Cavelossim Beach, Goa: There is no substitute for a good idea or a good product. For Nokia’s D. Shivakumar, these are crucial if clients and their advertising agencies would like to create value for a brand.
Calling for dialogue: D. Shivakumar, vice-president, Nokia India Pvt. Ltd, speaking at the Advertising Conclave in Goa on Thursday.
“Value for a brand will be formed through creativity and not through cost-cutting,” says Shivakumar, vice-president and marketing director for markets at Nokia India Pvt. Ltd.
Pointing at India’s phenomenal growth, he says it has become even more important for ad agencies and their clients to gear up together to meet challenges that come with such expansion.
Although the industry has been talking about people being their biggest asset, it has failed to invest in nurturing that talent, and in training and research, he maintains.
Discussing some key challenges that clients face while dealing with agencies, he says factors such as the unchanging attitude of the creative agency towards research as well as time management are major issues for clients in an environment where “markets areruthless” and substandard products or propositions are not likely to be accepted.
He, however, applauds recent developments in the industry, where agencies have appointed creative people to top positions. “The heart of the agency business is the idea and putting a creative person at the helm of a company is going to work well for brands.”
Shivakumar makes a strong case for more dialogue between clients and agencies. “In the past few years, our respect for each other has only gone southward.”
Excessive specialization in services is also contributing to loss in focus. “We are wasting resources in terms of people, as well as wasting money,” he says.
The Nokia executive says agencies should put focus back on the brand, which needs long-term commitment to brand vision, and new ideas.
A brand will gain value if agencies are true to the brand and not the client, he says, also suggesting that agencies become active partners in addressing brand issues, and are accountable, even if they are not responsible for the problem.
For clients, Shivakumar maintains the onus is on them as well to make the relationship work by offering clarity on what they expect from the agency, listening, and most importantly, appreciating the effort put in by the agency.