1Please give us a brief bio of yourself, your company, job profile, etc.
I quit my marketing job when I was 22 to start Oddinary in 2009. As the CEO I largely spend my time nurturing the agency culture, building new business and shaping brand strategy. My experience in managing brands at the clients’ end gave me a perspective about what many agencies are missing out on. This learning is strongly embedded in the DNA of Oddinary. In fact, I believe that this is one our agency’s biggest strength. Our clients know that we not only understand their brands but their businesses as well. This knowing brings great comfort for them.
2Tell us a bit about your business and what you do.
The agency has two focus areas, Branding & Advertising. Our work is spread across multiple categories, countries and cultures. We partner with our clients to build brands that are not only relevant today but also ready for tomorrow. Essentially, we are a team of storytellers and we do that through design, content, etc. regardless of the platform or media. i.e. Mainline, Digital, in-store, etc.
3Congratulations! As the winner of the 2019 Muse Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Muse is a highly respected International platform and a win here reiterates our faith in our approach & process. We are one of the few agencies that gets excited on hearing about low budgets available with a brand, as that pushes us to think & do Oddinary. This win is a testimony to our belief that a simple idea backed by a strong consumer insight and cultural understanding can deliver better results that a full-fledged campaign.
4Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2019 Muse Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
Our work for Pringles in Pakistan is something we are really proud of. It’s proof that sales goals can be achieved with a social impact. The social impact angle was not an expectation from the client at the time of briefing. This is where I believe agencies have the power to be a catalyst of driving purpose for brands. Our in-depth work on insight mining and cultural understanding enabled this.
We chose to enter this project as this is a classic case of the ‘Oddinary’ approach. i.e. Perceiving the same setting but in a different way. We did this by creating a special pack that enabled the act of ‘Sharing’ during the Holy month of Ramadan. This is when most food brands focus on ‘Gifting’. This simple change in perception led to disruption at the Point of Purpose and delivered 4X Sales growth for the Brand.
5What was the biggest challenge with this project?
Given that we were dealing with a religious festival in a market that was both geographically and culturally far from both the client and us, even a slight oversight could backfire at us. Hence this project especially demanded meticulous research. In retrospect this challenge was a tremendous learning opportunity for our team and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
6What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
1. To be always surrounded by artists, storytellers, designers at work still feels like a dream. This world of Ideas is like a Fantasy land for the child in me.
2. The need to constantly learn and unlearn to remain relevant helps one not only grow professionally but personally as well.
3. Most importantly, the power to influence human behavior is thrilling but I strongly believe that it comes with a lot of responsibility as well.
7What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?
India has a complex socio-economic and cultural width & depth that mass market brands have to cater to. Hence, to be able to build brands in a country like India is a great learning ground for creative professionals. A winning body of work in a market like India should give clients confidence in the agency’s capabilities to deliver results in a highly competitive & complex environment.
8Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Intrusion will become a thing of the past. Messages will need to be social and capable of creating communities it engages with!
9If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Muse Award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Today, more than ever with the digital advent the consumers are surrounded by stories. Every tweet, every post is a story. Give them a reason to remember yours. Simple is beautiful. Simple can be disruptive. Respect the time of the viewers.
10What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
It’s important to get perspective. For example, I really think advertising trainees should always try and do an immersion at the client’s office in order to get a glimpse of the wide aspect of a brand that the marketer is responsible for. That way one really gets to appreciate both the brief as well as client feedback.
11Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
10 years back when I started the agency if someone would have told me that we would be winning awards globally and our work would span continents, I would have rubbished it off.