Grey India is all charged up after the restructuring of sorts in the recent months. Hari Krishnan returned to the agency’s fold as VP and Branch Head, Grey Mumbai. The agency is also upbeat about the two NCD structure in form of Malvika Mehra and Amit Akali. In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, Jishnu Sen, COO, Grey India, shares his vision and growth plans of the agency in 2010.
On his expectations on how the two NCD structure would pan out, Sen explained, “I don’t think one or two NCDs make any difference. It is basically team work and two partners always share a chemistry. I have met them both (Malvika Mehra and Amit Akali) several times and they are quite excited to come to Grey as NCDs. Moreover, it is not as if I have hired two talents from two different agencies. Both have been a team for a long time. I don’t want to build a team of stars; I want the whole team to be a star team.”
Both Mehra and Akali will share the responsibilities equally and will be based in Mumbai. Sen added that both would join the agency officially from the first week of May 2010.
Meanwhile, on Hari Krishnan’s comeback as the agency’s Mumbai Head, Sen commented, “In respect to Hari Krishnan, whenever somebody leaves and comes to back to the organisation strictly realising that what he left behind was good, it makes the organisation, and especially me, feel good in that what I have been doing must be right. Otherwise why would people come back, especially senior people?”
Sen further explained that the whole restructuring of sorts at Grey India began with Global CEO James Heekins unveiling the philosophy called ‘Famously effective’ in everything that the agency did. Post Sen’s elevation to COO in January 2009, came Bindu Sethi’s appointment as National Planning Head. “During the time of slowdown, where others had been cutting costs in training and hirings, we at Grey India invested in those factors. With Sethi, Krishnan and the NCD duo in place, all the pieces are in place as planned, except in Delhi. We are on the lookout for a Delhi Branch, but as of now cannot mention any specific name,” Sen informed.
Business wise too the agency has been doing well. The start of 2010 saw Grey India bagging businesses such as the entire portfolio of Ferrero and the Dabur Fem and Oxybleach creative mandate. Sen commented, “With regard to Ferrero, it was a great win for us as initially the client had some other plans like having two agencies on the roster, but when we pitched they liked our work and strategy and thus, decided to appoint us as their agency for the entire portfolio.”
Speaking further Sen explained that Grey India had been operating on three pillars – planning, creative and breaking down walls. When asked what this ‘breaking down walls’ meant, he replied, “It means breaking both geographical and divisional walls. The classic example of this pillar being implemented was of bringing G2 Ram, the BTL division, under one roof and the whole agency working together as one team.”
Though Sen declined to give any figures for the agency’s revenue growth target for 2010, he did say that they were targeting aggressive top-line and bottom-line growth.
Sen concluded by speaking on the way ahead for the agency, “It’s time we focus on growth in all aspects – that is, reputation, size and effectiveness. But one can’t focus on growth for just growth’s sake. It has to come from excellence. So, in that regard, we plan to implement on pitches and make it a point that we win the business; do brilliant work to get that reputation and thus, demonstrate our planning edge.”