FEATURE14 July 2011

Going big in India

Features News

Kadence International announced the opening of 55 new offices in India this week to help take the strain of some major contracts won in the country. Research spoke to global chairman Simon Everard to find out more about the firm’s expansion and where Kadence has earmarked for its next move.

The new contracts are “all big ongoing ad tracking and usage and attitude studies,” Everard explained. “Some start on Thursday and finish on Monday so you need to have a hub in each of the main states.”

For this type of project in India, he said that “it’s not uncommon” to have to carry out between six and ten thousand interviews. But that pales in comparison to a project due to begin later this year that calls for “more than half-a-million”.

In growing its office numbers and expanding its field force, Everard said: “We now have the capability to do big NGO and public sector work. Rather than do something for the state of New Delhi, say, we can do something pan-India and have the coverage, whereas before we were a bit limited.”

As far as making the decision to open dozens of new offices in India, Everard said: “It took about a day. We looked at the opportunities, the relative downside of it and the risk-reward ratio was pretty low.”

Large scale surveys seem to be the norm in India, and research agencies “need to deliver face-to-face”, Everard said – but that won’t always be the case, he thinks. “In five to ten years face-to-face probably won’t be needed in India – or in places like Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, those sort of regions. There’s going be a time where that [reliance on face-to-face] will change, and they’ll probably skip the phones and go straight to online methods.”

With the firm’s footprint in India well-established, Everard is looking at other regions that the company can build a presence and has highlighted Indonesia and Brazil as two big growth opportunities. Kadence already has 45 employees in Indonesia – a figure it is looking to double next year.

As for Brazil, he says: “It’s a big market and we’re putting plans together to open there in 2012. Once India pays back the money it borrowed we will put some aside to open in Brazil.”