Sapient Interactive launches India operations

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | August 26, 2009
The digital agency will use its knowledge of the Indian subcontinent, gathered over the past decade, to propel digital advertising and technology

Sapient Interactive has initiated a new path in its Indian journey. Though the interactive services company has been present in India for close to a decade, it has been dormant for the major part.

The company's technology end, Sapient Technologies is better known in India; while the interactive services part has, so far, serviced global companies through its India operations. It will now actively move towards working on local brands, along with its global brands that are present in India.

& #BANNER1 & #It was due to the need expressed by some of Sapient Interactive's global brands that the digital agency took a serious look at setting up shop in India with a view to service the Indian consumer.

Though the company started out as an IT solutions firm, it grew to providing creative solutions in the digital world. Soon, the realisation dawned that about half the company's revenues came from the interactive services arm. Thus, this was developed further.

In 2006, Sapient acquired Planning Group International (PGI), an interactive agency in the West co-founded by Gaston Legorburu, who is now executive director and worldwide creative director of Sapient Interactive.

Legorburu sees potential in the fact that due to the dip and turmoil in the economy, brands and marketers are looking at revising marketing budgets. And in such times, when traditional media budgets are being pinched, a greater percentage of the advertising budget is being funnelled towards the digital medium.

Legorburu admits, "Earlier, we didn't consider this market (India) important enough, but it's silly to think like that anymore." The digital agency starts its India operations with brands such as Vodafone, Citibank and Coca Cola on its roster.

There are certain tools (BridgeTrack) that Sapient possesses, which will help brands as well as the agency to carry out measurability across multiple channels.

In July 2009, Sapient Interactive also acquired Nitro Group, a global advertising network that carries out above-the-line advertising. The combined venture is called Sapient Nitro.

Karandeep Singh, managing director of Sapient Interactive's India operations, explains that Sapient Nitro and Sapient Interactive will together be present in India, but will pitch according to the need of a brand.

He elaborates, "Most companies aren't open to the idea of a digital agency also handling traditional advertising, though that's how we'd like to be -- that is, an integrated services agency. So, initially we will offer them services that they are open to and are interested in."

Sapient Interactive is in the process of hiring and increasing its team strength in India. Anurag Bhatnagar is the interactive practice lead in Asia Pacific and India.