Why tailor-made brand solution is Zirca’s winning formula
Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, Zirca, and Karan Gupta, MD, Zirca, share the company’s plans and why they believe that ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work for brands
So, what is Zirca Digital Solutions doing differently to help brands? For one, it’s helping brands have a better conversation with their customers but with the backing of science and technology. It is a combination of design, strategy, and execution, believes Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, and their Managing Director Karan Gupta.
In conversation with exchange4media, the two take us through the journey so far and the ambitious plans the company has its eyes set on.
The team is passionate about everything - brands, content and advertising - and that has been the driving force for the company’s success since its inception. Says Neena, “I believe what we're focused on is helping brands succeed talk to their customers. That's our focus. We do that using technology, some of these technologies are our own and some of the technology is dominant in the market, like the Google platforms, like other programmatic platforms etc. We have partnered with most of them. However, what works in that part is the strategy, your innovation and your execution that helps you succeed and allows the brand to achieve their business outcome aligned to their business objectives. In the content part, the uniqueness of your product helps you have a better conversation.”
It is their endeavour as a company to constantly ensure that they are armed with all the right tools to help brands succeed. Case in point their partnership with UK based CoLab Media Consulting, to take their business to the next level. Besides helping Zirca with complete brand positioning, they are also helping them expand to other international markets.
“Europe is one of the markets that we're looking at expanding into,” shares Neena. She further adds, “So, now our entire brand positioning is getting put in place in a way that works globally. Because boundaries for us are beginning to disappear completely.”
Elaborating on their work with international clients Gupta pitches in, “As part of our heritage of what you've been doing for a long time is also help international companies, who are in the technology space within marketing and advertising come into India and be able to establish themselves. So, while we do work with a lot of the more established Google's and the likes, we also pick and choose some of the people, who we believe, would be able to would fit in perfectly with the Indian ecosystem and help them come into India.”
He explains how once these companies have established themselves Zirca ends up becoming one of their biggest clients in the country so that they can then use their technology along with their own proprietary technology to help brands position themselves. CoLab is also helping them identify these brands and a lot of them are originate out of Europe
The company’s aggressive strategies and understanding of the market has helped them see significant growth over the years. Elaborates Neena, “We are significantly profitable. We started with two people and are about 130 people now. From half an office we are now in three structure offices and six satellite offices in India, we're adding two more. We have an office in Singapore. We're looking at Indonesia right now. And planning another one in or around London. From a business perspective we're also looking to move ahead with acquisitions. So, acquisition in the technology space and acquisition in the creative space.”
Without divulging too many details of their acquisition plans, Gupta shares “It is work in progress. We just put out feelers into the market right now. We have a pretty good idea of what are the kind of companies we're looking for. It usually takes about three months to be able to get a good list of companies and then however long it takes for the acquisition.”
Neena Dasgupta’s vision for Zirca in the near future is clear, “Expansion, acquisition and consolidation, this is very clearly the agenda for 2020-21.”
Not one to follow ‘fads’ or ‘trends’, Dasgupta believes that brands should not blindly follow them either if they don’t fit into their scheme of things. Her view stems from the belief that today consumers control the trends, “There is a massive shift in consumption and if consumption is happening using voice, audio, video, then by default, these strategies will start shifting towards how to connect with the consumer.”
Further adding, “Brands need to start shifting on density of engagement and that will come only under how their customer is responding to a format. So I don't want to talk about trends. I want to talk about customer responses. How is consumption shifting? And that's the trend I always want to keep my eyes on”
Which is why Zirca focuses on tailor made solutions for brands. “Completely, says Dasgupta, “whether some brands appreciate it or some brand don’t. We do it with agency partners, brand partners, supply partners, but you have to.”
Adds Gupta, “ We work a lot not only with brands, we also work a lot of the time with agencies and an agency might have their preference, which we may or may not agree with, but we have a very scientific way of figuring out what exactly is it? That's not just the trend but what is it that your consumer likes to consume. While audio may be a trend but does your brand really need audio?”
“Our tools actually figures out as far as content consumption is concerned, in what particular format does your consumer like to consume their content and then you should go after them in that particular format there's no point in just following trends.” He explains.
Given their expertise with content, do they then recommend it over other forms of communication or formats?
“We don't necessarily recommend content marketing over others, we actually say content marketing is the hook that engages and advertising market is the sealant. We say that you should put 30% on content and you should put 70% on the sealant. Content is the way to engage.”
The company has heavily invested in in-house tools to help marketers and brand with their digital journey. They claim to be the only company in India to have two major proprietary platforms - ContentdB and ContentiQ. While ContentdB is Asia's first native advertisement management platform, ContentiQ is a tool that leverages Zirca's proprietary content intelligence to reveal unique insights about a marketer's target audience.
While they have multiple brands associations to boast of, they exclusively represent nine international brands including The Economist, Fast Company, Microsoft, Inc.com, and Skype in India.
Despite the impressive line of work with brands, Zirca is also keen to help even traditional mediums like Print benefit from the digital wave. A project that they have undertaken and is close to Neena’s heart is the need for transformation for print media. They are already working on the pilots and are looking to integrate digital solutions into the print medium.
“We want to work with print publishers and print agencies and help them embrace digital transformation. Print is not dying, anyone can come and say print is dying. It is a general sweeping statement to get make. Print is not going anywhere. In our country Print and TV are there to stay,” stresses Neena.
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