Alokananda Chakraborty

Carat sports new look, has ambitious plans this year

The Indian arm of the global media conglomerate has begun 2004 on a positive note

A month into 2004 and Carat India seems to have enough reason to cheer already. The agency, which saw some major restructuring last year, has unveiled a new corporate identity, which, according to Shripad Kulkarni, CEO, west/south, Carat Media Services India, reflects the changes the company has undergone and its enhanced business offering. "The new identity has been unveiled simultaneously in 63 countries," he says.

Carat's new identity has been reinforced with the unveiling of a new logo worldwide, in which the very blue Carat sphere has been replaced with a slicker, more fluorescent sphere minus the rings circling it. "Quite clearly, the need of the hour was to have a brand identity that reflected the organisation of today," says Kulkarni.

The reason for this entire effort has been summed up in a prepared note from the company. It says, "The original Carat corporate identity was developed in 1988 when the business was an European-based planning and buying agency. Carat has since grown to be a leading, progressive, independent media communications agency. Since 1988 the Carat network has grown from the major European market to cover 63 countries worldwide and annual billings have increased form approximately 4 billion pounds to over 16.5 billion pounds in 2002. In the Asia Pacific region the company continues its dramatic climb with a 50 per cent growth in revenues over the previous year, including an impressive US $250 million in new business wins."

Alongside, the agency has some new initiatives in the pipeline including the launch of Aegis Media's outdoor company Posterscope. It is also looking to expand into allied areas such as interactive and communication planning, and has charted an ambitious plan in terms of new business acquisitions.

"Two thousand and four is a significant year for us," says Sulina Menon, CEO, north/east, Carat Media Services India. "We are looking at doubling our turnover this year apart from investing heavily into training."

The agency has inducted two new members - Peter Suresh and Shri Vatsa - the former in Delhi, as head of the AAG (Advertising Agencies Guild) business, and the latter, as associate business director in Mumbai. Turnover of the Indian operations is in the region of Rs 350 crore, and, according to Menon, strengthening the "360-degree Carat offering" is central to the team with most plans geared towards achieving this objective. "We have a partnership going with Percept D'Mark in the area of events and sponsorship management," she says.

Incidentally, the Singh brothers of Percept have a stake in Carat India, which is a joint venture between Aegis Media, the media arm of the UK-based Aegis Group Plc., and Harindra and Shailendra Singh of the Percept group.

Sister entities Carat Media and Carat Integra were merged last year with the result that the agency operations were consolidated under one umbrella with two business heads - Kulkarni and Menon - based in Mumbai and Delhi respectively.

Brands under its custodianship include Bharti Enterprises, Philips, Sahara India, Dabur Foods, Mattel India, adidas and Max New York Life, with the agency getting a shot in the arm last year with the appointment by AAG - a consortium of 29 mid-sized advertising agencies in Delhi - to handle the media duties of its participant agencies.

Meanwhile Synovate, the research arm of the Aegis Group, made a quite entry into the country last year, and if Menon and Kulkarni are to be taken for their enthusiasm, then there is much action ahead this year. "Aegis Media already has a presence in Carat India and now there is Synovate," says Menon. "Posterscope will also set foot, which means there is much action ahead," she adds. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us