Goafest 2016: Of Jai-Veeru partnerships & understanding clients' business

Goafest 2016, presented by Times Network, kicked off with much aplomb yesterday in Bambolim, Goa. The festival commenced with the Industrial Conclave presented by Discovery Channel that had Chandramouli Venkatesan, Managing Director, Mondelez India; Samar Singh Sheikhawat, SVP - Marketing, United Breweries Ltd; and Oliver Maletz, Head of Communications, Planning, Media & International Communications, Volkswagen, AG, as speakers.

Being hosted at the Grand Hyatt Goa, the inaugural ceremony stayed true to Indian tradition, with a lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Chairman of Goafest, Nakul Chopra, along with Chairman of the AAAI, Ambi Parameshwaran, and President and Managing Director of Discovery, Asia Pacific, Arthur Bastings, among others.

The topic of the day was ‘3 Things The Agency Can Do Better’, with Venkatesan, Sheikhawat, and Maletz eloquently discussing client-agency partnerships while highlighting all the possible avenues where such partnerships can be strengthened by the agency.

Forging strong partnerships

The first speaker, Chandramouli Venkatesan, emphasised on the power of partnerships when he remarked, “We create magic when we have great partnerships”. Using the famous ‘Sholay’ pair, Jai-Veeru’s partnership as an allegory, he went on to explain how the agency could strengthen the partnership through trust, client-favoured decision making and a clarity of processes. According to Venkatesan, “A great client-agency partnership is like the Jai-Veeru pair; brave, loyal and united.” He further elaborated how a good partnership was a two-way game and when played right, produced the optimal outcome.

Venkatesan further said that agencies needed to generate trust to enable clients to take difficult calls for cutting edge work. “Most agencies want to be brand stewards, but don’t have the talent for it,” he remarked, adding that quality along with longevity led to successful brand stewardship. He also said that agencies needed to debunk the notion that processes were a barrier to creativity.

Know your client

Following him up was, Samar Singh Sheikhawat, who threw light on how an agency could better understand the client’s business and, therefore, enable themselves to orient their thought processes and functions with the client’s needs. According to him, a major part of understanding the client is understanding the consumer.

Innovations need to be forward thinking

Oliver Maletz summed it up succinctly by saying that the agency should be the one entity whom the client called first and hanged up on last. Thus, there needs to be a complete understanding and strong sense of trust between the two. He went on to elaborate that the worst thing an agency did after coming on board was ‘sell’ to the client, which they needn’t do as they are in the game already and should be thinking about how to help the client instead.

According to Maletz, “Innovation shouldn’t be for the sake of being innovative. If it isn’t moving your KPIs, it is not making sense. Every innovation has to be forward thinking.”

The evening of the Industrial Conclave wrapped up with a short panel discussion where the audience was encouraged to pose their questions to the experts via the Goafest 2016 app, specially designed to facilitate the best digital experience for the attendees of the festival.


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