The year 2008 has been about consolidation for the Mudra Group. Mudra added various specialised units in the year such as Water, Terra, Celsius and 10 Integrated. Adding to this, the Group has plans to launch a retail unit, and a business analytics and consulting unit before March 2009. Mudra is looking at launching these units through the international joint ventures and acquisitions route to ensure “the right skill set”.
In has been five months since Pratap Bose has joined the agency as its Chief Operating Officer, and under his leadership, four specialised services have been launched. It is apparent that Bose is looking at the volume game for Mudra’s future growth. Units like Tribal DDB and Mudra Healthcare and Lifestyle have been steadily working with some of the big clients, and adding new businesses. Even as these businesses don’t translate to the advertising agency business, they play their role in contributing to the overall revenues of the Group.
The work on both the new units has begun. Mudra is in active conversation with international companies to find a suitable partner. Speaking to exchange4media on the plans for the retail unit, Bose said, “In spite of the economic slowdown, retail is a key component for the future growth, in terms of what the clients really want. Retail, according to me, is a large spectrum. It includes design, brand identity, store design, modern or traditional trade, and the branches further into material specifications, logistics and implementations amongst other things. It’s a huge area, and we have to be clear on how we approach this and where we want to be present in.”
Why a JV format for both of these units, when all the other units have been set up by Mudra alone? Bose replied, “Because this kind of special skill set doesn’t exist here, and we are looking at providing the absolute gold standard in each of our services.” He admitted that the economic slowdown had played its role in slowing down the process of launching these units as well. However, the Group is hopeful of meeting the March 2009 deadline.
Earlier in the year, Mudra had gone back to the full service structure and integrated its media capabilities within the agency. The all-new Mudra Max had set up two sub-brands – Mudra Connext and Mudra Radar. How was the move for the media agency side of the business? Bose replied, “The year 2008-09 has been particularly good for both Mudra Radar and Mudra Connext units with a healthy top line growth. It remains to be seen what impact the economic slowdown would have on us in the last quarter of 2009.”
On the 2009 plans, he said, “Our media plans for the next year lie in strategically providing business solutions and making our media budgets more accountable than ever before. In the light of the economic recession, I hear clients saying that they expect their media agencies to work that much harder in coming up with seriously innovative ways to deliver ROI. That could mean coming up with great value driven deals with media channels or by embracing newer forms of media or simply by adopting a completely new construct on the traditional media plan. For Mudra Max, this would mean a far tighter interplay with our 12 specialised units in marketing services. We have very unique and capable offerings in digital, rural, promotions, and out-of-home to name a few, and we will use that expertise in a much differentiated manner to exploit the current economic situation.”
Bose concluded, “If the world is pulling back and taking a ‘wait and watch’ approach, then it’s the best time to consolidate. Because if it picks up, then you have the luxury of holding your horses and taking stock of the situation in the areas where you probably are weak or need improvement. To sum it up, we are consolidating our position for the year 2008-09, and we are looking at growth.”
(Additional inputs by Pallavi Goorha)