Day two at Lions Live (the online version of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity) saw the presence of Piyush Pandey, worldwide CCO, Ogilvy, executive chairman, Ogilvy India.
Pandey spoke about how Ogilvy and WPP have functioned during the pandemic and also urged people to hang in there during this time.
He said, "I have found a lot of people say they're restricted and their hands are tied behind their back. I'm a believer that their feet are tied, the location is restricted, but hands are not tied. My lips are not sealed, my mind is not tied so I can do a lot of stuff. Like any sportsman, there will be moments when there is trouble but you can't give up hope. I have not felt restrictive in terms of the challenge. With Ogilvy we've worked during the restrictions the same way as WPP has. We've been talking to each other, supporting each other, giving courage to each other and empathising with each other. People who work with me are doing it with their juniors and I see a fantastic fight that's on where people are fighting with hope."
While speaking about how clients in the country have responded, Pandey gave the example of Asian Paints, who gave an increment to staff during the lockdown. In general he believed that clients in India stood the test of time.
He was then asked about the trends and learnings he's seen over the last three months.
"The biggest change that I see and it's very humbling - people have started talking to their consumers. We are too talking to our clients more often. We've become less transactional and more human in our approach. We want to know their difficulties. Life is a great leveller and adversity is a great teacher. The human side that we didn't know very well, because we were in a rat race, we have gotten to know now. We are learning to be better human beings," he said.
In his first of the two cricket analogies for the talk, he spoke about how it is time for agencies to get into a huddle with their talent like how a team does before they go out to field.
"At Ogilvy and WPP the biggest initiative is that we have to be very supportive of talent. Ogilvy and WPP have the talent, it's time to recognise, nurture and hang on to this talent. We need to keep talking to them and keep them in a huddle like a good cricket team does before going out to the field," he explained.
He also spoke about how Ogilvy and WPP's planning has helped them face this crisis.
"Today Ogilvy and WPP can hang in there because we've planned for days like these. They have supported us and told us we're trying our best. The biggest learning has been that we shouldn't take life for granted. Everything won't be hunky-dory. But that doesn't mean you should be scared. You should take every day as it comes and plan for a rainy day," he said.
He ended with his second cricket analogy.
"You were batting on a good wicket and suddenly the rain came. You lost four wickets. Now, it's time to hang in. Play your shots but don't get out and keep your wicket intact. The wicket will soon improve and you'll go and score a double hundred. Stay around, stay fit, we're going to win this one," he said.