Boutique agencies on advertisers’ radar

Independent digital agencies are attracting big-ticket advertisers as more of them look for specialized, nimble partners with expertise in managing brands online. Even as companies rely on the larger advertising agency networks for traditional media —print, television and radio— major advertisers are turning to independent digital advertising agencies to reach audiences online.

Beverage maker Coca-Cola India, Tata Teleservices Ltd and Lenovo India are among advertisers seeking the services of boutique online agencies for engaging the digital consumer. Coca-Cola India, for instance, works with major agencies such as Leo Burnett India, McCann Erickson India and Ogilvy and Mather for soft drinks brands such as Thums Up, Coca-Cola and Limca. However, it appointed SapientNitro, an integrated marketing and technology services firm, to work on the company’s online brand strategy. Lenovo, the Chinese personal computer brand, works with Ogilvy and Mather.

However, to manage its social media activity on Facebook and Twitter, Lenovo hired 22feet Communications Pvt. Ltd, an independent digital solutions provider. Shailendra Katyal, head of marketing, Lenovo India, said the company spends 5-12% of its advertising budget online. The reasons for brands to rely on independent online specialists are easy to understand.

For a start, “digital” is no longer just a banner ad or a website. “Digital is a world in which we connect, socialize… look for a job. Digital is not an outlier sitting on the periphery of technology: it’s at the very heart of it,” said Ramswaroop Gopalan, country manager, SapientNitro, India, the integrated marketing and technology services firm that works with some Coca-Cola brands, Seagram’sBlenders Pride and Citibank India. Secondly, digital or new media is dynamic and constantly changing.

Tata Docomo, a Tata Teleservices Ltd brand, for instance, has hired Interface Business Solutions to handle its brand interaction with consumers in the digital space. “Internet is not an advertising medium but a medium to build engagement and conversation with consumers,” said Gurinder Singh Sandhu, head, corporate marketing, Tata Teleservices Ltd. The brand works with Interface Business Solutions, a full-service agency that delivers an integrated strategy across creative, media and other specialized elements of Internet marketing such as search and communities, he said. Surprisingly, network agencies often seek the assistance of independent boutique firms for their clients.

Source: Percept

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