After establishing offices in Argentina, China, Germany, Italy, Russia, UAE, UK and USA, dedicated shopper marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi X is now in India. With brands and retailers like Arla, Carrefour, General Mills, LG, Pepsico, P&G and Walmart as its clients in other countries, Simon Hathaway, regional chief executive officer – Europe, Middle East, India & Africa, is gung-ho about the agency’s plans for this new market as well (currently, Diageo is their first client here). He spoke to Campaign India about the challenges and opportunities that India offers:
Why was India an important market for setting up Saatchi & Saatchi X?
India’s going to be a global powerhouse in terms of the scale and size of the market, and it’s going to be one of the few which will hold retailers of the size of Walmart and enable them to be profitable. From our perspective, that’s really important, because that’s where we can help those global retailers to drive scale. It’s a strategic market for Saatchi X and it’s a huge opportunity for us.
Of course, India will pose its own marketing challenges because of the size and scale of the country and its cultures as well.
It is a very exciting challenge and that’s why we’re starting by investing on research on Indian shoppers in seven metros to see how do they differ and also to take our global learnings, particularly the emotional drivers of shopping, and understand how they relate to Indian shoppers.
An example of how we’ve done things differently is category reinvention. We’ve built shopper experiences for baby care for Walmart in the US, but when we went to China, they only have one child because the state says so, and that means every mum is a first time mum and that’s a very different market from one like the UK where they may have 2-3 kids. When you’re a second time mum, you’re experienced, whereas a first time mum is always looking for new information because they’re largely scared about what they’re doing. So you have to build a shopping experience which is about education and help them navigate through the experience of being a mother and it’s that little insight which will be really interesting in India.
What are your plans for India? How big will the team be?
As big as it can be. As big as the market demands. At the moment, we’ve made initial investment. We’ve got nine people which will probably be 10 by the end of the year. That gives us the core team of insight, creativity and to an extent, production that will enable us to get our first projects done with our first clients. As I look at other markets and the size and scale that this market is capable of,
we could have a business of over 100 people here quite easily, just because of the scale of retail and what needs to be done.
The real challenge will be how much clients want to see from us in terms of production and implementation versus insight and idea.
Is there some amount of education needed for the marketer as well?
I’m sure we will face some challenges where organisations are not structured correctly for shopper marketing. But if you look at global clients like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, they have really embraced shopper marketing. We know that those big clients are going to be open to the conversation and there might be some small clients who have different points of view on it, but that just means our focus will have to be on the big clients. If we look at the top 6 clients we have worldwide which would include Walmart, Diageo, PepsiCo, P&G and Kraft, we’ve already got Diageo working with us in India.
Are you going to work independently or are a lot of Saatchi & Saatchi India’s clients going to comeon board?
We are an independent offering and we do have our own clients but there will be somewhere that we can work together and that’s something from the Saatchi purpose which is “One team, one dream, nothing is impossible”.
What’s exciting about shopper experiences right now?
If you talked to me 5 years ago about Saatchi X in London, I would have talked to you about shopping, shopper campaigns, how to get the most out of Diwali, category reinvention, change the experience in the store etc. Now, I’ll talk to you a lot about searching. 20 per cent of my business now worldwide is in digital, in search optimisation and how you build tools that take a shopper from the web to the site and back again in most situations. When we did research about how people go about their shopping lists in India, so many of them do it on their mobile phone. People talk about the future of in-store communication being the screen; that’s definitely the case but it’s not the 48- inch plasma screen, it’s going to be that mobile screen in your hand.