Media Mavens: 'Media planning is about capitalising consumer trends and unearthing unique opportunities,' says Alliance’s V Narayanan

V Narayanan, CEO of Delhi-based Alliance, believes the new formula - C (Creative) x D (data) = CE (Consumer Experience), will change how media planning works.

By  Priyanka NairMar 21, 2023 2:45 PM
Media Mavens: 'Media planning is about capitalising consumer trends and unearthing unique opportunities,' says Alliance’s V Narayanan
As per Alliance’s V Narayanan, some of the key challenges are: Consumers reach getting more f-r-a-g-m-e-n-ted, building top of mind awareness for a brand in a fiercely contested market place is a huge challenge to procure in a digital world. Further, consumer trust is declining and it is getting more and more difficult to sustain loyalty.

Note to readers: Media Mavens is a Storyboard18 series featuring media investment firms and power players - the X-Women and X-Men who make the big calls on how and where to spend advertisers' money. This is a peek into their minds - how they work in a dynamic landscape, the next big trends they’re watching for, insights into what advertisers need today, the disruptors driving change and the factors driving their decisions. Watch this space for sharp and fast insights.

Delhi-based homegrown media agency Alliance Advertising had a good twelve months. The agency onboarded clients like CarDekho, Insurance Dekho, Kaff Appliances, Formula-e, Multani Pharma, Kanodia Group, Kuhl Fans, Coursera, Kei wires, Lava, among many others. According to V Narayanan, CEO of the agency, with content being platform agnostic, media outcomes are critical. “Clients are clearly looking at how media and communication strategies can help drive business outcomes,” he says. The agency is focusing on building first party data partners and client-owned CRM data. Along with deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning as per client requirements.

Narayanan agrees some of the challenges like lack of single source measurement of TV and digital, right talent, deficiencies in credibility and authenticity of digital data need industry level addressal. Yet, media agencies are far more future-ready than ever before.

Edited excerpts.

How has the media planning gambit changed in the recent past?

In a pre-digital era, one would understand the buyer through research and other syndicated studies. The panacea of media planners was to target them efficiently in terms of views. However, with digital being more ubiquitous, consumers place their imprints in the form of cookies, etc., which makes it sharply targeted.

Earlier, planning metrics were limited to audience views. However, currently it is a disposable world of posts, views, likes, comments, reviews, tweets, bytes, Reels, shares, add to cart, purchase, downloads, repurchase, etc.

There is a heightened need to move the metrics from SOV (Share of Voice to SOE (share of consumer experiences).

What is the single biggest change that will change the advertising business?

Today’s consumer is much smarter than the traditional journey is built for. The way consumers navigate the journey is also changing and constantly evolving. Digital transition is inevitable with digital ad spends capturing the lion’s share of India’s ad spends and digital eyeballs surpassing traditional media.

Some of the key challenges according to me are:

Consumers reach getting more f-r-a-g-m-e-n-ted.

Building top of mind awareness for a brand in a fiercely contested market place is a huge challenge to procure in a digital world.

Consumer trust is declining and it is getting more and more difficult to sustain loyalty.

What are the myths around the business of media planning that Alliance is trying to change?

There are a few. Let me break it down.

Myth: Media has not always been bought on CPRP (cost per rating point) and rates.

Truth: While rates are hygiene, we need to view media from a business outcome perspective. Hence, a paradigm shift from CPRP to cost per outcomes.

Myth: Media planning is just making plans and making timely releases.

Truth: Media is also all about driving innovations and creating disruptions. When we receive a media planning brief, our teams get back to the client with a complete communication and business outcome plan.

Myth: Media planning is all about numbers provided by the industry research sources.

Truth: Apart from the reach numbers, media planning is also about capitalising consumer trends and unearthing unique opportunities and trends.

How are you viewing the happenings like people churn, layoffs and funding winter in certain sectors like tech?

Yes, I would say there is a “technocalypse” with big tech companies struggling to drive revenue growth. One would expect a higher inflation resulting in higher relative cost per acquisitions. Clients will start relying on first party data and subsequently own a stream of data like a new age D2C brand.

How are you trying to make Alliance a future-ready company?

We are agile and tech enabled. We are powered by a ROI outcome mindset. We strongly believe this formula: C (Creative) x D (data) = CE (Consumer Experience). It’s a fact that data, creativity, and measurement being the cornerstones is shaping consumer experiences. Brands need to leverage an unprecedented level of personalization and customisation within the consumer journey, informed by data, infused by the brand purpose.

Being an independent agency, we also work cohesively and not in siloes. Future belongs to those brands whose consumer creates, tells, and shares authentic stories about the brand rather than the brand hard selling its own story. We will continue to pivot from the bottom of the funnel performance to top of the funnel approach recalibrating emphasis on performance of media. We are also focused on building on first party data partners and client-owned CRM data. Along with deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms wherever applicable.

Media space is rather mercurial and we need to stay true to your brand. Lead the change rather than the change lead you.

From a talent lens, why do you think young people are not too keen on careers in advertising? What should agencies focus on to attract them?

Yes, attracting the right talent is definitely an imperative for the agency and the industry as well especially at junior roles. It is this segment, where the perceived role is more profound than the monetary value offered.

The industry needs to look at the following to attract better talent:

1. Fostering diversity in roles and developing cross functional talent.

2. Empowering them and giving them the freedom to explore new approaches and encourage new thoughts.

3. Focus on how we build innovation as a process.

4. Leveraging technology to make mundane jobs automated.

5. Constantly celebrate and reward their success achievements.

First Published on Mar 21, 2023 8:05 AM

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