Over the years, many pundits (including the arm chair variety like yours truly) have bemoaned the state of the Indian advertising industry. The chief cribs being:
1. There is a talent crunch: talented professionals are neither coming in to the advertising industry nor staying. We are losing talent to more satisfying and more paying industries on the client side, Media, IT etc.
2. The current tribe of advertising agency professionals, especially the Account Management variety are woefully out of touch with what is required on their job. They are nowhere near as ‘well-rounded’ as they once were, mainly due to the creation of specialist silos (media, digital) with whom they are out of touch
Those are the symptoms. The big problems outlined are:
1. Lack of training: the need for training our entry, junior and middle level professionals, especially in Account Management has been the No.1 ‘To-do’ for years now
2. Poor remuneration from clients: though this is not as vociferously repeated as the other problem, some have bemoaned the squeeze on margins thus making it difficult for investments in people & training.
Of course theres a lot more in the crib list. And everyone who outlines such problems has said that the situation must be corrected…’something’ must be done. But what specifically must be done? What practical steps must be taken to improve our collective skill sets? Herewith some harebrained suggestions (this might be a good time to read the Disclaimer):
– implement a Training Month. All employees of participating agencies will undergo training for a week. The training content will vary depending on 3 levels of experience: one week each for 0-3 years, 4-7 years and 7 years & above. The content will be the same across all agencies and will be developed by a panel drawn from the big, medium & small agencies, across disciplines. The content will be written in a manner that each agency can deliver it on their own and will be geared to making the current lot ‘well rounded’. The training will cover the basics of Media Planning & Buying, Digital, Creative Briefing and so on. Hold a similar week of training for the Creative team bringing them up to speed on new media & what technology can do. Of course, just a week’s training is not going to be the panacea for all advertising’s ills, but it could be a start.
The rest of the ‘To-Dos’ viz. getting clients to pay better, breaking the silos (and getting the media, creative & account management to sit together), getting back to 15% commission – all fall in the wishful thinking category.
What else? Comments welcome.