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BW Businessworld

‘We See Growth Options In Digital And Social Media’

Wren divulges that India performed “very well” in the low double-digits, keeping the holding company “very optimistic” in a year, that Omnicom otherwise views as a year of cautious optimism.

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Omnicom had a good 2014 with a six per cent growth rate, and in the recently released 2015 third quarter results, the holding company recorded organic revenue growth of 6.1 per cent maintaining the good run. John Wren, president & CEO, Omnicom, explains that even as markets such as North America are its strongest, India is one of its top priority markets. During the first quarter of 2015, Omnicom agencies turned in organic growth across Asia, which was up 6.7 per cent. In a conversation with BW Businessworld, Wren divulges that India performed “very well” in the low double-digits, keeping the holding company “very optimistic” in a year, that Omnicom otherwise views as a year of cautious optimism. Edited excerpts:

Q. Do you see yourself view growth markets such as India also with cautious optimism?
India is going through an industrial and consumer growth spurt and that, for businesses like ours, presents great opportunities. We are seeing positive growth from industry sectors like auto, consumer packaged goods, banking and financial services. Moreover, the government has taken a number of policy measures, including the public sector undertaking (PSU) disinvestment, which will hopefully have a positive impact on gross domestic product (GDP). However, it’s still early days with a relatively new government, so we remain cautious.

Q. What are your expectations from the overall industry, and from the Omnicom businesses, in India this year?
There are strong tailwinds impacting India at the moment. We see significant growth opportunities in digital and social media, mobile, e-commerce. There has also been a small, but significant, move by Indian companies to extend their global footprint, which is a positive sign for our business.

Q. What about digital, and the significance of technology in the marketing and communication businesses in India? Businesses such as yours have been gearing up for such a scenario. Are you seeing the market in India grow as expected in non-traditional forms of communication?
This year, we are seeing businesses start to invest in digital communications. In fact, we’re speaking to a number of companies that are making substantial investments in the ‘new digital’ which is data and analytics. We are well poised to capitalise on this trend with our centralised data and analytics platform — Annalect that is doing very well in India. We will continue to invest in our digital, data and analytical capabilities, and partner with technology companies to help make those all-important consumer connections, on behalf of our clients.

Q. As a CEO of the holding company, what are some of the biggest challenges that you see, in your role, facing this industry?
I would say technology and talent. Unlike many other industries, marketing is growing and emancipating through the rise of technology. But it should not overshadow the human insight. The brands that can combine the science with the art will win. And this potential will continue to demand investment in the best talents, the knowledge and skills of our people, and the ever-changing technology platforms that can enable engagement.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 30-11-2015)