Ad women Shweta Iyer & Heetal Dattani launch Nine Yards

Nine Yards is a communication consultancy that will weave a ‘She’ perspective into brands, say Iyer and Dattani

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jul 22, 2020 9:05 AM
NineYards

Shweta Iyer & Heetal Dattani, both of whom have close to two decades of experience working in the advertising industry, have come together to launch Nine Yards, a communication consultancy whose USP is to weave a ‘she’ perspective into brands to make it more relevant for today.

Talking about the unique positioning of Nine Yards, Dattani says, “It's fashionable today to say ‘we will be different’. But we're not looking to be different, we simply want to be true to what we believe in. Our name Nine Yards stems from the traditional saree that expresses the grace and power of the female, something that's not fully explored by brands today. We want to change that and help weave the ‘She’ story into the way brands think, speak and act across mediums that are right for them. And if that makes us different, then so be it.” Dattani has worked across India, the Middle East and Singapore with advertising agencies like Lowe, Publicis, Bates Enterprise, The Classic Partnership and more recently with Sideways Design Consultancy.

Nine Yards will offer a new perspective across every dimension - from brand identity and packaging to omni-channel communication, content creation and retail design.

Iyer, who has varied experience in advertising and media having worked with agencies like Rediffusion Y&R, Leo Burnett, Mudra and JWT as well Radio Mirchi and Edelman in the past, confesses that lockdown did force them to hit the brakes on their launch initially. She explains, “Nine Yards was conceptualised way before the lockdown and we were already at an advanced stage of planning when the lockdown began. Initially, we were circumspect about launching in the midst of the worst generational crisis the world has ever faced. But soon we realised this is a long haul, so we decided to go ahead with the launch. I must say that while the lockdown has wreaked havoc in the world, it has also further blurred the lines between tasks traditionally seen as ‘for men’ and ‘for women’. This has also given us a great opportunity to build the ‘She’ story into brand conversations across categories, adding a different texture to it.”

But what kind of clients does Nine Yards hope to rope in-- the brands who currently sell to women consumers or the brands who should be selling to women? Dattani responds, “80-85% of all buying decisions are either made or influenced by women, today. Which begs the question what's a woman's brand and more importantly how many brands are not women's brands. This makes the 'She' story extremely relevant for most brands across categories and price points. As for brands that specifically talk to women, there remains a huge untapped opportunity to connect more deeply and meaningfully with their audience.”
Iyer adds to that, “There are shifts emerging even within categories like finance and automobiles that have traditionally spoken to a male audience. Traditional separation of gender roles is blurring and women are having a far greater influence in decision making even in these categories. In this changing landscape, it makes a lot of sense for brands to include women in their thinking, communication and actions.”
Talking about their team, Iyer says, “We want to be nimble and agile. Instead of building large fixed teams, we have decided to run with a small lean structure for now. We have also formed a network of collaborators - multi-disciplinary experts spread across geographies from innovation strategy experts in Singapore to retail and merchandising experts in Dubai. This allows us to tailor make a team for every client according to what’s best suited to their requirements.”

Iyer has earlier worked her magic on several brands like Lux, Sunsilk, Aditya Birla Financial Services, Leela Hotels and Resorts, Philips Appliances, Croma and Kellogg’s, while Dattani has worked with prestigious brands like Lakme, Axe, Marico, Vicks, Benadryl, Nerolac, Hamleys, Kamasutra, The Future Group, The Landmark Group, Borosil and Pidilite. The founders of Nine Yards, who have been friends since their college days, say it is high time that someone infuses the current narrative around Indian women with a fresher, more connected perspective. After all the growth story of every brand is linked in some shape or form to the story of the growth and progress of the Indian woman.

Signing off the women leaders say, “Brands can talk to women in many different shades. Pink is not everyone’s colour”.

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