Interview: Aditya Kanthy, MD & CEO, DDB Mudra Group

DDB Mudra Group has grabbed a bunch of star clients in recent months, including Meta, Flipkart, and Raymond.

Emphasising the importance of long-term partnerships with existing clients, CEO & MD Aditya Kanthy shares how purpose-led work is connected to business outcomes.

DDB Mudra has grown 26% to reach Rs 242 crore in revenue last year. What were the big growth drivers for the agency?

We have had a good, double-digit growth for two years running, which was on the back of a difficult 2020. We were fortunate we had the scale to offset some of the pandemic setbacks with upsides in categories that benefited from the adoption of technology. These include OTT, e-commerce and start-up firms, which seized some of the shifts in consumer behaviour. Our growth is also enabled by our diverse portfolio of brands. We have recorded growth in the past year across all our practices in media, digital, design, advertising and branding.

I am especially excited about some of the work we have done under an initiative that we call ‘DDB For Good’, in areas like menstrual hygiene, which has gathered support in the past year across India and the US from institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Miss Universe and Global Citizen. DDB For Good brings a new dimension to brand building and marketing. We are proud of the work we have done in areas of diversity and inclusion.

As an agency that has won numerous global awards, how do you balance purpose-led creative work and work that is focussed on business outcomes?

It is not difficult because I don’t believe these are two different things. Brands have an emotional core and operate in the context of culture. If you are true to that, then these two things are not a contradiction at all. Our best work is living proof of that. On Stayfree, when we put out brave and provocative work like Project Free Period, it is consistent with the brand’s endeavour to normalise conversations about menstruation. It is a great example of a brand that over time is able to hold work that reflects its purpose and activates its role through the product. Another example is McDonald’s ‘EatQual’ campaign, which is one of the brand’s most powerful pieces of work on inclusion, yet is consistent with a brand that is for everyone.

So when done well and with integrity, both should sit comfortably with each other. In places where that doesn’t happen, the work is usually indulgent and done for the wrong reasons.

Catch the full interview, first published on Financial Express, here.

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