Self-confessedly media shy, and one who prefers to stay out of the media limelight, T Gangadhar, Managing Director, MEC South Asia, also fondly known as Gangs, has led the agency to over 40 per cent growth, for not one, but over the last two years in a row now.
“We are not a media agency, we are a modern age communications outfit, media is something we also do,” says Gangadhar in his nuanced style.
Some of the agency’s key clients include Flipkart, Colgate Palmolive, Britannia, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters, Zee Network and Mercedes Benz. “In 2015, we were among the top 5 agencies in India and that is a big thing for us. We have grown on the back of a fantastic client portfolio, a very strong organic growth and a very strong new business growth. So, it is all coming together,” adds Gangadhar.
The agency is clearly on a growth trajectory and Gangadhar plans to sustain this growth with a strong core focus on new business development and growing existing business. But would he manage to sustain this growth rate in 2016?
“We would love to maintain the momentum; it becomes harder as you grow bigger. But having said that, we definitely see growth which would be at least 2x of the industry,” he offers.
The Game Plan
What is more important for him is that growth is not coming from just media billings, it is coming from additional services; the agency is doing a lot of work in digital and ecommerce. Content is MEC’s big strategic play for the year, this in turn adds to the growth of the business, number of services offered by the agency leading to revenue growth in the most natural way. Another ‘massive’ focus area for the agency in India is its latest offering--Wavemaker, launched last month.
“For us, an idea is brilliant, if and only if, the right audience responds to it and behaves in ways that lead to the right outcome for our clients. Wavemaker is not an agency, but a specialist content solution provider. I don’t think there has ever been anything of this nature; what gives us intellectual satisfaction is that we are really doing some interesting things for the client. Wavemaker further enables us to serve content to the right person at the right time and deliver outcomes,” explains Gangadhar.
Content is going to play an integral role in influencing purchase decisions going forward. The agency also has ‘Momentum’, its proprietary approach to understanding and quantifying how consumers make purchase decisions. ‘Momentum’ is one of the largest global studies ever undertaken into the shopper journey and psychology of choice.
Understanding the consumer psyche and building equity with the consumer even in a passive stage plays a significant role in building brand affinity and goes a long way in influencing purchase decisions when it matters believes Gangs.
In fact there is growing importance of the passive stage of the consumer journey. ‘Momentum’ indicates that people with a strong passive stage bias consider fewer brands, spend less time in the active stage, are less concerned with price when making their choice and are happier with their decision after purchase.
Diversification of the Talent Pool
MEC India has made some key hires last year including, Mukti Kumaran as West Head, Rajesh Kumar as Chief Strategy Officer and Debarghya Mitra as head of its Bengaluru office.
Gangadhar believes that the right talent is a key driver in the agency’s success. He says, “It is a complex and chaotic world and we need diversified talent to be able to navigate this. In fact, in two years the talent requirements will be drastically dissimilar to what they are now. There is a huge influx of talent coming from outside our industry like advertising, broadcast, digital , technology, behavioural sciences, data sciences and journalism.”
The days of typically hiring planners is long gone, feels Gangs, and diversification of talent is the only way forward. He believes this diversification of talent is going to further accelerate than we have ever seen before.
( Read Complete MEC Global story in this weeks’ issue of IMPACT )