I have been meeting a lot of CMO's and CEO's, in the past year, I have been to 27 countries and visited about 35 plus offices- the thing which I find is the universal truth- it is complexities. Clients have more choices for media, more and more of data and information, digital is more, everything is more. And what we see as an over emerging need in the market place is basically someone to make sense of it all. Someone who can basically tell me what matters and what I should do about it, what is important, how should I respond
Though the nature of media and communications changes drastically every day, Andrew Swinand has proven his ability to stay five steps ahead of the competition on behalf of marketers inventing new solutions for the industry by reinventing his role within the advertising media business. These days, as president of global operations for worldwide media agency network Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), he applies his passion for innovation across continents, product categories and cultures creating unprecedented service and results by reexamining the question of what an agency can and should do for its clients and for people. Swinand's SMG role adopted in August 2008 entails a focus on building stronger connection infrastructures that continue to advance the company's presence within critical growth markets across the globe. Specifically, Swinand works with the network's regional CEOs across Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe/Middle East/Africa to fortify SMG offerings and strengthen its client proposition, leveraging assets and building on the strong momentum of these regions.
Along with regional management responsibilities, his role includes the creation of new client-facing service models across the network and the expansion of its successful technology practice. Further, he is charged with working alongside SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond to align and position the network to take advantage of the digital resources that the Publicis Groupe media brands now have access to as part of the recently launched VivaKi operating model including its Talent Operation and digital Nerve Center resources.
Most recently, Swinand was at Denuo, the media futures consultancy within Publicis Groupe. Prior to his role at Denuo, he was a president at Starcom Worldwide, where he helped secure the Samsung business as well as build a global technology practice. He was also responsible for developing proprietary accountability metrics to measure Return-on-Objective (ROO) across all client investments, supported by Starcom's extensive media research team, and he pioneered the service models Starcom delivers to Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Swinand will continue to oversee the Nintendo business across Starcom Worldwide and Leo Burnett.
Q. These are all the various things you are doing to put together your HEN?
It is simplified human understanding is where it starts and the second thing is to deliver meaningful brand experiences. The other key point of emphasis is how we measure and optimize our campaigns and our work based on relevance as meaning. So I think that if you look at media as a whole, the industry was basically built on efficiency, the bigger and the cheaper. My belief is while that was great to see and basically drove consolidation, we are now approaching points of diminishing returns. If you look at SMG we are number 2 globally and you know it is coming down to the top 4 players, dividing market shares, I think something like 89 per cent of all media. Point being- we have consolidated, what I think the next phase of our industry is going to be is all about relevance and meaning and how we will use all of that behavioral data how we use and understand human experience to increase the relevance and the effectiveness of advertising as opposed to just what can get the cheaper option. I think cheaper is a good thing but it has a point of diminishing return. I think what we are seeing more and more is how do we simplify human understanding, use that behavioral data to create and understand who are the best prospects, who are the best targets and also then how to send information; to understand what is relevant to them and what is important to them and how to use it to prove our messaging. We have been investing in actual dashboards to track and measure and help us understand how relevant advertising is to consumers so we can optimise based on that context. The last piece is 'real time'. The world is getting cluttered, we have Samsung in 76 markets, we have invested in Yammer and other work portals to help link our global network so that we can share ideas faster. It certainly applies to make the world smaller and have better real time information better real time understanding to allow us to basically improve. We talk about Mike and the human experience portal, how does real time information and inspiration for our planners help. Basically if we have an award winning work in India or another market, how do we share that across the network? In the past a lot of the networks were basically individual countries, much more of a lose confederacy as opposed to unified republic. We are working to become a more unified republic so that we can share a benefactor.
Q. Last year Vivaki got a lot of importance, IMX got renamed; Vivaki as an umbrella became a little more prominent and also Mr. Shastri was appointed as the country chair for that. Now does a development like that have any bearing on something like media assets?
Huge. Vivaki is the future for Publicis Group and Starcom Mediavest Group. In some respects when I talked earlier about our ability to focus on human experience, what allows us do that is the creation of Vivaki. Through Vivaki by combining ZenithOptimedia, Starcom MediaVest Group and Digitas buying it makes us number 1 or number 2 in almost every market that we are in. So, it creates scale unprecedented. It allows us to basically sit down with the clients and say you are going to get the best rates bar none. So you know for me Vivaki as a strategic initiative, all of our back office, finance, technology and buying, all of those big scale operations become more efficient. Allowing us to pass on more savings to clients, allowing us to do it better faster and cheaper way, which allows Starcom Mediavest to focus on human experience, on insights, on strategy, on relevance and meaning. Vivaki, I think is what really allows us to be competitive in all the markets by continuing to be efficient which allows one to invest money for clients to be more effective.
Q. Not just Vivaki or Publicis Group but every other group is doing a lot of stuff in market such as India. OMD has grown quite well, PHD is expected to launch soon, GroupM has consolidated its operations very well and so has IPG group whether it is Lintas or Lodestar UM. In fact Lodestar Um just got the Coke business with them. Competition is also very active and very awake in India and of course I am more aware about India I donï¿½t know in how many other markets you are getting the same problems but while it is good for competition to be there, more the merrier and all of that. Obviously it brings a challenge on to whatever your growth targets have been? What is the kind of challenge it has posed?
I mean for us with anything we are going to hit competitive pressures but my feeling is that we are still seeing a lot of consolidation where the weaker players fall out. The thing is, I am not going to name individual brands but if you start looking at number 7 no. 8 brands and some of the global brands or some of the smaller local players. I think their reason to exist starts to fall away. In the last few years, you have seen global consolidation a lot of debate on brands, considering pick up market share. Mars, Wrigley consolidating with us, Cadbury consolidating with us, you are going to see more and more of that. I still think there is a lot of global consolidation going on which basically drives growth. The other thing which we are seeing is clients are basically get into diversified services digital, we see markets, if you think about out of home. I still see there is a lot of runway for growth but it is redefining according to what that market place is. You are going to see two things, one, you will see smaller players fall away and two, broader services in more experiential marketing.