Shibani Gharat

Matt has brought 'Saatchiness' to India: Richard Hytner, Saatchi & Saatchi

In his recent visit to India, Richard Hytner, deputy chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi took out some time for afaqs! to discuss the road ahead.

Saatchi & Saatchi's deputy chairman Richard Hytner recently visited India. Hytner is also one of the founders of Saatchi & Saatchi's acclaimed tool, Lovemarks. While he was busy meeting people, both clients and employees, he took out some time for afaqs! to discuss the road ahead.

afaqs!: How do you plan to uplift Saatchi's reputation in India? Will it be through new people, new accounts or something else?

Matt has brought 'Saatchiness' to India: Richard Hytner, Saatchi & Saatchi
To change the situation, we need to start at the top. Chris Foster, as the chairman and regional CEO for Asia Pacific, has brought in stability. Matt Seddon as CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi, India will get in the business.

We have to ensure that the relationship between Matt and Chris is steady. This means that the support of the network will also push Saatchi forward.

Matt is doing what he was doing, to inculcate a killer discipline and to push forward 'how we got what we need'.

Saatchi's agenda is to remain competitive and entrepreneurial. However, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

afaqs!: Is Saatchi's India focus a part of Publicis' agenda?

Hytner: Yes, the shift of focus to India is very much a part of Publicis' larger agenda.

With Matt's arrival, there is a recommitment to India. And, it's not only in terms of growing business, but also to promote India as a place where we can do great work.

We do have a talent agenda based on four pillars - giving people early responsibility, giving people recognition, steep and deep learning and giving people joy.

afaqs!: What is it that an Indian CEO couldn't have done that Matt brings to the table?

Hytner: Matt, more than anything else, brings 'Saatchiness'.

Matt has been with Saatchi & Saatchi world over and particularly Asia for around 20 years. He knows Saatchi very well. He knows the culture, the philosophy of Lovemarks. He wouldn't have any kind of difficulty in embedding Lovemarks into this operation. The fact that he understands the local market and the local people makes him a sensible choice for Saatchi & Saatchi in order to take over the India operations head-on.

So far, as I can see, the business has turned around. Some of our core clients are looking more satisfied than they were before.

Matt is growing a team of locals, who will be responsible for the future. It is an absolute key task for any leader to get local talent. It was originally planned that he would be based in Mumbai. But, now his focus has shifted to Delhi.

One of the reasons that I am here is to help Matt just increase some of our existing clients.

afaqs!: How does the Lovemarks philosophy work for the Indian clients?

Hytner: The idea of Lovemarks, in addition to driving business and trust, is that great brands and great companies enjoy consumer loyalty beyond reason.

Brands in India have emotion infused through them. Lovemarks plays out very well in the market. It is an opportunity.

Lovemarks demands that brands think beyond how they perform, innovate, function and how they relate to the consumers. Indians by nature are very warm. They like giving and sharing love.

When we ask our clients, "Do you want your brand to be 'respected and liked' or 'respected and loved', they quiet fancy being 'respected and loved' because they know that is where money is. If consumers love your brand, they pay more for you, they forgive you when you mess up. They come back to you time and again. That love, it sounds soft, but it is very commercial.

You need to have clients who think beyond communications. You can't build love with a brand simply by speaking about it. You have to demonstrate it and you have to earn it. That means that you need to have great products and services, you have to innovate, the prices have to be accessible, and you have to bring priceless value.

It is not as simple as you have to come to Saatchi and you will get love, we have to work together.

afaqs!: How is it fighting your siblings agencies for business?

Hytner: There is a lot of mutual respect between Saatchi and Leo Burnett. We can really compete with anyone if they have an idea, too. But we love Saatchi and its idea.

afaqs!: What are Saatchi's digital growth plans?

Hytner: We plan to do that, not by acquiring talent for the sake of acquiring, but organically. Also, we are not going to replace conventional advertising people with conventional ad people. We are going to use the opportunity to bring in more digital-savvy individuals and digitally experienced people. We are not doing this for the sake of it, but doing it for a larger purpose. The bigger agenda is to create an agenda. It requires digital behaviour; digital thinking that will run right through every strategy and every piece of work.

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