Is hiring for adland viable from outside? If yes, is it viable in long term?
Anil S Nair (AN): I believe for the future of our industry. It’s absolutely critical that we hire from outside our industry. To begin with the term ‘ outside’ is no longer relevant. Marketing communication is not what it used to be and it’s changing at a pace that few can comprehend. The industry has evolved into a complex synthesis of creativity and technology, therefore we need a new talent based to master this new reality.
Srinivasan K Swamy (SS): In my view, advertising is a talent led business. While it does require some orientation, outside talent can flourish well if they show some patience to understand the nuances of the business. I do see many, having come from outside the system have flourished, and quite a few not been able to cope! As in everything relating to human beings, there is no ‘one answer’.
Which departments or functions can effectively utilise the talent outside of adland?
AN: Every department, which is responsible for the output that is the idea, needs this new talent pool.
SS: Top management, planning, account management, business development are obvious. Based on the background of the individual, he could be involved in events or promotion or analytics too. Media and creative functions need some additional training/background and based on the individual, this too is possible.
With all agencies aiming at becoming integrated solution provider, is special training required for them?
AN: Agencies need to heavily invest in unlearning and learning on a war footing. The change is here and unless we change, the change will change will change us. .. and for training itself we need input from the ‘outside’.
SS: The agency business requires special orientation and mindset to succeed. They need immersion, rather than training.
Any cons that such hiring may accrue?
AN: There is no blueprint that has emerged on how to navigate the new reality, so the marketing communications industry needs to be open and be prepared to experiment because there are bound to be mistakes.
SS: Culture and fit are the only concerns.
Does such a hiring upset the existing structure of an agency?
AN: There is already an uneasy feeling within the agency structure with the advent of digital, which at best currently is a division. When true integration happens there is a lot of unsettling of the old order that will happen. The current structure will become redundant and the old order will have to be replaced.
SS: Price, cultural fit, role fit are all issues to be considered. We should make sure the person coming in will be as comfortable as the others already working for the company.
(This appeared in the 26 December issue of Campaign India)