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“We are preparing our businesses for 2021”

By Bhawana Anand - May 07, 2020

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network India delves into the strategy to reinforce Milestone Brandcom

The daunting effects of COVID-19 are convincing various businesses to rejig their strategies and approaches to achieve them. Against this backdrop, Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) has announced its plan to re-build the OOH business Milestone Brandcom that it acquired in 2014. Calling it a future-proof strategy, the group has mapped out a plan to mitigate the damage faced by the OOH sector by bringing in new technology, media insights and best practices by working closely with the agencies in the network and getting the best practices from other markets.

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network India, delves into the strategy designed to accelerate the business of Milestone Brandcom. Below are the edited excerpts of the interview:

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network IndiaWhat brought the idea to build a new foundation for Milestone Brandcom? Is this because the OOH industry has faced the maximum burnt due to this pandemic?

This is part of a comprehensive strategy where we are looking to come out more robust on the other side of COVID-19 as an organization, which has made a strong impact on businesses. On the OOH front, there has been no interaction in the outdoor space from the last six weeks leading to a substantial reduction in the business, as well. However, it will take time to recover even after the commercial activity begins as people will be more cautious in going outdoors.

Both, Posterscope and Milestone Brandcom have a sizeable share in the Indian OOH industry and thus, as leaders in the space, we are looking at building up for the future. Basically, we are expecting the next two quarters to be impacted and then to recover from the aftereffects of the pandemic. Yes, the business will be sluggish in the near future and also from the long-term perspective. So, we are preparing our businesses for 2021 according to the changed consumer behaviours and market conditions, although, as compared to other regions, we are expecting Indian markets to recover faster.

Considering the current situation, digitisation is playing a large role in consumer interactions and for carrying out other regular chores in the daily lives of individuals. Keeping this in mind and other developments, we are also exploring different ways to adapt digitisation in the OOH business in terms of data, insights, planning, execution and monitoring with the best practices integrated to obtain faster results.

Nabendu has successfully led Milestone Brandcom since its inception and is one of the best professionals in the Indian OOH industry who has a deep understanding of the business and the market.

Are you predicting a greater demand for digitisation in the post COVID-19 period?

It would happen automatically; consumers have already started adopting digital solutions and will not only be limited to the digital assets front but also in outdoor. It will be in terms of providing solutions to clients such as, location data with assistance from Google Data, etc. Additionally, it will also help in generating insights to get faster results.

OOH has been an unorganised medium as compared to other established mediums such as, TV, print. etc. Consequently, this is a harsh wake-up call to bring advanced processes into the system and bring more measurability and transparency. However, at DAN, we have been taking up several initiatives on this front and have built our data and proprietary tools in Milestone and Posterscope. IOAA (Indian Outdoor Advertising Association) has also been working on these and other initiatives at industry level.

What international OOH practices do you think would be best suited for the Indian OOH scenario?

Currently, our focus is to bring the best models and case studies in the OOH industry. It will be further modified according to the regional business scenarios unlike TV or other mediums where distribution is much more standardised, nationally. Hence, there will be a proper learning of those models and proprietary tools, which will be then also used in the given scenarios case by case.

What outcomes are you expecting from this entire move?

Our main objective is to drive sustainable growth and create a future-ready organisation addressing clients’ marketing problems. It is imperative to understand that OOH is not just about buying a site or hoarding, but providing location-based solutions through superior strategy, data integration with technology, supported by creativity within the wider OOH eco-system providing positive outcomes for the clients for their spends.


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