Deloitte India recently announced the acquisition of Media Veteran Meenakshi Menon’s Spatial Access, one of India’s leading specialised advertising and marketing advisory and analytics firm.
With the combined strength of Deloitte India and Spatial Access brand marketers will be able to gain deeper insights on consumers and advertising avenues that will further help position marketing spends as a strategic business investment.
The acquisition will enable Deloitte to help brands instill global marketing best practices to reinvent the ‘Future of marketing’.
Chandrashekar Mantha, Partner and M&E leader-Risk Advisory, Deloitte India spoke exclusively to Medianews4u about the reasons for acquiring Spatial Access and what the two companies combined can offer to brands and marketers going forward and much more.
What was the need for Deloitte to acquire a company like Spatial Access?
At Deloitte, we are constantly striving to enhance the value we deliver to our stakeholders. We felt that there is significant need to help brands enhance the effectiveness of their marketing and advertising spends. With this objective, we considered making investments in this space to identify a partner who would be culturally fit and whose deep domain expertise in the Advertising & Marketing (A&M) advisory space, combined with our strengths as the technology leader, will create a differentiated proposition for our clients.
Spatial Access has dominated this space in India for over a decade and has worked with many marquee local and global brands in India. Moreover, we believe that even culturally, they are aligned to our core values. Consequently, Spatial Access was the right choice for us.
We believe there is a significant potential to offer a unique end-to-end solution suite to advertisers and marketers through this acquisition.
How did Covid-19 accelerate the need for Deloitte for this acquisition?
The Spatial Access acquisition was a part of the larger media and entertainment sector strategy of the firm much before the COVID-19 crisis hit India. However, COVID-19 makes this acquisition more relevant and apt considering that advertisers and marketers would require access to deeper domain knowledge during these trying times.
What does this acquisition mean for Deloitte and for the other Big Three (competition and the market)?
From a capability and synergy point of view, Deloitte’s key decision of acquiring Spatial Access provides a key differentiator in the marketplace at one end whilst providing enhanced value to our clients and prospects.
Deloitte with this strategic move is introducing a platform that gives a 360-degree view within the A&M advisory space bringing in a unique combination of domain expertise along with a tech-enabled future outlook towards marketing investments.
With this, marketers will get the advantage of technology to not only plan, strategize and enhance capabilities but will also now be able to evaluate/re-look through a risk and opportunity lens. This means a dual advantage of Enhancement and Protection; a key essential to survive and thrive during challenging times of pandemic and otherwise too.
How has Deloitte advised its clients to navigate through the Covid-19 crises?
Enough has been said about the negatives that this pandemic has resulted in, and we believe that it is now time to focus on the positives. At Deloitte, we believe that every crisis brings with itself an opportunity to evolve through change.
As the survival instinct takes over, the need to constantly adapt and innovate to stay ahead of the curve is imperative. However, brands need to trust the basic principles of human centricity and their ultimate purpose to remind their consumers of the true value they add to their life in this new normal. Everything else is either the process or an enabler to achieve this objective.
Digital advertising is expected to be on a new high during the upcoming festive period… What is Deloitte’s suggestion to its clients?
Considering the amount of time Indians are spending on the internet or the second screen during the lockdown period, it is natural that brands will build on this ‘always on’ medium. However, we believe that India is an ‘and’ market and not an ‘or’ market, where most mediums will co-exist, at least, in the near future.
COVID-19 may have compelled brands to hold back on investments towards other medium, but we believe that recovery may just be around the corner in the second half of the year.
Since the festive season has begun, and will continue till the end of the year, the consumer’s likelihood to spend will also increase.
To ensure more visibility, brands are likely to have a better to consumer connect, to influence their buying decisions. The announcement of the Indian Premier League may further boost advertisement spends, given the reach it provides to brands.
However, our advice to brands will be to evaluate tent pole investments with a sharper lens, understand before committing investments done in the past may not be reflective of the present, re-assess the behavior of their target customers and set realistic expectations. There is definitely an opportunity to maximize value if spends are optimized.
Tell us about your partnership with M&E Veteran Meenakshi Menon and how does teaming up with her makes this offering and the team a formidable one?
We strongly believe that some of the biggest assets we have acquired through this partnership are Meenakshi’s vision, her 35+ years of deep industry knowledge, an incredibly experienced team, distinguished credentials, knowledge base and her personal brand equity. We share a common vision, purpose and mission, which is critical for any partnership. Deloitte’s ability to access the wider network capabilities, technology impetus and global reach makes it a unique combination that can re-define the future of marketing and advertising spends advisory space.
Any learnings you would want to share from the Covid-19 crises?
The pandemic has disrupted the consumer’s path to purchase as well as their behaviour in a manner that no one had envisaged. COVID-19 has changed the way people consume media and preferences for their products. This, in a way, has signaled the early arrival of the future and has opened up opportunities for marketers to adapt, innovate and understand their customer in the new normal.
Brands have had to re-define the entire strategy with a new perspective. They have had to re-assess and re-evaluate the 4Ms – the Message, the Medium, Measurement and Monitoring to maximize the effectiveness of their Advertising & Marketing (A&M) spends.
Which are the most lucrative sectors according to you that would advertise heavily in the festive season?
Brands have adapted differently in the current situation depending on the business impact the pandemic has caused on their products. Predictably, advertisement spends during the COVID-19 period were dominated by essentials, health and hygiene products as well as the e-commerce sector, which had to continue to be visible to their customers across platforms or mediums to influence buying decisions.
With schools being shut and education shifting from a physical to a virtual space, ed-tech has been another sector where consumers have spent considerably.
Other sectors understandably have either gone ahead with digital-only campaigns, considering this is where their audience is, or have curbed their advertising and media spends entirely.
Brands can use this opportunity to showcase their brand purpose and human centricity through a robust content marketing strategy.
How will this partnership help marketers?
This partnership will help advertisers and marketers move from ‘now’ to ‘next’, as they gear up for the future of marketing, by providing them an insider’s view with an outsider’s perspective, independence and objectivity.