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With the objective to give yet another look deep into the world of media, advertising and marketing, comes up with the second annual Conclave. Starting with the Capital chapter, tomorrow, Conclave 2004 would roll on to the IT hub of Bangalore and then the financial nerve centre of Mumbai.

The Conclave 2004 is all set to create a unique interactive platform to address the changing dynamics of the media industry. A galaxy of luminaries from across the Indian ad-world and the Corporate India would be present at the forum to exchange views on some of the most interesting and key issues of the ever-changing world of advertising and media. And, befitting its stature and vigour in terms of relevance in today’s media industry, exchange4media Conclave 2004 would be inaugurated by Dr Kiran Karnik, President, NASSCOM.

The Delhi Conclave would address two core issues of Indian advertising. Keeping in view the increasing trend of repeated switchover of agencies, the first session would dwell on a topic, titled: ‘Accounts musical chairs: Lack of delivery or lack of clarity?’

To assess what forms the essential bedrock for the increasing attrition with clients losing faith on agencies, the Conclave would feature Shekar Swami, President, RK Swami/BBDO. While sharing his views with this reporter on the day before the Conclave begins, the chief of the country’s one of the largest advertising agencies identified the increasing competitive pressure in the market as the root cause behind setting corporates on an experimental trend. “Corporate houses are always looking out for different ways to approach the market and, often there is a sheer dearth of time which propels them to review the performance of existing agency in quick succession,” he said.

But, does it really help gaining long-term goals? As we know, it takes time for an agency to understand the client’s business before it plans an effective creative strategy. Rajiv Karwal, CEO, Electrolux, however diverged, as far as agency’s performance was concerned. “Just being creative is not enough and brand building alone doesn’t suffice the need of stimulating sales. This is what agencies should realise,” he insisted.

Looking deep into the matter, one must be argumentative. Is it always the agency’s failure to address the client’s needs? Interestingly, Karwal found, often clients were not aware of exactly what they were looking for. “In most of the cases clients do not know what they want,” he scoffed. Accepting Swami’s point of increasing competitive pressures, he said: “Most often than not, briefs given to the agency are not transparent and clients take the opportunity to scapegoat the agency for a failure.”

However, both the speakers emphasised on developing a healthy understanding between the client and the agency. “I believe this Conclave will surely be thought-provoking and stimulate an introspective look in both the agency and the client,” Swami said.

This inconsistent, lose-and-win situation is not the only factor plaguing the Indian advertising industry. The industry is also experiencing a high churn rate of employees. Is the lure of a greener pasture taking Indian talent abroad? The exchange4media Delhi Conclave would address the burning issue in the second session, called: ‘Human Resource – Why is our industry not able to attract and retain good talent?’

Asked for a brief note on his views, Arvind Sharma, Chairman and chief executive officer, Leo Burnett, took a global stand. Accepting the age-old concept of brain drain, he said it was not one sided like before. “There has been a considerable reverse flow of talent over the last three and a half years. Lots of intelligent youth from the US and Europe are seeking opportunities in India,” he maintained.

Looking at the issue with a positive angle, he called the cross-border mobility of intelligentsia as a sign of global advancement. “Intellectual mobility is a trend of the global intellectual fraternity. It gives us a better exposure and helps gain a competitive edge,” observed Sharma.

What possesses good for the Indian advertising industry and what needs to be resolved remains to be seen on the day the advertising and corporate brass share their views at the Conclave. “Even a couple of years ago, no such issues were raised in a seminar on advertising and marketing. This Conclave addresses the most topical issues which hold maximum significance in this sector,” said Kalpana Rao, Talent Director, O&M.


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