CVL Srinivas, Chairman, SMG : SMG is more future focused
After catching up with Brain Terkelsen, Adgully got into an exclusive conversation with CVL Srinivas, Managing Director, LiquidThread – APAC and Chairman, Starcom MediaVest Group, India to discover more about the company’s future plans in the country and to know what the way forward would be.
Adgully: Can you share some of the thrust areas of SMG?
CVL Srinivas: SMG India is in the consolidation phase right now. We have a strong foundation in India already. We are looking at growing our supplies and we are looking at digital and content to be two focus areas of growth, going forward.
Ag: Last couple of months, Starcom has been in the news quite a bit, what will you attribute this to? Also could you elaborate on the team beefing up?
CVL: We are preparing ourselves for the future. Some of the areas we are looking at are trying to have the right kind of organizational structure for that, trying to ensure that the people we have are assigned to the right kind of roles and we are also looking at increasing quality talents across levels. In terms of the team beefing up, it has happened at two levels. On one hand what we have done is that we have had a host of specialist units as part of SMG. Each unit will be specializing on areas like retail, out of home advertising, branding, rural activation so on and so forth. Earlier there were servicing SMG clients, today we have migrated these units to Vivaki level so that these units will be able to grow at a faster pace. And would be bale to service clients across all Vivaki media agencies. That is one level of change which we have brought in recently. The other level as I said, since digital and content are going to be our focus areas we are looking at beefing up talent in these two areas.
Ag: How do you plan to take it forward from here?
CVL: Once we have the new structure worked out and people coming in some of these levels, the second half of the year we are going to be focusing on improving the quality of the media product and trying to look at digital and content to be the areas which we will be focusing on to ensure that our product gets more relevant to our clients.
Ag: Under your leadership, could you tell us what would be some of the categories of brands that you will be pitching for?
CVL: We are currently present across categories, whether you look at FMCGs, durables, telecom sector and even some of the emerging categories. We will continue to look at brands across categories especially some of the growth categories.
Ag: What are your plans for Liquid Thread India?
CVL: Liquid thread is a content practice that we are in the process of rolling out across Asia pacific. It is an important focus area for us. We have had a content practice in SMG called the Bridge which existed for a couple of years and now we are looking at scaling its practice and rebranding it as Liquid Thread going forward.
Ag: If you had to compare SMG against other agencies, could you elaborate some of its strengths?
CVL: Starcom MediaVest Group traditionally has been pretty strong when it comes to strategic media planning, insights and research. In the last few years they have really focused lot on digital media, on social media and on content. So in my assessment SMG is a lot more future focused than the other agency groups and I think that is really our strength.