Ref: IMD-7-1888

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-1888

Order this case study

GroupM India: The human dimension of a digital transformation (A)

Anand Narasimhan

By Professor Anand NarasimhanAnand Narasimhan and Ivy Buche

Case A sets the context of disruption in India and outlines the challenges facing GroupM in 2013. In the early 2010s, internet technology and social media had started disrupting the Indian advertising industry. Explosive growth in the adoption of smartphones, rapid internet penetration and falling data rates meant the country was becoming a mobile-first economy. At the same time, the demographic profile and media consumption behavior of Indian consumers were evolving rapidly. Moreover, brand managers were no longer satisfied with the reach of a media plan. Instead, they were keen to see a measurable impact of their advertising spend through hard metrics such as sales, customer engagement, market share, and the like. As the growth of digital media threatened to disrupt the traditional advertising business, media agencies were struggling to navigate the digital advertising space. Despite GroupM India’s market-leading position, incoming CEO CVL Srinivas realized that the company was on the wrong side of the digital trends in terms of its product, profile, partnerships and people. How could GroupM India leverage its scale to create a new practice with digital at the core and diversify its business beyond traditional media planning and buying? How could it move up the value chain and become a business partner for brands? Case B describes the digital transformation process GroupM India undertook from 2013 to 2016.

Learning Objective

  • Understand that successful companies need to be proactive to recognize the imperative for digital transformation.
  • Identify, prioritize and launch the precise “quest” to remain relevant in a digitizing world.
  • Realize that people and culture – not technology – are core to executing a successful digital transformation.
  • Build the leadership capabilities, technical skills and organizational structures to support a transformation process.
  • Recognize the organizational barriers to be overcome.
Keywords Advertising, Committee, Cultural Change, Digital Transformation, Disruption, Executive (Person), Implementation, Innovation, Leadership, Media, Partnership, Planning, Talent Development, Training, Young People
Settings Asia, India
GroupM, Advertising and Public Relations
2013 - 2016
Type Field Research
Copyright ©IMD 2017
Language English
Related material Teaching note, Video
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-1888

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre, UK Office

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre, US office

Babson College

Babson Park, Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information related to case studies, please contact Case Services.


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-1888

Order this case study
Looking for something specific?

Keep reading