Given the changes in the economic environment, Campaign India was curious to find out if two international players, who had announced their intent to enter the Indian market, were still considering doing so. In an exclusive conversation with Campaign India, StrawberryFrog's Scott Goodson says he wants to stare down the recession.
Considering the changes in the economic environment, are your India plans still on track? Is there any re-thinking or postponement?
We are staring down the recession. StrawberryFrog's plans for India remain on track for several reasons: Desire for efficiency, globalization, and innovation. None of this is to suggest that there is not great talent in India delivering this. But Indian clients will want better, faster, more effective and more efficient solutions. StrawberryFrog was one of the first innovative global agencies to say – if you're doing a huge global advertising campaign, you don't need a huge global advertising agency. You can do it better and more innovatively. My business is working for a select group of clients that want a focused multi-disciplined team of very senior talent working on their account, developing hard working ideas and hard working communications plans.
Desire for greater efficiency This economic downturn is about opportunity, not fear. Indian companies are doing extraordinary things. Next year, India will build more brands than many other countries – many destined for greatness globally. Indian companies can do this a heck of a lot more innovatively than the established brands — and win. Take it from me, innovation matters. And this time, clients like you can make it happen. I know this might not be possible for every brand. But if you have the great products and business objectives to globalize, you could do a lot worse than going international now. The established brands in the US and UK are all trying to figure this out. Social media is the future and it's radically changing the game. India can leapfrog the traditional and subpar brands and truly lead. We want to be part of this Indian renaissance. Because it's going to change the world.
Indian clients need better, more hard working ideas, and harder working communications plans. They want growth and productivity gains. Which Indian client wants to spend MORE on their marketing and communications today?
Globalization India is second to none. I'm excited about the thought of working with Indian companies to carve out defendable market positions outside India. The downturn of the economy is an opportunity for Indian advertisers to grow market share globally. Recent research shows that more Americans are open to buying non-American brands today than ever before. Indian companies need the very best global ideas, but instead of a huge traditional global agency network, they need an independent elite focused global team.
Innovation India is leading center of innovation and engineering greatness in many industries. Now it's marketing's turn. Indian clients need to build brands not the way British or American companies have built brands the past 75 years, but more innovatively. Indian clients will increasingly demand a greater degree of strategic and creative excellence, innovative digital communications and experiences. India is the fastest growing mobility market in the world. It's truly unique and open. StrawberryFrog specializes in sparking Cultural Movements for brands that invite the consumer to be a part of something meaningful. We love working with the underdog, the challenger brands looking to do it more innovatively, more efficiently and provide an efficient and effective alternative for client's looking for growth.
Is a presence in India now more imperative than it was before the meltdown?
Our initial plan was to grow big quickly but after our own research, and speaking with people who know the market well, and after the financial crash, we will build a more focused organization. What clients in India want is strategic excellence, innovative research capabilities, new systems and processes to deliver innovation and more modern brand experiences, and that distribution and execution are not a competitive edge for StrawberryFrog in the near term. We are very collaborative and we look forward to partnering with a broad range of existing Indian companies.
StrawberryFrog works as a 'light-house' agency. We focus on strategic and creative excellence and then we collaborate with and lead a collective of media buying companies, PR firms, digital development firms to execute these huge campaigns. We lead the development of global brand strategies and communications and content planning and the development of creative. Clients work with the kind of very senior talent they would rarely ever see in a legacy agency.
We want to work with Indian clients who think big and whose products excite us. The imperative is to maximize the economic downturn to help these brands globalize and grow in India and beyond. Our strategy is unchanged. We want to work with Indian companies to build brands and help them win market share in a global marketplace. If you have a great product, you can no longer be great only in India, you need to be great everywhere. Before starting StrawberryFrog a decade ago, I spent a decade of my career working in Sweden, helping Swedish multi-national companies globalize, open new markets and build global brands. Back then, Swedish companies did it working with small, highly focused independent agencies vs. the traditional huge agencies. We managed to launch Ericsson's cellphone across the globe. We established Pharmacia as one of the world's most respected Pharmaceutical company. We launched Virgin Airlines across Europe. Not in a big network with layers of bureaucracy. Rather, these accounts were managed by a highly-focused team of global strategic and creative talent inside an independent agency. This was much more effective model, and in these economic challenging times, it's imperative that Indian clients take a look at this model, the StrawberryFrog model.
At the same time, our clients are increasingly interested in India and all south east Asia. They want to connect and launch their brands in India. StrawberryFrog's office in India will facilitate their business objectives. Moreover, they want to find more innovative launch strategies for the Indian market. Our goal is to establish a capacity to lead the highest quality strategic brand development and innovative communications planning for clients in India, as well as develop creative.
(To read the entire interview with StrawberryFrog's Scott Goodson, check out Page 9 of Campaign India's emag here.)