Saumya Tewari

"Integration is the only way we can survive": Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands

At the recently held Ad Club Media Review, Sinha spoke about the future being about specialist and holistic.

Shashi Sinha, chief executive officer, IPG Mediabrands spoke on 'Separate and Together: The future is about being specialist and holistic' at the Advertising Club's Media Review held in Delhi recently.

"Integration is the only way we can survive": Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands
Sinha began his address mentioning that he worked in the advertising industry when agencies worked as an integrated unit. But a few years back he took up a specialist role heading the media agency, Lodestar UM. Not sure whether being integrated or specialist works better, Sinha felt that there is merit in bringing it all together.

He noted that there is a shift in agency models and client-agency relationships. The key reason behind it is the way the media environment is changing. To support his opinion, Sinha mentioned the Millward Brown study on Ad Reactions, which stated that there are multiple mediums for the user to choose from - the emerging one being mobile. Not only it is about time spent across multiple screens but also it is about accessing the same content across devices. "There is segmentation happening," he said.

Another Cisco study that he quoted was conducted in 18 countries including India. It states that there is a huge anxiety amongst consumers about not being able to access smartphones which includes email and apps. Therefore, there is a need of consumers to be constantly engaged. "Our sister company, McCann has implement this insight globally, keeping the consumer in the centre making him/her the protagonist," he pointed out.

Sinha went on to explain that instead of inundating a consumer with communication and details it is better to inform them about how they can participate in a conversation or an activity. According to him in marketing - or in a digital world - integration is a powerful tool. "I genuinely believe that the time has come for us to talk about integration again. There can be multiple meanings of the word 'integration' be it integration in philosophy, mindset, culture and processes," he said adding it is the only way we can survive.

He gave an array of examples across socio-economic areas be it prime minister Narendra Modi's 'Jan Dhan Yojna' named through a crowd-sourcing mechanism or Unilever trying to expand to many markets by crowd-sourcing some of its brands or IPG creating a holistic solution for Microsoft or WPP doing the same for Colgate and Palmolive and Coca-Cola looking for creative minds within their system.

"These are different trends with absolute no common ground. However, the only point that matters is being at the centre of consumers rather than communicating with them in one-dimensional way," Sinha explained. Integration, he opined, is about coming together to tell a story which will grow and spread as various forms of media creating value for the company as well as consumers.

"Keep your stories simple and move in real time with speed of marketplace. Your consumer is your sales force and vice versa. Perfection is utopian. The faster you move the better it is," suggested Sinha adding that success of any model is dependent on a story and its storyteller. "The story is the epicentre and integration is about how it is leveraged," he concluded.

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