We aim to become a Rs 1000 crore company by 2022: Gour Gupta, Tribes Group

Gupta, CEO of The Max and MD of Tribes Group, sheds light on the driving force behind the company, their targeted clientele and the key focus of Tribes in 2020

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Updated: Feb 10, 2020 8:58 AM

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Gour Gupta Tribes

Remember Michelin’s iconic mascot on the roads recently? Or remember the famous ‘NBA in My Backyard’ campaign? Well, these iconic campaigns which also became the talk of the town were the brainchild of Tribes Group.  

Incorporated in 2015, Tribes Communication Pvt Ltd, has been in the business for the past 5 years and has made a mark when it comes OOH or experiential.  On the completion of five glorious years in the industry, we got candid with Gour Gupta, CEO, The Max, and MD, Tribes Group, who told us more about the driving force behind the company, measurability, their targeted clientele and the key focus of Tribes in 2020 and more.

Gupta has been a part of the OOH fraternity for more than two decades. Gupta’s past stints were with two very successful OOH agencies. He helped set up Kinetic (a WPP OOH Agency) and went on to become its Country Head. He then co-founded Platinum OOH with Sam Balsara. Under Gour’s leadership, Platinum became one of the most profitable and fastest-growing companies in Madison World.

Edited Excerpts:

Audience tracking is an important aspect of advertising, with mediums like television or newspaper, there are bodies like BARC which gives them ratings but with OOH there are no such bodies. How are advertisers in the OOH space luring the advertisers with results? 

People understand that measurability is important, but most of this measurability in-house is done by people through outside sources, but what I feel is there has to be a uniform industry, measurability index, which would give a lot of confidence to the clients. If there is an industry, measurability platform, clients would get more confidence. I would feel other than the site index, I think what is most important is the analysis of the traffic count which is the quantitative and qualitative data and output that you get out of measuring the quality and quantity of traffic on a given location. That information is important from a client's point of view.

The other thing which is extremely important is proximity data. For example, there is a hoarding site, which includes school, mall, Cineplex or parking space so based on that, the kind of people who would congregate in that location so that helps you decide your campaign. So, if you're targeting school kids, you know this holding caters to so many school kids or so many colleges. So, proximity data is important, traffic count is important. And as far as the measurability is concerned, I think there has to be a uniform civil industry platform where the client can access and it is not biased towards anybody or any particular site.

According to you, what is the future of OOH in India?

It is going to be regulated much more than what it is. But India's a vast country with variable dynamics and multiple authorities, there is no central authority. So every authority has its own ways and standard operating procedure and we own rules and regulations. It is chiefly monitored by them, although there are illegal sites here and there, I feel it is going to be restricted only a few players in the next 10 years will emerge as strong players. Airports are going to be important and the number of hoarding sites would come down.

From a cleanliness point of view, from an aesthetic point of view, from a beautification point of view and a lot of money is also going to be spent on digital out-of-home. But outdoor has its own intrinsic value, it can't be compared to television, radio or any other thing. It is a standout medium and it is done for a reason. It is done because the canvas is huge. You can do pretty much whatever you want to do, outdoor will always have its relevance, it will never die. It'll probably come in a different form.

Tribes has crossed 600 cr capitalized billing in terms of revenues over the years, what has been the driving force for the company? You are so close to a 1000 cr mark, what is the timeline that you have set for the company to reach the target?

We have a few collaborations lined up in the sports area. We are also getting into film production. By 2022 we aim to become a 1000 cr company.

What has been the spending pattern/demand of advertisers with regard to OOH over the last year? Which categories have shown promise? Which are the new entrants?

I think mobile phones were spending a lot of money and they have cut down on their budgets. Telecom is non-existent; telecom used to be the largest spenders. Banking is also going through its own twists and turns, not spending. There are insurance companies who've been consistent in their spending. Automobiles are going through a downturn, but I still think they're still spending the way they have been the automobiles are spending, like one of our largest clients is Honda who spends around 40 crore with us. And they have been consistently spending and increasing their budgets year on year. So they have a lot of confidence also emanates from the fact that whether the client is confident in the medium.

Michelin is a campaign that we just did, they have never used OOH. They started with a 2 cr budget; I think it went up to some 8-9 crore. We have campaigns lined up with Michelin going forward.

So new categories will emerge, but right now I think it is mostly dominated by the automobile. And some key mobile players like One Plus, Apple.

What are the big challenges faced by the OOH industry and what kind of policy or other support does it need?

For any industry to flourish and grow there has to be a concerted effort by all the stakeholders. What I mean is that the agencies, the clients, the media owners all have to come on the same platform and believe that this is the right way forward the right way ahead. And unless that happens, I don't think we are going to move ahead. So what typically is happening today is that clients are not a part of that discussion or deliberation. It's only some media owners. India is a vast country, there will be 2000 Media owners, maybe 10-15 of them are aligned. Agencies also have to believe and they have to invest from which agencies are shying away today. Agencies want the vendors to spend money on these kinds of things, and the vendors feel they should not, they are doing a pretty good job. So, till the time that mindset changes, it's going to be a challenge, but once that happens, I'm sure it's going be exciting for all of them.

What is the key focus for Tribes going forward in 2020? 

As you know that you know we are going through tough times due to economic slump and you know the general mood and sentiment in the market. Telecom companies closing down, so many people out of jobs. So, if I have to put it these are extremely trying times, difficult times, but we have been able to hold on and we are growing, so we want to grow at the same pace. And we also want to organically grow. So I would say 60% should be organic growth. And 40% should be from either acquisitions or collaborations. And we are focusing on the digital part of it. We are trying to integrate technology into our day to day lives and business and because finally if you look at it, clients are going to cut their spending on print and television, they're going to spend on digital, out of home and experiential. So the other thing that we have is that we are under one roof.

We have an experiential event, activation, retail, out of home sitting together. So when we are going to a client, we are giving him an end to end solution in terms of the creative product; execution; creating that experience in terms of collating the data and giving him feedback and also using technology because all these are in-house. So I think collaboration and use of technology and use of data and creating experiences is what is going to help us take a lead over others.

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