S Yesudas, Managing Director of Vizeum the agency launched in 2009 as part of the Aegis Media Group, says it is the ‘Vizeum difference’ that has made its clients its ambassadors.
Many in the media agency business believe that Indian media agencies are governed by the ‘maximum participation for maximum business wins’ approach. Most agencies may not have retention of clients as top priority, but Aegis Media, which has several key accounts in its kitty - some through global affiliation and some through persistent efforts to win new businesses - believes in the philosophy that it does not want to grow multi-fold in the short term. The agency is focused on steady growth for long-term success. Vizeum, one of the key agencies of the Aegis Group, recently completed three successful years in India.
When asked why the agency is focused on retaining existing clients rather than expanding the scale of business, S Yesudas, Managing Director of Vizeum, reiterated the philosophy of the agency: “Scale is a theory in our opinion.” For him, the fight is not about creating a good-looking, short term bottomline by categorizing clients based on the revenue potential they offer the agency “like some other ‘large’ agencies do”.
Though it is difficult for him to recall many setbacks in the last three years of the agency’s operation, Yesudas clearly recalls the four important achievements of the company he has been leading. Statistics, too, support two of its key achievements - profitability and growth based on referral business. In addition, Vizeum delivered profit in the very first year of its operation, and 30% of its revenue last year came from pure referral businesses where existing clients referred the agency to others. This is just one of the reasons that make the agency believe that it will be able to retain its clients longer than usual.
“Currently, we have a set of clients who have experienced the Vizeum difference and would never go back to the factory environment,” Yesudas informs. Vizeum recently bagged two new accounts in two different business categories - Bloomberg UTV and VEEV. The agency is now present in various categories and consumer segments of the business, but it wants to expand across various consumer categories and win big-ticket clients too. “Because they have deep pockets and the need to ‘spend’ a certain amount, their focus is very different. But, I’m pretty sure, we will get cracking on one such client sooner than later. Once we are able to do that, he will understand how he can conserve his cash and actually ‘save’ and deliver better impact too,” says Yesudas.
Like other business verticals, Vizeum, too, went through tough times, especially at the time of its inception in India and setting up operations in three cities. The landlord of Vizeum’s Chennai operation backed out a week before the launch of the office and some talent at senior levels also declined their offers at the last minute. “But I believe everything happens for the best. We got a much better office, in the heart of Chennai at a lower cost, we hired better people and eventually built a profitable business,” recalls Yesudas. Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of Vizeum has been its approach towards its clients and its highly proactive work culture. Yesudas calls it the ‘Vizeum difference’.
The agency has established the business and retained clients successfully over the last three years in India amid a positive growth environment. It looks forward to take on bigger advertisers now. “I hope one of those clients who are really concerned about their money is reading this and would give us a call,” Yesudas concludes.