Almost twelve months after he took over as Managing Director of Vizeum India, Shripad Kulkarni is busy with the work of remodelling the organization. “Things are changing too fast. We don’t have much time if we want to be the media agency of 2020 in 2020,” said Kulkarni.
Elaborating on the business model of Vizeum, Kulkarni stated that their obsessive focus was in meeting business challenges. “It’s not about the media metric served. It’s not about Gross Rating Points. It’s about what the business challenges are and how media can help solve that business challenge,” he explained.
Kulkarni argued that the need for remodelling had been spurred by the digital revolution that has altered the entire ecosystem. “The whole tenet of the new ecosystem is that you have to be very agile and you have to marry technology and data into your way of working,” he added.
As part of Vizeum’s remodelling plans, every employee of the media agency would have to acquire digital training certification within the next six months.
“The traditional lines of business are being broken. We have to adapt to that,” said Ben Cunnnington, Regional Strategy Director of Vizeum Asia Pacific. He pointed out that technology had altered the way Vizeum dealt with its clients.
According to Cunnington, Vizeum is increasingly taking performance based fees from a lot of clients. “If we deliver this then we get paid a certain amount of money. If we over-deliver, we get more and if we under-deliver then we don’t get paid,” he said.
Since technology is now at the heart of everything Vizeum does, the agency has been experimenting with new tools. “For IKEA we have done a project which measures footfall. So we basically want to find out whether the ads we are putting on Facebook are actually driving people into stores,” he said.
Emphasizing on the inevitable need for finding good talent, Kulkarni highlighted that Vizeum had doubled its staff since he took over. “Put people first. Nothing would work otherwise,” he said. Kulkarni was also critical of the existing model of measuring media audience in terms of demographics.
“Audience has to be defined by behaviour not demographics. The whole Socio-Economic Classification (SEC) was a shortcut because it doesn’t really tell me who my audience is,” he added.
Cunnington echoed the viewpoint that opportunities are umpteen in the Indian market. “Vizeum has grown significantly as a business over the last two years. We are an emerging agency in most markets and we are trying to get a basic level of skill set,” he said.
When questioned whether Vizeum views India or China as a bigger market, Cunnington said that India had less restrictions as compared to China and there was ease of getting access.
As Vizeum plans to go fully digital, Kulkarni is optimistic about India’s chances. “We will come up with a blueprint for India which will tell us what India would be like in 2020 assuming a certain level of infrastructure,” he said.
He sounded upbeat about the impending revolution in India when people will be able to access the internet at low costs and download whatever they want to.