The pandemic decimated industries across the globe and the media fraternity was no different. With a complete overhaul in business techniques, relations and communication strategies, most of the agencies came out victorious. One such is OMD, from the Omnicom Media Group, that stood tall as an evolved media partner for its roster of brands like Apple, Beiersdorf, Sony, Mercedes Benz, Renault, Wipro, Au Bank, to name a few.
Marking its 15th year in India this February, the agency welcomed its new CEO, Anisha Iyer taking the reins of the agency. With Iyer in the driving seat, OMD has enhanced efforts in its approach to growing up timeless and delivering work in a world of constant connectivity. Under Iyer’s stewardship, OMD India is expected to embark on a new journey of transformational growth — one that does not rest on past laurels but rather is guided by the belief of being future-ready and purpose-led. She is all geared up for a busy 2022, bringing the energy back and reinvigorating the agency operations after a slow period. We speak with Iyer on taking on this leadership role and her plans for the year ahead.
You have recently taken charge of OMD when it is entering its 15th year. How will you leverage your previous experience in advertising in your new role? What gaps are there to probably fill?
‘Focusing on your people is the art of client delight.’ I have held this insight close to my heart through my years in the industry. OMD has the admirable trait of being a people-driven organisation. Collaborating with the team, I aim to leverage this to enhance people’s delight. This aspect will segue into strengthened conversations around work-life balance by becoming more agile. I want to build OMD into a more empathetic agency, while also continuing to be a forward-thinking innovative powerhouse of talent with wellbeing at its core.
The reverberations of the pandemic are still palpable in plenty of places. Being new to the agency how do you see yourself reigniting assurance and assistance amongst all stakeholders?
Yes, the pandemic had an impact that is still palpable across the industry. But the pandemic also disrupted workspaces paving the way for innovation, collaboration, and purposefulness. OMD is a place that puts its people first, and I couldn’t be prouder of it. My role in the organisation has expanded but I have been in the ecosystem for a fairly long time building and fostering relationships. My effort in this new capacity will also be to engage stakeholders, not just contextually but empathetically for transformational growth. The sweet spot where the magic happens is when people have the space to communicate without fear, are driven by the intent to persevere and create experiences that are purpose-led. And in my opinion, this space is where people find the creative freedom to make better decisions, faster.
There has been a dramatic change in the marketer expectations and business realities post-pandemic. How are you going to navigate this altered relationship?
Marketer expectations have evolved, not entirely changed. The fundamentals remain the same. The number and nature of questions marketers are asking have altered due to the dynamic context of a pandemic-led market. But if we remain driven by empathy in situations like the one being faced by stakeholders alike, the need for adaptability gets accentuated. If anything, the pandemic has enhanced collaborative sensibilities, accelerating a widespread pivot to partnerships rather than mere transactional relationships. Today, across the industry, we are operating at the convergence of trust, transparency, and empathy — and globally, very few other organisations do it with the kind of effortless charm and aplomb that OMD brings to the table. It’s about time we start looking at our teams as an extension of the client rather than operating in silos to find exemplary solutions.
OMD India is set to become more fluid and agile with a future-ready organisational structure; tailored to align with our existing roster and new ambitions. We will be pivoting towards a more dynamic approach to talent acquisition that is aligned to challenge the norm and be unconventional in attitude. The purpose is to strategise our processes with a leap of faith in decision making for new businesses instead of simply making it transactional.
What will be your mantra for OMD’s transformational growth? How are you planning it to be future-ready and purpose-led?
It is time to start asking ‘why not’ in the decisions we make as thought leaders. Understandably, the fear of failure often prevents us from evolving. But the most crucial propeller to growth is the ability to challenge oneself. This will be the mantra for OMD’s transformational growth. And I’m excited to see how this shapes the future at OMD. We are set to question everything, question the ordinary, question the acceptable, question the norm.