Strategy of a media services major

The intent is clear. Media services major, ‘Mindshare’ is gunning for the position of “lead business partner” among its clients, why?

In the last 10 years, fragmentation has not just been restricted to multiple media options, sliced-and-diced consumer segments and product categories, sub-categories or sub-sub-categories. Similarly for brand owners, there has been a significant rise in the number of business partners creative agencies, media services companies, public relations agencies, brand marketing consultants, brand valuation experts, branding design shops. The list goes on. Being a lead business partner means, that the client trusts you more than anyone else.

Global marketing and media services company, Mindshare, part of WPP Group, realised that it was at the cusp of this change. A decade back, Mindshare’s global chief executive officer Dominic Proctor had envisaged an agency driven by “the ambition to be the agency of the future”. Now it is time to re-visit that ambition and that required to under take the restructuring.

Mindshare has donned a new look, both externally and internally. Proctor’s in the thick of things in the comprehensive global re-brand of Mindshare’s corporate identity. The idea is to move up the value chain. Today, the business environment has become complicated and even the agencies have become complicated. They want to make it simple to their clients. Given that there has been a proliferation of offerings from agencies. Proctor believes the key is to offer everything in the same platter. Clients today want integration even within the wide spectrum of services that are offered.

Apart from the new brand mark, the restructuring emphasis on simplifying the structure from more than a dozen separate specialist departments to four integrated, collaborative groups — client leadership, business planning, invention and exchange. This simplification stems from the understanding that increasingly, return on investment (ROI) is a critical benchmark for clients and they are looking at effective advertising, marketing and promotions by its vendors, partners and suppliers in delivering the value to consumers. This philosophy is based on consumer engagement.

Measuring engagement has been a major debate in the marketing community. They have evolved a framework and set of tools to frame marketing objectives and results of the marketing program in consumer engagement terms as part of the new marketing investment planning process. Clients are asking us to become business partners and not merely be transactional in our delivery. While the transaction which is the exchange part of the structure will always be there, they are looking to provide strategic direction to their clients.

There is ample opportunity in serving the entire value chain to clients. At the moment Mindshare are already delivering ‘the exchange’ stage of the value chain to all their clients, up to invention to a subset of the clients, up to business planning to a fewer set of clients. They are also already delivering only business planning solutions to a few clients as well.

Client leadership is a role that stitches up all the three disciplines across business planning, invention and the exchange. It acts as the marketing spine. Different clients have different requirements. It is up to us to make them feel the need for the stitch up function. As a market, we believe all types of models from buffet to a-la-carte will exist and Mindshare sees this more as an opportunity and Client Leadership plays a very crucial role in this.

Without doubt, TV will play a significant role. However, other platforms will increasingly add to media consumption. Top managers in the field reason that the effort is to understand what consumers like and deliver accordingly.