StrawberryFrog looks for lily pad in India

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 15, 2008
Founder and CEO Scott Goodson wants to access Indian talent for the agency's global clients. The agency will bring its Cultural Movements process to India

India & #BANNER1 & # seems to be on everyone's radar these days. StrawberryFrog, the independent full service agency that is best known for its global work on Heineken, plans to start operations in Mumbai in 2009.

This isn't StrawberryFrog's maiden venture on Indian terrain. The agency is responsible for the launch of the Mahindra & Mahindra vehicles, including the Scorpio, in the US market, which will happen in 2009. It has also done some work for the NGO, Nanhi Kali.

StrawberryFrog is now known to be in talks with marketing professionals from top Indian agencies. It is looking at various structures in order to start operations in the country, including individuals who will build the business from scratch and partnerships.

In an email interview with afaqs!, founder and chief executive officer Scott Goodson revealed the recent happenings at StrawberryFrog.

Scott Goodson
Why is StrawberryFrog looking at India now? Goodson says, "We just don't think that the systems of traditional holding company agencies are the systems for the future. They are outdated and were developed for a very different era. That era has changed dramatically in most parts of the world and it is changing in India too, especially for GenY."

Goodson wants to tap the talent in India for the agency's global clients. He is looking at engaging Indian talent for StrawberryFrog in the US and other markets. He says, "We want to work together on fantastic briefs for the US, Europe and India. StrawberryFrog Mumbai will mean connecting with a totally new amazing group of driven thinkers, who think big and fresh."

Another reason that StrawberryFrog is setting up shop in India now is because it is focusing on helping Indian companies launch their brands and build their market in the US, Europe and South America and also bringing European and Brazilian brands into the Indian and Asian markets.

Speaking about competition in the form of BBH and Naked Communications, which will also be coming to India soon, Goodson says, "We don't really compete with them. India is a big market. There is room for all sorts of brands. It will depend on what the clients are looking for."

He says that unlike BBH and Naked, which are owned by holding companies that are far away, StrawberryFrog is independent and StrawberryFrog Mumbai will be part owned by its Indian partners. So, the decisions for StrawberryFrog Mumbai will be taken in Mumbai, where people on the ground have a much better sense of what's going on.

The team hasn't been put in place as yet. "It will be an entirely Indian team, which will be educated and trained in the processes and systems of StrawberryFrog," says Goodson. He says he is looking for someone who wants to be free from shackles to think really big.

StrawberryFrog will differentiate itself from other agencies with its Cultural Movements process. Cultural Movement is a strategy designed for clients, where, instead of developing a brand idea, then communication, then taking it outside to the consumer, you first identify or look outside for a big social change and use that to develop an idea. With a Cultural Movement set in place, "you can do anything in this age of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Orkut," says Goodson.

Another aspect that will set StrawberryFrog apart from the other agencies, says Goodson, is the system of the legacy agencies. He says. "The talent inside the traditional corporate network dinosaurs is very good, but the systems of the legacy agencies hold them back. StrawberryFrog will give strategic and creative thinkers the freedom to do business building work." The age old structure of the legacy agencies is devised to weed out people who think too freely. StrawberryFrog intends to tackle its competition by out-thinking them versus outspending them.

StrawberryFrog has a presence in New York. Recently, it also entered the Brazilian market with an office in Sao Paolo. "The market in Brazil is not very different from that in India," says Goodson. Important accounts that StrawberryFrog has worked on are PepsiCo, P&G, Morgan Stanley, Wal-Mart and Microsoft.