'Insight is not just about GRPs but returns for our clients' : Raj Gupta - Insight president

Lintas' media division comprises three arms - Initiative Media, Interactions and the newest baby Insight. The three media services agencies have diversified roles. Lintas was amongst the first agencies in the country that saw the changing role of media. Earlier media was a backend function and over a period of time it was recognised that media will have become a stand alone function in itself. That was when Initiative Media was launched, which handles the large chunk of full service business wherever Lowe is involved with a client.

On the other hand, Interactions was created specifically to handle a multi location, highly diversified FMCG client like ITC, which spends about Rs 1.2+ billion every year. The latest entrant - Insight was launched in February 2004 to meet the needs of large AOR clients demanding knowledge based service.

Insight was earlier headed by S Yesudas and post his departure Raj Gupta took charge of the agency six months ago as president. In his first ever interview with the media as Insight president, Gupta spoke to's Hetal Adesara, about how the agency has grown since its launch in February last year, its USP and more.


Insight was launched in February last year. How would you assess its performance since launch?

Insight was launched to meet the needs of large AOR clients demanding knowledge based stuff. And these clients need not be the clients of the Lintas group. In fact most of the clients that we handle are not a part of the Lintas group.

In terms of performance there are three or four aspects. Firstly, whether we are meeting our targets? Yes, we are. I think the key thing for any young company would be to realise where the market is and identify the clients' need.

Secondly, do we have a product to deliver on that need? Yes, we have a product now although it has taken us four five months to create that.

Thirdly, do we have a culture to deliver that product? You can identify a problem and find the solution but to set a culture is what is important. And we have set a culture in the agency. From a clients' and an agency's standpoint, I think we are moving in the right direction.

Within a month of the agency's launch, S Yesudas put in his papers and then in September Jairaj Padmanabhan also put in his papers. These were top notch people in the agency. How did it affect the agency?

Luckily what has happened is that Yesudas quit and went abroad and Jairaj quit to make a film. We would have been very worried if our people had left us to join another agency. That would have made us feel that competitively we were not good enough. But the fact is that both have left for very personal reasons and to pursue their passion and you can't stop anyone doing that.

Post the departures; can you give me an idea about the organizational structure at Insight and the key people in the agency?

I joined as president six months ago and then there are very senior people in the agency. There is Kunal Jamuar, Amit Kishor, Nayan, Suresh Shah to name a few. So the team remains the same.

In terms of business, where do you stand today? Have you'll been aggressively pitching? Who are your present clients?

We have not been aggressively pitching because we wanted to make sure we had the basic infrastructure ready. Otherwise why would clients want to come to us and not go to other agencies who are offering the cheapest GRPs (gross rating points)?

I think today we have something that we can take to the market. We didn't make any pitches barring the recent Tata AIG pitch in October.

At present the clients that we have are Bajaj Auto, Idea Cellular, Unit Trust of India, Parle Agro and Bajaj Electricals and Sansui.

So are you only going to concentrate on the existing clients or look for more this year?

Our existing clients will always take priority and yes, we will also be pitching more aggressively now. Fortunately our model finds relevance even more today.

"The way the industry is functioning right now; there will be incremental and not any transformational innovation"

What have been the major media innovations that you have undertaken for your clients this year?

We have done a lot of work for Idea Cellular on Discovery, where we branded an entire show. We have also done some good work for Bajaj in the press segment. At present we are working on something with UTI. In the case of Parle Agro we brought brand and content together.

What do you call an innovation? Just by presenting an ad in a different format and size is not innovation. An innovation can either be transformational or it can be incremental. The latter is when an ad is presented in a different size, ad as part of editorial etc.

Transformational innovations on the other hand, are innovations that change the way you do things from there on. Mobile phones and Emails were transformational, whereas pagers were incremental and they died after a while.

So in the industry today, there are no large innovations being done. What we are working towards is this whole question of accountability and delivering returns and not GRPs. Tomorrow I'm not going to get an award for this but it's just a way of doing business. The way the industry is functioning right now; there will be incremental stuff happening and not any transformational stuff.

What is Insight's take on new medium of communication line Internet and mobile?

We have Linterland that is about on-ground activity. Then there is new media where there is content and convergence. We have Rajesh Sule at Insight, whose only job is to see how the brand could converge with content and new media, and also what the new media could deliver for the brand. This is going to become bigger and bigger each passing day.

Are clients more open to advertising on these new media or do they still look at conventional means of advertising as being a safer bet?

Clients are becoming smarter day by day and they know where the potential lies for their brand. Today UTI is on the mobile and on the Internet, so is Idea.

When Insight was launched, the pitch to the industry was that it would be a communications agency rather than being a mere media agency. Can you elaborate on the same and tell us how you have gone about it?

The larger perspective what we are working towards is that all activities we do must result in data. If you don't have data, you can't measure it, if you can't measure it you can't track it and if you can't track it you can't evaluate it. Therefore, all media activities should generate data and the data that we are working towards is some kind of a response to advertising. And the way forward for Insight is - 'Not just GRPs but Returns!'

All media agencies buy GRPs and most media agencies would buy GRPs and deliver a particular OTS (opportunity to see) to a client. The client and agency sit down after six months and see if they have reached 70 per cent of the people at 3+ OTS. This comes with the assumption that everyone who's seeing the ads is paying attention to it. But that's not a fact as while watching ads on TV, people do a lot of other things simultaneously. So the quality of the OTS is not good enough. And that is something that we took into account.

The focus that we are trying to bring about is that GRPs are not the means to an end. They should translate into sales for the client. Media spends in the country are going up and clients are spending anywhere between Rs 300 million - Rs 1 billion, which at the end of the day should translate into sales. Hence, instead of focusing on just GRPs, we focus on response.

Through this, two things that become relevant - one is - how do you deliver more 'bang for the buck', which is our focus and the second is CPR (cost per response) based advertising.

Our effort has also been to bring down ad avoidance as much as we can. Clients call for pitches and say that as an agency can we bring down our commission from 3.5 per cent to 3 per cent? Instead, what we tell the client is to work towards bringing down ad avoidance by 15 per cent. Increase relevance and bring down ad avoidance is what is important.

So what is Insight's core model of functioning vis-?-vis other agencies?

Typically most agencies today are GRP media agencies, which delivers media GRPs and awareness at best. What we are working towards is awareness and response and its impact on sales thus delivering measureable and tangible results to clients.

Classically, conventional planning involves media brief, strategy, plan and then the evaluation of the plan. The problem here is that most clients and agencies would evaluate a plan after six months and by that time a lot of money has already been spent on the media plan. What we are keen on doing is that we evaluate every 15 days to check out if we are on target or not? And hence we will be stressing on continuously monitoring 'business results' by looking at the attitudinal share versus the market share of the brand. Attitudinal share, for example, is when a person is leaving home with the thought in mind that he is going to buy a Sony walkman and when he reaches the shop, he ends up buying an Aiwa Walkman. So from research, we would know that 40 per cent of people were going to buy our brand but only 10 per cent ended up buying it, which means there was a leakage of 30 people. That is a market activity which the media agency has no control over.

We track things right from awareness to market share and often point out to clients where the problem is and it need not be about GRPs. So the system we have in place now at Insight is that of a Response model.

Another point in note here is that Insight was looking at initiating a change in the entire science and process of media buying and planning. Can you elaborate on that and tell us if that has been a workable model for the agency?

What was said at the time of the launch is that we will be initiating a change in the process of buying and planning. And that has come about. Today, I am not planning or buying for GRPs, I am planning and buying for response. Unless I get a set number of responses, what is the point if I buy GRPs?

Have you developed any proprietary research tools in the last one year? If yes, can you tell us about them?

We have enough relevant global proprietary research tools at our disposal. However we are adapting these tools for the response model.

Insight has not been heard about too much as compared to the other media agencies which have been around. Has it been a conscious effort to lie low?

It's a very new agency and we are right now in the process of building ourselves. We are looking at growing and qualifying in the industry and we don't want to talk too much about it because our priorities are different.

There are two ways to this - either you build a profile, talk about it and then follow it or you perform and the profile will be built on its own. I believe in the latter theory.

Looking ahead, what will Insight's core agenda be in 2005?

Deliver returns to clients and not just GRPs is what we will be focusing on. If my clients can start functioning and seeing advertising costs and investments in the way we want them to see it then it will be workable. It takes five to six big clients to start seeing that and the rest of the industry will follow.

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