On the second day of Goafest 2014, eminent marketing and business heads were called on stage to get a view from the client side. As one agency head put it, “We keep making presentations for clients, here is a chance to change the roles. The brief is simple -what do you expect from agencies?”
Among the brand managers called was Anuradha Narasimhan, VP, Marketing, Britannia, who admitted that there are a number of things that clients do get wrong or putting too many constraints on the creatives. First among them, she said, is not being clear about the brief. “It is my personal belief that we need to find ways of working around this,” she said. Another thing, according to her, that clients are usually guilty about is that they do not share enough data or market understandings with the agencies.
However, said Narasimhan, the worst thing that clients do is to exercise their power of veto without giving a clear logic behind it.
Having admitted to these shortcomings from the agency side, Narasimhan then touched upon how agencies could help in creating a better relationship with the client or, as she put it, “make us a better team together”. Calling herself an old-fashioned marketer who likes to have meetings at the agency office, Narasimhan joked that this was because the sandwiches are better at the agency office. “We want to be pushed back. In this context, you sell yourselves short. Also, a lot of you do not manage expectations well because you promise us too much and are too quick to serve,” she told the assembled audience, many of whom were from agencies themselves.
She also asked agencies to try and solve the issue of variability of talent and knowledge transfer. In her opinion, there is a problem of patchy talent in the creative industry. Also, continuity becomes an issue as creative teams at agencies and brand managers at the client end come and go.
To end her presentation, Narasimhan made an earnest plea to agencies to get personally involved with brands. She requested agencies to move away from the current siloed approach to a more elastic world. “I want you to own my brands in the fullest sense of the word,” she told the audience.