Industry leaders delve deep into the WFH situation, its impact on agency functioning & how to create the Agency of the Future.
Experts decode where does the A & M industry lie in the fulcrum as COVID-19 despite providing opportunities has virtually turned the world upside down. The candid interaction between Ashish Khazanchi, Managing Partner, Enormous, Babita Baruah, Managing Partner, GTB India, Chandni Shah, Co-Founder, and COO, Kinnect, Madhvi Pahwa, Chief Talent Officer, Mindshare, Sham Jasani, Group MD – Isobar South Asia touched upon crucial points of re-skilling during this scenario, WFH as not a binary conversation, and creating an Agency of the Future.
Work From Home (WFH): Opportunity or Roadblock?
Anil Nair as the moderator commenced the session with a pertinent question WFH- Are we stuck or this is an opportunity? WFH, the new normal has presented itself as an opportunity for many while being like a ‘cold-screen’ for a lot of experienced leaders. To this Pahwa shared, “I call this a time of fluidity. And this fluidity is a time to learn.” Jasani corroborated the statement that indeed WFH presents itself as a period to ‘re-invent’ yourself. It could be clients, methods, and managing people.
Can we make this work for the future?
With work happening smoothly, will agencies pivot towards making WFH a permanent thing?
Baruah points towards a crucial point & challenges in this aspect. She shares that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of large spaces for working from home. Looking at the socio-economic culture in India, for many, offices are an aspirational setting & uplifting that helps in productivity.
Also, she shares, for a lot of women who belong to conservative families, it’s not easy for them to work freely at home with the family hovering around.
“Work from home for a lot is a story of progressivi-ty and not just productivity”.
Shah, however, shares that they might be looking at a ‘hybrid model’ with a mix of both working from home & the office. Office places might have more meeting rooms for people to come together and lesser individual seats in the future.
Network VS Independent Agencies
COVID-19 being like a level-playing ground for many when a lot of people are starting afresh, what might be the advantages of Independent agencies over Network or vice-versa? Shah highlights, “The one advantage for us is the agility. We’ve reached places. It is seamless in terms of rules & regulations as opposed to network agencies”.
Khazanchi shares it is about bringing the intangible things to the clients, staying nimble and having chemistry or a bond with them in this period.
Reskilling & Crisis Management
Pahwa asserts that agencies should reskill. In that context, she says, agencies have been good at apprenticeship craft of work to create practitioners. That is not available now.
“We have to craft an apprenticeship model design by choice at organizations at this time. Just sharing tutorial videos won’t help”
Further, she elaborates that this is a great time for powering through and a ripe moment for transformation & opening up at work. “We haven’t had a more fertile ground of information and mindsets till now”, she says.
Shah points out that the crisis has brought creativity for our people. Some of the best ideas & campaigns have been executed at this time, she says.
Khazanchi shares if you have everything right in terms of client and budgets, it is quite possible, that the product would be mediocre.
Going Beyond Advertising
The definition of business might have shifted naturally according to Jasani but are we re-orienting ourselves to challenges beyond advertising?
He says, we need to increasingly pivot ourselves to the client’s business and not just marketing. Further, he shares, we have not done enough for our country. As an industry, we need to come together and bring value to the industry, people, and country.
Shah says brands that can afford should bring out the message that brings people together. “We as partners can work both sides – not spend all the money of our clients as well create a campaign with a message.
Nair summarizes with a quote from Jeff Bezos, “Things are going to burst before they could get better”.
Watch the complete AgencyCon 2020 video here: