs 30-35 crore. With a turnover of Rs 70 crore last year and a double digit growth rate, the agency is targeting a turnover of Rs 100 crore in 2012.
K K Mathew, Chairman and Managing Director, Disha Communications, stated, “Even during recession, we’ve seen double digit growth. However, the slowdown has had a huge impact basically in terms of our bottomlines. Our revenues have dipped by close to 15 per cent from last year due to the slowdown and increasing competition, among other factors.”
Some of the wins this year include Panasonic Home Appliances, Chennai-based mobile brand CFore, State Bank of Hyderabad, Andhra Bank, and Machdar Motorsports. The agency was also one the several to be empanelled agencies for the Aadhar campaign (UIDAI). For Tata Motors, the agency was handling regional business, mainly in the South. Recently, they moved one step up to handle it pan-India, starting off with the SUVs. They’ve just begun with the national release for Tata Aria and Sumo Gold. The agency has also signed up with a prestigious Swiss luxury watch brand and looks forward to some interesting work going forward.
The agency is now looking at Tier II cities to expand its business. “We have our offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kochi, giving us a pan-India presence. Recently, we have opened branches in Jaipur and Meerut. Opening up further branches would depend on business development in these sectors. As we acquire new clients and new businesses, we will recruit new talent.”
This year, the agency has done work for Panasonic and GRB Diary Foods (the ghee brand) which recently entered the instant food segment. “We’ve done the entire packaging for GRB. The TVC is almost ready and will be on air soon. We are currently working on a TVC for Aadhaar, the unique identification project of UIDAI. State Bank of India is another big client of ours. We’ve participated in a couple of such big ticket pitches and are awaiting results.”
In terms of revenue, the agency’s creative function contributes the highest chunk to revenues with billings around 7-8 per cent of its creative cost. The agency is looking to expand this figure in the coming year. They may also look at clients who want them to handle only the creative business, and also get into the retainer mode. The agency provides 360-degree communications solutions – creative, media, digital media, public relations, print & production, and audio-visual & radio. Brand consulting and activations is handled by their independent unit DBCA.
DBCA – Disha’s new brand consulting and activations division
As for the focus areas next year, the agency has decided to look at a gamut of verticals in advertising apartfrom the mainline media planning and buying. Towards this end, Disha created a new division around 2-3 months back – Disha Brand Consulting and Activation (DBCA).
Disha has brought in Namrata T as Business Director and Shautick Das on board as Director, Brand Activation, to head this arm. “Experiential marketing and consumer engagement is the future. When you look at communication, I believe that it should not be limited merely to a creative exercise but drive growth in brand value and business. Therefore, whatever we did or do in future should solve a business issue by engaging consumers two-way. For us, the three important things that were to be understood and related effectively were Brand, Business and Activation to help solve the business issue. We have a judicious mix of the experienced and young blood in our team to holistically address the business issue, brand and communication. We have consciously made sure that DBCA’s fabric and the way of looking at business are very different from the architecture of Disha as this is more about looking at the future. We even have a separate office.” The corporate office is based in Bangalore with offices pan India.
DBCA is optimistic about signing on some big clients early next year. Commenting on the focus areas for DBCA, Shautick added, “Disha has its strengths in the media and it has own culture and its set of clients. We kept certain good things but culturally and in the way we are going to target business, is completely different. We are not in the value-for-money or the luxury categories but positioned as a premium brand because with the kind of talent that we have and the approach that we are taking to brand activation and experiential marketing, we have to be a premium brand to deliver that kind of value.”
Advertising scenario in Bangalore
The size of the advertising market has shrunk drastically as spends on advertising are drastically coming down. Currently, the total volume of the advertising industry in Bangalore is around Rs 1,500 crore, down from the pre-recession figure of Rs 2,000-2,500 crore.
Mathew remarked, “Since we have a mix of various clients, it helps us in terms of growth. Bangalore has got its own limitations in terms of clients and business volumes compared to Mumbai and Delhi. Due to sheer presence of large accounts in these cities, the volume of business is much larger. Delhi is the capital city with the entire central funds and Mumbai is home to most big corporates. But compared to Calcutta, Chennai, and Hyderabad, Bangalore is a much bigger market. The city is a little more professional compared to Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. Clients are very clear that as long as you deliver, you will stay on board.”