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Seiichiro Hayata, Acting Chairman, Dentsu India in conversation

21-April-2011
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Seiichiro Hayata, Acting Chairman, Dentsu India in conversation

The year 2011 has been big for Dentsu India. Not only did the company become a 100 per cent subsidiary of Dentsu, but it has also begun to see some of the first effects of the development. In a conversation with exchange4media, Seiichiro Hayata, Acting Chairman, Dentsu India Group, speaks on the current changes and the plans ahead.

Why did the acquisition take place now and not any earlier?
Our India venture is part of our plan to expand our unique business model globally. The turn of the decade saw us strengthening our frameworks in the US, Europe and China. Enhanced presence in these markets brought promising results. Starting 2010, we initiated focus on solidifying and expanding our bases in growth markets such as India. The idea was to reinforce Dentsu India to enable it to truly partner clients in the rapidly changing and evolving new India. We also wanted to raise the bar on our service deliveries and client offerings. We accelerated our investment in India in order to expand our service range. We plan to leverage our unique, cutting-edge marketing methods and technology to do that.

What steps have been taken to manage this change?
We have been conducting Open Forums across our offices to communicate our plans and developments with employees. These forums enable an interactive platform for constructive dialogue with our talent force and ensure an environment of transparency. We have also met with our clients and partners in media informing them about the changes within Dentsu India. We are also working towards instituting internal programmes to ensure regular information sharing with our employees.

Why couldn’t you do some of these things – such as regular information sharing – earlier? You were 75 per cent owners of the company even then?
Yes, but some of these things have processes and security issues involved. But just sharing is not enough. We also need to train people and we have done exercises for that in the last three months. There were people who had come down from our Japan offices to speak to the team here.

What is your employee strategy at the new Dentsu India?
Our employee strategy is about empowering our talent to propel the organisation towards sustainable and stable growth. It is about geographic customisation and independence. It is about being 100 per cent Dentsu in spirit and action. It is about being part of one global family. Our talent strategy will have a sustained thrust on talent development by way of periodic knowledge forums and training programmes. We are also in the process of introducing policies that are part of our global best practices.

There have been a few very senior exits in Dentsu in the last few weeks? Were you expecting this? Is this a worry?
The people who have left the company had contributed immensely to the growth of the company. But these things happen. We were not expecting who exactly because one cannot speculate about things like that. But I was not surprised because when there are changes, things like these happen. However irrespective, we at DIG are buoyant about our India business and 100 per cent committed. We have strong belief in the market potential and the talent of our people. We are here to strengthen our India presence and make it an integral part of our global network.

What is the new Dentsu India’s strategy to differentiate itself from competing advertising agencies? What would be is Dentsu India’s USP?
We plan to optimise the knowledge and know-how that we have accumulated until now, both within Japan and globally. Keeping the communications domain as a core, we would look to expand the advertising-related domains in India. We see our domain expertise in providing ‘Integrated Communication Design’ being a clear USP to our new 100 per cent presence in India.

I would like to add here that we have a client-centric philosophy. We want to be business solution partner for our clients and be able to contribute to the clients’ success. We, in fact, want to be the preferred agency for clients as well as for other stakeholders like media owners as well.

Why don’t we end this with you telling us your favourite work from Dentsu India?
The ‘Toyota Greenathon’ with NDTV. That was a format innovation that we developed with NDTV for the India market and I think it was a very good innovation. Another favourite of mine is ‘Save our Tigers’ for Aircel. Not only did this give solutions to our clients, but they also became talking points that had a profound meaning to it. In the end, they increased loyalty towards these brands.

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