Social Beat is glad to announce that our co-founder, Mr. Suneil Chawla, has won the award for Best Digital Marketing Professionals by CMO Council & World Brand Congress. The award was given at the Mobile & Digital Marketing Summit 2014 at The Taj Lands End, Mumbai on November 14th.
The list of the past winners of the award include Viviene Maguire (Director- Leo Burnett), Aditya Pawan (National digital marketing manager- Red Bull India), Venke Sharma (VP-digital marketing, STAR India) & Omer Syed (Head–digital marketing, Times Group).
The entry barrier to starting a digital agency or an app & web development company is low and this has lead to the birth of companies with different focus and capabilities. So when we started out in 2012, it was imperative for us to figure out what is our USP, leveraging our strengths. We knew we wanted to create a full service digital agency which was not only creative but also delivered strong business results for our clients, in terms of revenue growth and lead generation. Today, our agency is a leading digital agency, with strong results in Ecommerce, Entertainment, Real Estate and Healthcare.
Your Brand & the first crucial steps
The first decision possibly is whether to start on your own or look for Co-Founder/s. While selecting a co-founder, one should be ready to professionally complement each other in terms of working style, team handling style etc. Moreover, one should see if the long term personal and professional goals along with risk taking appetite are in sync with each other. For us it was easier as Suneil (the co-founder and my brother) were involved in another venture and were aware of each other’s working style.
A key element when starting the venture is finalising n the legal structure for the entity, which includes sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Partnership, partnership, or a Private Limited. We finally chose a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) to create the venture as a separate legal entity which ensuring appropriate governance.
Coming up with your brand name (and being able to find that domain), logo & your own website can be a time consuming process. We brainstormed on ideas with the domain registrar’s website open in order to check whether the domain is available. More importantly, the brand name needs to communicate what differentiates you from the other agencies.
Getting the first client
Even before we incorporated the company, we had our first client. Suneil & I had experience in digital marketing and with a small team, the journey of Social Beat had begun. Having worked in different companies prior to starting up, both of us had strong professional networks that we started tapping into to get our first set of clients. Given our value of guaranteed business results from online marketing, we were able to quickly ramp up to a team of 10 members in a year and to 20 members now.
Apart from word of mouth, online marketing proved to be a pivotal tool for us as well and it has helped us scale up our client base. We initial leveraged social media and later on Google PPC, Remarketing and a strong content & SEO strategy. We practice all the tools and strategize that we propose to clients, and we treat ourselves as a client internally so that the content & marketing strategy can help us get more clients.
Scaling up the venture
Growth is the critical oxygen for a startup. The key drivers for the growth in any start-up are the initial team members. For a digital agency, the key roles include a strong design & development team which can create responsive and engaging websites; Social Media & Community Managers who can help build the brand for clients with the support of creative designers; search Engine specialists, Advertising and Analytics Specialists.
Building the team with individuals having the right mindset and skillset is a continuous challenge and needs to be a top priority. At our agency, each team member takes strong ownership. This has resulted in many internal referrals for hiring, which also ensures the right fit for the team. We have also tried other channels for recruitment – HR consultants (some which are specific to start-ups), Linkedin, Word of Mouth and Job Sites etc. Depending on the role, different channels work better.
Given the evolving digital space and the need for strong growth, training becomes a critical role and we are working on putting in practices to ensure cross functional learning.
Being ready for the big challenges
Doing a startup is one big challenge and if you love to take on challenges, there is nothing like starting a venture or joining an early stage venture. We regularly have to address key challenges: Like setting up of processes to scale the organisation, knowledge sharing and training to stay updated on the latest developments in the digital marketing space, surpassing client expectations and delivering strong results. The energy of the team is what drives excellence every day. So, if you’re planning to venture out, choose your team wisely. There is no better day to kickstart than today.
The Economic Times – Real Estate & Digital Conference in New Delhi, is still a month away (27th June), but the interest has started building among the digital agencies, real estate companies and marketing professionals. And why not, considering how digital media has revolutionised marketing for real estate developers. It is true that real estate is something which you purchase after physical verification, but the first step in the purchase funnel starts with a Google search or a click on a social media ad. In fact, the next step of narrowing down on choices is made online. Digital Marketing has a very important role to play in terms of lead generation. Actually, theROI for digital media is better when compared to print media for real estate marketing. It has opened up huge opportunities in terms of an efficient leads-oriented ROI-based marketing but the path is not easy in this highly competitive industry. Several challenges lie ahead as the real estate industry goes through a paradigm shift in their marketing strategies.
With this as the backdrop, the Real Estate & Digital Conference – Future Perspective – New Delhi, will be a real eye-opener for everyone associated with the industry. When you want to discuss the digital media and real estate, you don’t get a better mix of industry experts than Marketing Gurus, Digital Marketers to Developers. The speakers’ list comprises the likes of Shailesh Rao (VP-Twitter), Brotin Banerjee (MD, Tata Housing) and Vikas Chawla (Co-founder at Social Beat).
Some of the key program highlights of the conference are:
Re-inventing digital marketing strategies to bring the buyer back
Content – the game changer
Benefits of leveraging social media content in the real estate industry
Why buyers are going digital: Crowd-source feedback and buy intelligently
Digital in real-estate: future perspective 2013-14
Real estate digitally yours: best practices and success stories
Apart from the above discussed highlights, you would not want to miss out on the informative discussions around the real estate industry best practices for digital marketing, Real Estate case studies and in-depth panel discussions. If you are in New Delhi for the Digital Marketing for Real Estate India Conference, we would be glad to meet you. Please drop us an email at [email protected]
Team outing. Competition. Unlimited Pani Puri. What more can you ask for one hell of a fun time? After a hectic day at work, all 15 of us went to Shree Mithai to unwind in style. And what a way to do it J
In a similar competition last year, the team had finished at 140 panipuris with Abhishek winning it with 35 panipuris at one go. This time, the team racked up an even amazing number – 288 pani puris altogether though the defending champion disappointed us with his tally of just 18. Mohan won the competition hands down with 42 pani puris and was eager for more. The “humble-in-victory” Mohan said – “I can easily cross 100. I just need someone to compete with me”. It was heartening to see the dare-devilry of the comrades participating.
“This is the best self-exploration exercise for me till date, far better than any Robin Sharma books I read. 😛 The contest made me realize that I am capable of having 19 Pani Puris at a stretch. :D”, chirps Meenakshi.
Ekta adds in jest – “I saw that the competitive spirit & the passion to win makes you go that extra mile… After all, if it is about pani puris, who wouldn’t wanna binge eat? Burrrpppp!!! (I just had a dozen of them)”
Watch this space to see what our team has been upto. Wait, how can we end it without applauding Shree Mithai. Although Mohan was the winner, but the biggest winner undoubtedly was Shree Mithai since we ordered 48 plates!!
Social Beat as part of the trade delegation organised by British Business Group Chennai visited Dubai between 25/28 January 2014. On 28th January, Social Beat representatives along with other trade delegates were joined by David Burns of BBG Dubai and very well received at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry in a formal meeting with their Senior Director, Atiq Juma Faraj Nasib and Madhi Al Mazim, Director – Member Relations. Atiq Nasib opened the proceedings, speaking of the Chamber’s long and close relations with BBG Dubai. Madhi Al Mazim then related all the functions and sectors of the Chamber and offered all help to delegates in making trade contacts.
The Chamber has an elegant building and from 12th floor Conference Room, overlooking the scenic Dubai Creek and the old areas Burdubai / Jumeriah. The Chamber has a vast membership data-base of over 153,000 and have offered to make connections with their relevant members for the entire delegation. In appreciation of the meeting, Christie presented Atiq Nasib with our 2012 Conference folder and in turn Atiq Nasib presented him with the Chamber’s memento.
In the evening, BBG Dubai Committee hosted the delegates over drinks at Rodent’s Return, the club at the British Embassy, where we met Focus group Heads, UKTI’s Ian Gibbons and Karen Williams amongst others including Joe Hepworth, the newly appointed CEO of Brit Biz Centre UAE.
On 28th January, the delegation attended the BBG Dubai monthly breakfast meeting at Al Murooj Rotana and networked with 60 members. Chairman Jonathan Davidson opened the meeting, introducing Christie Cherian and invited him to say a few words on the trade mission. Christie introduced his delegates and briefly spoke of BBG Chennai and other BBGs in India. Jonathan Hepworth then spoke about his appointment as CEO of Brit Biz Centre and it’s role and functions / relations with BBG Dubai and expressed how lucky they have been to have ready-made premises in Deira at Dubai’s own Business Incubation Centre, thanks to the co-operation extended by UAE Government’s Department of Economic Development. David Burns closed the meeting with a presentation to the Chairman. Formal meeting was followed by networking, A brief wrap-up with follow-on actions closed the mission – altogether a very eventful trade mission.
The day started with the long journey to SRM, situated in the outskirts of Chennai. “Aaruush” is SRM’s techno-management fest (but they do have a pro show; mind you) and ‘Unconference’ is the event for which Vikas Chawla was invited to be one of the panelists. Down to SRM auditorium. We’re warmly welcomed by the hospitality team and met one of the other panelists, Raghav Srinivas, an interesting persona with interests ranging from neural science to social media to philosophy. And in next few minutes, we’re duly joined by the other panelists. One of them is a lawyer in High Court, Aruna Ganesh, who holds the credit for handling Chennai’s first cyber crime case. And the other one is a fascinating person, J Walt, a professional who performs on virtual reality video concerts (also, he is the one doing the pro show). And, our own Vikas Chawla, a multi-faceted personality who is experienced in Marketing, Sales, HR and currently the Co-Founder of Social Beat. That’s all about the diversified panelists.
The screen goes up “UNCONFERENCE : Social Media – SOS or LOL” (You guys can always google SOS and find out what it is, I did that too). And the whole conference was moderated by a student called Arvind, who was articulate enough to put forth what the audience thought and kept the momentum going. For most of the time, the discussion was confined only to Facebook and other social media platforms were not exploited at all, let alone twitter.
The debate started off with the clichéd “How many of you check out Facebook the moment you wake up and before you go to bed” question, to which except the wall (not the Facebook wall) in the auditorium, everyone raised their hands. Let me quote few excerpts and anecdotes shared thereafter. Vikas said “Facebook says the most visited page of a user is their own profile.” Raghav added the brain connection to this, “The impact of pre-frontal cortex plays a huge role in our subconscious thinking.” Then, the discussion gradually moved on to the grey area – the legalities governing internet in India- which was neatly elucidated by Aruna Ganesh. Most of the audience was not aware of the IT Act 66A and the legal implications. Thanks to my Twitter TL during the most happening days, it didn’t seem Greek and Roman to me at least. Aruna spoke in length various issues concerning the netizens and quoted few brilliant examples. For instance, she told “A person from Oman filed a complaint with the Chennai police stating that he was guaranteed employment by a party here. He submitted the e-mails sent to him by the employer. The cyber crime branch tracked the IP address to the complainant’s personal laptop. Then came the shocking revelation that the complainee was found to be none other than his own son.” J.Walt quipped on this bizarre act as “What a rotten kid! How messed up this family is.” He pitched in good amount of humor time and again that left us all in splits.
The crux of the discussion and also the crucial takeaway was the IT Act 66A. Our ignorance on the law of the land governing social media was a grim reminder to all. Also, there was an interesting student in the audience who actually echoed everyone’s feelings by saying “I post a really good and sensible status – 10 likes. And my girl shares it – 100 likes.” And he also questioned why people are not taking responsibilities. Vikas made a quick reply saying “Responsibility has to come from within. You should be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Unconference finally came to an end with various thoughts and conclusions consolidated and narrated perfectly by Arvind. So, who had the last laugh? Social Media 🙂
YourStory.in covers the story of how Vikas Co-Founded Social Beat,
After working for 6 years across different industries and different roles I finally took the plunge into entrepreneurship. When I quit my corporate job in September 2012, I had lots of ideas, but no clue of which idea I would finally embark upon. The ideas revolved around media buying, skill development and some around digital marketing. I finally chose digital marketing after evaluating the market and seeing the dearth of result-oriented digital agencies who don’t focus just on the creative aspect of digital marketing but on the business aspect as well. So, with just one client and no website of our own, Social Beat was born in December 2012 with a focus to create business results through digital initiatives for our clients.
Digital Academy India as the name suggests is a academy that was started recently to focus on training students and professionals for the internet and digital industry. With Digital Marketing Institute, Ireland and Internet Marketing Association, USA being their program partners they aim to develop the skills and knowledge required for a digital marketeer. The focus of Digital Academy is to blend academic and practical learning so that the trained candidates are industry ready.
As part of their initiative, they have formed the Digital Academy Industry Council, to engage with digital agencies, and digital marketing companies to understand the talent requirement in the industry. The Industry Council of which Vikas (Co-Founder of Social Beat) is a member will be contributing to the learning ecosystem of an ever growing community of Digital Marketing professionals.
Social Beat is privileged to be associated with Digital Academy to build the next generation of digital marketing professionals in India. For more information email Digital Academy India.
Our advisor, Jagdish Chawla was recently featured in the Small Medium Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find the full interview below and can read the article on Entrepreneur India here.
Do you think it is a good idea for retired individuals to go for second employment in start up firms
Startups are usually started by young enterprising individuals. Having senior advisors and mentors will ensure that the young team can leverage their experience and pursue faster and profitable growth.
Since start ups generally face a talent crunch, do you think retired individuals with their age and experience can help in serving the firm on their advisory board or provide valuable mentorship/training?
Absolutely. Experienced professionals have seen a lot of business cycles and have worked with people with different personality types and motivation. Bringing such experience to a startup can only be helpful.
Do you think it is viable to encourage such post retirement opportunities, keeping in mind that India is mushrooming with start ups?
A platform to connect Advisors/Mentors with such young startups would be very useful. There are angel investors and startup communities, but none for retirees.
Do you think there is any downside towards hiring ex-servicemen?
None I can think of. Its a win-win situation for both.
Research shows that there is a wide mismatch, a “generation gap” between the brains behind a start up firm and an ex-serviceman? Have you faced any such notable hindrances? If yes, have you to managed to overcome them and still be an active member of the firm?
Opportunities today are much higher than say 20 years ago. This has meant that youngsters are a lot more ambitious. While growth is critical, young startups should also focus on business fundamentals and cash flow management.
In what measure have you provided growth opportunities to the start up firm and helped it in its foundation days?
End of the day its the founding team which does all the work. As advisors, we can provide a good sounding board for key decisions