Ogilvy India is the star in our network, says Shelly Lazarus

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 02, 2005
Lazarus, CEO & chairman, Ogilvy & Mather - Worldwide, was all praise for Piyush Pandey & John Goodman's team

Shelly Lazarus, CEO & chairman, Ogilvy & Mather - Worldwide, was in the Capital on Monday for O&M's two-day Brand Forum. agencyfaqs! stole her away from the conference for a brief while to find out how important India was in the scheme of things at O&M Worldwide. Excerpts: & #BANNER1 & #

Q. Your visit to India is clearly with a very specific objective. So, why are you here?

There are so many reasons why India is of great importance. Just look at the way the Indian economy is growing. It's great. Talking about advertising in particular, some of the best work we are doing in the world is being done at Ogilvy India. Either that's because of the creative power in the country, or maybe we are particularly blessed.

As I look at Ogilvy India, I cannot help but notice the remarkable quality of work coming out from the local operation. It's remarkable in terms of its creativity and ideas. And second, India is one of the leading practitioners of 360-degree Branding Stewardship - the backbone of O&M globally. It is able to pull in all the disciplines together and have them think together on behalf of the client.

And, let me tell you that there are many countries which are adopting 360-degree branding a little more slowly.

Q. And, which countries would these be?

For example, the United Kingdom. The agencies out there are used to working in their own areas or departments that seldom, only in the case of some select clients, come together and work. I contrast this situation with India, where people think and plan together on behalf of the client. It's the natural way of working. For instance, when I talk of public relations in a project, the first place that comes to me is India.

Q. Ogilvy's philosophy of '360-degree branding' is recognized as the driving force behind most of the agency's commercial success in the last decade, including the winning of massive global accounts. Can you give us some international instances of how 360-degree branding has helped deliver better results to your clients?

One of the great 360-degree branding examples that I have seen is Hutch. It just goes everywhere. It goes in the bills, the hoarding, the adverts… just about everywhere.

In fact, I have actually used Hutch to demonstrate 360-degree branding to clients in other countries. Recently, we had a meeting of executives in France at David Ogilvy's château, and the break-through moment was when I showed them the Hutch campaign. They got it. When you get the central idea, you then use it at every point of contact with the consumer. For me, that is a wonderful idea that happens right here in India.

Among international successful examples, I will give the instance of Dove shampoo. It went from being a very popular bar soap in the US to being the number one personal care brand in the world. It uses the same approach in all the countries.

Q. The success of 360-degree branding, to an extent, is dependent on the clients. So how receptive are clients to this concept and do you sometimes face any resistance from them?

There are certain companies that just do it. They tend not to be the traditional marketing companies. They allow you to get the whole idea and let it be manifest everywhere in the company. The companies where it is still a challenge to execute include those that are structured in silos.

The advertising people say, "This is the campaign and this is where we want to go." Then, you have the people working on the website who say, "No, we are taking a different approach." Next, you have the PR people saying that actually they wanted to have events focused on a different theme.

So even though people are saying that they need one idea, but the real challenge lies in executing that central idea. And that has a lot to do with the way companies are organised.

Q. How important is O&M India in the scheme of things at O&M Worldwide? Are you satisfied with the manner in which Ogilvy India has grown, both in terms of revenues and the creative product?

Absolutely yes. Ogilvy India is the star in our network. It has grown economically. Even more importantly, in terms of the quality of the work, it inspires the rest of the network. That is simply wonderful.

Q. Does Ogilvy India inspire in terms of revenues as well?

Well, I can't talk revenues (laughs). You know it is the WPP policy. Let me just say that we got through the three last challenging years with growth. When everybody had stalled, we were winning new accounts. When clients were shaving their budgets, we were growing. We had a terrific 2004. And, 2005 looks very good as well.

Q. In one of your lectures, you had mentioned that every point of contact should reflect the brand, and the same should come through the Internet medium as well. Tell us how important is the Internet medium as an effective means of 'point of contact'? Do you still find yourself in situations convincing clients about Internet's efficacy as an integral component of 360-branding?

Internet is absolutely crucial to brands. Clients cannot ignore the Internet medium anymore. Early on, when Internet first came into the scene, I was very concerned about the fact that clients seemed to be jumping on to the Internet because it was the thing to do, as opposed to demanding for it, and really believing that it delivered.

The bubble burst. Clients stopped spending on the Internet. We, in the interim, got much smarter about using Internet as an advertising medium. I was always looked upon skeptically when at these meetings I would say that Internet is a remarkable medium for advertising. It's just that we have not figured out how to use it yet.

As we get smarter and cleverer about how to use Internet, clients are seeing how more and more Internet is essential to their marketing programmes.

For ages, I would wonder at the possibilities of how we could imitate having a one-to-one dialogue with the consumer. What are the things that we could do to pretend that we are having a dialogue. And now, we can do it with the Internet. We can talk and they can talk back. The power of Internet is its interactivity.

In fact, we have just introduced a new campaign on Sprite and we launched it on the Internet. Another example is the launch of a whole new product line-up from Unilever. Unilever, the most classic 30-second TVC-dependent company, has finally decided to launch its line-up on the Internet.

Q. One last question. What suggestions would you have for your India office in terms of setting new standards of excellence?

Do more of what of what you are doing. Just keep trucking, as we say in the United States.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!

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