Case Study

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

10 pages
November 2017
Reference: IMD-7-1888

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.
Implementation, Digital Transformation, Disruption, Advertising, Media, Planning, Talent Development, Partnership, Training, Cultural Change, Young People, Executive (Person), Committee
Asia, India
GroupM, Business Management Services, Advertising and Public Relations
2013 - 2016
Field Research
© 2017
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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