Dominic Proctor, Worldwide CEO, GroupM sets the tone when he says, “We are not so big that we can’t be nimble, we are not a massive company that lumbers around, scale is not getting in the way of speed.” Proctor believes that the real challenge is having each individual agency integrated with the rest of the organization in order to drive scale that brings about a competitive advantage.
Proctor also talks about walking away from a terrible deal, learnings from GroupM India being exported to the rest of the world, importance of winning awards and more…
We have seen some instances globally and in India as well of clients pitting agencies against each other to get better commercial terms, what is your take on this?
Yes. I don’t know if this is a growing practice but I am as happy to walk away from a terrible deal as I am to win an account. In the long term you cannot do this, you can reward talent if you are part of a race to the bottom. They are different types of profit; like reputational profit, financial profit, they are different ways of looking client opportunities. We are not interested in talking to clients that offer none of these opportunities.
What are the learnings from GroupM India that are being exported to the rest of the world?
YCO (the Youth Executive Committee) is a great idea that is being exported to other countries, other Asian markets. YCO is a great example of innovation, collaboration and a step towards resolving talent issues.
Also our scale here is large, GroupM teaches us how to manage scale of our businesses and get the matrix and balance right on what the agencies individually do and what the group does together, which is completely dynamic. We can learn a lot from the way Srini (CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia) and his management team work and manage to get that balance right from the different axes of the matrix.
What is the importance attached to winning awards for GroupM in your view?
The importance of awards is quite cultural. We leave it to each country. India is an example of a country that embraces awards, India loves to celebrate and it likes to demonstrate through tangible evidence that you are doing well. That is part of India’s make up. Clients want to be with agencies that are successful and one measure of success is public recognition that awards bring. My only concern is that sometimes in some places the media awards lack rigour, they are just created. They could reward PR stunts rather than rigorous media case studies.
What is your personal view on awards?
Personally I think if awards are important in the market, go embrace them flat out .
What are the focus areas for GroupM going forward?
• Embracing and developing the whole digital platform around the world. We need to be at the forefront of that. As market leaders, we make the market not follow it.
• Our business needs to become more automated and efficient.
• Integration of specialists- the client can really benefit from the advice of specialists when it is coming in one voice rather than silos.