Brands are already juggling with multiple agencies for Creative, Digital and PR. And now we are being told that brands will have to work with a specialist content solution provider. But isn’t that the job of a digital or creative agency? Then why have a specialist content solution provider like MEC Wavemaker.
Kumar Deb Sinha, Head – MEC Wavemaker thinks content cuts across platform. It should not be bucketed as content for digital, content for TV or Radio. “I think the biggest problem facing a client today is far too many teams working on their business and not talking to each other. Even the units responsible for creating content such as social media, creative, SEO, experiential & partnerships are at times managed by multiple different agencies with limited access to each other.”
The result of that is the client gets multiple content solutions for the same brief, which are not talking to each other, which is a sub-optimal way of functioning. At MEC Wavemaker we have brought all those content creating units under one umbrella, so that the client gets a unique content solution not multiple ideas developed by individual teams in their own silo’s.
Sharing his thoughts over an email with Lighthouse Insights, he adds, “Rarely have we evaluated content with the lens of driving client’s business goals, which we aim to do for each piece of content that we create for clients.”
This April, MEC, the media agency had launched Wavemaker. According to the agency, Wavemaker’s integrated offering brings together content strategy, social, partnerships and experiences, search engine optimisation (SEO) and creative service expertise in every market.
“Consumers love content that engages them. Clients love content that makes a difference to their business. We can help the brand to see exactly what role content can play in their customers’ lives and how that will directly affect their brand’s performance.
This will give them the ability to tell the difference between a nice idea and a really great one: one that will transform their brand. It gives them the confidence to invest in content knowing it’s taking their brand forward,” Sinha had said.
MEC Wavemaker creates content that measurably improves a brand’s performance. This includes short and long form written and video content, imagery and infographics, apps, search content development, video optimisation, community management, influencer outreach, talent, sports, entertainment, as well as create partnerships and activations.
It has also tied up with #fame – India’s first live video entertainment platform for content partnership.
The agency has been launched simultaneously in 10 countries (including India) with over 750 people. In India, MEC Wavemaker is being led by Sinha, a branded content practitioner with more than 12 years of experience in content marketing. He is reporting to T Gangadhar, managing director, MEC South Asia.
Further, he adds that the content agency will not function as a separate agency but as the content arm of MEC globally.
“We believe our content offering is strengthened by the media strategy, insights & amplification expertise of MEC, while we add content & creative expertise to the media solutions provided by MEC to their clients. It becomes a win-win situation for both the client & the agency.”
The idea of offering all services under one umbrella has been an age old one. While it definitely reduces multiple parties but at the same time it puts a stop on specialized agencies. The 360 degree has been good on paper but is yet to find pace and acceptance with clients who still prefer to work with multiple agencies.
Speaking to Lighthouse Insights early last year Vineet Gupta, Co-Founder at 22Feet had shared that he simply fails to buy the whole integrated and 360 degree offering. “Networks have been integrated for long but it is very rare to find one client that is taking all services from just one agency. Just because digital has started off, the entire integrated story should not become stronger. Today clients have different PR agencies, below the line agencies, creative agencies, among others. In my view clients are not asking for integration for the heck of integration.”
Even if some clients buy the integration story, digital agencies have enough to chew upon and deliver, informed Sandip Maiti, CEO at Experience Commerce. “Today we are winning pitches while competing along with global agencies. There is enough room to grow since the market is growing really fast and if an independent agency can run it responsibly then it can survive like we have done for a decade now,” he said.
MEC Wavemaker, however, still fills the business need; it is attempting to bring content to the center of brand-communication strategy, rather than limiting content as a “good to do” innovation.
While these are early days for MEC Wavemaker but Mercedes Benz India, one of MEC’s clients is pretty excited with the India launch. “We have been working with MEC for six years and I am impressed with its content offer. Strategically rooted in media, data and technology and with clear business outcomes, this is going beyond content. It’s allowing us to create content towards a specific goal which is measurable. We welcome the launch of MEC Wavemaker in India,” Amit Thete, general manager, marketing communications, Mercedes Benz India shared.
Apart from industry acceptance for a specialized content agency, MEC faces another huge challenge which every publisher is aware of, ‘Discovery.’ In this digital world creating content is no more the only challenge but getting discovered is another huge challenge. Sinha is well aware and terms discovery of the content piece extremely critical.
“The biggest chunk of our work happens post the content is created, so that we reach out to the audience we have identified in the first stage, at the most optimum cost using multiple platforms of distribution to meet the brand KPI’s we have identified for the content piece. We use data tools at every stage, to ensure we reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right piece of content to achieve the right objective which finally drives brand business outcomes.”
Meanwhile, the agency has uploaded a video that shows how MEC Wavemaker is a radically different approach to how you should think about content and how you can use it to improve your brand’s performance.