Our business in India grew 10% in 2019: Mark Read

Mark Read, WPP Global CEO, and CVL Srinivas, Country Head – India, share the India growth story and the company’s vision at a press conference in Mumbai

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 11, 2020 11:15 AM
Mark Read and CVL Srinivas

“Our business in India grew 10 per cent in 2019. This has been one of the standout markets for WPP in the past year and I hope and expect to see the same in 2020,” shared Mark Read, Global CEO, WPP, addressing journalists at the WPP campus in Mumbai on Tuesday.

At his first-ever press interaction in India, Read said India was now, by revenue, their fifth largest market globally.

Outlining the progress of WPP’s vision of becoming a ‘Creative Transformation Company’, Read said, “We set a strategy for WPP 15 months ago, calling it radical evolution.” He elaborated how part of that vision at WPP was to put creativity at the heart of the business while embracing data and technology. Further adding that the vision to simplify WPP and build a culture that was compelling to people was already showing results.

“Our view is this notion of creativity powered by technology. Creativity is what makes WPP special, it’s our secret sauce. It’s what differentiates us from others.” Talking about the importance and role of technology, he said, “WPP is as much a tech company as it is a creative company and that is really critical to our growth in the future.”

Sharing the stage at the press conference was Country Head-India CVL Srinivas who outlined the growth strategy for the India market. He shared how the company has always had a very strong market position in India and that their media market share was close to 50 per cent. Srinivas said the five focus areas, as part of the strategy for WPP, namely are client centricity, capability building with data and technology, talent and culture, an efficient and nimble organisation and lastly sustainability and social impact.

On the client centricity front, Srinivas spoke of how integrated teams would look after WPP clients. “We are working very differently today than we were a year ago, we’ve got different models working for different clients, basically the common theme is to get people integrated or working together.”

Under their capability building with data and technology strategy, WPP will build partner programmes with companies like Facebook, Adobe, inMobi and Google. In an interesting development, WPP will also encourage start-ups to work from their campus as part of their Innovation Hub. He explained though the start-up model was still in its development stage it could eventually help them co-create solutions for clients in the future.

Sustainability and social impact is also an important focus area for WPP. It has rolled out several initiatives like — India2022, ISDI WPP and the WPP CSR foundation.

As the business community across the world prepares to tackle the Coronavirus threat, Mark Read was asked if WPP too was feeling its impact, to which he replied, “In terms of our business it is too early to say how it will impact it. Clearly if it impacts the world economy then WPP and every other company will be impacted, we’ll have to manage that as we have in the past handled it - in the best way possible. At this point all that we can say is that I’ve seen the statistics say that global growth will be half a per cent to one per cent down in 2020 and we’ll have to see if that turns out to be pessimistic or optimistic as an estimate.”

In times of the slowdown will the company be able to achieve the 10 per cent growth that it witnessed in 2019 this year too, was another query from the media to which Srinivas replied, “Maybe it’s too early to say. 2020 will be a challenging year but we are up for the challenge. I think we have a pretty strong foundation at WPP and the work that we’ve done over the last one and a half year in terms of building on our traditional strengths and getting into some of the newer areas, getting teams to work a lot more closely on clients, I think is going to help us. So, while it may be a tough year I’m pretty confident that the team that we have here is going to deliver.”

On their plans for a client-centric approach, Srinivas explained how the idea behind it was only from a collaborative point of view. “The common principle is that people from varied disciplines, whether its creative, media, research, data all sit together and we get one brief from the client and the client gets back one response from us as against in the past where you had 4 or 5 or sometimes 8 operating companies servicing the client. In a way we are simplifying it, getting it all together and we are finding that wherever we are doing this we are moving up the value chain, we are getting into conversations which are lot more strategic and adding value at a macro level as WPP.”

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