Advertising Interviews

Prasoon Joshi

Executive Chairman & CEO - India and President - South Asia | 26 Jul 2013

The coming year is a tough one since it is Election year. It is a year where one has to have nerves of steel, you have to be stable; a lot of policies are going to be announced, one has to realistic about one’s ambitions, in my opinion, you cannot be very aggressive. We will continue making inroads into new clients and be cautiously optimistic, and will be watching what happens in the political scenario that impacts the economy.

Prasoon Joshi started his career in advertising with O&M Delhi, and after working there for over 10 years, he joined McCann-Erickson in early 2002. By 2006, he was Regional Creative Director, South and South East Asia, and in December 2006, he was elevated to Executive Chairman for McCann Worldgroup India and Regional Creative Director Asia Pacific.

Joshi is no stranger to accolades and achievements. In 2006, he was chosen a 'Young Global Leader 2006' by the Forum of Young Global Leaders, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum. In 2008, he was invited as the Cannes Jury Chairman and in 2009, he was named amongst the exclusive 10-member Cannes Titanium & Integrated Jury 2009 at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2009. He is also the first Indian to edit the Gunn Report, which is a global index of creative excellence in advertising.

Besides being an ad guru, Joshi is also a much awarded lyricist, having made his debut as a film lyricist with Rajkumar Santoshi’s film ‘Lajja’. He has bagged two National Awards for Best Lyrics – for his song ‘Maa’ from ‘Taare Zameen Par’ in 2009 and the song ‘Bolo na’ from the film ‘Chittagong’ in 2013.

Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairman and CEO India and President South Asia of McCann Worldgroup, talks to exchange4media’s Priyanka Mehra about the agency’s approach to talent retention, the thought behind ‘Truth Central’, gearing up for a tough year in 2014 and more...

Q. What is the agency’s approach to the challenge of talent retention faced by the industry today?

Our approach to talent is simple, we definitely reward people who do well, we make sure people who are growing in our company are growing on merit. Another thing that McCann values is integrity – which I personally also value – you have to have a very transparent relation with your seniors and the company. McCann is a not a short-term destination agency. You will find stability in our core management team – Sanjay Nayak, President, has been with us for 10-12 years; Govind Pandey, President and Manoj Singh, CFO, have had long stints too.

Q. What about talent at the mid level?

Middle level talent does leave, in fact, most of them return to McCann – Akshay Kapnadak, our ECD, hasn’t worked in any other company; Rahul Mathew (ECD), who went out, returned; Anil Thomas in Bangalore has been our Creative Director for almost 10 years. There is integrity, loyalty and fondness for the agency; besides, we keep adding new talent as well.

Q. What are the integral factors that contribute to talent retention?

A combination of new talent in surges and a stable team that keeps nurturing them – there is a kind of balance. We are not an agency in a hurry, we are not an agency that believes in doing things half-heartedly, we measure it and then do it and do it well.

Our people know why they are here. They are here because of intellectual connect, we have a very fertile atmosphere. It has to go beyond work, you have to feel you are growing with your peers and getting enriched and learning everyday.

Yes, I do face a challenge from time to time on talent at the middle level leaving; it could also be due to entrepreneurial ambitions of people. I take pride that a lot of people have gone out after their training in McCann and have done well. Whether it is Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt, Pratik and Punit, Ashish Khanzanchi or Ramanuj Shastry.

Everything cannot be hunky dory when people leave, they have some dissatisfaction in their minds, which will always be there. They needed something much ahead of time, or something we could not provide them, so you need to let them go at that time.

Q. What are the agency’s areas of focus for 2013-14?

The coming year is a tough one since it is Election year. It is a year where one has to have nerves of steel, you have to be stable; a lot of policies are going to be announced, one has to realistic about one’s ambitions, in my opinion, you cannot be very aggressive. In the past few years, McCann has been very aggressive in growth, we really grew exponentially with some big accounts such as Nestle and General Motors, a lot of new business was our focus, which will continue. In Mumbai, we have the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians and we love working with them, they are extremely passionate and we are very proud of our work on it.

We will continue making inroads into new clients and be cautiously optimistic, and will be watching what happens in the political scenario that impacts the economy.

Q. What are the global best practises that the agency is leveraging in India?

We are leveraging our international expertise a lot, our President for Europe and Asia, Gustavo Martinez, was in India earlier this year; we are working on a more collaborative way of working. We are a large network, and if a large network is not sharing with clients, it is a cause for concern, so we are focusing on sharing a lot of our international learnings with our clients, and have received great feedback from our clients from the telecom and FMCG sectors. We have started to something called ‘Truth Central’ internationally, our motto has been ‘Truth well told’. Truth Central has been a deep dive into the real insights from the minds of consumers. It has fast become a very significant area for McCann and has been appreciated by all our clients worldwide. We are going to find a lot more platforms to share the learnings of Truth Central.

Q. How is digital being leveraged at the core of the creative process at McCann?

We don’t see digital as a separate medium, but a way of life; not something you need to externally import. Digital alters the way we think. We make sure that the talent we induct today is comfortable with this medium and have training programmes for our existing talent, who may feel intimidated by this medium.

Write A Comment

VIDEOS

JOBS & CAREER