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IPG puts focus back on ‘brand’ in 3rd agency network

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IPG puts focus back on ‘brand’ in 3rd agency network

When the advertising agency model was full service, agencies placed immense importance on the ‘brand’. The unbundling of the industry, leading to the formation of media agencies as standalone P&Ls (Profit and Loss), created a situation where media agencies became focussed on better pricing, value through scale and buying clout. But the media landscape, that evolves every day, has made the consumer all important today. An advertiser’s control over conversations and content surrounding it has slipped. The growing power of social media has made it imperative that the focus on ‘brand’ is amplified once again.

This is the thought process on the basis of which, IPG Mediabrands has designed its third media agency network – Brand Programming Network (BPN). India was one of the contributing markets that participated in the brand construct of BPN.

BPN will be present in 14 markets including North America, Europe and Latin America, amongst others, but India is the chosen market of launch for the agency. In India, BPN will be under the Lintas Media Group umbrella that also has Lintas Initiative Media. Suresh Balakrishna is the CEO for the new agency. The agency officially commences operation on June 12, 2012.

“BPN will be apt for any advertiser, where the health and growth of the brand is critical to the growth of business. Initiative brings with it the advantages of heritage and long-term relationships with large advertisers. BPN will be far more aggressive and will look at many markets including emerging markets in India,” said Lynn de Souza, Chairman and CEO, Lintas Media Group in a conversation with exchange4media.

The word ‘programming’ in BPN connotes the focus on creating a programme, as opposed to a plan, to develop the brand. Perhaps this approach is the reason why advertisers such as Bajaj Auto and Union Bank of India, where the focus is on a single or two brands, which then have subsets under them, have made it to the BPN roster. Apart from this, all erstwhile Karishma Initiative advertisers have been grouped under BPN. BPN has started with a billing volume of over Rs 1000 crore in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Cochin.

In a prepared statement, Balakrishna said, “We are very excited to be energising an all new way of approaching media, yet using the best of data, insights and creativity that LMG and IPG Mediabrands have globally and here in India. BPN will focus on promoting brand programming using social media as a key source of information to reach consumer at every touch-point. We will work closely with Reprise Media, the digital offer, and Lintas Initiative Outdoor to offer brands complete media solutions.”

Balakrishna is also part of BPN’s global leadership team. The present scale of the agency will see more focus on India and India would be able to contribute to the growth and development of the brand, explained de Souza. She added, “We are very thrilled that BPN has launched from India as it is the second largest in the BPN family, United States being the largest. We had begun work on the agency in January itself.”

A press statement said, “BPN will be characterised by its agility, creativity and understanding of new avenues such as the digital medium, branded content, mobile telephony, apart from the conviction to be able to deliver the best media product through astute planning and aggressive buying.”

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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.