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Quick five with Jon Cook on starting VML Qais’ India ops

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Quick five with Jon Cook on starting VML Qais’ India ops

VML Qais has officially initiated its fully integrated operations in India. It has kicked-off work with a six-member team in Mumbai and is expected to set up operations in Delhi by the end of the year.

VML is one of WPP’s largest wholly-owned pure play digital networks. Set up in 2004, Qais Consulting was acquired by VML in February 2012.

VML Qais, the Asia arm of VML, has been handling clients such as Mahindra & Mahindra, ICICI Bank, Revlon, Tata Motors and Mahindra two-wheelers for the last 12 months, while setting up full-fledged operations in the country. VML’s work was recognised at Cannes Lions 2012, where it was awarded seven Cannes Lions for Gatorade’s ‘Everything to Prove’ and the Australian Defence Force’s Mobile Medic campaigns.

In conversation with exchange4media, Jon Cook, CEO and President, VML speaks on the potential that India has as a digital market and VML Qais’s expectations from its Indian division.

What was the rationale for staring India operations of VML Qais? What are your expectations from it?
India has the most social media volume than most fast growing countries. With half the country's population below 25 years, it is the second fastest growing digital market in the world, the third largest Facebook market, the sixth largest Twitter market, and it has the second highest base of LinkedIn users in the world. This scale in India is what makes the impact.

What’s missing in India is brands truly creating impact using this media than participation; we look at it as an area of great opportunity. Our focus is not to just create footprints here but put to use the perceptive of different regions at its best.

At present the digital work that is seen in India is very social media driven. What do you think Indian brands should focus on while investing in digital platforms?

India is an emerging mobile market. Brands here should start embracing the mobile environment. One should understand that mobile is just not a technology, it is a behaviour. Using different digital platforms, social participation can be made interesting and will be of great attraction too. Brands should also understand that digital media is trendy; brands need not investment a huge amount on it yet generate a great experience for itself. Using the complete digital ecosystem is what needs to be kept in mind by brands, social is just a part of it.

India hasn’t seen significant digital innovations as compared to many other global markets. Even at international festivals such as Cannes Lions, India didn’t make a great show in the cyber space. What message would you give to Indian agencies to get that going?
Indian agencies are doing a good job as per the markets needs but yes, as compared to the global space there has to be more that needs to be focused on. A great digital campaign is not only about large presence across digital platforms but it revolves around the idea of the campaign. One needs to go back to the heartbeat of the idea, feel the pulse of it and technology will facilitate the idea to stand out. Generating actionable listening is our success mantra. Actionable listening means integrating tools with human power in our digital communication.

How do you plan to encourage Indian brands to use the digital platform for promotions?
We don’t want to encourage brands to increase investments more on digital media just because the medium is very trendy. We want to focus on creating brand engagement that will demonstrate effective results for the brands, which in turn will generate client retention by itself.

What are your expectations from India?
First and foremost we are looking at doing a good job for our existing host of clients in India. We are looking forward to bring best media practice through our existing work. There is a temptation to over expand and to generate good business because we are confident that we have the capability to do great work in India.

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