WPP – the holding company that owns brands like GroupM in the media space, O&M, JWT, Contract and others in the creative space, and has partnerships with the likes of Rediffusion DY&R and has brands in the digital, marketing and other media spaces – last year introduced the culture of meeting every year to discuss the various strategies that would pave the way forward for its various operating companies in Asia.
Mark Read, Global Strategy Director, WPP, informed that the broad point that came from this year’s WPP Asia Strategy Conference was to bring in digital at the centre of various communication planning and other activities of the agencies. He was clear that on the basis of both organic growth and acquisitions the digital presence of WPP in markets like India should be bolstered.
He also re-emphasised the focus of revenues from non-traditional media. The conference this year also saw a panel on digital discussion that was led by Esther Dyson. Some of the members on this panel were MSN’s Jaspreet Bindra, Hungama’s Neeraj Roy, Kavitha Iyer and others.
The first meeting of this kind took place in August 2006 at Bangkok. This year the destination of the meeting was Bangalore. Ranjan Kapur, Country Head - India, WPP, explained that the idea of holding such a meeting was to get together the various operational companies to draw upon a collective strategy that would double the size of WPP as an entity by 2010 in the Asia region.
Kapur said, “We are the largest by a good margin than any company in the Asia Pacific region, but this is a guard against complacency and to identify the growth route for WPP. We examine here that after organic growth, acquisitions and increasing stakes in associate companies what is the gap left from the target, and how should that be filled. We set out an agenda for us last year, and we were seeing if we are on track, and yes we are on track. The point now is what next.”
Kapur explained that in the last two days various CEOs of WPP companies had come together to discuss what the growth strategies should be. Some of the participants included O&M’s Piyush Pandey, JWT’s Colvyn Harris, Contract’s Jagdip Bakshi and Rediffusion DY&R’s Arun Nanda, among others.
Elaborating more on the digital conference theme this year, Kapur said, “The digital growth in the Asian countries cannot be ignored and are truly overwhelming. Japan and Korea are strong digital markets and you cannot neglect the growth that China and India are seeing in the sector. True, India and even China today are in a position where traditional media is still growing and digital is perhaps just 2 per cent of the pie in India. But 3-4 years from now, these figures will grow and the challenge then would be to cope with this growth, and at the same time not take attention away from the traditional mediums.”