MUMBAI: A group of senior advertising experts believe that the planner has the most difficult job in an advertising agency, and have noted the strength of Indian planners compared to many Westernised markets.

The "Future Of Strategy In India" was discussed by a panel at the Warc Prize for Asian Strategy event held in Mumbai last week. Present were Sonal Dabral, chairman and chief creative officer at DDB Mudra Group, Ajay Kakar, CMO at Aditya Birla Group, Partha Sinha, managing director/South Asia at Publicis and Jyoti Bansal, managing director at PHD India. 

India has been noted for its strong campaigns, from creative innovation to effectiveness. Five of the seventeen Warc Prize for Asian Strategy 2015 awards went to campaigns from the sub-continent – the highest representation for any country – including the Grand Prix Award for Idea Cellular's campaign targeting mobile data subscriptions.

The panel believed that a culture of storytelling, strategic thinking and deep understanding of culture puts Indian planners at the heart of successful campaigns. Outstanding creative can only be built on quality planning.

"The most difficult role in any advertising agency is that of a strategist," said Dabral, in comments to Exchange4Media. "To come up with a right strategy, is far more difficult than coming up with a good creative. It is only a good strategic thought, which leads to a great creative platform."

Despite high quality talent in the country, challenges remain as India's advertising culture evolves at an extraordinary rate. The sheer number of channels, resisting the urge to spread campaign strategy thinly and a lack of recognition compared to the creative 'Madonnas' were cited by the panel as major challenges.

Kakar believes that India's market complexity, budgetary constraints and the drive of Indian planners to be successful are the perfect mix.

"When there is a scarcity, then there is a burning desire and the strategy seems to be the easiest path. It acts as the perfect tool."

Source: Data sourced from Warc, Exchange4Media