BY PRIYANKA MEHRA AND SALONI DUTTA
On his visit to India, Maxus APAC CEO Neil Stewart talks about Metalworks, the agency’s new digital innovation hub, ‘Resolve’, the agency’s tool used to optimize client spends, India being an ocean of talent and more
As brands constantly try to ascertain how to optimize media spends, ways to engage and interact with consumers, enhance the influence of brand communication, etc., Neil Stewart, CEO APAC Maxus shared with us the Maxus focus on helping clients improve their level of investment and the effectiveness of that investment based on much better knowledge of their target audience, media behaviour and inter-reaction of different media types.
“Today’s consumers could be watching TV, while using their Ipad, searching, answering emails and at the same time watch a piece of communication or content on TV which they like, which could act as a purchase trigger. Maxus uses a consumer-centric approach called Relationship media (RM), at the heart of which lies putting the consumer at the centre of everything the agency does, understanding barriers and developing insights which will help break the barriers. RM is a rigorous process balancing science and art,” says Stewart.
“How do we as media professionals help clients plan their activities around those different journeys that consumers take and the relationships between different media types? Here you get into the really exciting area where I think India is almost there, which is the explosion of available data. If I know what I am searching, I know what I have seen, I know what piece of content triggered that activity, how do I put those pieces together and present back to our clients in a very simple, very efficient dashboard, the ways to show the inter-relationship between all those activities. Then the absolute cost of being is important, but my ability to reduce wastage, focus on the bits that are absolutely efficient to drive, the best return, that is where our real value add is. I think that is where we as an industry need to get to, to say our clients are happy to pay for those extra services in terms of planning, insights and data management, because ultimately it is going to help them drive a much more efficient way of the total media spend,” states Stewart.
Maxus has a tool called ‘Resolve’; which uses data from real people, effectively a channel planning tool to help make the agency and clients comfortable with potentially spending across a broader range of media at different stages along the planning process. Tools like ‘Resolve’ help the agency better understand the channels and what role they play, giving confidence to media planners in making decisions on allocation of spends across various channels.
The agency also has a digital innovation hub named Metalworks, a division set up in Asia, which leverages the agency’s global capability. Interestingly, India plays the role of a development hub for this digital innovation space.
Stewart also believes that India is a great ocean of talent and expertise “The great thing about India is that it is a very good business for Maxus and the depth of talent here is very high. Here, we have got our global CEO as well as our global head of talent. We have got some really innovative award-winning work that comes out of Maxus in India,” he says.
Stewart, who has been coming to India for the last 15 to 20 years, firmly believes that there has been a definite positive change of behaviour and attitude in the country. “While earlier it was ‘let’s bring in some expertise, let’s bring in some people who can help us improve’, now it is ‘we need to get better, we need to learn what best practices around the world are that have turned things around’. India is actually doing things developed countries could learn from. If you look at leaders in our industry, on the creative side, or client organizations, India is a huge net exporter of talent. There is such a lot of expertise coming from India. HUL, P&G, Dell, Lenovo, the agency worlds, the client marketing organizations, are full of people whose careers started in India,” he adds.