IMPACT's 40 Under Forty Entrepreneurs: Building Business

IMPACT from the exchange4media Group launches the first edition of its ‘40 Under Forty’ list to recognise extraordinary achievers who are 40 years of age and below in the Indian Media, Marketing and Advertising industry

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Aug 8, 2018 8:55 AM  | 11 min read

The disruption caused by the advent of the Internet saw a new crop of businesses emerge as a slew of youngsters relied on innovative ideas to turn entrepreneur. While the majority of entrepreneurs on IMPACT’s 40 Under Forty list belong to the Digital space, the presence of Akshaara Lalwani of Communicate India, Indranil Das Blah of Kwan Entertainment and Kunal Kishore Sinha of Value 360 Communications indicates that young entrepreneurs are also making their presence felt in offline domains. Also worth making a note is that while some of these players have sold out to corporate biggies, and earned big bucks along the way, some still hold out and fly high their independent spirit.

IMPACT from the exchange4media Group launches the first edition of its ‘40 Under Forty’ list to recognise extraordinary achievers who are 40 years of age and below in the Indian Media, Marketing and Advertising industry. Below are the entrepreneurs revealing the deep motivators and personal qualities that drove them to make their big idea a reality. 

SUVEER BAJAJ and PRATIK GUPTA
Co-founders, FoxyMoron
Age: 30, 30


“The industry has become extremely cluttered and the most challenging aspect is how to stand out from the rest,” is how Suveer Bajaj of FoxyMoron assesses the media industry today. Just 30, Bajaj already has over a decade of experience and has worked with a plethora of top-notch brands that include the L'Oreal Group, Castrol, the SAB Miller Group, Fosters, Asian Paints, the Zee Entertainment Group, Bisleri, several brands from P&G, Motorola, Snapdeal, Bajaj, Britannia, Ather Energy, etc.

Today, as co-founder of digital marketing agency Foxymoron (which he set up along with Pratik Gupta and two others when he was just 19), Bajaj’s responsibilities stretch across all avenues - from building the Media Buying and Planning vertical, Search, Data Analytics and Video Content Production and Strategic Alliances. He strategically consults with brands to build the digital architecture and ecosystem for what brands do across digital and new media platforms alongside managing the life-cycle of brands and digital products across the board. The focus is on ensuring that marketing and communication campaigns are ROI-centric, by leveraging the understanding of creative and content along with a strong grip on technology to deliver efficient, unique and logical media solutions. This has helped in the acquisition of clients such as Hershey’s, The Castrol Group, COTY, Burger King, the Discovery Channel Group and GoAir.

A campaign that Bajaj is “most proud about” is one for HBO India for the TV premiere of Suicide Squad. The campaign was executed for only the Mobile platform, utilising WhatsApp as the primary medium - a platform that is used by over 200 million people in India on a daily basis. “We wanted to break away from the clutter by taking the Suicide Squad characters into the audience’s personal space. Hence, we decided to get them to the platform they give first priority to – WhatsApp,” he says.

Gupta’s primary role at FoxyMoron is to look after new business acquisition, strategic alliances and reinforcing the current client roster. This includes bringing the best of digital services to potential and existing clients through creative ideation, effective execution and management of resources.

Prior to FoxyMoron, Gupta worked at Balaji Telefilms Pvt. Ltd. as a Business Development Executive, creating new concepts for potential business opportunities. He has also worked with Castrol India Ltd. where his role included researching market data with regard to the consumption patterns of various vendors that Castrol dealt with.

Liaising with the clients’ agency partners to derive media-agnostic unique solutions has helped establish FoxyMoron as a holistic media and communications agency, going beyond Digital to ATL, BTL, sponsorships, proprietary events and technology.

Success Mantra
For Bajaj, success comes from good instinct. “Never overthink anything! You must be willing to embrace the unknown, to experiment with scenarios, be patient and trust that good instinct will help find the way forward.”

AKSHAARA LALWANI
Founder & CEO, Communicate India
Age: 31


In an industry where few Indian PR agencies exist, 23-year old Akshaara Lalwani founded Communicate India as a home-grown Public Relations agency with just Rs 10,000 as capital. Seven years on, Lalwani has built an agency that has over 100 employees and works with MNCs and blue chip companies including Hershey’s, Mindshare, SKF Bearings and The World Bank, among others. Lalwani considers herself a modern day David in the world of media Goliaths!

A recipient of multiple awards, her agenda last year was to move Communicate India away from a traditional PR firm to a digitally transformed, new-age agency. She also developed three new business verticals, growing by 100 per cent, year on year. Reflecting on the many campaigns she has worked on, Lalwani is “extremely proud of” the Lux Golden Rose Awards which reached over 1 billion organic impressions across platforms.

Looking back at a milestone in her journey, she recounts an incident which happened just a year into the business that would define what entrepreneurship was for her. “We were a small team of five people and a day before an important press conference for a leading automobile brand, the entire team quit, barring one person. We also had two events that were scheduled to take place after that. It was at this point that I reflected on what I am really dealing with and what entrepreneurship is all about. It is not about client satisfaction and cheques coming in, but about the darkest of days when you are pushed to think that this could be the end of the road, but you have to motivate yourself to fight it through. Needless to say, we managed to pull off the events and came out stronger than before,” Lalwani recounts.

Success Mantra
“Being successful is about finding the best in people. Everyone has his/her shortcomings; we need to accept this and look beyond to identify strengths and bring out the best in each person to collectively achieve individual and organisational goals.”

INDRANIL DAS BLAH
Founding Partner & Co-CEO at KWAN, & CEO- Mumbai City FC
Age: 37

In 2009, Indranil Das Blah co-founded KWAN Entertainment & Marketing Solutions. He played a pivotal role in establishing KWAN as a premier entertainment agency, as well as in its eventual evolution into a diversified entertainment marketplace which connects investors, brands and artistes. Blah was recently promoted as KWAN’s Co-CEO.

What inspired him was watching the movie Jerry Macguire about a sports agent and his relationship with an American football player, played by Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr respectively. “Jerry Macguire made me realize that one, there is a career to be made in sports in India; and two, you can stick to your ideals and values and yet be successful,” says Blah. Today, KWAN works across multiple domains such as celebrity management, live entertainment, sports, TV, licensing, movie packaging, music and regional cinema. KWAN exclusively manages the likes of Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan, Sonam Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sania Mirza, Shraddha Kapoor & Sushant Singh Rajput, to name a few.

Blah is one of the leading minds in the country when it comes to brand sales, celebrity endorsements, and sports marketing. Under his leadership and guidance, the sports team at KWAN established Ranbir Kapoor’s Indian Super League (ISL) football club, Mumbai City FC, as one of the strongest non-cricket sports brands in India. He also supervises the brand management of Sanjay Dutt’s cricket franchise, Leo Lions, which is part of the Masters’ Champions League in the UAE. He has also been deeply involved in over 200 sponsorship and endorsement deals over the last five years for the various athletes on Kwan’s roster.

In April this year, Kwan Entertainment partnered with sports marketing and entertainment veteran Ravi Krishnan to launch KWANAbler, a new company to provide end-to-end support for global sports, media and entertainment brands, companies and investors tapping the Indian market.

Success Mantra
For Blah, success is in the detail. “The work dearest to me has been the birth and launch of ISL club, Mumbai City FC. My team and I have been responsible for the brand identity of the club, starting from the logo creation to marketing campaigns across four seasons now. Great detail has gone into making the club recognisable not just in Mumbai but across India and I am happy to say that the club today is a strongly visible brand across the sports and entertainment landscape of India,” he says.

SUNNY NAGPAL
Co-Founder and Managing Director APAC, Httpool
Age: 36


A serial entrepreneur and an angel investor, Sunny Nagpal has successfully built Httpool’s operations ground up in India, as a JV partner, with a paid up capital of Rs 3 lakh to a multi-million dollar enterprise, engaging over 350 top brands, major agencies and 450+ local publishers. Nagpal currently manages Httpool in India and leads its expansion in APAC. He also leads Httpool AdTech Platforms and is involved in development of a cross-channel marketing platform that would enable execution of campaigns across all channels and devices from one single point.

On his journey so far, Nagpal says, “The decision to start my own business before I got tired of learning through jobs was the turning point of my career. My determination to win and patience to work by the book from the ground up was required. I had both. So I got down to business without cutting any corners.”

Among other achievements last year, Nagpal led the pitch and won the exclusive mandate to represent Twitter and resell Twitter ads in India. He co-founded Httpool Indonesia and Httpool Malaysia and also led the winning pitch for Twitter official Ad Sales partner for both these South Asian markets. Within two quarters of the Twitter association, Httpool exceeded expectations on all parameters to the tune of 180% across some markets in the region. In addition, Nagpal was also responsible for establishing exclusive/preferred ad sales partner deals with major publishers and media tech companies like Wittyfeed, Happn and Adara in the Indian market. Httpool in India has registered growth of 55% (YoY) and executed over 3,200 campaigns in the last 12 months from 375+ top brands, engaging all major agencies and co-operating with over 300 publishers. Nagpal successfully led the majority stake sale of Httpool India (as part of a global deal) to IMS- Sony Pictures Networks in 2017-18 (he held 49% in Httpool India prior to acquisition). Outside work, Nagpal loves swimming, diving, playing snooker and writing poetry. He is not just flying high at work but literally too, as he is pursuing a Private Pilot License course at Bombay Flying Club.

Success Mantra
For Nagpal, challenges bring success. “Challenges in life have always inspired me. I believe in taking the bull by the horns. Hunt for challenges because that is on which the opportunities ride,” he says.

HITESH CHAWLA
CEO, SilverPush
Age: 36


Hitesh Chawla is the founder and CEO of SilverPush, an AI-driven multi-screen advertising platform. He has been driving the overall vision, strategy and products at SilverPush. Under his leadership, SilverPush has worked with more than 1000+ brands and has expanded a true-blue Indian company to eight countries, all in a single year.

Commenting on the firm’s remarkable growth last year and his personal achievement, he says, “My biggest achievement is that I have built an amazing team and the credit goes to the team for the work done. In the last one year, we expanded the company internationally to Southeast Asia and Japan, and in the Africa market. International expansion from India is considered to require a lot of investment. The wonderful part of our expansion was that it was achieved profitably, by signing up clients even before we launched in those countries.”

In addition to expanding to newer markets, Chawla grew revenues by 2.5x last year and doubled the team which grew from 60 to 125 people. The company also raised fresh investment from Japan. He says, “The feeling of creating something meaningful in life, and then being able to grow it is unique. Building a company provides that feeling at every step, since every day presents a fresh set of challenges."

An important moment for SilverPush came when the company was selected for the 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley. The time spent in Silicon Valley changed Chawla’s perspective on how SilverPush as a company was being built. What SilverPush also prides itself on is that the company has always led the industry with innovations, and this year, another new product is being launched. Chawla has two patents to his name in the US.

Success Mantra
For Chawla, success means being constant. “The best advice I got while building SilverPush is to swing for the fences and not sell short. I also draw inspiration from a quote by Walt Disney, ‘The difference between winning and losing, is most often not quitting’.”  
This is Part One of the list of entrepreneurs from IMPACT's 40 Under Forty list.

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Pet care brand Wiggles redefines positioning with new brand identity, Lovemark

The new logo is symbolic to Wiggles’ relationship with animals, the company said

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 5, 2022 4:55 PM   |   4 min read

wiggles

Pet care brand Wiggles has introduced a refreshed brand identity as it turns four. The brand will now be known as Lovemark.

 

“Synonymous with the brand purpose and journeying towards becoming India’s committed #PartnerInPethood, Wiggles’ new identity leading with the ‘W’ titled ‘Lovemark’ is inspired by, a heart signifying unconditional love, infinity signifying unending commitment and a tick mark that signifies making smart choices. Wiggle’s Lovemark is symbolic to the unconditional and infinite love and lasting imprints that animals have on humans,” the company said.

 

Conceived by Ideosphere for Wiggles, Wiggle’s new identity has a smart and modern appeal and is designed to reflect the brand’s friendly, and approachable vibe. With a mission of driving responsible pet and animal care by enabling audiences to understand them better, Wiggles is focused on creating a better world for pets and animals by providing expert driven, backed with science products and services to ensure that pets and their humans live their healthiest, happiest lives, they said.

 

Speaking on the brand’s new identity, Anushka Iyer, Founder and CEO, Wiggles said, “Pets are our kids for us and always will be an emotion that is now increasingly shared by my fellow Gen Z and millennials. And we want nothing more than our pets to be happy, healthy and safe. With this vision, we started Wiggles in 2018 and set out to revolutionize the pet healthcare industry. Our first logo- which will always be special to me, was about recognising and celebrating the relationship between pets and their human parents. We wanted to convey a brand that acknowledged the spirit of unconditional love in all our offerings and backed by the credibility of veterinary expertise. Our journey over the past four years has been greater than ever expected, we have listened to pet parents across the country and have grown to meet and raise standards of petcare to now offer not only pharma but also food and treats, health and wellness and even services.”

“Our mission of doing right by pets and animals has always been deeply rooted in all that we do, even if it means constantly going above and beyond because we believe in doing right by our pets and community animals- from the day they come home to seniority. And that is what our new identity is all about as it is a rebranding that is holistic and not just by means of design. Our new Wiggles Lovemark is a visual signifier of our passion and commitment to not just unconditional love but also making the smart choices forever for our pets and animals, because they deserve nothing less than our best, always.” Anushka concluded.

Speaking on crafting Wiggles’ Lovemark, Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat, Co-Founder and CEO, Ideosphere said, “It is always challenging to define a differentiated space in a cluttered, highly competitive industry, like the booming pet care space. We wanted to ensure the new brand identity complemented the core purpose of Wiggles, to be better towards pets and animals, and for the identity and messaging to be able to connect to the emotion, passion and story of the Wiggles brand. It was truly a collaborative journey of discovery with the Wiggles team, and we are excited to see how the audiences respond to the change.”

Prashant Kohli, Vice President, Brand Strategy, Wiggles said, “The brand refresh goes far deeper than the visual identity and messaging. The strategy that led to this identity, forms the guiding and organizing principle for our business and helps chart a growth path. We've started our journey by reframing and re-organising Wiggles from a product and service brand to a 360 ecosystem for petcare, built as a house of brands. Driven by animal lovers, pet parents and experts who've dedicated their professional lives to reimagining petcare in the country, we understand first hand the problems that plague this category. We’re super excited about consolidating, launching and growing sub-brands that solve the most critical and relevant problems for Indian pets and their humans - from good, clean, healthy nutrition to holistic, compassionate, smart health care and more.”

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We want to double our business in India by 2025: Lionel Thoreau, The Body Shop

Thoreau, CMO - The Body Shop, shares thoughts on the brand's business vision and why its activism isn't skin deep

By Ritika Raj & Tanya Dwivedi | Dec 5, 2022 1:52 PM   |   5 min read

the body shop

In an endeavour to put its money where its mouth is, British skincare and beauty brand The Body Shop recently introduced its biggest skincare range with the ingredient 'Edelweiss' revamping the ‘Drops of Youth’ collection. On the occasion of its launch, Lionel Thoreau, Chief Marketing Officer, of The Body Shop said that the brand is sticking to the belief of founder Anita Roddick that businesses can help shape and drive change in our society for the better.

The company that positions itself as a ‘change-making’ beauty brand reviewed its ‘Drops of youth’ collection and its messaging, which could be problematic in the context of insecurity around ageing. 


Sharing the insight behind the new collection, Thoreau said “We thought it was not the right thing to call this product Drops of Youth, but we wanted to rejuvenate it, upgrade it, and make it better and at the same time we wanted to change the name. It was a big commercial bet but we believe it was worth it because we really wanted to be aligned with our values. That's why we have relaunched and made sure that our customers always feel at their best whatever their age.” The brand believes that customers understand that the brand is back to its roots and values - one of the key values being to promote their self-esteem and well-being.

Activist messaging and its impact on the target audience

Thoreau defines the brand’s target audience as "ethically engaged people, especially women." He added “It's people with this mindset - where they love beauty products, they want to have high-performing products, but at the same time, they care about the values that we care about. That's really our core target. It's not only the demographics but a kind of psychographic attitude in all. People who believe in things like sustainability, environmental protection, and social equality are also important in society are our TG.”

Activism and sustainability have been central themes of The Body Shop's messaging for its consumers and it works for them as a brand. The Body Shop has recently launched the Youth Activism campaign, the core insight of which lies in the ethos of the brand.

Shared Thoreau, “We know that humanity is facing big issues and the young generation cares about things like climate change, social inequality, gender inequality, but they don't have a say about it or it’s not enough. What we want to ensure is that they are part of the political debate and they can have their say just like other generations.”

This is the first time that the brand is partnering with the United Nations and is working with NGOs in each country to ensure that the political goals that qualify for this campaign are relevant to the local context.

In India, they have defined two goals. The first is to make sure that young people get registered to vote and The Body Shop aims to add 25 million new registrations. The second goal is to help youth become a part of the decision-making.

Scaling in India and going vegan

The Body Shop is entering markets like Varanasi, Imphal, Indore, Bhopal, Patna, Shimla and more. Sharing the challenges behind scaling to smaller cities and towns of India, Thoreau added “As an inclusive, ethical brand, the first thing we need to ensure is to have a portfolio of products which is suited for the needs of Indian consumers. With a large array of products, it's for people of all ages, all skin tones, and all genders as well and for this purpose. I don't believe that we can decide everything from London and that's why we also have local partners that feed us with insights and the needs of consumers here and guide us when we are developing products.”

Talking from a business standpoint, Thoreau said: “We are very ambitious for the Indian markets. We believe that it's a young, diverse, big population and it really matches our values of inclusivity. We want to double our business by 2025 in India. First, we are going to increase our retail network, increasing it by 50%. We will scale from 200 to 300 stores between now and 2025 entering 15 new cities and we’ll keep on driving the penetration this way. We have a new store concept that we call an Activist Workshop which is super sustainable - 90% of the materials used in this store concept are either recycled or upcycled.”

The brand is also working on having a staff which is motivated by these values, which also increases the store's productivity. During the pandemic, the India team also put in place a ‘ship from store’ program that transformed the stores into warehouses and people could just order products from WhatsApp which the brand is now implementing in the UK as well. The brand, therefore, is looking at expanding the retail networks, store productivity, and accelerating eCommerce and omnichannel services.

In the past two years, the brand has started to regenerate its full portfolio to make it much more sustainable from an environmental standpoint. By 2023, The Body Shop aims to be a completely vegan brand. Sharing insights on the same, Thoreau added “Animal welfare is important to us and this combined with the fact that the meat industry is one of the greatest polluters, becoming vegan was a very natural next step. It's not only about claiming that we are vegan just because our formula does not contain any animal-deriving ingredients. It's also about ensuring the same in the process of creation, development and manufacturing and that we are also being audited and controlled by an independent body. The idea of animal welfare and veganism is already deeply rooted in Indian culture. It started in India and now it's growing across the world.”


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AM/NS India reimagines a future of possibilities in new campaign

iProspect India has created a multi-media campaign architecture with an aim to accelerate the brand's key vision in the market

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 5, 2022 1:45 PM   |   2 min read

am/ns

ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India or AM/NS India has launched its first corporate campaign titled titled ‘Reimagineering’. The word is a fusion of reimagination and engineering - two key levers that will shape India's growth and development over the next several decades. AM/NS India is a joint venture between ArcelorMittal & Nippon Steel - two of the world’s leading steelmakers.'

Dentsu iProspect has been mandated with the responsibility of the media planning, buying, and 360-degree dissemination of the campaign.

The campaign's objective is to raise awareness and build imagery of a global new-age steel manufacturer committed to creating a brand-new future for the industry, people, and the planet. iProspect India has created a multi-media campaign architecture with an aim to accelerate the brand's key vision in the market. The campaign covers key touchpoints such as television with dominance in the news genre and front jackets in leading English and vernacular dailies to drive credibility. As a result, AM/NS India is associated with the ongoing FIFA World Cup as one of the digital sponsors. The campaign also drives conversations through social media touchpoints, 60-second musical spot-on radio, and innovative OOH executions to bring the brand propositions of 'Reimagineering' and 'Smarter Steels, Brighter Futures' to life. 

Speaking on the campaign, Bibek Chattopadhyay, Head - Communications, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India said, “We embarked on a journey almost a year back to craft the corporate identity and design for AM/NS India - a venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel, two of the most valued brands in the metal and mining space worldwide. With the 360-degree campaign, entailing media formats, we unveil a Young, Dynamic, Smart, Thoughtful, and Global architecture that elevates the brand presentation. Reimagineering - one world that eloquently puts forth our ambitions for the market we are privileged to serve - is rudimentary to our concept and reflects our brand philosophy, 'Smarter Steels, Brighter Futures'.” 

Vinod Thadani, CEO, iProspect and Chief Digital Growth Officer, dentsu Media added, “We are extremely proud to be part of this amazing campaign. The beauty of the campaign is in synchronization of 6 very impactful KVs, a powerful and visually delighted TVC with melodious background score and multiple format renditions across touchpoints. We planned the campaign such a way so that each touchpoint complement each other to establish the core proposition of the brand. I am confident post this campaign, AM/NS brand awareness will be enhanced significantly.”

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AdLift wins SEO and Content Marketing duties of Wingreensworld.com

The account was won in a multi-agency pitch

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 5, 2022 12:35 PM   |   2 min read

adlift

AdLift, a global digital marketing agency has won the SEO, Content Marketing and Content Writing mandate for packaged foods company Wingreens Farms Pvt. Ltd. The account was won in a multi-agency pitch. 

Wingreens World has a coming together of India's most loved new-age F&B brands like- Wingreens Farms, Raw Pressery, Postcard and Monsoon Harvest. It endeavors to capture changing consumer preferences towards "better for you" products, a segment representing a $1 billion opportunity over the next 5 years. 

As part of the mandate, AdLift aims to amplify the brand and will focus on strong organic growth within business verticals of Wingreens using engaging content and customized SEO strategies. Through careful audience targeting, AdLift will work on making Wingreens World the one stop digital shop for new age customers and help them discover the world of minimally processed, responsibly sourced and healthier eating options. 

Speaking on the new client win, Prashant Puri, Co-founder & CEO, AdLift said, “We are excited to partner with a brand that is on a mission to change the way food is made and consumed. We are all geared up to take this ‘House of Brands’ to new heights with what we do best. With the top SEO and Content Marketing teams on board, we are confident to identify and grow the Wingreens customer base” 

To add, Pawan Sarda, Group CMO & Head of D2C- Wingreens World, said, “It’s no secret that we love all things organic! We are looking forward to AdLift adding more meaning to that word for us by increasing our organic rankings across digital channels through SEO and Content Marketing. We are looking forward to this partnership that lends to our goal of creating a world class enterprise with an omni channel play”

 

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Ajay Menon and Vimal Chandran team up for Vivo X80 Pro film 'The Birth'

The cinematic campaign film has been shot entirely on the Vivo X80 Pro smartphone

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 5, 2022 12:25 PM   |   3 min read

vivo

A cinematic film, The Birth - shot on the Vivo X80 Pro by Ajay Menon and Vimal Chandran has been going around on social media and is aimed to give a spell bounding cinematic experience. This campaign marks the latest and one of the best yet, under the campaign. The multinational smartphone company Vivo has given a platform to all acclaimed photographers of the country under its #Vivographer program. Ajay Menon and Vimal Chandran have been associated with this program for the past 4 years.

The movie depicts the story of an adventurous boy in a small town who explores the prodigious book of his grandmother. As when he keeps anything in the book at night it miraculously turns two in the morning. One fine night, he sleeps with the book open on himself and finds his own doppelganger roaming around in his house the next morning.

Ajay Menon is one of the renowned Indian cinematographers, producers, and photographers of  Malayalam movies while Vimal Chandran is India’s most popular visual artist. The lead role is played by Vasudev Sajeesh who has recently been felicitated with Kerala State Award for Best Child Actor. A fabulous and talented team of Executive Producers, VFX artists, colorists, and other members have created this masterpiece on Vivo X80 Pro without using any professional camera.

Amrita Sharma, Co-Founder of Mixed Route Juice, said, We’ve been working on building a property for Vivo India called #vivographer and it's now running in its 4th year. Over this time we’ve had the privilege of creating content that stood out in all forms and is disruptive in the market. The product and the choice of talent complement each other and work very well to bring out the brand messaging. The film is a brilliantly cut, outstanding piece of cinematography with master artists from Kerala Ajay Menon and Vimal Chandran and they managed to shoot this exceptional piece and all its nuances on Vivo x80.

Yogendra Sriramula, Head, Brand Strategy, at Vivo India said, “As a company, Vivo is known for constantly coming up with new ways to offer our users cutting-edge technology and delightful camera experiences. vivo X series delivers on this promise and is known in the industry for setting new benchmarks. The Vivo X80 series is another addition that helps bridge the gap between smartphone and professional photography by infusing user-oriented innovations. X80Pro has both - extremely strong computational photography capabilities and hardware camera performance to capture perfect video and still images in all light conditions. It is an ideal tool for creating high-quality films owing to its excellent outcomes and beautiful cinematic modes. We anticipate that "The Birth," which was captured on a Vivo X80 Pro, will inspire members of our community to pursue professional smartphone photography and push themselves to discover new limits.”

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The unbeatable Brand Shikhar Dhawan

On Dhawan's 37th birthday, let’s take a look at the evolving social media presence and brand image of the star cricketer

By Medha Jha | Dec 5, 2022 9:11 AM   |   4 min read

Shikhar Dhawan

Known fondly as "Gabbar", Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan is turning 37 today. The left-hand opener has been named as ODI captain for Newzealand and he is also the captain of the IPL team Punjab Kings.

Known for his flamboyant personality, Dhawan has evolved as an influencer on social media platforms which has won him fame in the endorsement world.

Brand Image

Optimism has always been Dhawan's most defining quality among fans. His response to success and failure with a smile signifies his positive outlook and has inspired many a meme. 

As an athlete, he comes across as real on and off the pitch. His proven stature as a cricketer over the years and his relatable personality establish an automatic connect between him and the people at large. 
 
Whenever he is on the field, batting or fielding, he keeps the fans and audience involved and engaged. His high-five celebration is iconic. He has multiple standout traits which allow him to be always connected with the audience.

Dhawan has evolved and matured which goes hand in hand with his consistent performance, bringing him a big appeal across geographies, gender and age groups, which are strong elements in his brand image. 

He has had a long career where he has been integral in the Indian team setup with numerous match-winning performances. He has had a very interesting brand journey, given his flamboyant batting and brands in that space looked at him from that attribute. But, with his growth, also came a growth, sustenance, impact and reach in his brand value.

His appeal and performance ensured that he was never irrelevant to brands. So, while Shikhar signed new deals, he renewed many too.

Social Media relevance

Nikhil Bardia, Head of Sponsorship Sales and Talent, RISE Worldwide that manages brand endorsements for Shikhar Dhawan shares his insights: “Currently, Dhawan is one of the most sought-after professional athletes currently. His social media followership of over 35 million, is one of the highest in the current set of active Indian cricketers. The evolution of social media has opened up many avenues for brands. At RISE Worldwide, we always look at unlocking the maximum value in brand-athlete partnerships. With Shikhar, we have an athlete, who is a widely loved personality and his followership on digital media is immense and relevant. This makes him a credible influencer in the endorsement space encouraging brands to partner with him to reach out to a large audience in a much more impactful manner.”

“Dhawan currently has a very fine balance between full-time endorsements and digital deals. He has had a very interesting, sustained brand journey. While he continues to garner significant interest and now also with recent captaincy stints, there is an increasing demand from brands, to leverage his creative input and impactful social media content, to sign digital deals,” Bardia adds.

Dhawan has evolved his social presence, especially on Instagram to bring out a lighter more engaging persona and highlight some never-seen-before sides of Dhawan that fans adore. This has led to him collaborating with other influencers and creating engaging content, making him one of the standout cricketers in terms of engagement via Reels.


Simple and engaging, Dhawan's creative content also seems to resonate with fans. The engagement numbers are high, creating a real connection with fans and making the cricketer a highly demanded celeb for brands to leverage for reach and ROIs.

During IPL 2022, Dhawan's reels created cumulative views of 111M ( the most during the season) and total engagement of 12.7M, one of the biggest in the season.

He has collaborated with influencers as well as using his wider network such as the Reel with Team India that had Rahul Dravid at the end, and the other during the recent IPL with Preity Zinta. 

Brand Endorsements

Dhawan currently has a portfolio of over 15 brands spread across sectors like sportswear, footwear, audio & wearables, ed-tech, 2-wheeler EV, perfumes and real estate amongst others. In addition to this, he is a few ongoing and yet-to-announce deals in his "brand" wagon. 

He is working with Jio, Nerolac Paints, Mutual Funds Sahi Hai, GS Caltex, fantasy cricket application Dream 11, Zero Risque, Fever FM, DB Dixon, StanceBeam, Boat, IMG Reliance, Ariel India, Kurkure, Lays, Oppo, Nerolac, Alcis Sports, Vedantu Learn and V Star. 

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'We're imbibing a culture that makes us think more like a startup and less like a bank'

Shoma Narayanan, Managing Director - Group Strategic Marketing and Communications, DBS Bank India tells us all about the new campaign, brand ethos and the challenges of being a foreign bank in India

By Ritika Raj | Dec 5, 2022 9:06 AM   |   5 min read

shoma narayanan

DBS Bank India recently announced its brand campaign ‘Live more, Bank less’ that underlines the bank’s belief that a different kind of bank is needed in a post-pandemic world- a bank that is more technology and sustainability-focused. In 2018, as it turned 50, DBS told customers it wanted them to ‘Live more, Bank less’. Four years on, the brand has launched the second leg of the campaign to show consumers how it is more than just a traditional bank.

Shoma Narayanan, Managing Director - Group Strategic Marketing and Communications, DBS Bank India in a conversation with exchange4media shared insights behind the new campaign, the promotional plan for the same, the ethos driving the brand, challenges of being a foreign bank in India and more.

Edited Excerpts:

Please walk us through the insight behind the recently launched “Different Kind of Bank” campaign in terms of conceptualization and execution.

We knew that customers needed banking services but didn’t want to deal with the hassles of banking. This required us to offer a banking experience that’s fast, natural, and effortless. Building on this, through our ‘Live more, Bank less’ campaign launched in 2018, we encouraged customers to seize life’s opportunities, and focus on their personal priorities, while leaving the hassles of banking for us to take care of.

Cut to 2022, the pandemic changed people’s perspectives and made us focus more on personal priorities. Now, more than ever, people are thinking about and taking action on issues more significant than individual annoyances. The new DBS campaign in 2022 - Different Kind of Bank reinforces our brand ethos “Live more, Bank less” and reflects our belief that banking has a higher purpose. We believe in rising to the challenge that the post-Covid world demands a different kind of bank.

How are you promoting this campaign? What has the response to the campaign been like?

A large section of our TG is on social media, so we used platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube to communicate our message and engage with them. Through in-cinema and on-location branding at major movie chains like PVR and Inox, DBS Bank India was able to approximately reach 1.6 million people. We also used branch branding, ATM screens and regional offices in our ~525 branches across 19 states to create a reminder medium. To create greater brand awareness, we took the campaign live on OOH by showcasing in key locations across 18 cities, garnering a reach of ~750MN.





The campaign witnessed a healthy score of 76% awareness in our top 5 cities and 82% brand association with DBS. Moreover, Brand Awareness in India for DBS Bank increased from 40% in 2021 to 46% in 2022, a year which saw awareness levels of most competing banks stay constant (as per a Brand Health study run by Acorn).

The campaign highlights and emphasizes start-ups, technological innovations and a sustainability agenda. As a bank and a brand, how true do you stand to these aspects of the campaign?

For us, the campaign is not just a slogan or catchphrase, but the way we live and operate at DBS Bank India. The bank has been on a transformation journey since 2014, imbibing an agile culture that helps us think more like a startup and less like a bank. This is reflected in our focus on being more relevant to customers by upgrading employees’ tech skills, while also adopting productive new tools such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

To advance our sustainability agenda, DBS has led the way by setting some of the most comprehensive decarbonization targets in the industry and is committed to advancing financial inclusion and enabling the movement towards zero food waste. A small example of this commitment towards sustainability is the fact that the outdoor flex materials on which the billboard ads were printed were delivered to DBS-supported social enterprise ‘Greensole’ to upcycle them into useful school bags for underprivileged children.

As a foreign bank in India, what challenges do you face and especially when it comes to devising the right kind of communication?

DBS Bank has been in India for the past 28 years, and during this period India has witnessed a dramatic acceleration in digital consumption, the rising challenge of social inequity, along with the various complications brought about by the pandemic. Instead of getting overwhelmed, we saw that this was a key opportunity to communicate that we are indeed a bank for the times. Post the amalgamation of the erstwhile LVB with DBS Bank India in November 2020, DBS positioned itself as a global bank with a strong local presence that has the expertise and reach to deliver the best of both worlds.

How has your marketing evolved in India over time? How do you ensure your positioning to reflect through your campaigns?

Since the launch of the DBS mini-series, ‘Sparks’ - based on true stories of bankers, DBS has evolved its marketing approach, focusing on our efforts to build the best bank for a better world. Our approach to storytelling evolved from traditional bank advertisements to newer formats like the mini-series that showcases compelling stories from across the region of customers, and partners employees, highlighting the way DBS enables them to live fulfilled. Finally in the latest brand campaign, Different kind of Bank, DBS aims to strengthen our Live more, Bank less positioning by making it clear that the bank is more like a good friend, more like a business booster, more like an award-winning techie, and less like a traditional bank.

What is your overall marketing mix for the Indian market? Please give us a sense in terms of the percentage of budget allocation.

For this specific campaign, the team focused on a mix of OOH, cinema branding, social media, and branch branding. Nearly 80% of the spending was allocated towards OOH/ Outdoor branding across 18 cities. Another 10% towards branch branding (across 200+ branches and counting) and the balance 10% on cinema branding and social media.

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