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Muriel Bachelier

International Marketing and Communications Director | 16 Sep 2010

India is the fastest growing market within the group and we are investing a lot in India. We want to establish ourselves as firmly in our core areas of strength in our chosen markets and industries. We are also looking at India as a centre for excellence. In the near terms, we are also looking at developing our consulting offerings further and also in establishing a core group that focuses on project financing and public private partnerships.

After having created and managed the Mazars’ Group Communications Department since 1993, Muriel Bachelier is now in charge of International Marketing and Communication. She heads an internal agency comprising a team dedicated to the integration of new countries regarding their marketing and communication. She has also created specific training related to marketing and communication for partners. In 1986, she became responsible for information and public relations at Deloitte & Touche, where she created the Communication Department. She is member of the Association of French Communications Directors (Entreprises et Médias) and conducted a survey about the relation between media and companies.

Mazars is an international, independent and integrated organization specializing in audit, accounting, tax and advisory services. Founded by Robert Mazars in 1940 in Western France, the group has presence in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. Present in 56 countries, the company has over 12, 500 employees and the ability to assist clients in 22 additional countries. As on 31st of August, 2009, Mazars' turnover (integrated partnership) stood at €773.60 million (over $ 1.2 billion).

Q. When you took over the reigns of international marketing and communications as Director, what were the immediate objectives that demand attention?

When I joined Mazars in 1993, the accountancy market place was abuzz with what was known as the ‘Big 8’ global accountancy firms. We wanted to build a strong profile which would differentiate us from the competition. We wanted a clear positioning and felt that it was important to take to the market what the market needed. We wanted to take solutions to the market and not impose services on them. Our culture and philosophy gave us a platform to do this in spirit and form. However, we were not so well know and this was the biggest challenge.

On joining Mazars, what I saw was that the market was beginning to get concentrated with big firms and I felt that this was an opportunity for Mazars to provide our clients more choices. Companies were going global and they wanted global players in form and substance. Hence, the biggest task for us was to position Mazars on its strengths of being the single international, independent and integrated organisation specialising in audit, accounting, tax and advisory services.

Q. Given the various markets you look after for marketing and communications, what are glaring differences between India and other markets?

Mazars is present over all the 5 continents spread over 56 countries. India as a market is very unique – not only does it have tremendous potential for business and consequently our services to enable such businesses; but the cultural differences in India are diverse. In fact, India could be a continent, given the diversity it has in terms of regions and its culture. In most of the other jurisdictions where we operate, cultural diversity within any one particular country is not as diverse as India.

What also makes India unique is that in times when the rest of the world has been responding to financial pressure, like the recent slow down, India has shown a united front in terms of its ability to manage and emerge stronger from such events. A fine example is how India has been able to build up a strong and robust domestic demand for international products and services. India’s strength lies in its ability to respond to the global challenges and opportunities as one. The people in India are very talented & sincere and the most important positive factor they have exhibited is their ability to change and facilitate change management. Besides, in terms of governance, technology and best management techniques, India is second to none in the world and in some cases an example for other countries to follow.

Q. What is Mazars marketing budget for 2010 for all the markets combined that you look after? What is the allocation for India?

The marketing budget ranges between 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent of the local turnover of a particular country, depending on the local market conditions, culture, stage of evolution of the local member firm and the extent of supports it needs from our global organization.

The Indian operations are doing well and have shown a remarkable growth in a relatively short period of time. There is a strong recall for the Mazars brand and I have been watching and monitoring very closely how this has been improving. All our services in India (specially IFRS- risk advisory services and taxation) have shown a very good growth in the past year and India clearly has a lot of potential for this growth momentum to be sustained and further improved upon. As India is one of our key growth markets we are committed to invest financially, technically and also in terms of time of the global leadership to ensure that Mazars is able to realize the true potential in the Indian market place for its services.

Q. Could you name a few marketing initiatives and strategies that Mazars has undertaken and adopted for the Indian market? What is your spent on the BTL activities?

The focus of our markets team in India was to create awareness of our unique model and how this could benefit our existing and potential clients. We are seeking various ways of engaging with our targets and to demonstrate our thought leadership in areas where we are the market leaders. Yet at the same time, we are focusing more on integrated solutions by talking to clients about what they want rather than imposing on them what we have. Our global business model allows us to cut across the so called wall, cutting across nationalities, cultures and individual service offerings- to provide cohesive solutions.

Since we have a very good partner to staff ratio, this permits us to have a closer engagement with our existing and potential clients at a senior management level. It is about spending quality time with our clients to understand their needs and not quantity of time alone. The close involvements of the global team in helping our clients grow are some of the examples of our innovative marketing strategy.

These are some examples of BTL activities that we have been pursuing and consequently most of our markets budget is allocated to the same. There can be no better publicity for us than what our clients say to others this can only be achieved by closer engagement and an ability to respond well to their requirements.

Q. Who are your competitors and what is your positioning compared to them.

Our competitors are the Big 4 and some other leading international firms globally. Globally Mazars is positioned as a ‘challenger’ to the Big 4, not because we feel that they are doing something wrong, but because of the fact that we have a unique business model which seeks to compete in the same marketplace as them. We have successfully doubled our workforce in last 3 years and our turnover has increased by 47 per cent to reach 12, 500 professionals in 56 countries.

We feel that, businesses today wish that there were more players in the market. Over the last few years, we have witnessed a phenomenon of greater concentration of the market which is not good for innovation and fluidity. We are witnessing arrival of the players from emerging countries like China. In this competitive market, Mazars is the challenger with expertise, value and close relationship with clients.

Q. What are the revenue targets for India in 2010? How has the Q1 performance been?

We have more than doubled our revenue from last year and are looking in terms of an aggressive ramp up in service areas like corporate finance, IFRS and governance risk and internal controls and cross border advice. We have had a very encouraging start to the year by the addition of some large names in our client base and also the growth in the account size of our current clients.

Q. What are the plans in the pipeline for India? And expansion plans?

India is the fastest growing market within the group and we are investing a lot in India. We want to establish ourselves as firmly in our core areas of strength in our chosen markets and industries. We are also looking at India as a centre for excellence. In the near terms, we are also looking at developing our consulting offerings further and also in establishing a core group that focuses on project financing and public private partnerships.

Q. Which markets generates the highest revenue and which generates the least?

Though the European market has traditionally generated the maximum revenues for Mazars at a global platform, the share of the pie of other regions, particularly Asia is fast increasing.

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