Babita Baruah
Oct 05, 2011

Babita's Blog: Let’s SWAP (Share-Work-And-People)

Babita Baruah, vice president and client services director, JWT Delhi, says it's time we introduced a Client-Agency SWAP program

Babita's Blog: Let’s SWAP (Share-Work-And-People)

If the first thing that comes to your mind with the headline is swapping of belongings, you are not far from the truth. This blog is about “swapping” or “swopping” (means the same)
Why do people swap?
To experience the other side
To max out on all possible options
But what’s really tempting is to “use” or “experience” something we envy about others.
It’s ingrained in us.
My sister always seemed to get the better birthday gifts.
As kids, we fought and squabbled over our friends’ toys and books.
My neighbour’s vacation pics appears far more enjoyable.
My colleague’s work station has the better AC vent.
Can cite hundreds of such examples.
The grass is always so green on the other side.
And so we swap.

So what do we SWAP in our business?
People, of course.
In fact, in these bold and daring times when everything including Facebook is changing by the hour, why not change some age old ways of working?

It’s time we introduced a Client- Agency SWAP program.
Share-Work- And- People (That’s why I opted for SWAP instead of SWOP!)
When the Brand manager spends a month as an Account manager in the agency.
When the Account Director runs the show for a month at the client’s end.
When a Creative Director wears the Brand Manager’s hat, maybe for a week.
Or the Planning Head dons the mantle of the CMI Manager.
We can work out the lists and time and other procedures, which will be many.

But we stand to gain a lot.
For starters, the brand team stops assuming that agencies are 24x7 factories with wizard hats and wands that can make things happen overnight.
And, the agency stops assuming that the brand team has a great life simply briefing agencies and doing very little besides that.
There will be creative appreciation.
Marketing understanding.
Living real time market challenges.
Understanding and appreciating the creative and production processes.
Getting a hang of the brand manager’s multiple responsibilities.
Realising the importance of integrated marketing, and how we can make it a reality.

But most importantly, more than the work output, SWAP will spark off mutual respect and admiration.
For each other’s roles and talents.
It will make us see the “big picture” and jolt us out of the silos we live in.
And hopefully strengthen the relationships that make the wheels roll in our day to day work life.
After all, we can SWAP only when we are friends.

The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint.

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