Kevin Roberts, chief executive officer worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, was in Mumbai recently for a visit. In a presentation to the agency, clients and media yesterday, he stated that Saatchi in India is akin to a new company that began on 1 January 2012 when Matt Seddon, its current chief executive officer, joined (Roberts did give due credit to the earlier management for laying the foundations).
His other observations on India were that while Indian business may be slow, Indian consumers are not, and hence the agency has to speed things up and practise ‘Love in the age of now’. Calling advertisements in Indian newspapers and glossies “terrible”, he emphasised that it is the role of the agency to inspire people and movements, even through traditional advertising.
He added, “Too much of advertising is still demo- and benefit-driven. It’s boring as hell. We don’t use enough emotion in our work.”
In a VUCA world (the US military terminology for a world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, but which Saatchi interprets as Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy, Astounding), it's all about execution. "With an idea, Apple equipment and Youtube, you can change the world," he said. "You have the chance to create great brands, businesses and ideas, if you learn to be fast, flexible, brave and confident."
On the part the clients play today, Roberts said, "The role of marketers is not to create demand, but to inpsire a movement. It's only the business that belongs to brand managers, stakeholders and companies. Brands, or Lovemarks, belong to the people."
Some of the ideas Roberts suggested to galvanise the Saatchi India dream were: be purpose-inspired; be creative leaders; get the little ideas out to the people because there are no more big ideas; create mystery, sensuality and intimacy around your brands; and make things happen by creating an environment of respect, learning, recognition and joy.