Havas Group India aiming aggressive growth through acquisitions.

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Havas group India is forging a new image under the leadership of Rana Barua. When Barua took over as the group’s chief executive officer in 2018, the advertising agency network based in Paris had three agency verticals and a workforce of 200 in India. Since then, the network has expanded to encompass 11 agencies and 1,200 employees.

Havas Group India recently expanded its e-commerce and content capabilities, as well as reinstating its sports and entertainment business. On the margins of the recently completed Goafest 2022, Barua chatted with afaqs! For any leader, they were the most difficult two and a half years.

We were utterly disoriented. It was either swim or sink. To begin with, I changed as a leader and as a person. Communication became more compassionate and transparent. Another focus area is diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve implemented a number of industry-first initiatives, including a 12-member Women Who Inspire committee aimed at fostering gender diversity and women leadership across our group of companies, a ‘Bounce Back’ programme for women returning from maternity leave, and a blind hiring technique that involves reviewing resumes without mentioning gender. We worked together to strengthen our agencies.

In 2020, many agencies were brand new, and there was no coordination. When there are a range of organisations that conduct different tasks and have diverse senior leadership, one of the main issues that most groups confront is figuring out the optimal integration approach.

Bringing teams together online made it easier to integrate agencies. This resulted in more business being won and increased team collaboration.

The economy is expanding at a high double-digit rate. On the creative front, we’ve been winning major international and new-age clients including Citroen, Tata Cliq, Tata Cliq Luxury, Vivo, and Amazon, in addition to some of the legacy brands we have in our portfolio like Reckitt, Dabur, P&G, and Suzuki. Zydus’ comprehensive brand reinvention has recently completed.

We are partnering with them in this new phase of transition and transformation, which is significant and incredibly prestigious for us. Swiggy, Ola, Quikr, Just Dial, Coinswitch Kuber, HealthifyMe, MyGate, Gamezy, and Scaler are among the clients handled by Havas Media Group India. However, integration is driving our biggest growth story,

and some of our biggest integrated clients include UTI, Micromax, Zydus, Emeritus & Eruditus, Lionsgate, Aegon Mutual, Tata Cliq Luxury, Stashfin, Renewbuy, and others. Until recently, Havas did not exist in India. We’ve managed to create an ecosystem.

As a result, Havas will be known for more than just media and creative. Building a single vertical has never been our business plan.

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