She is one of those rare examples of a woman leading a global advertising network, and has really managed to weather the storm that cost her predecessor his job. Tamara Ingram during her first visit to India, eight months after taking over as the Worldwide CEO of J. Walter Thompson Company, talks about why India is a key market for the network.
What brings you to India and what is the agenda of your visit?
The agenda is to meet people, to see our wonderful clients, to be inspired and to inspire.
You recently won the global digital mandate for Lux strengthening almost a 91 year old bond with the company. Which are the other big account wins you are really proud of?
Earlier this year, our Beijing team won the Air China account, a brand which has a great reputation. Actually there are so many. Rather than mentioning any particular brand name, I’d like to say that it’s really encouraging that every country is winning wonderful local brands. I was very proud of the Lux win because it shows that we are completely digital in the way we work, it’s very important. So, I am looking not only for great brand names but also the capabilities that we can deliver for our clients.
What would be the split between the revenue growth on account of existing clients and the new ones?
I can’t quite split out the numbers for you here, but what’s important to understand is that in order for us to grow as a company overall, we are going to have to grow in places where we put our money. Revenue in classic advertising is going to go down, year on year, in different countries at different paces, so what’s vital is that we have a diverse capability. That way the revenue won’t go down, in fact may even grow. So through digital, non-traditional services, shopper services, data analytics, I hope we that will be able to grow our client’s businesses as well as our revenue.
What percentage of J. Walter Thompson India’s revenue comes from non-traditional media?
70% of our revenue comes from traditional media and 30% from non-traditional media. But by the year 2020, we are going to change that ratio to 50:50.
You replaced then CEO Gustavo Martinez who had to resign post a very huge scandal. How many weeks went into persuading clients that J. Walter Thompson will rise above the controversy?
Our clients, some who have been with us for the past many years, others perhaps lesser have worked with us on a day-to-day basis and they know how good and marvellous the J. Walter Thompson culture is. So I don’t think we had to persuade clients. In my view it’s about building confidence in them, in making them realize that this is not going to affect them. What’s important is to deliver great work for our clients, we focus on that and not on distractions.
Women make 85% of all purchase decisions, yet are woefully underrepresented in creative jobs in advertising, especially at the top of the pyramid, what are you doing to change that?
What’s wonderful about being in India and South Asia is that 50% of our leadership comprises women. So we absolutely represent the community that we come from. I think there isn’t a glass ceiling but without doubt until we have 50% of our leadership as 50% of our community, we are not in the right place. And we are absolutely committed to get that sorted. And the way we have to do it is find the talent, train the talent and enable people to be successful while they are in work. It is also important to put in more human policies so that women can have babies and we make it easy to work for them when they return.
What are some of the biggest markets for J. Walter Thompson and the emerging ones? Where would you peg India in the global scheme of things?
New York and London are incredibly important to us, however markets like China Brazil, hubs like Singapore, India are absolutely critical. We can talk about Indonesia or Thailand or Vietnam as markets that are emerging, or we can talk about the market that’s emerging for us in terms of creativity and contribution like Amsterdam which is a very interesting creative contributor and so are Puerto Rico and Columbia. So, I don’t look at the world simply in terms of numbers but also in terms of contribution. And India has been critical not only in terms of its significance and its growth, but also because of what Tarun Rai and his team have uniquely done. They have created a model of cultural collaboration, a model that I want to take around the world.