IPG agencies – Lowe Lintas and Lintas Media Group – are amongst the stronger advertising agency brands in India, and Michael Wall, CEO, Lowe & Partners, acknowledges the fact, adding that this only gives the agency more ambition in the market.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Wall said, “Lowe Lintas and LMG are famous, strong, fundamental agencies in the ecosystem of the agency world in India. But we are ambitious to grow stronger in India, and match the pace of growth of the economy in India.”
The areas Lowe is looking at specifically right now are the tier two cities in India, according to Wall. He observed, “Agencies typically dominate Mumbai, Delhi and the other key metro cities – we are in those already and we are very strong in Mumbai. We are putting a lot more focus in Delhi right now but outside of those key cities, we think it is also very important to be able to develop our presence better in the market, by expanding in the second tier.”
Perhaps an example of that was also seen when JWT had acquired stakes in a Hyderabad based company. Wall divulged that Lowe Lintas too would look at growing in the tier two cities partly by expanding the Lowe Lintas base organically and partly by acquisitions or partnerships.
The other growth areas, whether one looked at it from creative or media side, was the growth of digital and social media. Wall stated, “India is still a TV dominated landscape, and that is alright. If you see some of the work we have done on brands such as Idea and others, you can see that we are very good at it. But obviously social media and digital are going to be very important.”
Wall reiterated that Lowe did have digital capabilities in India already. “We would not have won Expedia without having a strong digital capability. Communication and advertising is important to that brand but digital capability is fundamental to it,” he said, adding, “We have the capability but I don’t want to pretend that we are on the finish line. That is an area, where we have to build organically and accelerate it at the right moment with the right kind of acquisitions and partnerships.”
In India, the big shift for Wall, would be based on the smart phones rather than a dial up or broadband connection through a PC. We are looking at competencies and capabilities that we can built both organically and through acquisitions in the marketplace. He added, “It is important in that particular area to not put a flag out in front of where the market might head to but to involve it sensibly, carefully and organically in line what our clients need.”