Collaborations …. and need for a strong vendor brand

Having worked across media/agency setup in a growth role, one gets a clear sense of what a client needs – Quick turnaround, efficient servicing, cost effectiveness and control over the entire campaign. The fact that client knows agency will further outsource the work to a vendor does not make too much of a difference, because clients hardly could come across vendor brands who are resourceful, service inclined and have the macro understanding of the business challenges client expects partner agency to solve.

Agencies on the other hand do a excellent job in branding themselves, getting a quick perspective of marketers macro level challenges, and identifying the right vendor pool to help them deliver what the client wants. This makes a lot of sense for agency business since they can have a multi city, multi market delivery capability without too much of capital investments in plant, machinery, etc. All they need to do is to have right people to assess right collaborations in delivering what the client wants. Net results agency job trains you well in areas like – importance of branding, need for multi city collaborations, and most important have a service oriented mindset.

I find these traits a lot handy while serving in a organization which is relatively new to this philosophy. Being a leader in automotive decal space and having a massive but single location manufacturing setup presents both opportunities and constraints to us.

While we take pride in our quality focused , design led solutions for emerging Retail/POP verticals, we often find it hard to scale up in a good business scenario (which thankfully is evident in last 5 months). Having faced a scenario when we had a capacity constraint owing to good business flow, we often realized that the best way to survive is to strike collaborations.

This is a positive way to grow provided you are using a strong due diligence in collaborating with a right partner. Collaborative approach in identifying partners in markets where we do not have a manufacturing hub/investments helps us a big way in clocking growth. We centralize the designs, we centralize the process, and we outsource/decentralize the actual manufacturing.

Often the cost angle also works well, since you know the cost inputs and can reasonably manage the client expectations provided you focus on delivering on time.

I realize in retrospect this is quite close to a media agency model, difference being we have a larger control on the process and costs, client expectations and requirement. What would perhaps sweeten the deal is a strong brand which can create pull from clients as well as outsourced party.

This again makes a story for why even manufacturing led sectors need a marketing strategy, a systematic approach for creating brands, and a strong PR for spreading a good word.

I am enjoying the new found joy of how to meet these challenges in a new environment, and am confident that i should be able to document a case for how a strong vendor brand can help in attracting new business and collaborations.

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