Havas Media prepares for aggressive growth in 2012

MUMBAI: In a tough economic slowdown year, Havas Media had to ride through a quieter phase of growth as it parted with the Maxx Mobiles account, one of its top five clients, but retained the MTS business. And its prize catch was winning the entire media business of Parle Products, the account size of which is pegged at Rs 700 million.

"2011 has been a tough but an on-track year. Maxx Mobiles is the only business we gave up due to the poor health of the handset category and, hence, payment issues. But we managed to retain the MTS business despite fierce competition. And we closed the year by gaining the complete Parle AOR,"said Havas Media India & South Asia CEO Anita Nayyar.

Growth in 2011 was muted by the fact that there were lesser number of pitches called for. Havas participated in around ten bids and won about six.

"The industry did not see too many pitches for new accounts in 2011. Hence conversions have been a bit slow but our new business targets are on track. We expect the scenario to change in 2012 and will aggressively go for new business,"said Nayyar.

Havas formed alliances to ensure growth is smoother. Its media agency MPG partnered with Rediffusion‘s media brand TME to offer planning and buying services to clients of Rediffusion Y & R and its subsidiary Everest Brand Solutions.

"We are already on the path of initiatives, one of the most recent being an alliance with TME, the media arm of Rediffusion , wherein media for Rediff and Everest clients is being handled by MPG. This has allowed us to have prestigious clients like Parle, Heinz, Tata Motors, Paras, TVS Tyres etc under the MPG-TME brand. We are looking forward to more such initiatives across our offerings,"said Nayyar.

The agency also revamped its Mumbai office while Kolkata presence was established. Averred Nayyar, "We have revamped and strengthened our Mumbai office, which is gaining new clients and is ready to fight the market. The new clients that have come in after the revamp include History, Guffic, CNBC Awaz, Parle, Heinz, Taj, Tata Motors etc. We also have presence in the Kolkata market."

Havas Media has grown more than five times in the last five years. "Our growth is largely a function of two key factors - new business wins (like Hyundai, MTS, Kohler, Carlsberg, Bank of Baroda) and launch of diversified divisions like Havas Digital (Media Contacts, Mobext,Escelis), Outdoor- MPG Active, Havas Sports and Entertainment and BTL- MPG Solutions,"she stated, while refusing to disclose the financials.

Charting out the road for 2012, Nayyar said, "Growth will be through the organic route and getting new clients is the oxygen for this. The focus is entirely on providing the best services to our existing clients and pitching for new business. Our integrated offering provides clients to choose all or choose from complete communication services."

"Digital is certainly the focus area with more and more clients realising and appreciating the role of the medium in their business.Endeavour is towards strengthening this offer in media, search, social media and performance marketing through specialised services including conversion rate optimisation, attribution modelling and quality score management to provide a complete digital offering to clients,"said Nayyar.

Havas Media recently acquired a majority stake in Snapworx Mobile Inc, the mobile marketing arm of Philippines-based Snapworx Inc. Will it follow a similar route to grow its digital business in India?

Nayyar said the digital wing of the media agency is the one to look out for in the coming year, without clearly stating whether it would adopt the inorganic route. "Digital is certainly the focus area with more and more clients realising and appreciating the role of the medium in their business. Endeavour is towards strengthening this offer in media, search, social media and performance marketing through specialised services including Conversion Rate Optimisation, Attribution Modelling and Quality Score Management,"she concluded.

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