Serum Marketing and Communication Services marks a new beginning for Abhinav Dhar and Ajit Hoon, who recently parted ways with M&C Saatchi. The duo has joined hands with Chetan Marwah, who describes himself as a brand strategist, to launch this new venture. They would like to define Serum in two words – ‘Message Optimiser’. The premise of the new venture is to provide a holistic brand solution.
Serum believes in the simple dictum – to let the brand lead the product. And this is what brought all three together even though Marwah had moved abroad where he had worked on some of the leading brands. The trio shares the same ideology of letting consumer insight drive the brain cell, conceive concepts and then let the communication be driven by the concept rather than the thinking of some media guy.
Explained Marwah, “Our ideology is based upon two principles – one that a brand personality is only a perceptual framework and it is something one can influence by either communication or the product. Secondly, if we give to the consumer the most idealised vision, she is most likely to cherish that.”
So how does Serum get down to executing all the talk? Marwah said, “We aim at removing all the unnecessary layers that lead to diluting the message that ultimately consumers get in the current agency set-up. We begin this by establishing the consumer brand relationship and then we try to figure out how to optimise resources with the use of best communication tools.”
So Serum will begin with doing its own research on a brand after which they analyse using the four P’s of marketing leading to arrive at positions for the brand. In this way, consumer insight becomes the architecture for the brand and then the final platform for the brand. After arriving at the few words describing the brand, Serum then starts to explode it by synchronising factors such as colours, features, price and others around the platform, thereby aligning all the messages around the platform. Next step is then the execution of this platform.
Talking about the response that Serum has received, Ajit Hoon said, “Today, with consumers being more informed, intelligent and financially independent, the relationship between the brands and consumers have become complex, and clients understand that. So, when we approach the client and explain our concept there have been more than encouraging responses.”
He further said, “The days are gone where agencies by habit of simplifying things would create something and their job would be done. And I am saying this because we have been in this business for 26 years and can see the changes. With Serum, the difference is that because we do the whole nine yards with our own research, strategy, creatives and our own application and execution, there is synergy in what we offer to the client and its brand, which comes from the promise of our holistic understanding.”
When asked why Dhar & Hoon didn’t retain their name, which people associate with a successful creative hotshop, Abhinav Dhar replied, “We wanted to position ourselves differently and Dhar & Hoon is known as a creative shop, which describes only one aspect of Serum. Our view is that we are making a new beginning and let’s start with a new name.”
Explaining why they parted ways with M&C Saatchi, Dhar said, “Things with M&C Saatchi didn’t really work out the way we had anticipated. We got into a partnership thinking we would be focusing on the consumer insights and move beyond the traditional advertising. Unfortunately, though we were made to believe on those lines but nothing really materialised during our association.”
Dhar & Hoon set to part ways with M&C Saatchi