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Advertising Interviews

Naresh Khetrapal

CEO | 13 Aug 2010

The most significant change that has taken place is growing importance of technology. Mobile revolution has further been revolutionised with convergence of technology and itself has become a medium of advertising. New media tools, production equipment and machinery, new age thinking, youth with great aspirations and gumption, countless TV channels, etc. That things have changed would be putting it mildly; the most appropriate word would be ‘revolutionised’.

A distinguished professional having interests in media, advertising, PR and events, Naresh Khetrapal has traveled extensively in India and abroad. Leadership qualities and strong creative acumen are his strengths and have made him achieve an unprecedented growth in this industry.

Khetrapal has over 31 years’ industry experience and has over the years handled several Government ministries and departments. Energetic, motivated and results-oriented, he has a broad range of skills and experience. Managerial skills, coupled with an ability to work with a range of modern communication and management tools, has made him an efficient professional. He specialises in media consultancy, strategy and planning of domestic and international media.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha Kashyup, Khetrapal talks about Span Communications recent wins, the growth of digital advertising and the way ahead.

Q. You recently won online duties for the Incredible India campaign. What kind of work are you doing for the campaign?

We would be doing creatives as well as media buying for this campaign. The Internet is fast emerging as a phenomenal marketing tool. Billions of people are using the Internet for a thousand different requirements, hitting hundreds of thousands of websites and portals for their myriad needs.

Considering the importance of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and the world’s growing respect for India’s capabilities, Internet advertising turns out to be a powerful medium for placing the Incredible India campaign for maximum visibility.

Q. How has the journey been for you in Span as you led it from one success to another?

If I were to put it in a nutshell, perhaps the following few words would explain how it all felt to me as Span grew from its infancy to its meteoric rise to national and international eminence: Overwhelming, Challenging, Rewarding and Incredibly Satisfying.

Starting about 13 years ago in a small way, Span’s key growth drivers have been memorable creativity, effective strategy, innovations in media, talent retention and enrichment, besides a generous concern for all the employees. No wonder that many of the team members have been with us since the very beginning and are part of Span’s mantra of success. Last year, we did a campaign for the Election Commission of Delhi to motivate the young and educated to vote and it was such a huge success that it has become a case study for other democratic countries of the world.

Q. This year, what are the three targets that you have set for the company?

One, faster and further integration on the value chain of the advertising industry to emerge as a 360 degree advertising and marketing service provider. Two, to cross the Rs 500-crore billing mark. Three, to further consolidate our presence in the digital and OOH space.

Q. Do you think the uncertainty due to the slowdown is over? How is the industry looking now and what is the approach that you have taken?

The economic meltdown of the economies of the advanced countries led to a domino effect all over the world. India, to some extent, did feel the pinch, but its resilience kept the growth graph heading upwards. Thankfully, the worst is over. The advanced countries are staggering back to some nuance of normalcy, while India’s growth curve is heading steadily upwards. Advertisers are once again increasing ad spend, the Government and all its organisations and bodies are increasing their advertising budgets and things are looking good for India’s advertising industry.

Our approach in such an upbeat scenario is still the same: continue to create memorable creativity with refreshing ideas, using effective strategy, media innovations, retaining and enriching our talent pool.

Q. How does Span Communications differentiate itself from the other agencies? There has been a spate of wins for Span in the recent past. What is your winning formula?

I have always believed that the client would get the best out of the agency if it is a 360 degree advertising and marketing service provider. The brand gets synergy for its all communication needs and there is no communication gap between creative agency and media agency. Now, the clients have also starting realising the same. Hence, our winning formula is that we provide creative solutions, media planning and buying, BTL solutions to our clients, all under one roof, without any communication gap. This way, we are able to save so many costs and are able to put more money on quality human power, which helps us in retaining old clients and acquiring new.

Q. Please tell us some of the clients that you are working with today?

Incredible India, SBI, India Bulls, Zee Institute of Creative Arts, Casino Pride, Casino Paradise , MTNL, ESIC, India Post, BEE, Delhi Government, Department of Income Tax, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Andaman Tourism, Goa Tourism, J&K Tourism, West Bengal Tourism, Rajasthan Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture.

Q. How important do you think are awards for an advertising agency?

It’s a great motivating factor for the agency. Awards also enhance the agency’s image in the eyes of advertisers. But of late, a lot of scam advertising is happening for the sake of getting awards, which is not good for advertising.

Q. How has the advertising scenario changed over the years since the time you started working?

The most significant change that has taken place is growing importance of technology. What used to take days to render in the past, is now possible to attain within few minutes. Convenience levels have risen like never before with e-mail. Mobile revolution has further been revolutionised with convergence of technology and itself has become a medium of advertising. New media tools, production equipment and machinery, new age thinking, youth with great aspirations and gumption, countless TV channels, etc. That things have changed would be putting it mildly; the most appropriate word would be ‘revolutionised’.

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