Mindshare Fulcrum expands and trains team to tackle HUL Digital Mandate

As of January 1, 2019 Mindshare Fulcrum has become the integrated media buying partner for the country's single largest advertiser - Hindustan Unilever Limited

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Mindshare Fulcrum has taken over charge as the integrated media buying arm of the country’s biggest advertising spender Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) after winning the account in August 2018.

The agency which has been HUL’s single traditional media buying window for the last 24 years finally wrested control of the digital media buying duties from PHD Media last year. Commenting on winning the account, Prasanth Kumar, CEO, Mindshare South Asia said that Mindshare winning the HUL digital account was a huge milestone for Mindshare India. 

Amin Lakhani, President - Client Leadership, Mindshare India, said that the agency has built a strong foundation over the last 5-6 years that has finally culminated in this win. “If you look at our last five year journey we have built it strength-on-strength. Right from first winning the content mandate, to the planning mandate, and now finally the integrated mandate. What we have done is built foundational strengths in our relationship, product, and our body of work,” he said.
    
Lakhani said that Mindshare was in no hurry to win this account although it is a pride moment to have now won it. “Digital was a very small percentage of a brand’s media spend. Now it has really become mainstream.” 

Gauravjeet Singh, General Manager- Media (South Asia) at Unilever, said that Mindshare India finally won the long battle for the HUL account due its planning offering the option to integrate offline and online media planning. Singh said that the focus areas for HUL and Mindshare will be effectiveness of media deployment and effective use of data to drive brand growth. “These follow from our traditional media mandates. Only that digital generates a very different data set and hence it is critical to make sure that we are leveraging it the right way,” he said. 

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Addition of the digital media mandate has led to the agency increasing its workforce and hiring 30-40 new people. “Fulcrum has been a dedicated team for HUL. The entire accountability and responsibility of managing Unilever is ours. So with this win our team grows larger to address the focus from the digital perspective,” said Kumar. 

The entire idea behind the new and refreshed Mindshare Fulcrum is that “the silo called digital does not exist anymore. That’s how we are evolving. There is one marketing team and one brief, Fulcrum is here to convert that into a single window solution,” explained Lakhani. Adding to that same principle, Premjeet Sodhi, SVP, Mindshare Fulcrum South Asia, said that Fulcrum now has an “integrated” outlook towards media buying, planning, and strategy for HUL; this philosophy will keep the consumer at the center of it all.   

The HUL Capability building programme called Link was launched soon after winning the HUL account to bring Team Fulcrum up-to-speed on digital and changing its attitude towards creating an integrated media plan.

As part of the process to transition from PHD Media, Mindshare Fulcrum has trained its 150+ staffers in all things digital. “We conducted a 100-day training module to familiarise everyone with digital tools, technologies, and frameworks,” revealed Lakhani. The entire process has laid a lot of elements that will become global best practices, Lakhani said. Sodhi informed that the training has been aimed at making people who have been thinking traditional to start thinking digital. 

"The Fulcrum team went through a complete digital transformation and training programme which included the changing landscape of consumers, audience segmentation and understanding across digital platforms whether it was Google, FB, OTT players, platforms and across third party measurement companies too as they had to not only theoretically understand but also implement campaigns across platforms," shared Vinod Thadani, Chief Digital Officer, South Asia, Mindshare. 

The Omnicom Group agency PHD Media held the digital media mandate for HUL in India since 2011. The size of the account is speculated to be around Rs 400 crore. HUL’s annual advertising and promotions spend is around Rs 3,500-4,000 crore. Mindshare India will hold the HUL digital media mandate until 2021.

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