Advertising Interviews

Anita Nayyar

CEO | 18 Oct 2013

Great interpretation of good data is also specialised artistry at real cost. The industry is in danger of pricing itself out of creativity if its benchmark is only cost – the advertising world of the future is badly in need of ‘Ideas’, which will not only come from crowdsourcing. And in this department, as we’ve seen through the history of business, a truly passionate start-up can give any WPP/ Publicis Onmicom a run for their money, scoring as creative maverick business people.

As Chief Executive Officer, Anita Nayyar manages the operations for Havas Media Group in India and South Asia. Havas Media recently completed seven years in India. Ranked as the fastest growing agency in 2012 by RECMA, Havas Media has grown at 43 per cent in a market which grew by 15 per cent, nearly three times the industry growth.

  Nayyar has more than 26 years of experience and had started her career with Interpublicity, where she worked on brands such as Coca-Cola and Kelvinator. She next moved to Ogilvy and got the opportunity to work under the popular Roda Mehta.

  In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Mehra, Nayyar speaks at length about Havas Media’s journey in India so far, the agency’s mobile and digital initiatives, and more...

Q. You came on board at a time when Havas Media was being built, it has now completed seven years in India. What are some of the milestones of your journey with the agency?

Havas Media, the erstwhile MPG India, had shown a lot of promise of growth and that was the mandate of joining. The journey had people, business and interesting works.

People are critical and important for any business – Mohit Joshi, now Managing Director, Havas Media India came on board in 2007 and Uday Mohan, Executive Director-North followed. In fact, to this day we retain a large number of people being with us for over five years, who have contributed immensely in their area of expertise from servicing, planning, buying and execution.

Specialist disciplines – Havas Digital, Havas Sports & Entertainment, and Havas Media Active, the OOH division, were launched in 2008. In 2011, Mobext was launched for mobile solutions, and now Arena. All these today contribute to establishing Havas Media Group in India as a one-stop media services solutions company with digital at the core.

Each year helped us entrench further in the Indian M&E landscape. 2007 is when we took off with important wins such as Voltas, Danone, UTV, Bank of Baroda. 2008 saw DLF Pramerica, Carlsberg, Kohler, VLCC and others. 2009 saw the likes of MTS, Dr Morepan, Jockey, and BSNL. The following two years got us Hyundai, RSPL, Nirlep, ABD, History, CNBC Awaaz, Quikr and others.

End 2011 also saw the MPG-TME alliance, but here too with some large clients such as Parle, Taj Group, Tata Commercial vehicles, etc. In many cases, we increased our portfolio of business from what we got from TME, a clear indicator of our delivery and value.

In fact, RECMA this year has placed us at No. 1 in new business wins and a growth of 43 per cent in 2012, when the industry was growing at 15 per cent. Big wins this year have been LGE, Shaadi.com, Wonder Cement, Aspiring minds, Voltas, Dupont, Neo Milk Products, and Simmtronics, among others.

We have now 5 per cent share of the market with billings of approximately Rs 1,800 crore.

Q. In hindsight, if you could change a decision for the better, what would it be?

We would love to bring back a few (very few) clients that we gave up/lost due to business reasons.

Q. What are the global best practises that Havas leverages to optimise its India operations?

We use the Meaningful Connections Planning process on the pillars of Understand, Design, Activate and Optimise with Data Fuelled Human Insights that are shared across the group. Both help create the best brand strategy, creating relevant pathways as a brand progresses to further establish itself in the marketplace. Havas Media is the only group which brings out the Meaningful Brands research globally, now 5th year in the running.

Q. How does Havas Media keep up with the changes with mobile and digital? What are the agency’s initiatives in this direction?

We are extremely strong and sound digitally and in mobile, with Havas Digital and Mobext as dedicated brands to both the streams. Global learnings have helped us remain ahead of the curve, be it in digital media, SEO, SEM, digital creative, Affiperf or mobile solutions and apps development. In-house tools such as Artemis, Lens, and Genesis are testimony to the digital and mobile focus that the agency has globally and in India.

Q. What are your key focus areas for the agency going forward? What is the target growth for next year?

The key focus is adding incremental value to our clients through Meaningful Connections Planning.

Other key focus areas are:

  • Investing in people towards training, knowledge exchange and integrated media thinking.
  • Organic and new business.
  • Focus on digital including mobile – we will soon announce the strengthening of our digital teams.
  • Alternate revenue sources, and
  • Havas Media Active, our OOH and BTL division, has created Allaboutoutdoor.com and is now launching OMP-Outdoor Media Plan, a one-of-its-kind and the first portal in India on outdoor media planning.

The targeted growth for the next 3-5 years is 2x viz the industry.

Q. Where do you see Havas Media five years from now?

A truly integrated media agency with digital at core – to date no one really is. The bigger or more established the agency, this evolution needs discipline. Besides, both integrated and digital in the emerging media world have only ‘change’ as a constant. So, we are and will be even more agile and evolving.

Havas Media Group in India are brand architects, providing meaningful connections so brands can deliver meaningful experiences as they connect with their TG on the Indian customer trajectory, scoring on customer delight.

Q. This year has seen a slew of new wins for the agency, including LG. What do you think the agency has been doing right to obtain the new business wins?

Our USP is our tools and processes as we work on brands to make them more ‘meaningful’. We have been singularly focused and aggressive towards new client acquisitions. For us, it is not about size; we look at the potential of a brand in its industry in a future market, partner them and grow with them. This, coupled with our passion and challenger mentality, has worked well for us.

LGE, globally and in India, is being be handled by Arena and has caused tremendous media excitement.

But we are also proud of the other slew of wins – Havas Media has taken on Voltas, Aspiring Minds, Career Builder, Neo Milk Products, Bloomberg TV India, Amway Beauty, Halonix, etc., with some more announcements before the year 2013 is done.

Q. What are some of the challenges that the agency is facing in the Indian market?

  1. The dearth of talent and broad-based thinking is a huge challenge.
  2. Diminishing fee margins and increasing client expectation and requirement.
  3. Cost many a time being a primary factor for deciding and winning business.
In the end, we are in the creative business, not volume business. Great interpretation of good data is also specialised artistry at real cost. The industry is in danger of pricing itself out of creativity if its benchmark is only cost – the advertising world of the future is badly in need of ‘Ideas’, which will not only come from crowdsourcing. And in this department, as we’ve seen through the history of business, a truly passionate start-up can give any WPP/ Publicis Onmicom a run for their money, scoring as creative maverick business people.

Write A Comment

VIDEOS

JOBS & CAREER