Most parts of the nation are entering the seventh week of the lockdown in India to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
According to a study conducted by Campaign India, which featured 28 agency heads, it's not all gloom and doom for advertising agencies in the country, with 83% of agency heads in the country believing that the advertising market will return to 'normalcy' before the end of the calendar year.
The survey was conducted between 27-30 April and consisted of responses from agency heads across the country.
The survey also reveals that during the 'work from home' period, the workload on agencies increased. 55% of the respondents stated that there's an increase on their workload, 28% stated that the workload remains the same, while 17% suggested there's a decrease in the workload.
When the lockdown was imposed, a couple of agency heads had spoken with Campaign India, about a concern of clients not paying retainer fees.
Agency heads state that 56% of the clients are paying 'little less', 33% state that they're paid their full amount. There's cause for concern though as 11% have not been paying their retainer fees.
With agencies' revenue decreasing, albeit slightly, they're looking to safeguard their employees. Only five% of the agency heads state that they might have to downsize. 56% state that this is not a consideration, while 39% state that temporary salary cuts have been given to the employees.
We also asked agency heads about changes in briefs they received from clients.
As expected, brands are engaging agencies to address the crisis and engage with the consumers meaningully. One respondent states, "Brands have become a lot more consumer-first, thinking about consumer problems and how we can solve them - something we had always pushed for, but is more relevant now than ever. Solve, not sell, is the new mantra. Speed and agility of response matter more and of course almost all communication is via digital."
Digital agencies are being kept busy with clients turning to them instead of their mainline agencies to commission work to them. Budgets are also shifting from mainline to digital across clients, especially in the pharma space. A respondent states, "Pharmaceutical companies are working, focusing more on digital media. Other brands are focusing on sprucing up their websites, their e-brochures, blogs and other collaterals. There's pretty much zero activity on social media from the hospitality and non-essential retail industry currently."
Another adds, "Nothing elaborate in terms of scripts so it’s possible to shoot remotely. More digitally led content than before."
The lockdown and working from home is making brands more driven towards strategy, business mobels, objectives and adoption of newer tools and models.
One agency head stated that a client is unsure when the consumers will start buying and hence they are sitting on projects. The agency head has had a tough time getting this client to respond too.