The media business has undergone a critical period of transformation in the aftermath of the pandemic, which has essentially forced brands to lean more towards digital and evolve in an unprecedented manner, as per Anisha Iyer, CEO, OMD India.
“While there was a period of uncertainty in terms of investment during that period, we are witnessing steady growth and the air of pessimism is slowly fading away. This is a sign of an evolving industry and hopefully, in the coming years, we will see a complete return to normalcy, akin to the pre-Covid era,” she said.
Keeping up with the industry transformation, Iyer stated that OMD India has also undergone a period of evolution as the agency had to go through a major transformation, refocus its efforts and set sights on navigating the complicated landscape with a strong sense of determination.
“While we do have an impressive track record with the innovative products we bring to the table and the world-class clients that we cater to, the fact remained that we needed to go through a period of talent and product transformation because, during the pandemic, India evolved quickly in the digital space and clients wanted more out of media agencies, going beyond the remit of media planning and buying duties, and pivot to a more a more consultancy-focused approach,” she stated.
It was in the backdrop of this that OMD India had to analyse their talent mix and restructure the talent arsenal to ensure the right people are equipped to answer the increasingly complex narratives of the marketing ecosystem, as per Iyer.
After being seen as the challenger agency of the Indian media landscape for years, Iyer stated that one of the primary agendas for OMD India was to ensure that they correct that image over time and re-establish themselves as a dominant force.
“Ultimately, we are a people-centric business and the best way to achieve this was to dispassionately look at overhauling our talent structure,” she added.
Commenting as to whether the agency was able to achieve the predetermined goals set for 2022, Iyer stated that as an organisation, OMD India was able to hit the chord right not only in terms of the business but also for reprioritising the consumer journey, overhauling the process and bringing in automation.
"Digital thinking played a central role in reshaping all aspects of our business, including people, processes, products, profiling, and profitability. It has been woven into the organisation’s DNA, considering we live in an era now where digital reigns supreme,” she said.
Furthermore, Iyer also emphasised that what eased the integration at OMD India was putting the consumer at the centre of everything and charting out a comprehensive and definitive journey.
“With our global framework and OMD Design being the driving force, we set out to prioritise consistency across all levels and functions to have a clear vision in our race for relevance,” she stated.
In Iyer’s opinion, the cutting down of man hours on reporting by automatic processes and centralising data also enabled OMD India to support the growing digital spend patterns with robust digitised processes and make the ROI delivery more robust.
She also went on to add that since OMD India has now established a world-class team and has all the key ingredients in place to deliver exceptional products, the agency is looking at 2023 to be a bullish year wherein they can focus on being bolder in their ambitions and making unprecedented leaps as an agency.
Upon being questioned as to what the contribution of OMD India to the overall agency business is, Iyer replied that Asia is a major market and is poised to witness tremendous growth in the coming years as that is where all the innovations and new challenges are originating as of now.
“Owing to technological advancement, rise in digital ad spending, increase in the number of internet users, and the consumption of digital media across the region, Asia is undergoing an evolution and is considered a powerhouse. India is one of the key markets in focus and is poised to play a central role in OMD India's 2023 growth story,” she said.
Touching upon some of the key drivers that have catapulted the growth of OMD India as a media agency under Omnicom Media Group, Iyer stated that the agency’s accelerated growth was the result of their efforts to focus on three key things- the recent talent transformation, product innovation and overhaul, and placing business outcomes front and centre in all their conversations.
She also went on to extend a note of gratitude to all their clients who had shown unwavering faith in the agency by standing shoulder to shoulder as business partners and giving OMD India the freedom to weave the narrative together with them.
In the views of Iyer, what really sets apart OMD India from all its competitors is its enhanced product suite and the emphasis that they place on mapping business outcomes at the core of all that they do.
“If one changes their perspective, challenges turn into opportunities, and it helps to look at them as a stepping stone to progress. Media agencies should be prepared to capitalise on them and pave the way for bigger and bolder outcomes,” she said.
Furthermore, Iyer also pointed out that earlier the existence of media agencies was always seen through a performance-based lens, but with the advancing brand requirements, the role of the media agency has evolved, and they are now expected to play a crucial and more significant function in the grand scheme of things.
Talking about the future of the trends in 2023, Iyer stated that businesses might become more valiant with their approach and can include preferable talent modifications, a shift towards meritocracy, and other similar improvements, but the pace of development and growth will surely accelerate in 2023, she said.
Iyer also added that the role of media agencies is advancing with time and media holds an exceedingly important power to modify the way people think. She said, “This means that we need to work on bringing back the shine, to make it stand out from being ‘yet another career option’.”
She also went on to add that the foresighted media must be unbiased, ready for experiments, and ever-evolving media agencies, including OMD India, are making sure of it by promoting diversity and inclusion, hiring varied talents, and minimising gender gaps.
“At OMD, we have attempted to bring this vision to reality since the company’s inception. We have women leaders at every level and our work strategy tries to mix innovation with creativity in everything we do,” she said.
She further also went on to add that with the India Data Protection Bill getting implemented in 2023, data privacy will become a prime focus owing to which increased attention will be paid towards choosing quality over quantity, diminishing prejudices and stereotypes, and producing work that will stand out in the coming future.
Iyer also pointed out that media agencies need to restructure their relationship with clients and employees and that there has to be space for accountability, honesty and transparency. “In a data-driven world, numerics have already placed agencies in a position of power, but there is a need to strike the balance with a structured and autonomous work environment to chase down targets and that is why a lot of media agencies are incorporating new-age techniques into their agendas,” she added.
As for OMD India’s growth plans for 2023, Iyer stated that the agency now wants to focus on rebuilding its organisation in a way that serves the demands of the future.
“The truth is that we are now surrounded by a digital narrative. Data and technology lie at the core of every industry. Therefore, our focus needs to expand towards the new-age digital space. This can include experimenting with innovation and upskilling as per the demands of the modern world,” she added.
Furthermore, she also went on to add that OMD India is looking forward to working on winning businesses in e-commerce, content, and partnerships this year, along with expanding their business portfolio by attracting new clients and focusing on enhancing offerings for their existing clients.
On a concluding note, Iyer also said that in 2023 the agency is poised to reach new heights and create a bigger picture, by putting all the pieces together.