Talkingpoint Communications Limited- a business unit of Asiatic 360 conducts the communication ways for various firms/products. To win a client’s account they go through a bid process. The information is conducted to them either by a personal call or newspaper advertisement, especially in the case of bigger clients. The pitch process revolves around all the steps and procedures the agency undergoes while preparing for the bid to win the account-deal.
The process needs to be creative, communicating the main motto or agenda of the client. The ideas are given a tangible and tentative representation via photos, descriptions, and false (dummy) photo sessions for the client to get an idea.
It starts with a meeting between the agency and the client where the needs are defined; leading to brainstorming sessions and finally the execution. The studio or art department gives it a shape as delegated and explained by the creative. The service department does the follow up time to time so that the client is aware of the progress; and thus makes changes when needed. The communication by Talkingpoint is also analyzed across the report followed by recommendations that might help have better efficiency and output.
Asiatic Marketing Communications Limited (Asiatic MCL) is one of the leading and the oldest advertising agencies of Bangladesh. It is an associate of the World’s fourth largest advertising agency, J Walter Thompson. It is the only agency that provides a 360 degree communications solution in Bangladesh.
As an intern of Asiatic Marketing Communications Limited, I worked in a unit of Asiatic MCL called the Asiatic Talkingpoint Communications Limited. My designation was ‘English Copywriter’; hence the department being the ‘Creative Section’. The creative section dealt with ideas, route and approaches that would best brand a product.
Objective of the Report/Intern
The main objectives include:
- Completion of the undergrad degree (part of course requirement)
- Practically understand the functioning of a business/firm
- Develop and enhance skills such as communication, adaptability etc
The report is compiled by:
- Collecting data from various sources, especially the concerns
- Information gathered while working as an intern
- Company’s previous annual reports and other printed materials (as far as it was accessible)
Asiatic Marketing Communications Limited (Asiatic MCL):
Asiatic started its journey in 15th March, 1966 as East Asiatic. It started servicing the generic business in the absence of brands (for instance – jute mills; they worked on a campaign to communicate the important role of jute mills in people’s lives). In 1994, East Asiatic was transformed into Asiatic Marketing Communications Ltd. Asiatic was one of the very first companies to seek international partners. In 1996, Asiatic built international partnership with J
Walter Thompson. Later in 2005, the agency was “re-launched” by dropping the name J. Walter Thompson in exchange for JWT. As being a part of the JWT family, the oldest advertising agency in the world, it has pioneered many of the advertising innovations in Bangladesh.
JWT, the fourth largest marketing communications network in the world, has nearly 10,000 employees in more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, serving over 1,200 clients. Asiatic MCL is a multi-dimensional communications company providing proactive, pragmatic and total communication solutions to a multitude of local, regional and international clients. The range of Asiatic services transcends the frontiers of advertising to cover Social Communication, Events, Public Relations, Corporate Relations, Direct Marketing, Formative Research, Media Planning and Management, and Marketing and Product Planning.
Asiatic JWT’s role is to ensure that more people spend more time with its clients’ brands and its purpose is to create ideas that people want to spend some more time with. They have a belief that the better the idea the more time people will spend with it. Asiatic Marketing Communications Limited has a lot of other companies (separate firms) under its umbrella that allows them to provide a full three sixty degree marketing communications solutions. The following concerns are under its belt:
Asiatic Talkingpoint Communications Limited
Talkingpoint started its journey around two years back, as a separate entity dealing with various companies namely Robi, Micromax, SMC and many more. The firm has three departments namely
- Service Department
- Creative Department
- Studio/Art Department
Departments in Talkingpoint
The activities, responsibilities and role of the department are included with description of how they inter communicate with each other.
The basic function of the client service department is to maintain relationship with the clients and prospects. Their main tasks govern as follows:
- Understand the demands of the client
- Communicate company procedures/policies to the client
- Delegate the demands to the other department namely creative
- Update stakeholders time to time
As the title suggests the creative activities are the responsibility of this department. The main actions include:
- Learning the product
- Visualizing the idea
- Developing a theme especially for a TV commercial
- Developing headlines, sub-headlines and body messages for an advertisement to be printed on papers
- Preparing jingles
- Deciding the route to approach target group audience depending on the parameters by the client such as cost, time etc
- Selecting and narrowing down ideas after brainstorming sessions
- Selling the idea to the client via service department or personally
- Monitoring and finalizing layout
This department is the final stage of talkingpoint responsible for the following:
- Tangible execution of the plans and ideas in the form of billboards, posters etc
- Communicate the feasibility of ideas related to execution
- Provide interpretation of their designs and work
The Pitch Process
A client approaches various communication firms to find out the optimum offers in terms of catering their requirements as well as cost. In order to be selected among the competition each advertising agency needs to present their ideas to the client. This process of preparing for the bid in order to win a deal with a client is the pitch process.
The entire procedure begins when a client on behalf of a product/firm communicates with the agency, in this case Talkingpoint (Tp). They usually mention the following issues:
- The product
- Target group
- Budget issues
- Present condition in the market
- Probable competitions
- Brand image
- Intended communication route
A personal meeting is conducted within the organization itself with the heads of the concerned departments about feasibility and profit margins. However they cannot serve two products from the same industry, such as Tp cannot serve Grameenphone as Robi is their client.
Step 03: The Brainstorming Session
This session involves people from all the three department-service, creative and studio; sometimes also from strategic planning section. The meeting involves discussion of ideas and finally narrowing down to the final point. Ideas are sometimes influenced via the following sources:
- Client requirements
- Competitor stances
The final point-route is agreed up and action plan is decided, delegated and explained. However approval from client is mandatory before starting the work. Sometimes the ideas require to be influenced by the agency because the clients do not find them meaningful. Risky, creative stances are usually backed up by strenuous rationales.
Step 04: Execution
After the route is decided the creative section and studio sets to work. In the process many new ideas are injected and many discarded. Sometimes ideas become dull after turned to a tangible form. Either the forms are changed or editing is done to make it more effective.Some of the activities include:
- Mood boards: boards with images to aid or limit the imaginations of the client.
- Sample Images
Step 05: Interpretation of Studio to Creative
The made items (posters, fliers, danglers) are explained to the service department. This is mainly done so the communication is made meaningful. Questions that might arise from the client end needs to be addressed immediately.
Step 06: Presentation
After everything is done as planned, the presentation is prepared. Certain items such as billboards images, fliers etc are compiled in a presentation slide. Television Commercials are communicated via mood boards, with headings and relevant images from stock photos. It is designed as closely as possible to the idea the agency has in mind. Preparing a ‘dummy’ is quite costly and hence avoided.
- Talkingpoint has a pool of creative and expert people
- Association with JWT ensures a global brand image and standard
- More success record as opposed to failures
- Exposure and idea pooling both nationally and internationally
- The delegation is well carried out and executed
- Public relation is well maintained
- Service department is prompt in catering needs
- International work means employees need to be connected all round the clock
- Agency sometimes sacrifices their work quality to meet the needs of the customer which are mostly stereotyped
- Ideas are not communicated well due to multiple contact points between agency and client
- Sometimes agency is relaxed as it is renowned and have good profit margin already
- Over utilization of resources which reduces employee motivation
- Higher cost to client (due to higher personnel cost)
Integrated marketing communication process have become popular among marketers at recent times as it provides marketers the option of using different promotion tools to attract consumers rather than using only advertising. Therefore, in the present world, advertising agencies have become an important player in the communication process as they are the one who can provide continuous support to the marketers to showcase their message to the consumers in the most effective and affordable ways. As Bangladesh is an emerging market for advertisement industry, Asiatic JWT (more specifically Talkingpoint) has to take some step to cope up with the huge competition. Some recommendations are suggested below:
- Single point of contact between client and agency: Communication is easier when the account in charge is the single point of contact. The account in charge can then delegate the work accordingly and therefore properly utilize resources.
- Push the better ideas of agency: As Talkingpoint is headed by an established entity; they should not lower their benchmark in order to meet client requirements. They need to protect their quality of work and reputation simultaneously. The options that they provide to clients should range within their quality maintenance parameters.
- Construction of a comprehensive long-term plan: For every client, at the end of the year a full comprehensive plan can be presented of the following year and move ahead accordingly and track the progress against the plan.
- Need adequate or correct marketing research: Before each campaign a comprehensive market research is needed to understand the position of the brand in the market. In that way safer and better measures can be taken and planned accordingly.
- Enhance the resource competence: Since there is a lot of work, the employee resource needs to be properly utilized. Processes also need to be simplified and explained to the employees to develop their skills and handle new ventures well. Workshops should be organized at a regular basis so that employees can further develop their skills and use it for the betterment of the organization.
- Enhance the coordination between departments and relevant team: Since different departments work on different parts of a project a regular update mail by each of the departments would help keep everyone well informed about what the other departments are doing and together execute a successful campaign.
It’s been just 40 years of liberation and 36 years of advertising. In the last decade, we have learned to think differently. Our human resources are developing very fast. They are now more learned and skilled. It is for sure that if these people get some academic lessons on advertising, then they will surely perform very well in the near future. This report can be concluded with the following decisions:
A. Bangladesh needs some very creative people and that’s why it needs a place to teach the different components of IMC.
B. Government and big conglomerates should help the agencies to acquire technologies that will develop the local skills and also save foreign currencies.
C. Regular advertising competitions should be held to encourage new comers.
This study has helped me to know the in-depth of agency activities, opportunities to improve further in engaging customers with brands and future business opportunities in the market. Basically, an advertising agency is involved with the activity of advertising, brand development, branding and designing, retail solutions, database management, PR, specialized event management and solutions. So, I have learned a lot from all these activities and I hope my recommendations will help Talkingpoint to enhance its internal activities by trying to solve the problems that disturbs their productivity. With the existing name, resources and few further steps, Talkingpoint can make their services break the clutter of other agencies and be even more demanding to the clients.