Aditya Kanthy, CEO & MD, DDB Mudra Group shares his thoughts on the 5 important things to FOCUS on in 2021 and flags off this year-ender series with flair.
Transformational power of creativity
The pandemic has made us reconsider our perspectives, attitudes and values in all aspects of life. This time in history has brought to the fore the strong role that brands’ and businesses can and must play as a part of the larger community. We have always believed that creativity is the most powerful force in business and with companies thinking more deeply about their purpose, we are looking forward to telling their stories in ways that create emotion at scale. Our people are eager to work on brands that create a positive impact in society. Take for instance, our work on Stayfree’s #ItsJustAPeriod which normalizes conversations on a girl’s first period with all family members or helping a social commerce brand Meesho unlock the entrepreneurial energy of women across the country.
Our focus in 2021 will be to continue to deliver on our promise of creating what we call, Emotional Advantage, for our clients through effective work.
Designing for digital behaviors
The last few months have made digital technologies even more central to the way we live, entertain, learn or shop. This has obvious implications for brands like
Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix and Spotify where digital technology is inseparable from the product and experience. Pioneering brands like Royal Enfield who for many years now have been using technology to tell powerful brand stories, build the community and offer personalized experiences will also benefit from these shifts.
Our focus through the next year will be to continue to build on these capabilities. From strategic advice on what these shifts mean for the brands we work with; through to thinking about media investments, experience design, CRM and e-commerce – there’s so much to do to help our clients grow.
Looking at integration in fresh ways
We don’t believe that any one company has all the answers under the same roof. Therefore, we focus on creating a culture where we play better together, not just within the group but across departments, with our clients, other agency partners, consulting firms and technology companies.
This challenges the classic idea of integration where control and power is the driving force. One such agency model of the future is already in play at our office in Delhi, where we are bringing together DDB, 22feet Tribal WW and media closer than we have in the past.
All of this is about creating a mindset and culture about openness to working with whoever we have to, in forms we may not have done before, in service of the work and the brand’s needs. Our client Star was Client of the Year at the Effies. This recognition came on the back of work where we were partnered by their in-house creative team. We are happy to share that success.
Walking the talk on I&D
2020 has blurred the lines between work and home, challenging the gender stereotypes associated with it.
To create a more gender-balanced workforce, initiatives such as Phyllis Project mentor women leaders to take on roles of influence within the company. Other programs like Open Pride and DDB Transit promote awareness, acceptance and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.
However, diversity is not just about gender and sexuality, it’s also about diversity of backgrounds. The agency has brought in talent that had never worked in agencies before. Close to 32% of our hires in the last couple of years have been from non-advertising and tech backgrounds.
All of this translates most importantly, to the kind of work we do. We are proud to partner with Diageo’s Free the Bid as advocates of equal opportunities for women directors. Some of our best work this year on brands like Stayfree, Disney+ Hotstar, Royal Challenge, Kwality Wall’s has been produced with the help of talented upcoming women directors. Exceptional creators like AkankshaSeda, ReemaSengupta, Dar gaai and ShirshaRao.
It is this concerted effort that has given us another industry-first recognition which ranks DDB Mudra Group as one of the country’s top employers in the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) this year.
Creating a winning culture
The company topped the R3 ‘New Business League’ rankings this year, making it two years in a row. This culture of winning helps the agency, and its people grow. And it helps the kind of work we do. There is a connection between this and our record of delivering business results for our clients which got us to Top 3, three years in a row at the Effies.
I believe it’s also about how the Group is committed to the growth of its people, and about hunting down the opportunities in new categories and brands that our people are excited to work on. Its opened avenues for our people to contribute to exciting brands such as Linkedin, YouTube, Bumble and more.
Perhaps, one of the few things I wouldn’t want to change from 2020.