IPG Mediabrands brought together executives from India and the region to delve on some of the key characteristics of India as a market and the changes impacting the communication industry in India.
Present in the IPG Mediabrands India roundtable where Matt Seiler, Global CEO, IPG Mediabrands; Jim Hytner, recently announced CEO of Initiative Worldwide; Jeff Lupinacci, Global CFO, IPG Mediabrands; Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar UM and other Mediabrands officials such as Guy Beach, who was recently promoted to the head of G-14 markets (the cluster that includes India) of UM.
The roundtable also saw participation from key Mediabrands clients in India including Rahul Welde, Vice President – Media, Unilever, Asia, Africa, Middle East and Turkey; Vivek Nayar, Senior Vice President, Marketing at Mahindra & Mahindra; and Ajay Kakar, CMO-Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group.
Focussing on India and the changes in the market, the first remark made was that India is a sentiment-driven country and emotions, which could also lead to the thought of a slowdown in the country, were likely to play a stronger role in defining the Indian consumer’s behaviour than rationale. At the same time, the Indian consumer was optimist by nature and the country was expected to recover from any conversation of slowdown in three to six months.
10 takeaways from the IPG Mediabrands India roundtable
1. Be in India to win in India
India as a market, while was impacted with developments in markets such as the United States and United Kingdom, but they are not cornerstone to a company’s India strategy. To make a difference in India, it was important for a company and its key officials to be in India
2. The impact of monsoon, politics and social changes
The coming months are crucial for the future of the Indian market as some of the key developments that includes the monsoons and the impact it has on the Indian economy, the clouded weather that the Indian political scenario was facing and the pace of social change in India.
3. Tier II and tier III towns driving growth in India
At present, the growth driver markets for India are the tier two and tier three towns.
4. The ‘parallel’ sentiment
India is amongst the few markets, where on one hand some sectors are feeling the pinch of slowdown but some of the other sectors continue to see growth – sectors such as FMCG that deal in ‘everyday’ brands for instance would still see sale but the sectors, where more considered decisions have to be taken can be affected.
5. Innovations and value proposition are key differentiators
Even in a slowdown climate, the advertisers from India feel that when they go to the consumer with some innovation or a value proposition, the response is visible on the brand by way of conversation and in the form of sales
6. India’s differentiated digital capability
Unlike markets such as China and Japan that were great digital markets but still lacked a reliable digital campaign tracking mechanism, India offered a much stronger ecosystem, where digital investments could be tracked for returns. China and Japan were still working on cost per day model but India did not own huge digital investments such as China and Japan.
7. Media agencies can take more responsibility
Media agencies wanted to play a role with the advertiser to partner them in their long-term objectives than just be ‘agencies’ working on a company’s communication.
8. Pay-for-performance model
The pay-for-performance model attracted positive conversations and while IPG Mediabrands applies the model in key markets, pay-for-performance seemed to be a way many agencies and advertisers would develop further in days to come.
9. Media agencies’ leadership becoming the go-to people
Apart from agencies and advertisers leadership teams connecting with each other, the leadership of media agencies also needed to surface and indicate who the go-to people are in the leadership team of the agency.
10. Media vs. creative
Advertisers said that in a comparison between media and creative agencies, media agencies were better placed to be the advertiser’s partner because of the inherent nature of the agency, given that is where the advertiser’s money was ‘controlled’ and the data and insights that media agencies were able to bring to the table.