It’s been five months since BBH was launched in India, and the agency has already created some buzz in terms of business wins, the recent ones being Marico and Rediff.com. exchange4media.com catches up with Simon Sherwood, CEO, BBH Worldwide, who is in India currently. Sherwood says that though he is pleased with the agency’s progress in India, he is looking forward to converting their international businesses on BBH India’s roaster as well.
On his latest trip to India, Sherwood said, “There is no specific reason. I am here to meet some clients like Marico and Unilever. One of the important things of my visit is that we need to make our people feel a part of BBH and so the need to spend time with them. For instance, Sir John Hegarty was down here for the GoaFest, and I am here this week, so that kind of makes them feel that they are in touch and engaged with the company as a whole.”
The BBH Worldwide CEO is elated with the two latest wins and said that they’ve had a good start in developing local business, bagging clients like Marico and Rediff.com in India. At the same time, he confessed, “However, what we have not converted as quickly as I would have liked or imagined is some our internationally aligned business. But that’s in the pipeline and it is a question of strategic timing rather than non-appointments.”
There are a number of brands that BBH Worldwide is globally aligned with, many of which are also present in India. It is but natural to think that the agency would work in the market with those companies, however, Sherwood said that they were not taking anything for granted.
He did say that the agency was in talks with a number of clients in India that were aligned globally with the agency, but refused to divulge further detail as they were all working with incumbent agencies at the moment. “We are in talks, which I hope will lead to us being appointed within the next few months on a number of different BBH aligned brands,” Sherwood added.
Speaking about the economic slowdown, he said that compared to markets in Europe and North America, the market in India was positive even though growth had slowed from 8 per cent to 6.1 per cent. In comparison, in Europe and North America, the growth had slipped into the negative.
He, however, admitted that the global recession had affected BBH since it was a global business; so what affected their clients, affected the agency as well. “I am not worried that the economic downturn would have an adverse or negative effect. And I have mentioned it several times that it is a good thing to start a business in difficult economic times. Companies tend to make mistakes in good times, but you learn not to make mistakes in the tough times,” Sherwood pointed out.
He remains positive and ambitious about the agency in India and asserted that BBH had not revised any targets that were decided on initially and had set targets for the next 2-3 years.