Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) has ended 2011 on a high. The agency’s focus now is to strengthen its three-pillared strategy to create a differentiated media product in the India marketplace. The three pillars that guided SMG in creating a distinct offering were Insights & Analytics, Digital and Content. “And we backed this strategy by infusing quality talent across levels,” remarked CVL Srinivas, Chairman SMG India and MD, LiquidThread APAC.
Srini, as he is better known, recalled, “At the start of 2011, we had set out a new agenda for SMG in India. Our main aim was to create a differentiated media product, attract quality talent, enhance client delight and grow our business at a faster rate than the market.”
As a New Year begins, SMG can look back on a successful 2011, where it managed to deliver significantly on the agenda it had set out.
SMG’s best performance in three years...
Srini informed that SMG had grown its revenue by over 25 per cent in 2011, which is almost twice the industry growth rate and SMG’s best performance in the past three years. A key contributor to this was SMG India winning 18 new businesses in the year. “This was perhaps more than any other media agency and in a relatively dull year for the market,” added Srini.
SMG’s focus to develop Starcom Worldwide and MediaVest Worldwide as two independent media agency brands in the market played its part in reinforcing the group’s presence in India. In 2011, MediaVest was expanded beyond Mumbai into the markets of Delhi and Bangalore. MediaVest also won some key businesses in the year such as Yahoo!, Sab, Pix and Supermax amongst others.
Starcom on the other hand saw its own long list of wins that boasted of advertisers such as Aircel, Letsbuy and Smyle Group.
...On the back of a three-pronged approach
Much credit of this growth goes to the three pillars that SMG focussed on.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Srini explained, “The pillars of Insights & Analytics, Digital and Content are the focus areas for SMG ever since the start of the year, when we had a new team on board and we re-looked our product strategy. We felt SMG was offering a me-too product and it was time to leverage our global strengths and local skills to create a differentiator. This strategy has helped us not only win a record number of businesses but also to attract quality talent across levels and the quality of output on existing clients.”
The year saw SMG add key talent such as CR Mallikarjundas as Company CEO, who joined SMG from Madison. Arnab Mitra joined as SMG’s Digital lead from Havas. Rajendra Dwivedi, from Maxus, joined the group as VP of Starcom Mumbai and Amrit Kaur, who was with JWT, joined as the agency’s Insights lead to add to its existing talent pool. 2011 was also the year SMG created the post of a Chairman, in the form of Srini, to oversee the India business and adapt global best practices to this market.
The 2012 Agenda
SMG is set to continue with this pace of new wins and adding more to its offering in 2012. One of the key tasks ahead for the agency is setting up a Centre of Excellence in Analytics in India. SMG India is working with the SMG global team to achieve this. “We shall have more news to share in the coming weeks,” Srini informed.
He also said that SMG India had aggressive plans both in Digital and Content, which included partnerships – alliances and acquisitions - and new products.