DDB Mudra Group’s Aditya Kanthy on the relationship between brands and agencies during Covid-19

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September 14, 2020 10:02 AM

The role agencies play in the life of brands and advertisers, highlights Kanthy

Aditya Kanthy, CEO and MD, DDB Mudra Group.Aditya Kanthy, CEO and MD, DDB Mudra Group.

At a time when everyone is trying to look beyond the pandemic called Covid-19, communication needs to be crafted carefully. There resides a chance of either too less talking or more. It is here that agencies play a significant role in hand-holding and telling brands the dos and don’ts of communication. In a candid chat with BrandWagon Online, Aditya Kanthy, CEO and MD, DDB Mudra Group, talks about how brands need to act and react during such difficult times. (Edited excerpts)

On the art of maintaining a relationship in a turbulent environment – brands and agencies:

Recognising the humanity that is at the heart of each relationship. That’s the key. Be it the relationships we share with our brands; with each other in the company; our clients; or the people our brands talk to. While we might be in different boats, we are all battling the same storm and we need to do everything in our power to support each other through this time. This recognition informs our culture, the conversations we have with our clients and what we create.

On the dos and don’ts brands need to follow when communicating with consumers:

One of the key things we need to do is help our brands figure out their place in the world. Not every conversation requires us to be present. Our work needs to either create moments of relief, joy and entertainment or provide a solution for problems that people really care about. If there’s anything this time has taught us it is that our sensitivity, generosity and kindness matters.

On the periodicity of the conversation in these times:

A conversation is as much about listening as it is about what we say. So, listening must happen all the time. Speaking, less so. I know that one of the temptations is to always be on, more so now than before and yes, salience matters. But salience comes from memorability, consistency and scale – not from speaking incessantly or saying new things all the time.

On the role agencies play in the life of brands and advertisers:

Our role is to invest cultural and emotional relevance in brands to help businesses grow. It is also our responsibility to bring into the boardroom, the lives of the people that the brands and advertisers serve. So that they can be seen as people first and consumers second. That provocation is our biggest role, especially now during the pandemic. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because that’s good for their businesses.

On the mantra that agencies and advertisers should follow to beat the Covid-19 blues:

There is no one mantra but there are a few things that can help. We have to accept that every day is going to bring unanticipated problems. We must prioritise which ones to tackle and then to work together to find solutions for them.

We must applaud and take inspiration from our achievements during this time – the resilience and creativity of our people and the community.

We should allow ourselves to admit that we can’t make everything better. If there is anything we have learnt over the last six months, it’s that none of us has all the answers and we must embrace that vulnerability and ask for help when we need it. It can be our greatest strength.

Read Also: Panasonic India’s Shirish Aggarwal on the marketing strategy which brands need to follow in the time of Covid-19

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