- Two months after joining Wunderman Thompson,
Shamsuddin Al-JassaniIt is all set to move the agency’s business in South Asia forward.
- Jasani talks to us about the future of the advertising industry, what employees expect of a leader as COVID concerns grow across the country, the challenges and opportunities that await him as CEO of a creative agency, and his larger vision for the agency.
After 13 years of Dentsu’s Isobar – which has grown from a team of two people to more than 300 people across South Asia, Shamsuddin Jasani joined creative advertising agency Wunderman Thompson in October 2021. In his new role as CEO of the South Asian Market, he is excited to continue Wunderman Thompson’s creative legacy and marriage to data, commerce, and technology.
Before this huge career change, he asked himself, “Where does the future of the agency model lie?”
Telling us why he chose Wunderman Thompson, Jasani said, “The agency was right at the juncture where I thought we needed to evolve from. It also allows me the flexibility to have that vision and take Wunderman Thompson to where I feel the agency model needs to get to. I want to bring it in from a creative and technical perspective, to add to the beautiful legacy that already exists for a creative agency to experience the brand.”
The rules of the game change every minute in a dynamic world like digital marketing and traditional advertising. Gassani stated that the type of competitive group that exists today is very different than it was even a few years ago. He was quick to realize that he needed to be ahead of the curve and decided to move from Isobar.
He explained, “This means that our group of competitors is evolving not just from having the traditional agency model – they will stand out and evolve into completely different platforms. That is why the idea is to take what they have learned, and marry digital first and technology thinking to creative thinking first. The goal is to innovate a model The most appropriate agency in today’s world. Wunderman Thompson already had these components, it’s just about putting it all together.”
After the pandemic, there is no doubt that consumer behavior and shopping patterns have changed. From medicines and groceries to luxury cars, internet users make a lot of online purchases. However, this does not mean that people have lost interest in experiencing the physical world around us or purchasing based on feeling and smell.
Therefore, Jasani is looking to enhance the existing capabilities of Wunderman Thompson and combine it with his specialty – commerce.
“As we enhance our trading capabilities, we will also go to our clients and say, ‘How can I marry that to commerce?'” Because today, commerce is going to be just as important as the marketing communication that we do. We’re going to break this journey down into six months, a year, and two years. Evolution began as a brand experience agency talking about marketing and advertising and adding digital components to it — the innovations that new media brings, exploring how they coexist Online and Offline.Phygital’s full experience of how to take people from online to offline and back again will be very important to solve a lot of our customers’ needs.It’s about how we can be relevant and work with them to solve their needs at every touch point in the consumer journey, Jasani said, Including what happens after purchase.”
Prepare for the impending wave of COVID-19
Jasani moved to a new agency when it finally seemed that the COVID numbers were under control. With more and more citizens being vaccinated every day, hope and optimism are beginning to replace uncertainty and anxiety. Consumer sentiment rose and employees returned to work from the office. However, in just the past two weeks, India has seen a rapid resurgence of COVID cases. We may be on our way to recap in 2020 and employees will need to support their leader once again. Customers and their budgets for traditional media may also go down.
Gasani is confident that employees and customers are more prepared for the third wave than they were in 2020.
He said, “The number one thing that always has on our mind is the health and wellness of all employees, but I also wanted to talk about how this is a situation where we need to be very agile in how we interact, in terms of people and externally as well as for clients. So we Totally supportive.We have everything to make sure our teams feel supported.They feel they are part of the Wunderman Thompson team but at the same time, their safety and security are also taken care of.Conversely, we still want people – once things get back to normal, or At least the new normal as they call it – they start interacting so much more. We’re still working on an agency setup, it’s all about people working together to come up with some great solutions. While digital media is a great medium, a lot of that really leads To really expand the scope of people working together. So, we’re looking at a very agile hybrid model where we want to have these pockets of inspiration that we want people to absorb, which can be both physical and digital.”
As we prepare for another possible wave of COVID-19, Jasani has one piece of advice for brands and agencies.
Sharing what consumers expect of brands this time, he said, “I think brands have to be true. People see through brands and companies that only do public service ads, so it’s very important to be honest. And second, we’re more prepared for this.” The wave is better than we were in the last wave. So a lot of that communication still needs to be natural. We simply need to develop our channels, the way consumers can interact with us, reach us and buy things
It will be about making it seamless for them, in whatever communication you make. It’s about making things easier for the consumer. If I have to put it in one line, it’s about how to create that sense of ease and fluidity.”
A bigger vision for the agency
Wunderman Thompson and Jasani’s vision for the next three years is to increase the size of the agency to twice its size.
About his game plan to achieve that goal, he said, “We will do this by taking our legacy and adding a layer of commerce, technology and MarTech, as well as doing a great job creatively. I think that’s something that never changes, creativity will always be at the center of everything we do. In fact, This focus on creativity is only going to increase in 2022 and 2023 — focus on doing great work, really helping customers participate in this ever-evolving landscape and making the consumer experience even better. I think that’s what 2022 is all about.”