It has also set up independent offices in Mumbai and NCR for PHD, which has been operational since January 2013 alongside flagship OMD.
The leadership appointment and independent offices are part of the game plan to expand the OMG offering with focus on the key Indian market, explained Cheuk Chiang, CEO, Asia Pacific, Omnicom Media Group.
He explained that the way in which the two agencies approach the market would be different, when asked about the differentiation the second agency PHD would bring to the table.
Chiang said, “Differentiation comes from the positioning of each brand and a lot of it comes from the heritage of each brand. PHD has a very strong focus on planning. It was launched as the first planning-led media planning and buying operation in the world. It continues to find a better way, as far as strategic thinking goes. It is known as a challenger brand agency. OMD has always been based around insights, ideas and results. It has a very, very strong and proven business focus.”
Focus on global and local businesses
PHD India has been working with the likes of Unilever (digital), SC Johnson, HP and HTC, all of which are global clients. The strategy going forward will be to grow the brand by targeting globally aligned and local businesses, explained Jasmin Sohrabji, CEO, SE Asia and India, Omnicom Media Group.
She said, “We’ve been operating as PHD in India since the start of this year. We did a lot of alignments with our global processes and tools. Training on some of those tools and the (subsequent) use of that has started off.”
The headcount at PHD India should touch 50 by 2014, and the agency would look to scale up from then on, she added. Omnicom Media Group employs 270 people currently in India. Some of them would move to the PHD offices.
Partnership with digital creative agency Glitch
Digital is a key part of the offering at the Omnicom Media Group and at PHD, evidenced in the appointment of Susana Tsui (from OgilvyOne) as CEO for Apac at PHD, Chiang said. She moved to the role in August 2013.
Tsui explained, “How we (as an industry) look at digital has changed. A lot of us nowadays would look at digital at the centre point first. The planning side is very, very different from how it’s been done and traditionally managed in media. The significance of the larger, 360-role digital plays has changed. How clients view it has changed. It requires a lot more integration; it’s a lot more technology-based.”
While underlining that the right way to measure the digital strength of an agency may not be through digital's contribution to revenue, Chiang estimated this figure across Asia to be at 15 to 20 per cent for Omnicom Media Group.
In India, the share of digital would be higher, added Sohrabji. She said, “One is because we came in with digital almost immediately after we launched. In fact, the launch of PHD in India happened with Unilever, which is a digital only business (for us). So the skew on digital in India, would be higher, even if compared to the industry here.”
The Group has inked a deal for collaboration with digital creative specialist Glitch in India, she revealed.
On taking the collaboration as against the acquisition route, Sohrabji said, “The idea was to make it happen faster. Acquisition will definitely be part of our agenda, but acquisitions take time. And it takes a lot of energy in integrating people into cultures. The medium is moving so fast, need of clients is so urgent, that we thought if an opportunity comes up to do it seamlessly and quickly without the delays of acquisition, we will start it off and look at the acquisition going forward.”
Airwave to launch in 2014
Tsui noted that within digital, the contribution of mobile has been growing and will grow further. She attributed this to factors like social media taking off on the mobile, and some clients looking at it as a business model.
Sohrabji added, “Once mobile takes off, we expect the digital growth to be disproportionately higher, especially in South East Asia.” Omnicom will look to launch its specialist mobile unit Airwave in India in 2014 and a head has been identified, she said.
Chiang explained that the channel has proved itself to marketers. He surmised, “While as a percentage of overall business Airwave accounts for 2 to 5 per cent across the region, it is growing very quickly.”
The Group had announced the appointment of Mark Halliday as head of Airwave in Apac, in May 2013.
Also read: OMG Apac launches specialist arm Airwave (July 2012)
This article originally appeared on Campaign India.