Is integration the way forward for media agencies?

Advertising industry experts share their insights on the WARC report learning about combining media, creative, and PR departments to garner better results

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Apr 25, 2019 8:51 AM

The WARC #Media100 Annual Ranking report has several lessons on media innovation that one can learn from the world’s best campaigns. One of the lessons is about the importance of media collaborations among agencies. The campaigns in the report demonstrate that combing media, creative and PR verticals right from the start improves the chances of good results. However, it is equally important that the campaign finds its own unique way of making the collaboration work. Sonali Malaviya, VP, Client Partner, India, Essence seconds the strategy, saying that “Collaborate or perish! It's no longer a choice, but a necessity.”

We at exchange4media spoke to ad industry mavens about collaboration and how that can lead to better clutter-breaking work and creative campaigns.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, 82.5 Communications, The Ogilvy Group, thinks that it is a good idea for different arms of the communication process to work closely through the entire journey.

Speaking about how things have changed in the industry, Chattopadhyay states, “Back in the day, there was no separation between the creative and media agencies, so feeding off of each other happened naturally and spontaneously. The PR people were also under the same roof and that helped integrate this aspect of communication seamlessly into the whole as well. Today, it requires the will of all parties concerned to make this collaborative process take place in a meaningful way.” 

Sahil Shah, VP, Operations & Media-West and South WATConsult, says that the outlook that the report has drawn out is a very forward-looking foresight. “Media agencies traditionally focussed on driving maximum ROI within the minimum possible costs. While they continue to do that, there is an innate need to also focus on how they are driving the most creative message in the best strategy possible. This will only happen when media agencies change their thinking from being a ‘media’ agency to becoming a ‘solutions-driven’ agency, thereby driving a client’s core business.”

Speaking about his own experience of collaboration for launch of PayPal in India, Chattopadhyay says, “The creative and media agencies worked very closely together partly because a natural rapport already existed between the teams and partly because the client mandated it. It helped us come up with more effective solutions for the brand launch.”

In today’s world, consumers are empowered and can connect with brands across an array of platforms and so collaboration can help build a seamless narrative for a brand.

“Today, we have to build campaigns that are not only relevant to consumers but can also translate into an engaging experience which can be seeded across multiple platforms such as TV, print, digital and social media. To achieve this, agencies will have to break down fragmentation because it creates communications challenges. An integrated approach will ensure in making campaigns smarter and faster than ever before,” remarks Dheeraj Sinha, MD India and Chief Strategy Officer Leo Burnett South Asia.

Sudesh Samaria, CCO, Dentsu Webchutney, talks about the clients’ perspective and what they are opting for to generate better campaigns and results.

“Today, clients don’t care whether it's a digital or traditional agency that is taking the lead on a marketing campaign. They are seeking ideas first. All of us need to let go of the ‘control game’ and simply collaborate to build brands. Most agencies don't have the courage to give up that control. Eventually, they will have no choice,” he says. 

The end result of any campaign should be that the brand message appears appropriately. It should captivate the consumers and resonate with them to bring alive the purpose for which it was created. And that can rarely be driven by one agency.

“Today, many agencies are set up with specialised offerings. While depth adds finesse to each aspect of communication, they may forget to zoom out and connect the dots between who, what, where, when and how. And collaboration is exactly the need of the hour; a collaboration that brings about the much-needed seamlessness between the message and the medium, and creates a communication to ultimately deliver brand love and preference,” opines Malaviya.

Talking about the future of advertising, Shah says, “Data and creative is of utmost importance. Either build it within your own agency; just like we have done at WATConsult; or partner with the best in the business to give clients holistic solutions. Both have its pros and cons and can go right and wrong in 100 different ways. But the fact remains that media agencies need to think integrated because consumers and marketers have already moved towards it.”

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