Update on this post…added in the end.
There are hardly ever any communication-related jobs in Times of India’s Ascent, but I check it nevertheless, every week. Perhaps a connection from my past life, as a corporate communication guy, in the client side. Have worked on tons of ‘Ascent ads’, as we love to call those recruitment ads in Bangalore – have designed many myself too!
Something in yesterday’s Ascent caught my eye – the front page ad. by Sasken. Instead of the ad. agency’s name in the bottom right, it actually says, ‘Marketing Communications @ SASKEN’!
Now, I’m not entirely sure if I’ve seen another recruitment ad. which carries credit for an internal department – I may have, but don’t recall any other, instantly.
First reaction – kudos to Sasken!
The corporate communications/marketing communications departments within organizations is perhaps the most external-facing team among all support functions. Many organizations (not the bigger ones, though) have a rather small team and they in turn work with many vendors – advertising, public relations, creatives etc.
Unlike another internally-visible department, human resources, corp.comm/marcom (as we love calling it!) have visibility at the right places – CEO, COO, CMO types, but not necessarily in the ranks and definitely not normal employees. I have been there and done that – it’s a rather lonely team to be in, particularly in a technology company where the entire junta is geeky and too immersed in their coding world!
But it is good fun if you like that role and given its direct reporting structure to the top bosses, it is a great career opportunity as well. Look at me!
Sasken deciding to credit an internal division may be because this division did all the work involved in this ad. – media selection, media buying, ad’s concept, creatives etc. But even beyond that, I see it as a good trend. PR agencies never, ever get their name out in any client work – we’re supposed to be behind the scene, orchestrating everything to perfection. Advertising agencies get away with credit in most print advertisements. But crediting an internal department like Sasken has done could be a huge morale booster for an often-invisible team within organizations.
I recall Infosys crediting the corporate communications department in their annual report (one of the years, not sure which one – I’ve ‘produced’ seven annual reports in my client-side avatar, with all of them having a credit to the creative agency that put it together even though the concept and text were from my team) – that’s another win for internal divisions earning and deserving visible credit!
Update: I’m having/had an interesting private discussion on this post, on LinkedIn.
The 2 main points of debate are,
1. Corp/marcom teams get enough recognition in tasks like media events, press releases, annual reports, analyst meets etc.
My take: Most of these credits are external-facing – media events/press releases: media/journalists; annual reports: analysts/investors etc. Consider it from a typical IT company angle – even if there are more than 40-50K employees, most don’t even know the existence of a communications team that is supposed to be the brand’s custodian with the outside world. The counter point to that was, “Most techies do not need to know the comm team. Comm supports client facing groups and anyone who interacts with a prospect or customer knows that comm is the go-to-team for collateral/RFP/event support. And in large companies comm is also a sometimes unwilling partner to HR on employee branding. That’s more than enough visibility for a small team!“. That does make sense, I agree, but let me leave you with this – how would a comms guy feel walking in to a 50,000 strong company building where his role is understood and appreciated by 10 from the CXO team. You could argue that 10 from CXO is better than visibility among 50,000 techies…I understand that argument too. Just don’t have an answer to this
2. That things like advertising and creatives should not be done/owned internally and should be ideally outsourced to the most appropriate external agency who do this for a living. And that this is nothing but an extreme case of cost cutting.
My take: Yes, there is a point here – a IT company need not own the creatives/advertising team – just doesn’t make much sense. I do not know why Sasken did it internally, however – so let me not go further on this point.