OMD India chalks out growth plans; Harish Shriyan named COO

OMD’s 2012 agenda includes launch of branded content cell Fuse, a mobile mktg excellence centre & more focus on brand science. The agency has also elevated Harish Shriyan to COO

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: Feb 7, 2012 8:11 AM
OMD India chalks out growth plans; Harish Shriyan named COO

OMD India is gearing for a busy 2012. The agency that had commenced its India operations on February 7, 2007, has seen robust growth over the years – over 120 per cent in the first three years, and then 60-80 per cent in the next two years as the agency added more scale.

As it celebrates its fifth anniversary in India, OMD is gearing for its next level of growth.

Diversification of services is high on the agency’s agenda this year. OMD is looking to launch its global branded content practice Fuse in India. In 2012, the agency will also establish a Centre of Mobile Excellence in this market. In addition to this, there is more expected from OMD’s Brand Science and Analytics division this year.

In a related significant development, OMD India has named Harish Shriyan as the COO of the agency. Shriyan had joined the agency at the time of its inception as Managing Partner, working closely with OMD India CEO Jasmin Sohrabji. His new role is effective immediately.

Sohrabji has confirmed these developments to exchange4media.

A late entry allowed OMD India to learn from changes in the global communication business and begin with digital at the centre of its offering. However, even as it was amongst one of the first on digital, it still had to grow into offering other specialised services to advertisers – a point that the agency has spent some time deliberating on.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Jasmin Sohrabji, CEO, OMD India explained, “Each unit should ride on its own credential. That is how digital did it. They came in, established their own credentials and got their own clients. You have to be a standalone of repute. You have to be the best in class in everything, because if you are not, then you are taking away from, instead of adding to, the core of the agency.”

Digital, by her own admission, was the first off the block as it had begun to gain importance in global pitches when OMD was still setting up base in India. Digital was seen as an agency’s investment on being future ready, and this was true for India too.

Brand Science & Analytics, Branded Entertainment & Mobile
Elaborating further on its Branded Entertainment division, which is called Fuse in the OMD system, Sohrabji said, “We had wanted to kick this off earlier but we had not got the right talent and we did not want to just set it off. We wanted to be sure that it is a standalone good operation from day one. We have made some progress there, and you should see more from us on this front this year.”

The other unit that the agency has been active in for its existing clients but has, as yet, not unleashed full scale to bring in new business, is Analytics. OMD though has a big project coming up this year from this division too.

And the third area, where OMD is extending further services is Mobile, within the agency’s digital space. “We are putting together a Centre of Mobile Excellence team. We have made some very senior hires on that. It is a five-member team that Beerajaah (S Swain) will lead and we will make it into a bigger offer eventually,” informed Sohrabji.

Beerajaah S Swain is the mobile expert on the global digital team of OMD. His role is about opportunities in digital given the scale of opportunities in the domain in a market like India.

From no base at all, in five years, OMD India has now become a 200-member operation. With presence in now five cities, Ahmedabad being the latest, OMD India has also proved successful in working its way amongst top media agencies in India. But in this market, where the number one and number two positions have been unshakeable for years, what are OMD’s future plans?

“The focus has always been to further build on a fairly high benchmark that we had set up,” remarked Sohrabji. She stated, “We perhaps needed to worry about the rank when we were setting up and coming up from a number 20 position. The reasons for reaching here were different and the reasons to grow from here will be different. But after a point, quantity is not relevant to success, it is all about quality and momentum. We want to be amongst the top agencies when it comes to pace of growth. It is not important for us to try and catch up. We are more interested in going forward and we should be recognised for the work we are doing. So, setting up and catching up is over, now it is about leading by example. We want to be the benchmark in everything we do.”

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