Industry POV

The youth-focussed marketing juggernaut called Valentine's Day

13 Mar 2017

As the Digital and social media agency, WATConsult turns 10, its Founder and CEO Rajiv Dingra talks about his agency’s expeditious growth, experience with DAN and shares a perspective on what stops India from bringing home Cannes Lions for Digital advertising

Digital and social media agency, WATConsult completed 10 successful years of existence last month. To mark this milestone, a CSR campaign supported by a charitable drive was rolled out by the agency. Two years after its acquisition by the Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO of WATConsult, is happy about his agency’s growth and the partnership with DAN. Here are excerpts from a conversation with him.

Despite WAT (Web, Advertising & Technology) Consult being officially acquired by DAN two years ago, not much has changed as the motto of the agency remains the same: ‘Lead innovation to stay ahead of the curve’. Explaining how the association with Dentsu has helped the agency, Dingra says, “Dentsu brings in the credibility and recognition of a global network that appeal to clients. However, it is our commitment and deep-rooted involvement in a client’s business that gives WAT the reputation it has today. Dentsu is too large an organization for micro-management of individual agencies and the freedom we have allows us to chart our own path.” With three regional offices across the country and over 290 employees, the agency has more than 55 brands on its client roster.  

The increasing share of digital ad spends makes the direction of advertising in the country clear, if not entirely obvious. For an agency that had foreseen the digital boom a decade ago, it is no surprise that technologies such as AR, AI, chatbots and other programmatic offerings are at the core of its business. “Though programmatic makes up less than 10% of the total digital ad spends in India, we have always believed in developing solutions that are ahead of its time and beyond our own bread and butter. Social CRM 24/7, Audientize, Ecommencify, and Recogn are solutions that are aiming to push the envelope of digital marketing in the country,” states a proud Dingra. While Social CRM 24/7 is a social media monitoring and response management command centre providing real time insights to brands, Audientise is a media offering that helps brands track and target the right customers online, preventing wastage of media spends. With Ecommencify, brands can sell online with ease without having to worry about tech and logistical processes. Recogn is an analytical tool providing detailed consumer insights to enhance campaign decision-making.

Anniversaries can make organizations wear some benevolent boots and dole out cash for various charitable causes. With a budget of Rs 10 lakh WATConsult intended to spend on a cause that would reflect its own principles, the ones it has sincerely been following for the past decade. Dingra says, “Many companies talk about doing CSR, but how many of them actually release funds for a cause? At WATConsult, we have always pursued our dreams, and with the #ThatsMyGirl initiative, we wanted the girl child to pursue her dreams which is only possible through education.” The agency tied-up with NGO, Nanhi Kali, and actor Kunal Kapoor’s crowdfunding platform Ketto to donate towards primary education of the girl child.   

While Indian advertising may have outdone its previous best at Cannes last year, it still did not quite shine in the digital (cyber) category with just a single bronze. When asked why India could not match up its creativity in the cyber and mobile category, Dingra has an interesting perspective to share. “The entry fee for a category at Cannes is about 1000 to 1200 Euros, which is approximately Rs 1,00,000, making it very expensive for Indian agencies to enter. Yes, there is a lot of catching-up to be done in the overall presentation and story-telling too, but budgets are the biggest concern right now,” he observes.