Recently, Nidhi Rastogi, Marketing Director of Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo India, put out a LinkedIn post calling for pitches from creative agencies. She wrote, "If you are passionate about the brand and have innovative ideas that can enhance brand love, we want to hear from you.” The company is looking for an agency in India that will help establish its presence.
Following Rastogi’s cue, Varun Mundra, vice president, Motilal Oswal, put up a post appreciating Uniqlo’s move and said he would also like to connect with agencies. Mundra’s post was not really a call for pitch but more of a networking exercise. Porsche India has also put a LinkedIn post to invite agencies. The auto brand is looking for an agency who can partner with them to execute, track, and fine-tune the brand's digital campaigns across platforms. Earlier, marketers met agencies through referrals or past experiences. However, like everything else, many marketers are turning to social media to hunt for their next agency partner.
These posts are getting mixed reactions from agencies. Sai Ganesh, an independent marketing consultant and Dunzo’s former brand head, views this as a welcome change. According to him much like agencies, brands are also finding creative ways to look for partners. However, he thinks it’s high time the pitch process is revamped. “Brand managers don’t really need to see demo scripts and ad films to evaluate an agency. They can ask for decks that have answers to their business problems and be open to the idea of paying agencies for the time they invest in it,” he explains.
Mihir Joshi, founder of Mumbai-based creative studio Dijma, has similar views. He says, “I think it is a good idea, but the brand needs to ensure that they are not getting lost in a pile of creative decks. Engaging with multiple agencies means you are having a lot of conversations, so you are going to get lots of proposals. If you know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or have a strong request for proposal (RFP), then this makes sense.”
Some agencies are also seeing this as a tactical play by marketers. “Sometimes, these posts are nothing but a warning for the brand’s existing agency. Sometimes, a marketer may have an over-ambitious idea and put out a post. Sometimes, they just want free ideas. There are several reasons why a marketer would go on social media to do this, and most of the time such posts are unproductive,” said a founder of an independent creative agency.
Small and mid-sized agencies pitch to brands who have sharp briefs. They partner with marketers who view them as co-creators rather than just vendors. Omkar Joshi, founder of the digital-first consulting shop hybrid>, views social media posts calling for a pitch “lazy.”
“Even if a brand puts out such a post, they should take the effort to put together a note. There has to be a criteria. Great client-agency relationships are made when there are processes in place. There are many clients who put in hours of hard work while defining the pitch process,” he says.