Post resigning as CEO of Euro RSCG, Suman Srivastava has got together with Saad Khan, Saloni Singh and Glen Flaherty to start a new venture, a marketing consultancy called Marketing Unplugged. All four have termed themselves as Founders and Innovation Artists for Marketing Unplugged.
The consultancy, which commenced operations on April 4, 2011, already has six clients under its belt, “ranging from a large MNC to a guy who hasn’t even started”.
Commenting on the new venture, Srivastava elaborated, “Marketing was invented in the 60s – a lot of concepts are that old. The new world of marketing came only in the 80s with the advent of Doordarshan. Now, 30 years later, the world has changed, but marketing hasn’t changed as much. Marketing Unplugged is aimed at introducing the world to new marketing concepts. Historically, the consumer was categorised to be rational, this was because it was simpler to build a business model on this basis, now there is a whole science, which drops three behavioural aspects of a consumer, which states that a consumer is rational, selfish and has will power. We all know that this cannot be held to be totally true. We want to change the way marketing is done in India. We could not do this in an agency because a planner is paid for in an agency, and he has no choice but promote the work of the agency.”
He further said, “We at Marketing Unplugged would like to provide neutral marketing solutions regardless of whether it is a big or small brand. Firstly, we want to be all about innovation, using the new principles of marketing. Secondly, we want to be truly media neutral, and thirdly, we want to provide result-oriented solutions. To simplify it for the people to understand it easily, we are saying music is a damn good metaphor, therefore, our company is called Marketing Unplugged, which is a musical metaphor. Even our visiting cards have a graphic equalizer on them. The good news is that people are very open to the idea and are in need of a ‘think shop’ like us.”
The founding members of Marketing Unplugged have considerable experience in the advertising industry. Srivastava was CEO of Euro RSCG India for five years, besides being the Chief Strategy Officer for Euro RSCG Asia Pacific. He had also been Chairman of Euro RSCG’s emerging markets planning council and was a member of the global management committee as well.
Glen Flaherty, who is slated to join the team in India in October this year, is a professional strategist who has operated at the most senior levels with a range of global network agencies – variously holding positions as Chief Strategy Officer for Innocean Worldwide, Strategy Director Global Brands for Euro RSCG Worldwide, Global Planning Director BBDO Worldwide, and Global Planning Director for Grey Worldwide.
Saad Khan is back from a two-year sabbatical, which he utilised by teaching at business schools and running an anonymous brand consultancy. He has spent 12 years at Leo Burnett, Lowe, Dentsu and Euro RSCG, on brands like Coca-Cola, Wills Lifestyle, Honda, Jack Daniel’s, Voltas, Volvo and Reckitt Benckiser.
Saloni Singh has had a successful career across various fields from Human Resources and Finance (at American Express) to Planning and Strategy (at Euro RSCG and Lowe). Her last job was as Brand Planning Director, Family and Healthy Brands at Lowe Lintas.
With other players in the market, it’s a wait and watch to see whether Marketing Unplugged creates sweet music for its clients.