In an unforgiving business where every little miss is scrutinised and amplified, advertising agencies find to tough to regain lost ground. It is especially challenging for older agencies that are required to face competition from younger, more contemporary peers. The burden of the legacy and the task of staying in the reckoning can be difficult indeed.
Rediffusion Y&R is one such agency that hit choppy waters in 2010 with two large accounts slipping away. Since then, the 40-year-old company has spent the better part of its resource in rebranding and reinventing itself. The effort appears to be paying off. As of September 2014, the agency has bagged 16 new accounts, including Videocon, Virgin Atlantic and Biba Fashions in Delhi; PC Chandra Jewellers and Cordlife in Kolkata; and Revtron in Mumbai.
According to the Economic Times’ recent index, the agency has regained its spot amongst the 10 ten advertising agencies in the country.
In an exclusive interview with exchange4media, Amitava Sinha, COO, Rediffusion Y&R, said, “This has been a terrific year for Rediffusion. We have won quite a few accounts across the country. The company went through a lot of churn last year. The Delhi office itself had a setback year. Over the past one year, we really focused on rebuilding ourselves. Our emphasis was placed on the strategic thinking behind the brand and getting creative support from our team.”
When asked about the financial targets for the year, Sinha said, “We are looking to close the year with a growth that is four times that of the previous year. That will be the base for all future targets. Kolkata, as a market is not as big as Delhi or Mumbai, but we have managed to tap the ground, and we are aiming to monetise all markets.”
According to Sinha, “Today, there are three things that are most important—everyone wants everything yesterday, so speed of response is very important, secondly, sound strategy, and lastly, creative work to support all that has been planned and committed.”
Last year, Rediffusion saw the exit of one of its top accounts—MTS. When questioned about the contingency plan, and the biggest lessons, Sinha said, “Last year, two things happened. When big accounts like MTS, LG move out, there is plenty of anguish. People leave, a lot of churn happens within the organisation. With major senior-level attrition last year, a lot of instability seeped in.”
Reflecting on the year's challenges he said: “This has been a relatively stable year in terms of core resources. We managed to tap on to the strength of our core team. When a team works together, understanding each others’ strengths and weakness, it brings out a lot of positive energy, and in turn creates a stronger brand. The most pivotal people at the top have been with us for a while, and have been working hard toward bringing the whole reinvention endeavour together.”
That said, Rediffusion also saw several new people coming onboard. The leadership team remained very stable, with the exception of Saumya Chattopadhyay coming in for a second innings as Vice President to head its Delhi office.
“We are still looking for good talent,” said Sinha, adding, “Even as we are rebuilding our strategies and growing with the times, certain basic fundamentals of the advertising business remain the same. It’s about influencing the behaviour of maximum possible target consumers at the minimum possible money.”
Talking about the areas that the agency has been working on, Sinha said: “We are working on our speed of response, on our strategic product, and our creative output, and we are backing it up not just with traditional, but also with new media solutions.”
When asked about the impact of emergence of smaller, new media agencies on Rediffusion’s business, Sinha remarked, “We are bringing in specialist partners by way of other WPP companies who have certain competency and credibility, thereby making the whole offering far more robust and synergistic.”
With technological advancement, many in the industry wonder about its impact on a traditional ad agency.
Sinha explains, “Technology is never a challenge. We see it more as an opportunity. It’s not a differentiator, but probably a leveler. It is easy to adopt a new technology. We as communication professionals seamlessly adapt to and attain felicity in new age media and technology.”