Leo Burnett snaps up Indigo Consulting to grow in India market

MUMBAI: The Publicis Groupe has swallowed full-service interactive and technology agency Indigo Consulting as part of its strategy to double the size of its India business by 2015.

Publicis‘ aggressive stance comes at a time when the growth in the matured markets is slowing down and global agencies are working out strategies to gain market share in India, the world‘s 16th largest advertising market.

Indigo Consulting will operate as a unit within the Leo Burnett Group in India and retain its name. Its founder, Vikas Tandon, will remain as managing director and will report to Leo Burnett chairman Indian subcontinent Arvind Sharma.

Sharma told that this is part of a broader plan to make digital Leo Burnett‘s core strategy. Over the next two years, digital will no longer be a specialised function at the periphery and for this Leo Burnett was looking to acquire an agency with scale. Through this move, Leo Burnett plans to reorient its staff of 450 professionals across the country to think of digita.

“In the next two to three years, we believe that digital will become central to marketing plans as TV and print are today. It is apparent that in the future brands will need to be ‘always on’ on the digital medium. As a preparation for that and to synergise the media, Leo Burnett decided to acquire Indigo,” he averred.

The induction of Indigo will be carried out in a four phased manner. The first step will be to integrate the Indigo offices in Delhi and Mumbai with the Leo Burnett offices over the next few weeks. The second phase, stretching for a whole year, will include mutual sharing between the entities.

Indigo will then be completely integrated with the Leo Burnett group over the next 18 months. The fourth phase will see the two working towards planning and executing digital efforts.

Leo Burnett Worldwide chairman and CEO Tom Bernardin said, “From a global point of view, the potential and opportunities that India offers are massive. Over the years we have increased our efforts into this important market. Indigo Consulting, with its strong track record as a full-service interactive and technology agency, is the perfect strategic fit for our aspirations in India and around the world.”

The alignment means that Leo Burnett will offer Indigo Consulting‘s digital marketing capabilities to its clients. There will also be cross-training and collaboration between the two entities.

Said Tandon, “We wanted to join hands with an ad agency that understands human insights. With Leo Burnett we found that not only do they understand human behaviour, but there is also a meeting of minds between us and them. It was important for us that combined with size and scale, the people from both sides gelled and we did not feel lost in a global conglomerate.”

Indigo Consulting provides website design and development, search engine optimisation, usability research and testing, and marketing online, on mobiles and in social media.

Leo Burnett Asia Pacific president Jarek Ziebinski said, “Our growth strategy for Leo Burnett in India and Asia Pacific is based on two core pillars: digital and shopper-marketing. India is a key market for us, and it’s reporting explosive growth in the digital sector. We want to make sure Leo Burnett has the right infrastructure in place to meet the needs of tomorrow. I also see Indigo Consulting developing beyond India, to become an important player within our network in Asia Pacific and globally.”

Currently advertising and marketing online represents less than three per cent of overall ad spend in India but the sector is expected to boom, according to ZenithOptimedia. The agency estimates that over the next three years, India’s digital ad spend will increase by roughly 30 per cent a year, driven by the spread of smartphones and the youth culture of social networks.

Founded in 2000, Indigo Consulting has been involved in developing websites, software solutions and digital marketing programs for clients around the world, including Asian Paints, HDFC Bank, HSBC (India, Asia-Pacific and Middle East), Loop Mobile, Tata AIG Insurance and South Australia Tourism. The agency currently employs a team of 160 at its Mumbai headquarters and Delhi office. Their work has been recognised with Webby awards, W3 awards and Abbys.

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