WPP Group sets up Indian healthcare agency

MUMBAI: "The pharmaceutical industry in India is poised for an immense growth in India in the next decade." Those were the words of WPP India country manager Ranjan Kapoor at the launch of the Healthworld Communications Group's India operations in Mumbai on 9 June. Healthworld Communications Group is a part of the WPP group of companies.

Healthworld India operations will be headed by executive vice president and general manager GS Mani and the brand director for the company will be Rupal Parab. The company will service clients like GlaxoSmithKline, Zydus-Cadila, Bayer and Pfizer and is all geared to meet their needs, be it in the form of strategic planning, creative, media planning or buying for them.

The conference, to announce the launch of the India operations, was jointly organised by Healthworld and the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPP). Apart from Kapoor; Healthworld founder, chairman and CEO Steven Girganti and Global Business Group executive vice president Frank Hone were also present at the launch. The Healthworld group is the world's third largest healthcare agency in the world and will be operating along with Bates in India.

Girganti, who especially flew to India for the launch said, "Healthworld launching in India is very exciting for us. We have been pioneers in moving the traditional medical advertising business to a communications business. We believe in diversifying in all directions to meet the needs of our clients."

Girganti added that since India was one of the crucial emerging markets and also the second most populous country in the world, Healthworld would leverage its global expertise and reach to create successful and world-class brands here. Also on the agency's agenda are plans of developing knowledge management units in key therapeutic areas to meet the clients' needs.

Healthworld has global units in New York and will soon be setting up the same in Asia. "For the life of the brand" is the motto of the agency and Girganti said that they believed in converting Rx brands to direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and further to over-the-counter (OTC) brands.

Kapoor said that the pharma industry was going to face huge unprecedented challenges of brand building and customer loyalty in 2005 and that there were no concerted efforts of setting up the communications industry. "WPP has been a pioneer in offering every kind of services to its clients but has not necessarily been successful since it was unable to get high quality training advice. This is the first time ever that the chief executive of a worldwide healthcare company has come down to India to set base here and that in itself speaks volumes." He added that resources would be built and training provided to professionals to understand the needs of the pharma industry to make Healthworld a sustainable company in India.

Healthworld's "for the life of the brand" approach to brand communications is closely aligned with the essential needs of the clients and their brands. The agency has demonstrated its ability to drive success from the early phases of brand development to extending the brand lifecycle. And with the request of --- "Look at things from our way for a change" --- Girganti said that since India was a great market place for the pharma industry, they were looking to be the top agency here very soon!

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