Proof that marketers are increasingly relying on the Internet comes in the form of Chennai-based interactive agency D’zine Garage and its growth over the years. Catering to a varied client portfolio, which includes Royal Enfield, Saffola, and UK-based Phones Unlimited, the agency is involved in empowering companies to personify themselves on the web and add value to their businesses.
According to D’zine Garage CEO Hari Sethuraman, creating communities and, therefore, understanding community culture was critical.
Speaking to exchange4media, he said, “Going forward, people have been asking which city we will foray into next. There is no point in setting shop in other cities in India as we service a national and international slate of clients out of our offices in Mumbai and Chennai. We are already working with a few international clients. Now there is complete confidence in both our creative and programming product on work relating to international audiences. We will be commencing operations in London in the next one or two months.”
While the international operations would start with a servicing and support team, the work will continue to happen at the Indian offices. But the agency is confident that over time, the overseas operations will see local talent coming in. And this, because of the Internet being more evolved in developed countries, would lead to immense value addition to the talent pool at D’zine Garage, felt Sethuraman.
The seven-year-old agency set up its Mumbai operations around two years ago, which is headed by its National Creative Director, Carl Norhonha. Its present client portfolio, nationally, includes ICICI Bank, Amaron, Colgate, Citibank, DHL, Hindustan Lever, Royal Enfield and STAR Movies. Its business model enables the agency to source work from other interactive agencies as well as from clients directly.
The 40-member team across the two offices would grow with growing requirements, said Sethuraman. On the promise that the international markets held, he added, “There have been a lot of positive queries from interactive agencies in London and Toronto. Today, international clients look at India positively and expect us to do a lot more. It is not just the cost differential advantage.”
Till the end of March 2004, almost all the work by the agency was from national clients. In the last one year, this share has gone up to 8-9 per cent. In the years ahead, the agency sees this going up to 30-40 per cent of the total billings. Sethuraman was quick to clarify that this did not mean that the Indian market wouldn’t grow.
The agency has growing at the rate of 40-50 per cent y-o-y, over the last three years. Sethuraman explained, “Currently, there is better access to international markets. But the Indian market is also growing, and it is not a market that can be neglected. By March 2007, I think we will see an overall two-fold or three-fold growth for D’zine Garage.”
D’zine Garage’s indigenously developed ‘BrewMaster’ tool had helped the agency build customised community building sites like the ones for Royal Enfield, explained Sethuraman. The content, lead, query management and analytics (of ‘BrewMaster’) had helped add value to clients’ net ventures, he added.
Recently, the agency built a site customised for Royal Enfield enthusiasts in the UK. Soon, similar sites for German and US audiences are to follow. On the Indian site, of the 1,200 leads generated each month, 30 to 35 were converted, claimed Sethuraman.
He believed that there was scope for more. Giving an insight into online community building, he said that 40 per cent of the content on the Royal Enfield site was from the community itself.
In due course, D’zine Garage hopes to be involved from the strategy stage onwards (as it is for Indian clients) in the International arena as well.