Sharma has served as technical business advisor for the agency since May 2014. She was previously general manager at Squad Digital in Nairobi. Before that she was vice president and digital head at JWT India, and her history also includes a stint at OgilvyOne and [email protected] in Bangalore.
"With 90 million Indonesians online today, digital media—especially social—is on a roll and astute agencies are racing to keep pace," Sharma said. "A lot of our clients have upped their digital budgets this year to about 8 to 15 per cent of the total media, compared to a meager 2 to 3 per cent they were spending so far. However the shift needs to happen at a broad level for clients to see the effectiveness this medium can deliver, which calls for a mindset change in brand managers.”
Sharma succeeds Maninder Pal Singh, who left the agency last year to pursue a new career direction. The agency's client base in Indonesia includes Nestle and Johnson & Johnson. The agency also bagged digital duties for Reckitt Benckiser early this year, as the FMCG major extended its alignment with IPG Mediabrands, and thus Ignite, in 15 new markets including Indonesia and Philippines.
IPG Mediabrands has further beefed the Ignite team so as to support Sharma in key agency functions and business verticals. Paras Sharma joins as business director from HT Media in India, where he was leading the product marketing function at hindustantimes.com and livemint.com. Dennis Wong takes over as the performance media director. He has previously worked with Reprise and Universal McCann in Australia on brands such as Microsoft, Coles, MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson and Cathay Pacific.
On the creative front, the agency has hired Rohit Mallela as creative director. Until recently, he was heading the creative team at DigitasLBi.
“We have embarked on a business model transformation to drive excellence," said Pradeep Harikrishnan, technical advisor, IPG Mediabrands. "This new platform bolsters our proposition as a strategy and analytics-led organization centered on business outcomes." The talent mix in place now will ensure that clients get solutions that optimally combine strategy and execution linked to business results, Harikrishnan added.