Rana Barua kickstarted the discussion by highlighting the importance of different functions sitting under one roof – the village as Havas calls it. “The further you go away, it will create a disintegration in the way we manage our business,” he said to underscore his point adding that his group had set up villages across 60 locations around the world.
Deepali Naair highlighted the fact the reintegration model would pan out differently, depending on the client’s nature of business.
“The relevance of reintegration will be different across industries. It’s about CPG vs non-CPG. Conceptually, with CPGs, the brand guardianship remains with one creative team. But in the services space digital is not just a brand building medium, but also used as a channel for customer acquisition,” she said
And added that there may still be relevance for not integrating in the CPG space. “I do believe that reintegration is a great idea in the services industry. The media part of the business will take a lead in dictating where and how the brand will go,” she said.
Sujata Dwibedy said that it was no more about integration of media and creative but about consumer connect. She said, “We are talking about an ecosystem of consumer connectivity where media, creative, data and tech are seamless components of strategies that drive business solutions,” adding that the media function has a lot of access to consumer data that inspires creativity and fuels business growth.
Naair pointed out that agencies had lost the opportunity to conquer vacant spots like market research specialists did not evolve to become data scientists. “Consumer insighting has traditionally been the role of the mainline creative agency. But creative agencies are not running the social command centres at the brand headquarters. That is where the insights are coming from,” she said.
However she was firm that there is a case for reintegration. “But I am not sure that the current model is the right one,” she said.
Barua adds that whether you call it integration or working together, he firmly believed that different functions must be housed under the same umbrella to work together so that they are experiencing the customer five times faster.
“If we get this model right, over the next few years we will get better talent as we have a talent with multi-functional capabilities and not just with a single role specialization as a suit, planner or digital expert,” he said.
Naair agrees that the current set of people need training in new skills. “The kind of skillsets in client organisations is also changing a lot,” she said and added, “I don’t think you can predict the model of the future so to speak.” Dwibedy added, “It’s all to do with business growth eventually."