In a conversation with BUSINESS TODAY, DDB Mudra Group 's CEO and MD Madhukar Kamat talks about his company's transformation from an Ahmedabad-based advertising agency to a globally aligned communications company. Excerpts:
BT: Can you take us through DDB Mudra's journey?
Kamat: Mudra's story can be broken up into decades. The first one was from 1980 to 1990, when we were born in an unconventional centre - nobody expected an agency from Ahmedabad to become a national player. By the end of the decade, we were among the top five ad agencies. We grew on the back of Vimal, Rasna, Dhara and Godrej. Vimal was our first client...
BT: You have done two stints with the company. Can you tell us about your first stint?
Kamat: We were driven by the famous line of Walt Disney, which was adopted by our founder Chairman A.G. Krishnamurthy: "If you can dream it you can do it." Mr Krishnamurthy played a phenomenal role in terms of picking up several of us. He was always in the background encouraging us to grow. The encouragement I got to grow the Delhi branch was incredible. Delhi, by the end of that decade, accounted for 60 per cent of the business in Mudra. We set up Mudra Diversified, forayed into direct marketing and PR... I was fortunate that Mr Krishnamurthy picked me up to go to the DDB offices globally - in Chicago, London and New York.
BT: What was the third decade (2000 to 2010) like, when you actually took over the company's reins from the founding Chairman?
Kamat: It was the decade of transformation because the business had changed, Mudra had grown, reached a certain stature. We had won several accolades, so what next? I remember taking over in 2003. I was fortunate that I had stayed out for four years... I had viewed Mudra from the outside and I had also been part of its meteoric growth... I was able to arrive at a decision which said that it is time to transform Mudra from being an advertising agency to being a communication group. We created a structure where Mudra was split into four distinct agencies... At the end of the transformation decade, the shareholders of Mudra and Omnicom (which acquired Mudra in 2011) agreed to look for the best opportunities to grow Mudra, and how does it become part of an international network...
BT: What's next for the DDB Mudra Group?
Kamat: I sincerely believe that when you are building organisations and institutions it is best to let the result speak for itself, rather than announce beforehand. So, I am not making any announcements as to what we are going to do next. All I can say is that year on year you will see the building up of the group DDB Mudra is. So, today, if you ask me what are we, the group is a work in progress.