MediaCom India was amongst those agencies that had decided to stay comparatively quiet in 2011. This did not slow the agency down from registering a noteworthy growth pace, which according to its Managing Director – India, Debraj Tripathy, was at 69-70 per cent last year. From a MediaCom viewpoint though, 2011 was the building year, when the foundation for a growth year was laid out.
The agency had seen a slew of new business wins in the year including advertisers such as Makemytrip.com, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, US Tourism, Revlon and Shobha Developers. The agency also won digital mandates of Edelweiss, Dell, Saint Gobain, Volkswagen and Skoda.
Tripathy explained that apart from new wins, the agency saw sizeable growth coming from existing businesses, especially from the likes of Procter & Gamble, Volkswagen, Dell and Shell. He said, “To give a perspective, according to RECMA in the year 2010, we had a growth of 55 per cent, which is 8-10 per cent points higher than the previous year. That’s a good growth number. In 2011 too, even though the numbers are not out yet, we will grow at a higher rate – in fact, internally our numbers show a 69-70 per cent growth.”
By Tripathy’s own admission, MediaCom was in “consolidation mode” for a good part of 2010 and a large part of 2011. He stated, “In 2012 that will change and we will begin to focus aggressively on new business acquisition. We have already started seeing results this year and in the very first week we have bagged Apollo Munich Insurance in Delhi and Kuwait Danish Dairy in Bangalore.”
The Digital Boost
Digital has been one of key contributors to MediaCom’s overall growth. It has become mainline business for the agency now. From a three-member team in 2009, MediaCom has more than 30 members in its digital team, and the agency is still hiring.
Tripathy observed, “Digital is a core area of focus for us. We had made huge investments in this space and it has given us big dividends in 2011.”
In 2011, the agency had started integrating digital with the traditional business teams. This came from the MediaCom’s belief that digital was no longer a specialised service but integral to all recommendations made to advertisers. All business teams are being trained for the digital domain. Latish Nair, who leads MediaCom Interaction, has been leading the integration process. Tripathy informed that digital buying was completely integrated with the traditional media buying team. Avinash Pillai, who heads MediaCom trading, has been leading this.
Tripathy has pinned high expectations from digital in 2012 as well.
In addition to digital, branded content and two other specialised units that MediaCom will announce in the second half of 2012, would become core areas of focus for the agency. At the same time, the agency will continue to invest in insights and analytics.
Branded Content & More
Tripathy divulged, “The other area in which we are investing heavily is branded content. We brought on board Sharmistha Gupta Goswami to lead this initiative.”
While branded content has been a focus area for many agencies in the last few years, the Indian marketplace lacks any examples, especially in mass media such as print and TV, that were worth writing home about. Branded content, in that sense, is yet to make any mark for the advertiser.
MediaCom understands this and attempts to address the problem in a different manner.
Tripathy explained, “When we started investing in branded content, we had two options -- we could either get a manager to lead the initiative who would then work with third party vendors to ideate and develop content concepts, or we could bring and nurture creative expertise in house. We chose to go with the second option because we strongly believed that in-house creative resources would be able to generate and build concepts that are far more integrated with what our clients’ brands stand for. Keeping this in mind, we got Sharmistha on board to lead the branded content vertical for MediaCom India.”
Goswami comes with over 16 years of experience in content development with broadcasters such as STAR India.
Focus on Awards continue
“Awards are extremely important for us,” stated Tripathy. MediaCom has seen a fair share of wins at national and global award platforms. At MediaCom, awards are treated as a target for the agency professionals – shortlists and wins included.
“When clients look at us, they want to understand whether we can manage their investments and if we can do it efficiently and effectively enough to produce work that stands out. Awards help us to establish that we can do great work that stands out in a cluttered marketplace,” observed Tripathy, and added, “We have been winning and continue to win major awards both within the country (the Grand EMVIE) and internationally.”
In 2011, MediaCom India had won awards on various national platforms including GoaFest, EMVIE Awards and exchange4media Golden Mikes 2011. The agency also won at international awards such as Festival of Media 2011, WARC and Spikes 2011.
MediaCom’s unique position in India, which is of being a JV between Sam Balsara of Madison Group and GroupM India, holds it in a strong place to achieve its targets for the year ahead. The agency is now all geared up for an action-packed 2012.