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Culture and business are being disrupted in India: TBWA's Troy Ruhanen

TBWAIndia has reaffirmed Disruption at the core of its growth strategy. Troy Ruhanen, President and CEO, TBWAWorldwide and Philip Brett, President, TBWAAsia, presented the agency’s vision around Disruption and Disruption Live in Mumbai on January 25, 2016.

Ruhanen, who made his first visit to India since joining TBWA as Global President and CEO 18 months back, spoke of the importance of the India market to the agency globally, and the focus on growing the India operations around the Disruption practice.

He said, “TBWA sees immense opportunities in today’s start-up and challenger mindset in India. We want to be the go-to agency partner for brands hungry for disruptive growth in India. We have had an impressive new business run globally – and now want to see Disruption and Disruption Live at the core of our growth story in India.”

TBWAIndia, which had been without an India head for some time, recently brought on board Govind Pandey as CEO. He is responsible for injecting fresh energy and driving growth across the TBWAIndia operation.

Philip Brett remarked, “We see India as a crucial part of our next level of growth, and with fresh leadership in place, TBWAIndia is uniquely positioned to drive a disruptive and successful future.”

TBWA’s long standing clients include Nissan, Apple, Gatorade, McDonalds and Adidas as well as 21st century brands such as Airbnb, Twitter and Netflix, among others. In India, the agency’s client roster includes GoDaddy, IDFC and Kuoni, among others. Ruhanen informed that the agency was currently working for Singapore Tourism.

Speaking about the agency’s plans for Disruption, Ruhanen said, “We believe in building a strong agency culture and relationships. We want to have the right and bright people at the right place to live Disruption. It is no secret that there have been management changes. Culture and business are being disrupted here, so this is the market. We have to think how we can strengthen our structure to deliver. So, it is very important that this company lives up to its reputation of Disruption in the country. The aim is to disrupt this market as much as we can with fresh perspective and offerings. We have got the right people, the right culture and the right offering.”

When asked about specific targets for the Indian markets, he replied that it was about input and path. “I think our business is about relationships, which form an integral part. We believe in keeping clients happy. We do think about how people become more efficient and knowledgeable. The focus is more on input and that is a differentiator from other big networks or agencies where the focus is on action,” he added.

He further affirmed, “By the end of the year, we should have a good base and quality of work. And along with this, some signature pieces of work as well; work, which will be future facing. There is a place to create a new kind of agency with different signature and pieces. Absolutely fresh kind of work not yet seen is what I would be happy to see. We want measured growth and aligning culture with the country.”

As far as clients’ appetite for Disruption was concerned, Ruhanen stressed that Disruption was a safe structure and not a random one. He noted, “Clients want to structure things in a different way and want new views. Disruption is breaking down conventions. You have to be Disruptive even as research is going to drive us. The way it happens in India is different than France. Cultural touch is important.”

On the way forward, Ruhanen said that the agency was looking at digital and social, where growth via the inorganic route was enormous. “The focus is to have specialists within the agency,” he added.

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