‘More opportunities than challenges’

13 Apr,2016


The grouping of the media agency networks of the Publicis Groupe was announced with much fanfare in the recent past. In India this week, Gerry Boyle, head of Publicis Media – APAC along with Anupriya Acharya, the newly appointed of Publicis Media for India answered questions from Pradyuman Maheshwari on the scope and prospects of the new grouping and of course how Publicis Media is doing in India.


It may be still early days for Publicis Media, but for someone who has been part of the system at the group, what are the specific changes that you hope to effect post the formation of Publicis Media?

Gerry Boyle: As you may know, the whole idea behind Publicis Media is to unleash the Power of One and to line up our end-to-end capabilities for our clients, in a model that is simple, flexible and efficient. The purpose is to put client satisfaction first, and it is essential to have a structure that eliminates complexity and silos. The focus will be to make the business leaner, simpler and more scaled up, in line with our objective of getting to the future first. Publicis Media is a fresh opportunity to simplify our organisation, invent more modern approaches to gain efficiency, introduce structures for greater collaboration and effectiveness, and drive new levels of scale and client value. Such a structure will not only bring more value to our clients but will also further accelerate our growth.


And this specifically for India?

Gerry Boyle: It will pan out in India pretty much in line with our global thinking and framework, albeit taking into account the India market dynamics and current life-stage and strengths of our brands here. Anupriya Acharya has been announced the market lead for India a few days back and takes over the role with immediate effect. She and I have already started putting together the key strategies and, along with the agency brand teams, we should see them come alive in the coming weeks and months.


Putting businesses together and trying to work out synergies etc. sounds good on paper and in Boardroom resolutions, but in fact it’s not as easy to implement given each organisation has its own culture, and most importantly, its own P/L and targets? How easy is the task ahead?

Gerry Boyle: Sure, the task ahead is not easy, but we see more opportunities here than challenges.  Client delight and satisfaction will be at the heart of everything we do. We are removing some individual P&Ls to make the business more fluid and add to the speed of business and delivery. We are creating practices which will allow the best of our specialist talents to work across our agency brands. These more effective approaches will help us invest into areas like Tech, Data and Analytics, areas that are complex, fast-changing and require high investments. Bringing in scale and efficiencies to these will enable us to provide better service and results for our clients.


In India specifically, the Publicis Media group entities have had a mixed presence if you compare them vis-a-vis a GroupM and even an IPG?

Gerry Boyle: Not sure I would agree with you… Granted our media brands are relatively young in this market and perhaps do not enjoy a so-called ‘legacy advantage’. Despite this, we have achieved much in a short space of time – we are amongst the top three media groups in India. We have grown through acquisition, and organically. The addition of the great talents and clients of Convonix and Resultrix have worked phenomenally for the Group. As we speak today, around 50% of our business comes from digital – and more importantly, our best-in-class digital, data and tech capabilities give us an overall competitive advantage. The advantage of not having a legacy is that we could move fast towards the future areas.  Legacy can slow one down.


How would you say are your Indian constituents doing?

Anupriya Acharya: Our brands have shown high double-digit growth per year for the last couple of years and we have great momentum on new business too. Our agency brands have great client rosters and have added some significant business over the last few years like Dabur – the largest pitch of 2015, Oppo, Citi, Visa, Jet – Etihad, Toyota, Hennes&Mauritz AB (H&M), Truecaller, Singapore Airlines and Fitbit.


On the Performance and Digital Media side, we have had massive wins like the Air Asia pan APAC performance business, Tata Docomo and Tata Vistara, amongst others. The good thing is that both groups have strong presences in Digital Media and Data Analytics through Performics, Ninah, and the two great acquisitions – Resultrix and Convonix. We have also streamlined our trading practice over the last 15 months.


Starcom? Big brand globally, but in India not really perceived to be doing very well?

Anupriya Acharya: We have had some great leadership at Starcom, infusing energy in the organization in the last couple of years. Starcom had one of the best new business record for any agency in 2015, and a 70% success rate in pitches! Dabur, the largest pitch of 2015, was won by Starcom.


Global award-winning Data & Analytics team (iComm – global data award 2014) has been a key contributor to their product and growth. There have been over 40 Convergence Analytics projects actioned globally in past 18 months for Samsung, Coca-Cola, P&G, Heineken, King.com and Kellogg’s! The key learnings of how interactions across Paid, Owned and Earned drive business have helped accelerate the clients’ digital journey in India along with SMG Convonix.


In fact, Starcom had such a successful run that they won a Silver at Campaign AOTY 2015!


What are your targets for India? What do you hope to achieve here?

Gerry Boyle: We expect India to be a market that will set the example on transformation for us globally. It is a fast-growing market and now has all the right conditions for success. We have a strong presence in all the futuristic practices and expertise across some very important and fast growing sectors like Telco, Travel, Entertainment, E-comm, BFSI etc.


India will be an engine of our APAC and global growth in business, talent and product.


Any inorganic growth moves planned? Any acquisitions?

Gerry Boyle: Of course. We are always on the lookout for anything which delivers against our strategy and can help solve our clients marketing challenges.


What about the other Publicis Media brands? Any specific PoA on the their launch?

Anupriya Acharya:When the time is right and the client demand is there, we will look to bring all of our global brands to this market. They will bring unique positioning and yet still be backed by the power of Publicis Media. Blue 449 has a unique ‘open-source’ positioning and Spark is a brand that stands for both creativity and agility. Together with Starcom and Zenith, they create an exciting portfolio of client choice.


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