Draftfcb Ulka completes 50 yrs: Exec Director & CEO Arvind Wable in conversation
Draftfcb Ulka has an exciting year planned ahead as the company gears for its Golden Jubilee preparations, beginning with Founder’s Day on February 1, 2011. In this series, where exchange4media follows the agency’s 50 years completion plans, the agency’s Executive Director and CEO, Arvind Wable, speaks on Ulka’s workshop Comstrat, the changing rules of the advertising business, where relationships have a new meaning, and the agency’s determination to continue with the aspects that it has based its achievements on – of clear vision, cohesive team and shared values.
Wable explained that a key part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations would be events planned across the country during the year. “We will continue with our annual Strategy Workshop Comstrat, which we do with management schools and marketers, but workshops on digital, social, shopper and retail marketing are also planned. We are also bringing out some publications to coincide with the 50th year.”
The client-facing events in mid-February would not only involve Draftfcb Ulka’s business associates and senior industry people, but also international Draftfcb leaders such as Chairman Howard Draft and Laurence Boschetto, CEO & President, Draftfcb Worldwide, and other members of the global leadership team to be here.
Of Changing Relationships
Draftfcb Ulka has spoken of long-term commitment with clients, employees and other stakeholders as one of its key philosophies. Reiterating the point, Wable observed, “In a people-oriented business, long tenures of key people in the agency are an important ingredient for long term relations with clients. At Draftfcb Ulka, long tenure is a norm not an exception, considering that the average tenure of the top 50 people in the company is over 10 years. The three pillars of our work ethics have been – Strategic Perspective to Marketing Issues, Integrity of Advice, and Accountability for Results – and these have gone a long way in building lasting relationships. Of our over 50 clients, 10 relationships go back over 20 years and 26 of them are of 10 years-plus standing.”
Speaking on some of the things that the agency does to be true to this philosophy in competitive times, where monies play a stronger role, Wable explained, “Money is always a fickle motivator for long-term relationships. A secure, conducive and supportive work environment, which encourages personal and professional growth, is a far stronger binding force. A work environment where attitude is as important as aptitude; where teams are more important than individuals; where no one becomes a hero or zero overnight; where seniors are expected to be mentors and coaches and not bosses – these values have created a culture at our agency, which has resulted in attracting and retaining talent.”
The Road Ahead
According to Wable, the agency achievements over the years had been based on three important aspects: a Clear Vision – to be the best brand solutions provider and not a supplier of campaigns, a Cohesive Team – which has stuck together no matter what the odds, and a Set of Shared Values – of how they work and interact within the agency and with the agency’s clients and associates.
Speaking on what the road ahead should be, Wable said, “We are very aware of the changing environment and challenges for our industry and feel that these tenets will become even more relevant and meaningful in the years ahead. The increasingly competitive market place will require greater accountability from agencies, and our strategic solutions focus will add value to our client relationships.”
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He joined the company in 2016 as Head of India and South Asia at Discovery Network