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GroupM hires K Nagarajan to deal with complexities of social media

GroupM has been leveraging social media for its clients for quite sometime. But now with Nagarajan onboard the idea is to bring in a sharper focus.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: May 18, 2011, 05.51 AM IST
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Karthik Nagarajan
Karthik Nagarajan
“Social media is on everybody’s agenda and different clients are at different stages of using it. GroupM is looked at as a consultant who can help provide these clients with the benefits of the media in an informed manner,” says Karthik Nagarajan who has joined the WPP’s media arm as national director – social media with the responsibility of driving the focus on social media among the group agencies.

While the discussion around generalists versus specialists is ongoing, the ‘specialist’ school seems to be winning the first round of the debate so far. Media agency GroupM in a first of its kind move has created this new position for one such specialist within their organization. Nagarajan admits that the medium is new but insists there is no single way of dealing with it, “What may work for one client will not work for the other.

But the key is to understand the media by listening continuously, engaging with the customers, using tools and techniques to understand what is being said,” he says.

“My aim is to help the digital team leverage social media in a better manner and build practices that can help clients achieve their business objective,” says Nagarajan and to do that he aims to create a centre of excellence within the agency to grow the potential of the segment (social media) driven by consumer insights.

GroupM has been leveraging social media for its clients for quite sometime, however what was so far the responsibility of the digital team within the group agencies, now with Nagarajan onboard the idea is to bring in a sharper focus. Digital arms of GroupM include Mindshare Interaction, Motivator, Maxus Interaction, MEC Interaction, Quasar BMS (Brand and Media Solutions) and Blazar.

Nagarajan will be part of the Interaction Leadership Team and will report to Tushar Vyas, managing partner, GroupM South Asia Social media includes not just Facebook and Twitter but also the numerous forums, sites and communities where discussion on a topic is done by all kinds of people. These people include information seekers, opinion leaders, experts and others generally interested in the subject.

Nagarajan says it would be a good idea to see how the opinion leaders in such communities can be engaged and through them listen to what the customers have to say about a particular brand. “Most forums/communities have key opinion leaders who are read by maximum number of people visiting the site. We would like to see if we can engage with these leaders to understand the customer coming to these sites,” says Nagarajan.

Helping Nagarajan in his task would be a team of 25 people who focus only on the social media vertical for the 30 brands handled by GroupM. The task at hand is not an easy one, for social media is evolving fast and a brand’s ecosystem is changing fast, but Nagarajan says GroupM is in a strong position compared to other media agencies in this space and therefore can help service client needs faster.

This is Nagarajan’s first job with an advertising agency, whose last assignment was with Nielsen, but he is not new to the medium. Prior to Nielsen, Nagarajan has worked with Shipcom Wireless, a technology company and Frost & Sullivan. At Nielsen, Nagarajan was heading the online vertical, advertiser solutions and social media and hopes to leverage that to service GroupM’s clients.

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