The Indian advertising industry is grappling with the economic slowdown and its impact on every aspect of the business. However, for many global players, India is a market of growth in the near future, and hence an important area to focus on, at present. Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) had restructured its operations recently to be able to pay further attention on the emerging markets. The four key markets that SMG indentified as growth markets are India, China, Russia and the Middle East.
In the new structure, Andrew Swinand, President, Global Operations, SMG is working with five CEOs including Ravi Kiran, who is CEO, South Asia but specifically focussing on India, to align SMG’s resources in the growth areas. Ravi Kiran is also responsible for the growth of diversified services offering in various markets.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Swinand said, “The similarities between Russia, India and Middle East are more relevant than the similarities between India and Singapore. Our present structure recognises this. Separately, we are also looking at how we change as a company to being a better marketing partner to our clients in the current economic backdrop. We are looking closely at things we can do in terms of expanding our abilities to deliver experiential marketing across platforms like in store or in rural.”
Swinand stated that the objective was to be the number one or the number two brand in all the emerging markets. He explained, “We are investing in resources in India that would help us move from the number three position to the number two and number one position here. Ravi is focussing his efforts on building these resources and on aligning energies to build on the growth areas of tomorrow. Very soon, we would also launch the MediaVest brand in India.”
The discussion in India, according to Swinand, is very different from the ones seen in the other parts of the world. “People are talking about a 5 per cent or a 9 per cent growth here. We are going to see clients also accelerating their investments in the emerging markets. In the past, where you had a really strong, developed market economy, you were not as forced to accelerate how you reallocated your investments. The opportunity and benefit of the slowdown is that companies are investing more dollars in BTL and experiential marketing,” he observed.
The India operations of SMG have been active in areas like digital, below the line and rural amongst others for some time now. Swinand agreed, and added, “We are doing these things in India already, but we have to see how we accelerate it.”
For SMG, not only do these domains have the promise of growth, but India as a market is more attractive than ever due to the positive numbers that it would see, unlike the negatives that the other markets are showing. Swinand stated that the year ahead would see a lot more involvement from SMG in India, and that would include more frequent visits from Swinand too.