Jaldi 5 with Darshana Bhalla: Talent management needs recognition

08 Feb,2013

By A Correspondent


Maintaining stardom for new-age celebrities is no longer confined to getting roles and films. The growth of advertising and alternative means have expanded the horizon from endorsements to appearances to event participation and many more. The emergence of media agencies, such as Mates, specialized in handling the 360-degree portfolio of celebrities, has added a corporate angle to this business. Darshana Bhalla, CEO, Mates, talks to MxM India about her agency and the industry.


01. Is India an evolved market for your agency?

India is not a very evolved market. The strategies are substitutable. However, if the agency and talent focus on developing strategies of building revenues for their talent, vis-a-vis transacting them, I think this can grow into a much bigger place.


02. How has Mates been growing?

Mates was established about eight years ago when Madison and Teamwork came together. Today we are seeing higher growth than industry numbers year-on-year.


03. What makes your agency tick?

We have better understanding of our clients, including advertisers and celebrities only because of the pedigree we come from. We are an advertising agency first, and everything else later. So it is in our DNA to understand the clients-need before we actually provide solutions to them. We provide solutions, and do not push our commercials.


Five years down the line, we see ourselves being able to provide much larger value to our clients, which includes advertisers as well as our talent. We will be hopefully be able to create methodologies and research formats that will also aid the industry.


04. Working with stars and celebrities: Is it as glamorous as it sounds?

The glamour quotient with any individual who is working in this industry will last for a month. Post that it is not about glamour, it is always about value and service. As we talk, each one is representing a very vulnerable brand in the country – celebrities. Effort and thinking that goes behind each of them, overtakes the glamour preference that you have when you are entering the industry.


05. What are your concerns about this industry?

Mates is a mid-sized agency. Finding and managing talent is always a concern. I always feel that mould people into this. But I am hoping, with time to come we will have domain experts in this industry.


Other than this, whether it is celebrity or film business, there are hardly any research methodologies and data or papers available to analyze the decision taken in this area. It’s time the advertising industry starts recognising that this is an important part of advertising. If you look at the top 100 brands, my assumption is that top 25-30 brands at any given point in time will have celebrities. If that’s the kind of momentum that this entire format of advertising to get brand ambassadors, then there should be recognition for it in industry forums. Currently, there is no recognition for it. There are no mentions or analysis related to this industry.


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