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Martin Sorrell’s visit sees key progress in data alliance, education, experiential marketing, CSR

The WPP CEO made a slew of announcements in Mumbai yesterday, which included the launch of Data Alliance in India, the ISDI WPP School of Communication, CSR Foundation and formation of Geometry Global | Encompass Network

Aanchal Kohli | Mumbai | October 8, 2015

(L-R) Scott Spririt, Rahul Saigal, Sukrit Singh, Tarun Rai, Sir Martin Sorrell, Roshan Abbass and Ranjan Kapur (L-R) Scott Spririt, Rahul Saigal, Sukrit Singh, Tarun Rai, Sir Martin Sorrell, Roshan Abbass and Ranjan Kapur

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP, made quite a few big announcements while addressing the media in Mumbai yesterday. These included launch of WPP’s Data Alliance in India, unveiling of the ISDI WPP School of Communication, launch of WPP India Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation and formation of India’s largest experiential marketing network – Geometry Global | Encompass Network.

India as a market

Speaking at the event, Sorrell once again reiterated the importance of India for WPP. On WPP’s global performance, he said that it had been really encouraging. “India is one of the important markets for us and we have a large market share here. What has made us stand apart is our strategic decision to invest in various sectors like technology, content, data, etc.,” he said. Sorrell further said that 2016 would be one of the valuable years for the advertising industry as GroupM had predicted a 4.8 per cent growth in advertising spends.

WPP’s Data Alliance launches in India

Data Alliance’s launch in India is aligned to WPP’s strategic vision of helping clients leverage data in growth markets. The Mumbai-based operation will draw upon expertise from WPP’s global network to harness unique data sets. The focus is to accelerate development and enhancement of data-driven solutions while activating e-commerce, mobile and social data strategies in India.

India is the first market to launch Data Alliance in the Asia-Pacific region.

WPP’s Data Alliance in India is supported by GroupM (Mindshare, Maxus, MEC, Mediacom, Motivator, Xaxis and Madhouse), Kantar (IMRB, Millward Brown, TNS and Worldpanel), Wunderman and Ogilvy. Collectively, these companies will partner on projects to enhance the use of data across WPP solutions increasing speed, cross fertilisation and decreasing costs in this strategic market.

This launch is part of a campaign in WPP for “data horizontality” – the ability to better leverage WPP’s people, data and technology across the globe and replicates models in the US. The UK, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Geometry Global and Encompass Network join hands

With an aim to become India’s largest experiential marketing network, Geometry Global and Encompass Network (GGEN) have merged. The collaboration leverages the global and local experience, expertise, creativity and strengths of the two experiential marketing companies to offer brand experience solutions which enhance and widen consumer engagement. Encompass is one of India’s biggest experiential marketing companies. Geometry Global is the world’s largest experiential marketing company.

With over 400 employees in Mumbai and Delhi, the Geometry Global | Encompass Network will specialise in shopper marketing, rural marketing, large-scale events and exhibitions, urban consumer marketing, digital activation and field marketing. The Geometry Global | Encompass Network will be WPPs horizontal network working across the group. The Network’s management and advisory board will comprise senior executives from J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, Encompass and Geometry Global. The business will be aligned with J. Walter Thompson South Asia.

Sorrell said, “When WPP decided to set up a horizontal activation platform, we combined OgilvyAction, G2 and JWT Action (North America) to form Geometry Global. Today, Geometry Global is working for some of the world’s best brands in almost 60 markets around the world. Through this collaboration in India, we’re following up on one of our key global objectives of offering best-in-class full-service experiential marketing services that can help our clients sell more.”

First venture in the education sector in India

Sorrell also announced the launch of ISDI | WPP School of Communication in Mumbai. WPP and the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) officially unveiled the ISDI | WPP School of Communication campus in Mumbai yesterday. The first batch of 60 students was also introduced.

The ISDI | WPP School of Communication marks WPP’s first foray into the Indian education sector. The partnership aims to create India’s first professional three-year undergraduate certification programme in communication based on a unique work-study model that will bring together a strong academic and creative curriculum combined with practical application.

WPP and WPP companies have worked closely with ISDI to develop the School’s curriculum and hire full-time faculty. With an aim to provide students a balanced work-study environment, senior management from WPP companies and industry academicians are mentoring the programme, serving as part-time faculty.

Commenting on the launch, Sorrell said, “At our recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, organised by Rupert and James Murdoch, he had suggested that the media industry develop universities to train and develop the considerable young talent that India has. This initiative represents WPP’s initial response to the Prime Minister’s challenge. It is a small, but significant first step.”

Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation

WPP also announced the launch of WPP India Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation, consolidating CSR activities of all its companies in India under one umbrella and working in unison towards effecting social change and nation building. The Foundation is committed to a common CSR vision to “Enable children and youth from vulnerable and marginalised communities to achieve their full potential through holistic child development with a focus on education, life skills and health”.

To achieve its vision, the WPP India CSR Foundation is launching an ambitious Rs 33 crore ($5 million) education, life skills and vocational training programme targeted to reach 20,000 children aged from 11 to 18 years over the next three years. To take the programme to the ground, the WPP India CSR Foundation has partnered with Genesis Foundation, Hope For Children and Magic Bus as implementation partners, bringing required local knowledge and in-depth community connect.

The WPP India CSR Foundation programme aims to create an enabling environment for young girls and boys in their journey towards becoming capable and productive members of society.

Commenting on the launch of the WPP India CSR Foundation, Sorrell said, “India has today established itself as one of the fastest growing world economies enjoying positive growth, however, the country continues to be challenged with a large number of unemployed youth, posing as one of the biggest threats. We believe that a challenge of such magnitude requires a programme to be built on the principle of effective partnership. The WPP India CSR Foundation believes that by collaborating with knowledgeable and forward-looking not-for-profits we will ensure the programme’s success and sustainability in the long run.”

He actively supports the advancement of international business schools – advising Harvard, IESE, the Indian School of Business, the China Europe International Business School and Fundação Dom Cabral Business School in Brazil.

In 2014, WPP had revenues of $19 billion and billings of $76 billion. The Group’s worldwide companies include J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Y&R, Grey, Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Kantar (including  Millward Brown and TNS), Wunderman, Burson-Marsteller, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Landor, Brand Union, Fitch, The Partners, AKQA and WPP Digital.

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