Starcom sets up consulting unit for Lifestyle MarComm

MUMBAI: Starcom MediaVest Group today announced setting up of a new specialist solutions unit that will focus on lifestyle marketing and communications.

Branded 'C', it will be headed by Anjana Sharma, who joined the media network in August 2006, with the specific mandate to start the unit.

Commenting on the new initiative Starcom MediaVest CEO-South Asia Group Ravi Kiran, said, "Supported by a strong economy, buoyant personal income trends and growing consumer eagerness to spend, the lifestyle products and services sector is witnessing exemplary growth. On one hand, Indians are getting richer and younger and on the other, they are no longer shy of spending on themselves."

This trend has been noticed by many international lifestyle companies, several dozen of which have set up operations in India and many more are on their way. Simultaneously, many Indian brands are attempting to establish a strong presence in the sector.

"We see a significant opportunity in providing marketing and communication consulting service to these brands, through our dedicated sector vertical," added Kiran.

Building off Starcom's heritage of understanding consumers and the way they adopt categories, buy brands and influence each other, combined with the special sensitivity this sector demands, 'C' will provide strategy and counsel to marketers and brands in the lifestyle sector on how to communicate with an elusive group of customers and build engaging connections with them.

It will operate through the spectrum of lifestyle sub-segments - from premium and prestige to luxury and indulgence. It will leverage Starcom's existing competencies in the area of entertainment and embedded marketing, sports and online marketing as well as mainstream media planning and negotiation.

'C' managing consultant Anjana Sharma said, "We are launching 'C' on the triple platforms of knowledge, assets and activation. Because this is a market first, we have been putting the pieces together for five months, and now we have a ready-to-go product that we are proud of."

The unit `C' unveiled TopDrawerSM, a proprietary research conducted by specialist consumer diagnostics company 'the key', amongst luxury consumers. Conducted over a period of four months, the study covers 43 C-Suite customers in Mumbai and Delhi, who have never been researched, with the objectives of segmentation analysis, understanding purchase and recommendation behaviour, media consumption behaviour and opportunity exploration.

An expert advisory board has also been formed comprising acknowledged trend spotters and lifestyle domain specialists. Called India Lifestyle Forum, this board of six domain experts, will guide 'C' in trend spotting, edge testingSM of lifestyle products, marketing and new idea incubation and activation.

The unit also claims to have India's first Lifestyle test panel of 60 members across six cities which will broad test lifestyle and luxury products and services and provide feedback to marketers. The full membership of 60 is expected to be achieved by April.

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