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Advertising world should re-strategise business now to sustain the impending economic blow

Focus on cash flows, attracting new business, sales

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NEW DELHI: The ongoing global lockdown prompted by the deadly COVID-19 has pushed the world economy off a cliff, with even the most developed nations staring into an impending dark phase of recession. The Indian economy, which was already dealing with certain setbacks, is also going to be hit severely. The situation is expected to pave the way for a totally new world and how businesses are done in the coming seven to eight months.

Advertising agencies will have to amp up their strategies significantly to deal with the looming uncertainties and work with a fresher perspective, stated Ad-Vice Software and Consulting Inc founder Vincent G Gong, addressing the advertising community over a Zoom conference, organised by the Advertising Club of Bangalore.

During the hour-long session, Gong shared many tips and tricks with the agencies to keep their business afloat, including suggesting them to stick to a concrete business plan, keeping an eye on their own as well as the clients’ finances, and considering sensitivity analysis of their forecasts.

He recommended ten immediate steps to be taken in the next 90 days to prevent a sliding business, including determining early on for how many months they can pay expenses without any revenue and planning their expenses accordingly.

Gogh prompted the agencies to think twice about entering any long-term obligations during these times and prevent touching their line of credit, but should continuously be looking out for new businesses.

He added that agencies should be focusing on sales efforts, and if possible control the payrolls.

While he said that companies should be considering different steps other than a termination to manage the payrolls, he also warned that any employee who is not doing a hundred per cent for the agency should fear a layoff and agencies be prompt in taking decisions related to expenses. He also asked ad firms  to be very transparent with their employees regarding their pays and job security to keep up the employee morale.

Gong's belief is that agencies should not be chasing clients for money as everyone is going through pain. "Keep reminding them that you need to pay your bills, but you need to remember that  it is a partnership that you have with your client," he stated.

His action plan also mentioned an improvement in daily project management systems, with more involvement of employees, generation of better briefs and a close vigil on estimates versus actual costs.

To keep hold of existing clients, he urged the agencies to develop a far better understanding of the clients’ consumers and keep innovating with fresher ideas. He insisted that agencies should be willing to turn small projects into elaborate programmes to keep the clients engaged.

Gogh clarified that the agencies might have to make some difficult decisions in the coming three months, but if they do not swallow the bitter pill now, it will become harder for them to keep the shop running in the future.

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