Sanjeev Kotnala: Account loss ka Gum Tum Kya Jaano

12 Jul,2017

By Sanjeev Kotnala


It feels bad. It feels stupid.

It is de-motivating, and you are left wondering what went wrong.

When the brand moves in advertising business, it breaks many hearts and in some case careers.

That is not even half the story.

It is nothing new.
It is part of life, and it happens to the best of us.

It does not matter who were the people on the account.

It does not matter which agency was handling the account.

What is a career in advertising, if it is not filled with pitches won and lost?

However, it is not so simple.

It is painful for the concerned, and the winner celebrates in quietly with a smirk on his face. The heart fears unimaginable tenure and the mind over-ride it with fake confidence.

The team is changed, and they are ready to redefine the business. They have no idea of the sacrosanct line that they must never cross.

It is okay when one loses an account because of inaction or because of some global alignment. At least, there is some fallback. There is someone else to blame. There is not much to do. What happens when you have cited the change a long time back?

Tsunami was sure to hit the beach. You knew it was around the corner, and yet you could only wait.

Everyday you walked those lanes and entered the lift; you knew it could be the last day on that account. Nevertheless, you never show it.

What happens when the client is a long-standing client. And the relationship is a perfect example for rest of the industry. Where like Jai and Viru, the client and the agency enjoyed a position of mutual respect and credit.  What happens when it was the brand where the agency purposefully paused in their credential to draw your attention?

What happens if that is brand that many stalwarts have cut their teeth in advertising? What happens when you have the onus of keeping the new love fresh to beat the old records?

What happens when the world trains their eyes on the winner. They are expected to weave the magic. Some ex-industry people now expect the winners at least to build the brand for future.  Does that give the relationship the sleepless night?

What happens when the category needs redefinition and the client wants to play safe and still chase the dwindling interest.

What happens when everyone willingly looks the other way? People that talk of rejection fee and selective pitching; pitch their tent for the business. The gut feeler’s deep dives for the pearl of insights and in absence even manufacture few credible ones.

What happens when the client fails to realise the obvious. They fail to see how it can be uncomplicated and still be right. Definitely, this is the period when the client stands insulated in its self-made cocoons. When the client loses the passion to redefine, and the agencies become the scapegoats.

What happens when it was the pain-in-the-ass sadistic client who paid the ever-expanding bills of the agency and shot abroad for the films?

What happens when just before you heard the news, you had the best idea pop in your head that made you see Elephants, Loins and few lotuses?

All for that adrenaline pushing nod from the man on the business.

Sometime it is seen as people centric confidence. Big teams and brands cannot be so fickle said the wise cowboy to me. And that seems logical.

Both the sides of client-agency business get together. They look at the blank walls and ask simple questions. They know there are no valid answers. Answers to soothe their injured egos or explain the episode.

The brand motorbike riding white-haired baba raises his thick eyebrows to ask and tells; you don’t need a B-school education to build brands. Just a healthy curiosity in human being is all we need to answer the five common sense questions every brand has to answer. One way or the other, he adds on the screen.

The only way forward is to close the book. Take the learning. Start writing the new chapter.


The above is possible with rich contribution from the gang of experts who have ideas, solution and divergent point-of-view on everything. 


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