DDB Mudra Group outlines structure to push growth

MUMBAI: Omnicom‘s big push in India continues as it wants to dig deep into the fast-growing emerging markets amid slowdown worries in the U.S. and Europe. Completing 100 days of integration since acquiring majority stake in the Anil-Ambani promoted Mudra Group, it has chalked out a growth map in an important market where it lags behind rivals such as WPP.

DDB Mudra Group, the new name, will now operate in India through eight branded agencies including Mudra. The other agencies are DDB Mudra, DDB MudraMax, DDB Health & Lifestyle, RAPP, Tribal DDB India, Water and Maatra.

A new growth area will be the India entry of TrackyLocke, DDB‘s shopper marketing agency, in partnership with Mudra Max. Realising the significance of the market with the explosion of retail, TracyLocke has identified India as a gateway to the Asian region.

DDB Group aggressively wants to grow in the Asia Pacific region and has pursued the acquisition route to support its organic growth. "We are growing faster than our rivals such as WPP in this region. The Asia Pacific region is the only one that is seeing a significant increase in business, and we are fully committed to growing our offerings here," said DDB Group Asia Pacific, Japan and India chairman and CEO John Zeigler, while speaking to reporters at a roundtable to announce the launch here today.

The Asia Pacific region contributes 11 per cent to the revenues of the DDB Group, trailing behind Europe (44%) and North America (38%). The growth potential in the region, however, is huge and ad conglomerates like WPP and Publicis Groupe are snapping up companies to tap new revenues.

As part of the restructuring, Water, the strategic branding and design consultancy, will represent Omnicom‘s brand consultancy Interbrand in India.

The thrust will be on integrating the group‘s offerings in India as well as with specialist agency brands for their expertise from across markets. 
"40 per cent of our mainstream advertising clients are accessing more than one service from the network in India. With such specialised offerings and expertise, we intend to grow this," said DDB Mudra Group CEO and managing director Madhukar Kamath.

What is the need of having two creative agency brands? Explained Kamath, "Both DDB Mudra and Mudra will divide the clients according to the relationships they have with them. Longstanding brands like LIC that have been associated with Mudra will continue to be with it."

The organisation structure has been simplified to meet the new needs. The executive board of the group will consist of Kamath, Pratap Bose (DDB Mudra Group chief operating officer) and Sonal Dabral (DDB Mudra Group chairman and CCO). Dabral, who quit Bates India, will assume charge on 1 March.

"With Dabral coming on board, we are poised to become a new power in Indian advertising. The most important thing is that we have raised our creative profile," said Ziegler.

While Rajiv Sabnis will head the Mumbai operations, Vandana Das will be head of Delhi and Rajni Cherian will operate as EVP and head Mudra South. Sabnis and Cherian are already on board while Das will assume her post on 19 March.

TracyLocke India will be managed by Pratap Bose, DDB Mudra Group chief operating officer.

Said Bose, "The entry of TracyLocke complements the DDB MudraMax ‘feet-on-the-street‘ strengths and given our huge footprint in India, I believe that the TracyLocke India model will certainly add value to both our global and retail brands."

TracyLocke‘s roster of clients include HP, T-Mobile, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Gatorade, Tropicana, PepsiCo, Sony and Unilever‘s Lipton.

Said TracyLocke global chief marketing officer Jim Sexton, "Once we saw the level of retail expertise and comprehensive knowledge of the India consumer and shopper at DDB MudraMax, we knew we had the perfect fit. We look forward to delivering to our clients a unique brand of shopper marketing relevant to each segment of the Indian market. Additionally, we hope to share proprietary marketing tools that we can take from India to the rest of the world."

Water, as part of the global Interbrand network, will continue to be headed by Ashish Mishra.

Said Kamath, "Water is no stranger to Interbrand. In fact, Ashish has worked closely with Interbrand on some of its projects in India. We are very excited that the best in India is teaming up with the best in the world in order to provide best in class business solutions to our clients in India."

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