Seeing the success of Lintas IMAG (Integrated Marketing Action Group), IPG is all set to introduce integrated marketing in the rest of Asia. That is the agenda for Ashish Bhasin, who has recently been made Executive VP, Lowe Worldwide & Asia Regional Director for Integral Marketing. In a chat with exchange4media.com, Bhasin said that his first task is to introduce integrated marketing in China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
“The critical issue in integrated marketing is that it should be of a high and uniform standard across Asia. We are going to offer solutions appropriate for these different markets depending on the needs of each market. We will first be looking at China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore,” said Bhasin.
Explaining the increasing importance of IM in advertising and marketing, Bhasin explained, “Integrated marketing is growing at 25-30 per cent per annum. Earlier the split between traditional advertising and integrated marketing was in a 25:50 ratio, but today it is 50:50. I see integrated marketing constituting an 80 per cent share in the near future.”
He added that this is the rationale of the IPG global management in pushing integrated marketing in a big way in Asia, and then perhaps some Western markets where IM would be appropriate. In many ways IMAG has achieved a leadership position in this field in India and this expertise and skill is now being sought to be replicated in other Asian markets.
How does he plan to go about his new assignment at the pan-Asia level? Said Bhasin, “The stage of development and the need of every market are different. We will study each of these Asian markets, do our research and figure out key findings. In China, we will either tie up with a local specialist company or go in for an acquisition. Money is not a problem; we are looking at opportunity and talent.”
He added, “The key to success is to be able to give the client a comprehensive end-to-end solution, which is cost effective, and execute the solution for them. And you need to be best-in-class.”
At Lintas IMAG, Bhasin has been overseeing eight specialised companies – Linterland for rural marketing, Lintas Personal for CRM and direct marketing, LINOpinion for public relations, Advent for events, Lintertainment for entertainment marketing, Lintas Healthcare for healthcare marketing, dCell for strategic design, and Aaren Initiative for out-of-home.
Bhasin further said that the key thrust areas identified for India as well as other countries in the sphere of integrated marketing are activation, rural marketing, digital and retail. “We are planning to open a specialist retail cell soon,” he informed.
“As part of the IMAG Executive Council, my job is to make sure that comprehensive end-to-end solutions are provided to clients and new opportunities explored,” he said.
How daunting is his new assignment? Replied Bhasin, “I will be reporting directly to Steve Gatfield. He is very keen on this new initiative. It always helps to have the backing of the top person.” Bhasin is now an integral member of the Lowe Worldwide management team, and reports to Gatfield, CEO of Lowe Worldwide, and EVP of IPG.
Bhasin has nearly 20 years of experience in advertising. His stints include handling the HUL account in seven Asian countries, managing operations in various Lintas India offices, and running the show as President at Initiative Media.