Draftfcb Ulka launches brand analytics division, Asterii

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 23, 2012
Asterii Analytics will be headquartered in Mumbai, with Niteen Bhagwat as its executive director and CEO.

Draftfcb Ulka has launched a brand analytics division, Asterii Analytics. Headquartered in Mumbai, this division will be headed by Niteen Bhagwat, executive director and CEO, Asterii Analytics.

Asterii will support clients across the entire spectrum of marketing activities and will function as a specialist marketing analytics company. It is supported by a global network of analysts in the Draftfcb ecosystem, giving Asterii clients and business partners access to the global toolkit and technology solutions. The global analytics network has over 100 analysts within the Draftfcb network, with key resources in Europe and USA.

Niteen Bhagwat

Asterii claims to have domain expertise across retail, automotive, financial services and packaged goods.

Asterii's solutions toolkit will span the entire spectrum of marketing activities from the assessment phase to growth and maintenance strategies for a brand. The entire array of solutions and capabilities are supported by monitoring and reporting solutions. The specific modules that Asterii Analytics offers include assessment solutions, growth solutions, relationship management solutions, and monitoring and optimisation solutions.

Asterii is a coined word and is derived from the word Asterism, which means seeing a pattern of stars in the sky - patterns which give meaning not just to the billions of stars in the sky but also to the billions of data points that any business has to interpret and decipher. "The last count said that there are 220 billion stars in the sky. If you look at data, it is as infinite as the stars," explains Bhagwat.

Ulka has sustained a long tradition of names that have something to do with the stars. Ulka by itself means a meteor. Asterii's logo is set against a blue background, which depicts the boundless blue sky. The white letters of Asterii illuminate this sky and the three dots create a pattern, the symbol of the word 'therefore'.

Bhagwat says, "Analytics will play a big role in a country like India." He feels that there are several forces that are coming into play as the economy opens up. He adds, "The first is the flow of information due to internet and social media. There will be a huge clutter in terms of the brands in the market place. In such a scenario, to find an exploitable idea or to find an exploitable niche will be increasingly difficult.

"The second is the proliferation of channels, which will increase audience fragmentation. It will be increasingly difficult and expensive to reach the desired number of consumers. If one puts these two things together, one will realise that the degree of difficulty of doing business will increase exponentially." He says that given the above set of circumstances, businesses will require different sets of tools and techniques to minimise risks and increase the odds of success.

Bhagwat feels that India is also heading a tipping point due to the opening up of the economy, especially on two fronts. First, the opening up of telecom and banking and second, the opening up of retail.

"Also, automation will generate a huge amount of data. Analytics depends on data being generated. Every time you swipe your card, you generate a data point; every time you visit a supermarket, you generate a data point, as opposed to visiting a kirana store. Marketing is witnessing an explosion in India and we are going to see the application of data analytics in this field."

Paula Fedoris

Paula Fedoris, executive vice-president and chief analytics officer, Draftfcb feels that the adoption of data analytics in India has definitely taken a curve and it has been more rapid in the Indian market as compared to the US market.

"We are coming to India as we want to expand rapidly in this market. Today, we live in a world of automation and algorithms. We are looking at patterns to happen and predict them for the future."

She feels that the past 25 years was all about structured and identifiable data. "Now, the data is becoming anonymous and unstructured. Tools that are available right now, whether it is text analysis, sentiment analysis or patterns, are all about understanding who your consumers are and what kind of media vehicles they are using, what their touch points are, and what they like or dislike, what they talk about, and how they behave."

Bhagwat feels that the financial sector has done a fair amount of work in analytics in India, especially in risk analytics. He also thinks that as the retail sector stabilises, retail will use a lot of analytics. Bhagwat adds that all companies in the online space will have a huge underpinning of analytics.

"The next big wave in analytics is the social media," predicts Bhagwat, adding that the social media penetration of only the SEC A group in India is larger than that of several countries in the world.

Citing the example of the Census campaign undertaken by the US government, created by Draftfcb, Bhagwat explains how the information forms were created in 60 languages for the different language speaking pockets in the US. The government was looking for 67 per cent of the population to participate in the Census and the Draftfcb-led campaign, involving 13 partner agencies, generated 74 per cent participation rate.

It was apparently understood through analytics that many of those who were supposed to fill the forms did not understand English. "Analytics is sophisticated, it is complicated and specialised. It is not conventional advertising. The best way of doing analytics is to create a structure that will allow it to flourish and grow."

Speaking about future plans, Bhagwat mentions how once one pillar of marketing analytics is stable and set, the company will look to expand and create offerings for analytics in other fields. "Our understanding of marketing and insights will be far superior to any other company. We are in the business of understanding consumer insights and marketing for the past 50 years," concludes Bhagwat.

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