Omnicom sets sights on Indian growth

19 March 2010

MUMBAI: Omnicom Group, the agency holding company, is heightening its focus on India, which is expected to be a key driver of adspend growth going forward.

While major markets like North America and Europe are currently recording minimal upticks in advertising revenues, India is set to see figures improve by 13% a year over the period to 2014.

John Wren, Omnicom's president/ceo, said that, thus far, it had been "later than some of its competitors" in making in-roads in emerging economies.

More positively, he suggested that the organisation is quickly gaining ground in India, having won new accounts from firms like Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pepsi and Philips in the recent past.

"Just have a look at our global roster three years ago and examine how many clients we weren't serving in India. And then fast-forward it three years, you will see that we have been tremendously successful," said Wren.

"The first thing we had to do is to demonstrate that we have the very top talent, just as we have in other markets."

Its local arm is headed by Keki Dadiseth, the former head of Hindustan Unilever, the FMCG giant, which has long held the status as being the biggest advertiser in the country.

DDB Mudra, RK Swamy BBDO, TBWA and OMD are among Omnicom's main agencies in India, with the latter of these networks performing particularly strongly at present, according to Wren.

It picked up billings from Danone, HP and Virgin Atlantic last year, and has delivered results which stand up favourably to comparisons across Omnicom's global activities.

"The amount of growth that the company has managed in a short span of time is unparalleled. The team here is world class and could be leaders in any market," Wren said.

More broadly, while Omnicom has typically "promoted the importance of our individual brands" to advertisers, it will adapt this approach in specific areas as it ramps up its expansion plans.

"Omnicom's role, other than from a financial point of view of raising capital and providing resources, has been to examine the needs of those important brands so that they can be leaders," Wren stated.

"In places like China and India, we are dedicated to helping our brands identify talent, to help them with resources, acquisition plans and to make certain that the speed at which they grow is quicker than the more established markets."

Having cut costs at the peak of the recession, the US corporation has the finances available both to invest in building its existing capacity, and to make further purchases as needs demand.

"The whole spectrum from brand advertising, all the way through digital and down to the retail level in terms of shopper marketing, is under consideration," said Wren.

"We are constantly in conversations with people to see how we can use acquisitions to extend our geographic reach. Our strategy is not limited to just organic growth or to just acquisitions."

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff