Need agility & constant reinvention in what we offer: Shekhar Banerjee

Banerjee, Managing Partner, Wavemaker India, says the reach of TV will be on the rise and the choices in the future will depend on how efficiently we build this reach

by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Published - Feb 12, 2019 9:15 AM Updated: Feb 12, 2019 9:15 AM
shekhar banerjee

Deploying an intense data-driven approach or using Artificial Intelligence have helped  Wavemaker decode challenges faced by clients, says Shekhar Banerjee, Managing Partner, Wavemaker India. In a chat with exchange4media, Banerjee talks about creating a stellar team and other achievements.     

Edited excerpts:

You will be soon completing a year with Wavemaker. How has the journey been so far?
One year is a perfect time for me to take stock and look forward. Last one year has been quite challenging yet enriching, and I will rate it as my best year ever. Right from winning and on-boarding some prestigious clients, to setting up a stellar team creating the best in class work, understanding existing clients and their challenges and ending the year by winning Agency of the Year at EMVIES 2018 – every moment has been exciting for me. The best part is that this is still work in progress.
 
Wavemaker claims to be a more data-driven agency and ‘obsessed with purchase journey’. How different or similar is this from your previous assignments?
We are using a very intense data-driven approach to solve marketing problems. Rapid Growth Planning is our operating system at Wavemaker. It is the planning framework which we use across clients. Rapid Growth Planning is rooted in the consumer purchase journey. This is powered by our proprietary study called Momentum. It is the largest study and database in the world covering over 7,00,000 consumer journeys, across 35 categories in 70 countries, including India. This powers our obsession to decode challenges clients today are facing in their consumer journeys. It gives us benchmarks and solutions that we need to craft for a particular context.  

In 2018, we also built a future ready proprietary analytics practice by deploying artificial intelligence. It has been a huge success. Today, this is helping us bring agility to an otherwise long-drawn exercise by marketers. When our clients are living by each quarter result, we now have a ready solution to learn and adapt faster, and it is helping our clients to unlock growth.

Because of shrinking budgets there is a greater focus on pricing. How is this impacting your business?
That is not entirely true. Growth is the primary lever that clients are focusing on and how efficiently we can deliver it is our primary KPI. Translating that to buying cheaper media is a bit myopic way to approach the challenge that a client has. Even clients are realising that powered with our consumer journey data, we are more and more engaging with our clients on identifying their growth levers and hence invest behind what gives the best ROI on growth. If they grow, our business also grows. 
 
What should an agency of the future look like?
There is no perfect model, but this is the vision with which Wavemaker came into existence. We just celebrated our 1st anniversary and what we have achieved across our 3 pillars of Media, Content & technology. Brands of the future are not seeking only media solutions, they are asking us for solutions that unlock growth for them and our endeavour is to address that. This needs agility and constant reinvention in what we offer, powered by the best talent in the market. I personally take a lot of pride about the talent pool we have built inside Wavemaker, we call them Futuremakers, driven by PACED value and a common purpose to create industry leading work and client delight. 
 
Digital media spends are at par with television spends in some markets and have overtaken TV spends in some other markets. Will we see this happen in India soon?
Compared to most global markets, India is one of the few markets where TV as a medium is also growing rapidly. We have seen a significant scale up of TV households, specially in rural India. For a country with 70 per cent rural population, today close to 55 per cent of the total TV HH are from rural areas, so a lot of headroom to grow and add to it the government of India’s 100 per cent rural electrification project is likely to fuel TV growth further. The choices in the future will depend more on how efficiently we build this reach.
 
What according to you are the three big challenges ahead of the media industry in 2019?
We need to first tackle the short-term disruption in TV landscape. The second is the rapid fragmentation of audience media consumption in the next 12 to 16 months, and our ability to predict and adapt at speed. The last challenge will be our capability to handle the sales channel disruption led by e-com that marketers are going through. In this area, we have spent disproportionate time and resources in the last 12 months to build e-commerce solutions for our clients. Cheers to the exciting times ahead.

 

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