Navin Kansal is a familiar name in the Indian agency world, specially for his contribution in the creative field. The Mumbai man has been a Creative Director with over 18 years of experience, of which more than a decade makes for experience in digital. He has seen digital evolve in the country while working for more than 9 years at OgilvyOne Worldwide, close to half a decade at Grey Digital and now he is part of another well known digital agency Indigo Consulting as the National Creative Director.
In May, after working for close to five years, Navin decided to move from Grey Digital and in a way get out of the comfort zone. In these five years he had many wins along with his team at Grey. “I have had a great run at Grey Digital. Be it the kind of work that we pulled off on a regular basis – effective in the marketplace and feted by the fraternity, the consistency in pulling off new business wins, getting featured amongst the Top 3 Digital Agencies by Brand Equity or becoming the Agency of the Year at the Indian Digital Media Awards. So moving on was not an easy decision to make,” Navin shared over an email interaction with Lighthouse Insights.
Post Grey Digital, Navin has taken the responsibilities of a National Creative Director at Indigo Consulting, a Mumbai-based digital marketing agency. The creative man is already more than a month old in the agency which he defines as the very few digital agencies that have the capability to not just execute campaigns but create digital products and experiences. “It is blessed with a robust technology team, it’s perhaps the only agency of its kind to have a full-fledged UX Lab, it has strong offerings on the mobility front- in a way it’s totally geared to be forward-facing.”
Navin isn’t a complete stranger as Harshad Hardikar, COO, Indigo Consulting has known him since his Ogilvy days. Besides this has been a critical hire for Indigo since the agency has been in the news for fast track in its growth as a full-service digital agency and a technology hub for clients.
“Navin and I have worked together in the past and I am fully convinced about his great ability to think big brand ideas that can create magic for brands, using digital media. This is the most critical position we were waiting to fill-in for some time. I’m sure that Navin’s creative acumen coupled with his leadership skills will take Indigo’s creative reputation to new heights,” Harshad said.
Giving more insights on his new responsibility, Navin shared that his immediate priority is to bring about a marked difference in the creative output that has been steady so far but can deliver a whole lot more in solving business problems and raising the bar. “I want to hit the sweet spot that lies at the intersection of brand, consumers and platforms with communication that is persuasive and relevant and am looking forward to mentoring the team on that front.”
One of the reasons why Navin wants to bring a marked difference in creative output specially for social media is due to lack of seriousness behind branded posts shared on social media. “It is important that branded Facebook posts are treated with the gravitas, finesse and time that one would otherwise bestow on a print ad or a video worth watching. So they get noticed and hopefully acted upon by consumers. But that rarely happens.”
Further, he added, “The time and the talent required to invest in the effort is often at cross-purposes with the retainers that typically constitute social media mandates. It’s a problem that some specialist agencies are themselves guilty of perpetuating – by hiring greenhorns, promising clients the moon and settling for meager retainers that leave hardly any wiggle room. As a result there is dissatisfaction at both ends – be it managing expectations or delivery-not to mention quality. And it’s been detrimental to the industry as a whole.”
Apart from acquiring, retaining talent and the general apathy around social media content, the creative director gets worried by the way some clients are looking to measure ROI from social media. “Some marketers also need to start walking the talk and re-look at boosting their ad spends on digital not just from a media perspective, but from a production perspective as well. For instance, just because it’s a ‘web video’ and not a TV spot, doesn’t mean it has to be cheap and reflect poor production values. While things have begun to change on that front, they need to accelerate a lot more.”
Making a difference in content is also coupled with the responsibility of agency portfolio expansion to various categories. “I typically tend to list my to-do on my way to work. Funnily, the to-do list tends to expand the moment I step into office! I guess it’s the unexpected that tends to blindside you. But that’s what keeps it interesting and the adrenaline flowing.”
In this short period of more than a month, he has already been involved in a couple of integrated pitches, made rounds to the Bengaluru and New Delhi Indigo office and the much required client meetings.
While the first half of 2015 is behind us, Navin is charged up for the second half at Indigo consulting as its National Creative Director.