Tarun Chauhan, Senior VP & Managing Partner, JWT, speaks about the growth path for the agency in 2011.
After having spent a decade at Lowe Lintas, what is JWT like?
They are very different companies, the philosophies are different, the way they are run is different, the way they are managed is different. Lowe being driven by Balki’s philosophy is run in a certain way and there was a lot of method in that madness, which was fun and extremely exciting. At Lowe, we churned out some really great work, which has redefined some categories and the kind of advertising done in those categories in the past. And, it has been a huge success formula working really well for Lowe. On the other hand, JWT is rock solid, strong. It’s grounded with very strong principles. It works in very close partnership with clients and ensuring that the client agenda is of prime importance. It reflects in the long standing relationships clients have with this organisation. Having said that, both are huge institutions in themselves, both have a unique way of doing business. And both these organisations are respected for different reasons.
While it has not been much time for you on board at JWT, what can be expected from the agency in the days to come?
As a company, we are at a very good place – we had a fairly good 2010, we will definitely have a great 2011. What you can expect from JWT is exactly what a large company as this is capable of delivering – it will run effectively and efficiently. We have some very large businesses in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore; we will keep doing what we are good at. It’s just the beginning of the year, a lot of stuff will happen. There’s World Cup happening, IPL will happen soon and all our clients are busy with these platforms. There are some really exciting launches planned, so in terms of action, there is much that you will see in the next four to five months. JWT Digital is partnering most these activities to make them lot more exciting.
After getting the likes of Adrian Miller and other creative expats in the agency, what more can be expected from JWT?
What is important here is whether a creative is an Indian or an expat, is there any incremental knowledge that the person is getting to the agency? This is the key filter one needs to use. There are Indians who worked in the international space who have come back to India, they are as brilliant as anyone else, so it’s not about expats, it’s just that whoever you are and wherever you are from, you should be able to bring in incremental value to the relationship. It also depends which market they are coming from. If they are coming from evolved markets like the US or Europe, in these markets digital engagements with the consumer have moved to another level and have moved way beyond conventional channels of communication. So, for a senior guy to come from these markets obviously brings in a lot of that knowledge and experience, which makes a huge difference.
What are some of the ideas you have for new business development for the agency?
The only idea we have, which I think is a huge idea, is JWT’s client list. It is so solid and so strong that if we spend more time on our existing clients and give them all our attention, that in itself becomes new business for us. All we need to do is structure ourselves in a way that addresses their growth plans. Organic growth in itself is a large opportunity for us. Yes, there will definitely be new businesses and addition of clients, which is a natural process of doing business, but I still think that our focus will be on spending a lot of time on our existing clients.
You must have seen nth number of ups and downs in your work span. What is the present trend that you are observing in the industry?
I think what is critical here is that this industry is currently going through a lot of soul searching with lots of views floating around stating what happens to the industry and who is driving what, who is stronger and who is weaker. My view is that at some stage, it will all settle down to a classical 1980 format, where everything was present under one roof and the agency was the custodian of the brand, all the functions firing away at full steam, I think finally it will land there. In the last 15 years, we have some very new sectors going through the roof on spends, this in a way has a created mini problems. But, finally at some stage this will even out.
It is a natural process as in most industries, be it automobiles, manufacturing or service industry, etc., they all have gone through an evolution process and it will land at a place where it is most consistent with the way the industry would operate.