This financial year, we will grow at Rediffusion by about 60% in revenue: Sandeep Goyal
Sandeep Goyal wears many hats – media entrepreneur, businessman, author, and adman. Back at the helm at Rediffusion, India’s oldest surviving advertising agency and one of the largest independent ones, Goyal has several ambitious plans to restore the agency to its former glory – and even surpass it. As is known, Goyal bought Rediffusion and Everest in May 2021. Goyal, who was President of Rediffusion from 1997 to 2001, has taken charge as the Managing Director of the group.
In an exclusive conversation with Adgully, Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director, Rediffusion, speaks about his vision and plans for Rediffusion, growing the team with a mix of ad veterans and young blood, working in the domain of Metaverse, NFTs, Blockchain, AI, AR and Machine Learning, the future roadmap for Rediffusion and Everest, and more.
Single minded vision
I bought both Rediffusion and Everest in May 2021. Before that, I had kind of got into semi-retirement mode – I was just writing a lot of columns and books, doing a bit of teaching and consulting, and travelling the world. The very thought of running a large ad agency was farthest from my mind.
Then, somewhere at the end of 2020, my ex-boss and lifetime mentor Diwan Arun Nanda called me. He was keeping indifferent health, and was getting on in years. He asked me to come back and helm Rediffusion, an agency that I had been President of from 1997 to 2001. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get back to the 24/7 grind of running a large agency. Mr Nanda and his partner, Ajit Balakrishnan, and I met a number of times over the next few weeks. Mr Nanda wanted me to lead Rediffusion back to its old days of glory. I finally agreed to take up the challenge.
My single-minded vision for Rediffusion: Create advertising that becomes famous, part of the language, the culture and the conversations of the people.
How do you revive the creative spark?
First and foremost, let us first get some basics clear. In the 1970s, print was the main medium. And clutter was fairly low. A sparkling campaign was easily visible, and recognised. Today, for the same to happen, you need a big spender client who pushes a great campaign on a medium like the IPL for its merits to be recognised. So, even if you produce great creatives today, and they don’t get adequate media support, a campaign may just not be visible. Plus today, the lead medium is digital and not print any longer.
I have brought back Kamlesh Pandey to Rediffusion as Legend In Residence. And all-time greats like Adrian Mendonza now work with us on a regular basis. Led by Pramod Sharma, the team of Kaevan Umrigar, Nilesh Naik, Bappa, Niladri, Aritra, Manoj, Rajesh Makwana – are creating some fabulous new work. We have won 15 pitches in the past 10 months, mostly against the Top 5 agencies – a no mean achievement.
Plus, we are getting our act together in digital, with major strides in Metaverse, Conversational AI, NFTs, content and more. The creative spark will also come from there.
Leveraging the expertise of the ad veterans on board.
Kamlesh Pandey is a father figure. A mentor and a guide. The creative guys look up to him.
Adrian Mendonza is someone who can give writers 25 years his junior a run for their money. His copy is still one of the finest in this country.
Komal Bedi, one of the best art directors in the world (yes, world!) who has spent many years working abroad on large global brands, is now working with us on a large project.
Also, Ram Vasishta and Harish Arora are old friends I call upon for help and advice from time to time. Geeta Rao has advised me on a client I needed her kind of expertise on. Experience such as theirs is invaluable.
We are even using global resources: used an ex-dentsu Tokyo art director (Japanese) for a pitch recently. He’s an old colleague. And an art director based in Toronto.
Concurrently, we are hiring a lot of young talent. A good mix of the old and the young gives the agency a perfect balance.
We just launched Rediffusion FutureTech – it is our new tech-focused outfit. Rediffusion FutureTech will work in the domain of Metaverse, NFTs, Blockchain, AI, AR, Machine Learning and extend its service repertoire to include conversational AI. We will soon be unveiling a suite of new initiatives in making content for brands cheaper and more visually powerful, through the use of world class technologies. It is time for the consumer, content and communication to converge. Rediffusion FutureTech will help clients understand, simplify and apply technology to brands.
Road map for the next 3 years
We have to regain size and stature. This financial year, we will grow at Rediffusion by about 60% in revenue. This has not been easy with Covid clouds constantly hanging over the economy. In the next three years, we will find our way back into being a Top 5 agency. May actually get there sooner.
We will be one of India’s top digital powerhouses – no ad agency will even come remotely close.
Media business is what I am actively looking at re-entering. Before the end of the current fiscal, we should have 3-4 clients in the bag. In 3 years, we will be Top 5 in media too. I have never been afraid of big ticket deals – so the strides we will take will be exponential.
Rediffusion’s strategic product is today without doubt the finest in the industry. Red Lab, our Consumer Insights team, produces reports that are better than the best – most of the time better than well-known strategy consultants. Our site, www.icymi.com, is unique in content and coverage of new technologies. We will soon be unveiling our strategy suite, which we have been working on for over 6 months under the leadership of Navonil Chatterjee.
Everest is starting to gather momentum – we have many new clients in finance, education, gaming and lots of start-ups talking to us. Everest 2.0 will be a cutting edge agency focused on digital.
All in all, Rediffusion is buzzing again. Winning again. I am so happy to be back!