Dentsu Aegis Network made a great show at the Goafest 2016 by winning 83 metals altogether. The metals were divided between Taproot Dentsu (40 metals), Dentsu Creative Impact (23 metals), Dentsu Webchutney (13 metals), Isobar (3 metals) and Dentsu Marcom and Vizeum (2 metals each).
Obviously, Taproot Dentsu led the show for DAN and stood at second position in the overall metals tally right after J. Walter Thompson. However, Dentsu Creative Impact, on its debut performance at Goafest, surprised the entire industry by winning 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 18 Bronze metals across seven categories, which included Radio, Print Craft, Print Single, Direct, Design, Ambient and OOH.
So, what led Dentsu Creative Impact's Journey from a Nobody to a Winner?
Dentsu Creative Impact, a creative arm of the DAN, was established in 2007 but was not able to make much of a show in its early days. Though it had some big accounts but was not known for its creative spark.
However, in last 4-5 years, the agency has started picking up steam under the leadership of Narayan Devanathan, Group Executive and Strategy Officer, (erstwhile CEO, Dentsu Creative Impact); Amit Wadhwa, President, Dentsu Creative Impact; Kartikeya Srivastava, SVP & Head of Strategic Planning, Dentsu Creative Impact; and Soumitra Karnik, NCD, Dentsu India Group.
Speaking to AdAge India, Karnik recalls that initially when he joined Dentsu, his counterparts in other agencies, objected to the decision and prevented him from going for it. "When we used to go for pitches, people did not know about us and asked 'Dentsu Who?'" shares Karnik.
Dentsu was primarily seen as a media planning/strategy agency and not many brands and marketers were willing to bet their money with the creative arm. This led to a situation where Dentsu Creative Impact was dying. As a result, not much talent was also willing to join Dentsu Creative Impact.
Wadhwa mentions that in the beginning his utmost priority was to survive, which meant making money for the agency. "During that time, all of us were into new business development. We used to make cold calls to brands as they were not inviting us to pitches. Since we all had worked in large networks previously and knew people in the industry, we were able to connect to several brands, who after persuasion invited us to pitch. Fortunately, our conversion rate for pitches started turning high and we clinched some good businesses beating some of the top agencies of the country. But, initially, very few people believed in us," recalls Wadhwa.
In last four years, the agency has bagged some good clients such as HT Shine, Maruti, Max Healthcare, Tetra Pak, Max India, Delhi Dynamos, Carlsberg, Shalimar Paints, and Yale Locks.
The agency claims to have hired good talent, and is focusing on producing good creative output. Devanathan shares that on the back of good creative output, the agency has been multiple businesses from one brand. "We are now servicing a large portfolio of Maruti product and similarly, our relationship began with one business from HT Media and today we are handling four business of the brand," adds Devanathan.
Interestingly, the agency was not participating in awards until 2015, be it Effies, Emvies, Abby's, Kyoorious or Cannes, as it believed that it did not have the right kind of work to showcase at these events. Srivastava says, "Honestly, we were settling in and were in the process of putting things into the right context including teams, creative function, clients, strategy and servicing. Our focus was more on clients because if we did not have clients, we obviously would not have work to show."