Future ad agencies would continue to have creativity at core: Vikas Chawla

Pranali Tawte
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Vikas Chawla Social Beat

Social Beat's Chawla shares his insights on the future of the agency model, creativity, technology and more.

Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder, Social Beat talks about the growth and evolution of digital marketing and how digital has surpassed television in terms of media investment. As per GroupM's recent report, India’s advertising revenue growth forecast for 2022 is 15.8% and this growth is being led by pure-play digital advertising.

Within digital advertising, Chawla also shares his thoughts on how influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing verticals.

Edited Excerpts:

On an industry level, what are some of the challenges that the advertising landscape and industry heads are facing this year?

Overall, with the global economic scenario we are seeing brands being cautious and growth is muted. That being said, the India story is still very much there and while the next 4-6 months might have slow growth we are quite bullish on long term outcomes.

How has digital marketing grown in the last few years and how do you see it evolving in the future?

The last two years have seen abnormal growth rates in digital and while digital will continue to grow the pace would reduce. This year, digital surpassed television in terms of media investment and the next few years continue to be promising years of growth, though at a slower pace. Even traditional FMCG and retail players are investing a lot more into digital content, creators and digital media and we see that trend continuing. 

With Social Beat completing a decade, what are some of the learnings you would like to share with the agency folks? What does the future of the agency model look like?

It's been an exciting 10 years. Figuring out your USP and strengthening has been a key driver for growth - and equally saying no to the client that doesn't fit into the focus of the agency. Building a strong culture and nurturing the right capabilities has allowed us to have long term partnerships. Finally, managing cash flows closely has helped grow in spite of being bootstrapped. 

The future agency would continue to have creativity at its core but have technology and analytics as key pillars to drive a holistic solution. Clients are wanting agile teams that have deep expertise and that needs to be built into the culture. With a lot more brands looking at in-housing, having proprietary solutions will help agencies create new business models. 

Also Read: The most impactful ad copy today is contextual: Rajdeepak Das

The advertising industry has witnessed many changes in the last decade, what do you think remains constant?

Creativity and helping brands stand out has remained constant. 

How can brands and agencies sustain a longer shelf-life of the campaign?

It's important to have a phased approach with different content at different stages to sustain engagement. Using creators can also enable campaigns to have a longer and more impactful outcomes.

How do you feel influencer marketing has grown, and how does Social Beat approach this area?

It's one of the fastest growing verticals. Brands are also leveraging creators to create low cost content for brand handles. We have built our proprietary product that enables discovery, campaign planning, workflow, reporting and analytics. This allows us to do campaigns at scale and with more precision 

The year is almost coming to an end, what would be some of your focus areas in the coming year? What can be expected from Social Beat in 2023?

Our analytics and product/tech are our focus areas. We are also strengthening the internal academy, Im Possible Academy to allow us to improve the quality of our team and solutions. 2023 will also be the year we open our first global Centre. 

What is the winning formula that participants can take note of?

Lots of interesting creative and influencer campaigns this year. One common thread is that video combined with UGC has led to higher and sustained impact. 

What qualities are you looking for in the participants to spot the winner this year at SAMMIEs and what are your expectations from the nominees?

Impact to the brand and business is the crux of any campaign. That's what I have been trying to ascertain.

Digital Marketing Advertising industry fmcg Social Beat sammie agency model