Digital independents & traditional ad agencies need each other: Vikas Tandon

26 Apr,2012

By Shruti Pushkarna


It appears to be business as usual for Vikas Tandon, founder and managing director of Mumbai-based digital marketing and web development agency Indigo Consulting. On Monday, its acquisition by the Publicis Groupe was formally announced. Indigo will retain its name and operate as a separate unit within the Leo Burnett Group in India. Mr  Tandon will continue as the unit’s Managing Director and report into Mr Arvind Sharma, Chairman of Indian Subcontinent for Leo Burnett. Mr  Tandon is a postgraduate in Business Management from IIM Ahmedabad and has over 18 years’ experience in interactive media, sales and marketing. Prior to starting Indigo Consulting, he had set up and led Mudra Interactive.


At Mudra Interactive, he founded the agency’s digital marketing practice. Indigo Consulting employs a team of over 150 people and provides digital and mobile marketing services to clients like HUL, Asian Paints, HDFC Bank, Kolkata Knight Riders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Thomas Cook, South Australia Tourism Commission and Cathay Pacific.


A music buff, Mr Tandon counts playing guitar, distance running, travelling, and gadgets among his passions… he has even performed at industry gigs!

Soon after the acquisition was announced, Vikas Tandon shared with MxMIndia his reasons for selling out to Publicis and his plans for the future… music included.


Indigo was cruising… why then did you sell out?

I prefer to think of it as shifting gears in our journey towards offering future-ready marketing communication services to our clients, and creating a larger platform for our team to operate on. If selling stake is what it took to ensure Indigo Consulting, which includes the team and myself, goes from strength to strength as an agency of the future, so be it.


Will you still have a stake in the company?

I’m afraid I am not at liberty to discuss details of the transaction, but suffice to say, I will continue to be the MD of Indigo Consulting and remain committed to the continued growth and prosperity of the company I have nurtured over the last 12 years.


Is it impossible for independents like you to survive in a world of biggies?

Actually it was not about survival at all. In fact, to my best knowledge we are among the best performing independent agencies in the country with a track record of year on year growth and profitability consistently over every one of the 12 years. And all our client relationships have been direct, without involvement of any agencies. I have every reason to believe that survival would not have been an issue even going forward. However, we also recognize that the consumer and the marketing industry is changing very rapidly. So when the opportunity came to put two complimentary powerhouses together which could potentially result in something neither of us could achieve on our own within a reasonably short span of time, we took it.


At the Creative Abby recently, it was an Ogilvy that won a Grand Prix in digital… Smaller, specialised agencies didn’t fare as well. Right?

Yes, and I would say it only strengthens my conviction that together with Leo Burnett we will be able to do much better than we have been doing on our own.


Do you see others like you also getting gobbled up?

I do believe that there is tremendous complementarity of skills in independent digital agencies and traditional advertising agencies, and in many ways they both need each other. However, transactions of this kind depend on a lot of other factors, not the least of which is the chemistry between the people, and the promoters’ own aspirations and appetite for such a transition.


In future: tech driving creativity or the converse?

Creativity is, without a second thought, the fountainhead of everything, right from existence itself. It just takes different forms and shapes. Tech is increasingly driving our lives, and creativity certainly draws inspiration from various facets of our lives, including tech, but if you ask me what is the force that pushes mankind forward, it has to be creativity.


More time to music…since there’s lesser stress now?

Given that we took this decision to become part of Leo Burnett to further our growth, work is only going to become exciting and perhaps harder. However, I always have and will continue to try and make more and more time for music.


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