Following the joint venture announcement of Bates Asia and CHI in December 2012, the agency has unveiled a new identity. It will now be called Bates CHI & Partners, signalling a stated work philosophy of actively collaborating with partners to arrive at the big idea.
Announcing the change in India, Sanjay Thapar, chief executive officer, Bates CHI & Partners India, said, “Gone are the days when you worked in isolation to bring about the big business idea. It is the age of collaboration where we sit around the table with all partners who have a stake in the business to come up with the winning idea.”
Elaborating on the thought and the change brought about with the joint venture, he explained, “We have always been about big ideas, and CHI has also been about big and bold ideas globally. I think the process which they have been following is very different, which is about how no agency alone can start about building the brand or giving best value to the clients unless you collaborate with experts in various forms. The ‘& Partners’ in our brand name is about getting the right people for a particular job, project, or business problem around the table to solve it along with the client.”
Pointing out that there would be no structural changes in India to the existing Bates Asia set up, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, national creative director, Bates CHI & Partners India, went on to illustrate how the new process would work.
He said, “We joined this industry to crack big ideas. And, for that if we have to collaborate with others around a table, we will do that and crack the big idea. Just take a small example of how we make films for our clients... what we do as creative directors is to hire different talent from the industry. It could be producers, directors, music directors, spot boys, actors, etc. We pick and choose people whom we think are right for that project, and we become conductors for that project. This is the orchestration. This is our job at Bates CHI & Partners. Our job is to pick up the right talent from wherever it is required.”
Explaining that the new process is not a drastic change from the ‘Changengage’ philosophy but actually an evolution from that mindset, Sourabh Mishra, group chief strategy officer, Bates CHI & Partners India, pointed out that ‘Changengage’ is a very fundamental way of thinking.
Explaining the new work philosophy, he added, “I don’t think we are doing away with anything that is fundamental. As Bates CHI & Partners, we define ourselves as ‘Big ideas for ambitious plans’. How do we do it, is through the power of ‘&’ – the power of collaboration. People sitting together and working together to arrive at a common goal. That process is something CHI has defined very well. We have a process called the ‘Big idea day’, where the client, agency and all the other partners who can contribute – it could be media, PR, digital or anyone who has a stake in making a success for the brand – sit around the table on that one day, moderated by the Bates CHI partner using certain tools and techniques which have come with the partnership. Does the fundamental work not happen as a result? Not true. We still follow the rigour of planning. Changengage is essentially fundamental rigorous planning. We are not getting away from that. Bates CHI & Partners includes all of that. Now, it also includes some definite tools and techniques to bring alive the power of collaboration.”
And these partnerships could be with collaborators identified by the agency, or those identified by the client as important, added Thapar. “At the end, it is all about cracking the big idea, and we think collaborations with the right partners will result in that,” he surmised.