Babita Baruah
Dec 07, 2011

Babita’s Blog: There are some things money can’t buy….

Babita Baruah, vice president and client services director, JWT Delhi, makes relationships the theme of her last blog for the year

Babita’s Blog: There are some things money can’t buy….


It’s a time when clients and agencies party together, exchange cards and greetings, maybe even thank you emails for all the pain and celebrations in the year that is almost slipping away into history.

It’s been a year since I started writing blogs for Campaign India, and I thought it would be good to write this last blog of 2011 on relationships.

Most of us in Account Management are caught up with those dreaded financials, fee calculations, resources, scope of work, rate cards. Suddenly people become excel sheet numbers.

And basis these numbers, a relationship gets set to move forward into yet another year.

Works very well for law firms, consultancies, maybe even new media.

Must be working well for advertising agencies too. Or else why would this be the preferred mode of remuneration across the globe?

But sometimes I wonder,

How does one “cost ” an urgent request from the client to work out that congratulations ad overnight? Or that show reel required for a critical meeting the next day? Or the sales audio visual as a last minute addition to the conference? Do we put our foot down and say, “Sorry, but I need to cost it first?” Do we share this at the end of the year reconciliation?

Wouldn’t come to much at all - it would be only a few hours of work as that’s all the time we had.

But it may be  few  hours of work late at night through early morning.

When the studio, creative, servicing and planning team cab it back to work bleary-eyed on a wintry night, switch  on the cold machines and get cracking. No one makes any excuses.  It’s the work that comes first.

What about the sessions we have, brainstorming on ideas together with the client.

The proactive work we do to make that launch innovation really stand out.

The nights at the post studio in Mumbai, munching vada pavs.

The workshops, the learning sessions, the coffee and lunches we have together. As one team.

I attended a workshop on Cultural Nuances on Global Brands and we were taught about linear and non linear societies. India is a non linear relationship economy- we never say no, we are always accommodating and we cherish and respect relationships far more than the money associated with it.

The brand comes before the finance sheet.

We revel and celebrate when our work on these relationships are recognized and awarded.

Young wives, crying babies, little children, ailing parents, understanding spouses… they often have to take a backseat when it comes to our profession and the odd hours. We don’t get paid more- we do it because we love our work. (And we all know the remuneration in agencies when compared to the rest of the marketing industry).

Some of us have worked for years on these brands.

Very often we have had clients looking at us as the “continuity factor”.

We do brand inductions for new brand managers.

We have urgent meetings if the shares dip. And pizza celebrations if shares soar.

In such relationship-based economies, where client relationships go far beyond being just transactional, the fee discussions are obviously critical, but  cannot and should not be the deciding factor of a business.

At the end of the day, there are still some things money can’t buy…..

Wishing all my readers a very happy new year and thanking you all for the huge support.

Campaign India

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