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Ask The Doctor

04-December-2017
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Ask The Doctor

Dear Sir,

 We have a small ad agency in Ahmedabad which my father set up almost 30 years ago. We have largely spent our time handling local and government clients and never really produced any great advertising. Hence, while we have history of three decades, our portfolio is nothing very interesting. My brother and I want to take the agency to its next level but do not know where to get started. There are no big clients here locally and the ones that are there want to work with Mumbai agencies. It is very frustrating to do small insignificant ads when we want to do big visible campaigns. Please help.
S. Shah


Dear S. Shah,
Ahmedabad is a city of great enterprise. It has been home to many large and successful brands. There should be no dearth of opportunity in the city and its surrounding areas.
I have personally worked on a large number of brands from your city. Over the past 25 years, I have worked on Symphony air-coolers, Rasna, Wagh Bakri, Cera, C. Somabhai tea, Cadilla, Paras Pharma, Vini, Reliance, Adani and many more. There are brands like Vadilal, Havemore, Nirma and Amul all from Ahmedabad and around. All of these clients work with agencies from Mumbai, but they also give out a lot of work locally. Mudra, the ad agency, started from Ahmedabad and produced some superlative advertising over the years. So, Ahmedabad as a city has immense potential and over the years has also had a lot of good talent. As home to IIM-A, NID and in later years MICA, there is top quality talent that graduates from the city.

The problem therefore is not with Ahmedabad as a location. The problem I think is in you trying to figure out who to target and how to convert. I am just taking this as an example but a local brand like JadeBlue does a lot of advertising. They have almost always used local talent to promote the brand. The quality of their advertising is pretty neat. Good photography. Smart ads. You could try to work with a local brand like that where you get to do 360 degree communication. I am sure you could help them with good CRM and loyalty ideas. You could see if there is opportunity in social media. Are they on Instagram? Pinterest? Are they using Facebook effectively? Work such as this excites clients and creates openings.

Bigger clients do use local partners. Go visit them. But have a good story to tell. Offer services that are relevant and time-crucial because you can offer them better locally. Employ bright young talent who understand emerging trends in social media. Chances are most Ahmedabad clients would like additional inputs in that domain. The government organizations too in Gujarat are very tech savvy. Tourism is well promoted. Ahmedabad getting a UNESCO heritage tag is a great opportunity. Interesting work done suo moto could be a door opener.

Just first work on a plan of action. Identify targets. Understand what they may need. Build capabilities to deliver to those needs. Pursue your targets with perseverance. And you cannot go wrong.


Dear Sir,
 I work for a big television network. I am currently in sales but I just do not enjoy the job. Actually I handle channels which are niche and very difficult to sell. I have been doing this for 2 years. I have tried repeatedly to request an internal transfer to our flagship channel which is easier to sell and commands good rates but my attempts have failed. Selling niche channels brings in very little revenues and gets very little respect within the organization. Mine is a good company to work for and I don’t want to quit it. How do I manage this internal shift which gives me better quality work to do.
Umesh S.


Dear Umesh,
I really do not know the decision making process within your organization and therefore will not really be able to help you. Internal transfers are a tricky issue. There are two ways of looking at your assignment. Companies tend to give the more difficult assignments to the more capable sales people. Your being assigned to niche channels, hence a difficult portfolio, may actually mean that you are the best of the crop and your company believes you are better equipped to handle bigger challenges. My reading is that this may actually be the situation. Flip side is that the niche channels bring in little revenue and have little relevance in the company’s portfolio. Working for such channels is actually a waste of time. In my view if these kind of channels do not have any strategic value, large television networks do not persist with them. So, my previous hypothesis may be more valid.
Do not lose heart. Go visit your HR head. Ask for an appraisal. Ask for the transfer or re-assignment with logical reasons. Repeat the process, if at first it does not succeed, after 3 months. Be firm. But not impolite. Come across with maturity and resolve. Re-emphasize that you do not want to leave the organization. That you wish to build a long term career within the company, and need to be rotated to richer assignments. Hopefully some good will come out of these efforts.

Dear Sir,

I work and live in Delhi. I have a good job in an e-commerce company since the last 3 years. My father has retired and wants to move up North to our home town where we have a large family home. My parents do not want me to stay alone in Delhi to continue in my job. The arguments and fights at home are stressing me out. I do not want to leave my job or leave Delhi. Actually I need someone to counsel my father that I will be safe in Delhi and he should not force me to quit a good and well paying job. Can you meet my father?
Vrinda J.


Dear Vrinda,
Arguing with family, especially Dads is difficult.
Parents are obviously driven by concern for your safety far more than for your career. I think you need to identify a good working women’s hostel as a first step to set your father’s misgivings at rest. The reason I am suggesting a working women’s hostel over a PG accommodation is that you can take your folks to the hostel, show them that there are other girls like you there and they are in a safe environment, with good facilities. This is an essential first step in reducing your parents’ anxiety. Concentrate on this essential first step.

No, unfortunately, I cannot meet your Dad and persuade him on your behalf. But I am quite sure that the finding of a good working women’s hostel, a visit there to meet other residents with similar profiles will create a more conducive atmosphere for a dialogue at home. Also, ask to give this arrangement a six-months trial. That should make the idea more palatable to your Dad. Offer to join him in the home town in six-months if there are any issues on safety or otherwise. Hopefully in six-months, Dad will get used to the idea of you being away from home, yet safe.

Meanwhile, if you have plans for marriage, those may not be a bad idea to pursue. Then the decision making will be between your new life partner and you and most likely your choice on the life partner front will be more in accordance with your choice of location and continuation of work. I am sure if your future husband and you want to be in Delhi and both of you want for you to continue in your job, your Dad will not have any issue with that. Be patient. Parents are genuinely concerned for your welfare. So, don’t get unduly upset. Take it step-by-step.

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