Mike Amour, CEO, APAC region of Project Worldwide along with his local lieutenant, Rasheed Sait (VP and MD, GPJ India) talk about taking the India story forward
Q] 2013, a good time to be growing in India? Tell us about your plans here and the APAC region.
Mike: Yes, right time, right place surely! India and China are our two driving markets in Asia Pacific. India particularly is a phenomenal, dynamic market. Rasheed and his top management team have made tremendous strides in the past two years.
Looking at this organically, we’ve seen substantial growth in our Bangalore base and now we have a base in Mumbai as well. Over the coming year, even Delhi should join the list. We are set to broaden our client base into other verticals and on the other hand, we’re keen on partnerships and acquisitions in various areas. Digital of course will be the key. That’s where the India market assumes prime importance for us.
Q] Globally,you have been acquiring companies and have remained on the fast track. Tell us about this growth strategy. Does it change when it comes to India?
Mike: We are in simultaneous conversations with many interests for partnerships as well as acquisitions.The plan is to continue our organic growth and at the same time, identify at least one or two partners. As regards acquisitions, AsiaPacific is top priority for us.We’re very interested in small to medium-sized businesses with 50–80 people which have been around for about three-four years but are specialists in the areas where our long-term vision also lies. We look for a strong management willing to take their business to the next level and have a client book complementary to ours. Them being realistic about their company’s worth also counts.
Rasheed: We’ve had steady growth here in the past decade – 2010-11 saw 100% growth, 2011-12 saw 40% while this year we expect 89%. A chunk of this will emerge from Mumbai and Delhi markets. Our people growth has been reflective of this. Every GeorgePJohnson office has a digital component.and online, and we delivered. Last year we launched the audience registration service too W which our clients see tremendous value in. Client leads depend on getting the right people and giving them the right experience. We have account planners across 30 offices worldwide; it’s a mix of strategy and planning. Also, being flexible as a company helps. With no bureaucracy, things get done more easily.
Q] Your numbers also indicate that last year was a slow one. It was so for the entire Indian media and ad industry. What was your experience?
Mike: In Asia Pacific, it has been a mixed year depending on where you are standing and what client base you have. But overall as a company,growth hasn’t ceased and we’ve not stopped being optimistic.
We had clear targets in the past 24 months in APAC, and have doubled the size of the business.We have to make sure our management sustains the growth,especially when sometimes we are at the mercy of governments and natural disasters.
Q] With the importance of big data growing globally and locally, how does Projects worldwide tap on this discipline given the nature of the model?
Data management, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), mining is critical, and part of the challenge is that a lot of clients want to do it, but are nervous about getting into digital, let alone CRM.
We need to be one step ahead of our competition and half-a-step ahead of our clients! You can’t offer services beyond your clients’ capabilities at the moment. In this initial stage, we will look to partner with companies which are at the top of their class in India and China.