Two-year-old Vizeum is Aegis Media’s ‘intellectual’ media agency. It prides itself on delivering a profit in the first year of operation and not losing a single client or resource since it began. Here are excerpts from a conversation with S Yesudas, managing director, Vizeum India.
You have won business in pitches against established players. What is your USP for a successful pitch? Tell us about a tough pitch and the strategy that won you the account.
Our USP is to do what we do from our heart. At Vizeum, a lot of time, energy and resources get invested in understanding the real business issues of clients. We look at the brief from various angles to actually pull out one critical business issue. For an FMCG client, the issue we culled out was about retailers giving out the competitor’s brand as the first choice when consumers ask for the generic category. While others focused on increasing SOV at optimised cost, we looked at ways to ensure that the retailers gave out the client’s brand as the first choice. For another category, we understood the issue as maximum revenue contribution from smaller markets which will only allow marginal incremental growth. While others focused on reaching those consumers, the solution proposed by us included consumer habit formation for the category in new 1 million+ markets. Our solution cost the client 1/20th of what was proposed although we work at a commission on the overall investment by the client. We know if there’s ever a review on his business, we would always start a few notches above the other participants.
How do you decide the media mix for a client? How do print and TV fare vis a vis digital and new media in the current scenario?
Our thinking is media neutral. Hence media mix allocation takes shape on the basis of the nature of the problem we are dealing with. For a B2C client which has an identified problem of leakage of consumers at the areas of preference and consideration, we would focus on brand experience, interactions and creation of ambassadors while for a B2B client who is interested in attracting investments into his company, the focus would be to get the story on the company’s performance and future plans placed in front of the financial community in as captive a manner as possible. Media channel choices as well as the allocation of resources in the chosen channels would be completely different in both cases. Traditional media channels are here to stay, the consumption patterns will change, though. So TV and Print will not get replaced by new media. Digital/new media has a clear role to play in the media mix for many categories and consumer segments and in the current context it compliments traditional media.
As a brand custodian, which do you think is the most effective vehicle to carry a brand message today?
As we move from a communication era of search to discovery, we believe it is important to get the consumers to talk about the brands. Since it is not just about audience buying and selling any longer, but also about co-creation, media channels themselves are open to radical ways of consumer connect, which also determine the channel choices and the kind of initiatives or programmes one would want to embark on different media channels. While digital might be very effective for an initiative to create user-generated content, Radio might work wonders to pull audiences to a destination to take part in a brand experience initiative. Both could be targeted at the same consumer group. However, from a cost per contact perspective, TV, with all its limitations, currently scores over the others.
How would you wean away prize clients from competitors?
In the first two years of our operation, we scanned the market for potential entry points and told clients stories that they had never heard. Almost all of them converted. And each of them is our ambassador today. When clients at large get to know about what we do from our own customers, we do not need to stand in long pitch queues. About 28% of Vizeum’s revenue last year came from referral businesses, where our existing clients referred us to others. Gone are the days when clients looked at media agency engagements based on aggregation and therefore cost savings. Today, by and large, clients realise that there’s no point in getting a good CPRP if the consumer he is interested in talking to is not paying attention to his communication. So we are not really worried about our ability to wean away clients. We will always have very unique and compelling solutions for each of our clients. The investments we make in our talent base also reflect this.
What is the core ideology that guides Vizeum functions?
Our core belief is: We do not start with an ad. We do not start with media. We start from a different place… How people make decisions about brands today: Through marrying timeless human motivation with new behaviours. We identify moments of maximum motivation in their lives. Then leverage the creative power of media to connect brands and consumers. And help our clients’ brands grow.
Clients: 27 clients in varied categories and consumer segments – ranging from solar lamps that sell in the rural areas to a multi-billion dollar corporation with business interests in various parts of the world. MTV, BlackBerry, Essar, TI Cycles are some names.