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We’ve been a force to show our potential and innovate: Prasanth Kumar

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We’ve been a force to show our potential and innovate: Prasanth Kumar

Mindshare has been in the news this year, whether it is for bagging the media mandate for the government’s “Make in India” initiative or reclaiming the top spot at Emvies. It has also touched Rs 850 crore of revenue this year with wins like, Snapdeal’s digital mandate, PayU, Saavn, and Grofers, among others.

“We’ve been a force to show our potential and innovate,” states Prasanth Kumar, CEO, Mindshare South Asia, who took to the helm in March 2015 from his previous role as Head of GroupM's Central Trading Group.

“I took a clear, conscious call not to look at the past but to simply concentrate on the present and plan for the future. If there’s something from the past that connects with what we are working on now, then ok. But I did not want to look back in order to have to discuss what was done wrong and right. It’s not fair to others and neither to me,” said Kumar on whether there has been an added sense of momentum since he took over.

While there have been a few changes in the leadership team, there have been more streamlining and consolidation of leadership. “This came up not because of a pre-existing gap, but more so because keeping in mind our goals for the future we needed this reorganisation,” he clarified.

Kumar, who has been with GroupM for over 11 years, regards his current role as a natural progression which also gives him the chance to do something different. He thoroughly enjoys the thrill of understanding the consumer, and therefore being able to help brands.

A few excerpts from a candid chat with Prasanth Kumar, CEO, Mindshare South Asia:

What has been the growth for the agency compared to 2014 in terms of revenue targets?

This year, 2015, we have reached Rs 850 crore worth of revenue. We have had good organic as well as inorganic growth. Our organic growth has been around 40 per cent while inorganic has taken up the other 60 per cent. Our overall growth this year has been close to 45 per cent to 55 per cent, as compared to last year.

What has the revenue growth been in terms of Digital?

We’ve had very good growth this year in Digital, growing more than 60-70 per cent. This growth has been very fast paced. Vinod Thadani is our Digital Head and he has done a terrific job. We seem to be in a nice momentum and continue to be hungry.

What’s the uptake in terms of Programmatic?

Programmatic is the key word these days. And we will adapt to the ecosystem. Strategically, we are working on developing better products in Digital for brands. Understanding how strategically we can look at different factors.

Today, Programmatic is not major. Right now, it is still in single digits, but it will grow because people are realising that this has benefits for everyone. It essentially throws up a new business model. But people should first talk about benefits rather than the business model. If you’re clear and happy with the benefits then we will find the model that works best to achieve that. Conversations are now moving in that direction.

Are we (India) late on the Programmatic scene?

Anyone who comes from an international market wants to talk about the new trends there. But each market might take its time. There are lots of changes happening from a digital perspective and there are a lot more players putting their skin in the game, whether it’s from the broadcast industry, publication side or content industry. There is a lot more inventory and more opportunities coming up. We will have larger momentum in the coming years and the one media that is growing by 30 per cent to 40 per cent over the past four to five years is Digital.

What has been your approach to your current role?

I look at it as different chapters of life. And in a few of the past chapters I did not get to experiment much.  I was keen to work on brands and solutions and to understand consumers more. I want to be able to predict the next generation of consumers. So for me to know that, it’s important for me to learn more about it. This thrill of understanding the consumer and therefore being able to help brands will help us discern the future set of consumers. Therefore we can look for the next type of solutions as well.  For me this role was a natural progression which also gave me the chance to do something different. 

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