A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
Unless agencies woo clients and brands’ consumers, relationships do not last, especially in this competitive environment. Agencies preach clients not to take consumers for granted, but fail to apply it to their own business. There are many issues ranging from competency to money to quality of people. In last five years, there is no brand that did not reduce the fee after a pitch; on the other hand, there is no growing brand that went for a pitch.
Today, advertising creatives do more work for lesser money. There are no MBAs from famous IIMs, even MICA’ns are rare. Great creative talent is leaning towards Bollywood. Issues are plenty...
Here are some:
Constant change of people on both sides: Blame culture, long-term policies’ or values or even lack of gratitude. Talented and ambitious people are chasing money and fame. While there is nothing wrong with this behaviour, companies needs to focus on retention of good talent. As talent moves on, the relationship gets stained and this gets compounded by new persons’ need to make his or hers mark by re-inventing the wheel.
Constant change in consumer behaviour: Fuelled by the democratisation of technology, knowledge and opportunities, people are changing faster than the brands or the people who are manning them putting pressure on brands to become relevant by the hour. Old-fashioned agencies refuse to understand this need and its urgency, therefore, creating dissonance with the target group, and falling market share would be the final nail.
Pressure on the bottom line and fee: Both, clients and agencies are reeling under bottom line and margin pressures from global managements, forcing clients to cut fee and agencies to cut corners. The desperation has reached a level that it is becoming unmanageable for large agencies to service clients at 1/10th of the cost, which smaller or BTL agencies are offering to take up.
ATL vs. BTL, TV vs. Digital: Misalignment of talent to the changing needs of the brand is an important reason for stained relationships. Disintegration of media from creative is to be blamed for this situation. Last 10-15 years, only great television spots were sort by the clients from a creative agency. Today, the needs of a brand have changed; however, the skills of traditional agencies haven’t. They are expecting to solve this by buying digital agencies, rather then reinventing their own business.
There is a greater need for the agencies to introspect and reinvent. Clients must also to be blamed for not allowing agencies to have a healthy profit to invest in the right talent. Hope the interdependent industry resolves its problems, so that we can all fall in love with this glorious business again.
The author is CCO, Leo Burnett India & Sub Continent