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“We Have A Lot Of Catching Up To Do With Competing Networks Having Decades Of Time Advantage Over Us”

Nakul Chopra CEO, Publicis South Asia

Nakul Chopra, CEO, Publics and member Global Management Board, Publics Network talks to BestMediaInfo about success, challenges, awards and growth opportunities.

Q) Let’s start with some good things, it has been the best year for Ambience at award functions. How did Indian Publics contributed to this success?

This has been the best performance ever by the Publicis Brand in India. We were No.3 among all agencies at Goa Fest. We were No.3 among Indian agencies at Cannes. We were the No.3 office among all Publicis offices globally. All our units have contributed to this success – Publicis Ambience, Publicis India and Red Lion (our specialized design unit).

We are particularly proud of this achievement – we set ourselves a target to get into the top 3 – we planned for it – and we have delivered to our goal. Awards apart I believe that we have pushed a new benchmark for quality across our organization – the work we have done for Citi, Himani and Maggi is testament to this.

Q) Last year has been quite impressive in terms of acquiring major accounts except Unitech Wireless. Even for this, Publicis was a front runner with all strong expectations. Any comment?

Publics is one of the last major networks to enter India and naturally we have a lot of catching up to do with competing networks having decades of time advantage over us. New business development is naturally a key to our endeavor. We genuinely believe that it is finally the quality of our end product which will attract more clients to us. That is our focus.

Q) How have the things actually changed after you were included in the global management board of the Publicis Network?

I have a far better understanding of the overall strategy and direction globally. I have opportunity to learn from best practices around the world. Naturally, I am able to better put forth the South Asia and in particular India perspective to our global management. So I get to learn, share and contribute.

Q) What were the challenges that you had to face as CEO South Asia?

India is naturally the most vital part of South Asia and the key challenge for us here is for us to get a higher share of the growth that this market affords. Our aim is to dramatically improve our market share by getting into the Top 5 – a position commensurate with our standing in Europe where we are headquartered.

Pakistan is a market with interesting potential – in the 3 years from 2004 to 2007 – this market grew 82%! It is a market our global clients are investing in. It is a market where we have had presence for a long time – but not really on a scale that we would have liked. The challenge here has been to formulate a go forward strategy that creates opportunity for us to achieve our ambition. While still work in progress – we have already initiated steps to this end.

Sri Lanka is another potential market – we had no presence there. We launched Publicis Solutions last year and already have seen fantastic results with substantial business from Nestle.

Q) How do you find the Indian market different from other South Asian countries?

Every market has its own nuance though there are some distinct similarities among markets in South Asia. India is differentiated by sheer size which means we are many times larger than the others and much more diverse than the others.

Q) You have great expansion plans for Digital. Has the slowdown actually changed the approach of brands towards digital medium?

In India there is a limitation of connectivity and reliable data. Despite that there is a renewed urgency for brands to better capitalize this channel as brands strive for greater efficiencies in their marketing mix.

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