Monday, 22 Jul, 10.51 am Medianews4U.COM

Leaderspeak with Sanjay Mehta & Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEOs of Mirum India

Mirum India which was earlier Social Wavelength merged with WPP to become Mirum in 2015. A digital agency which likes to be referred as a solutions company specializing in providing business solutions with the help of digital.

Unlike other digital agencies which are usually founded by either college graduates or people from a mainline agency background, SW was founded by two businessmen, Sanjay Mehta and Hareesh Tibrewala who are the Joint CEOs of Mirum India.

With Mirum India, having two business veterans at the helm of its affairs, presents a combined two-part Leaderspeak with the Joint CEOs of Mirum India.

Hareesh is in his third entrepreneurial venture and sees his job as identifying opportunities and then harnessing the potential of the team to consummate those opportunities. Hareesh has been recognized as "Social Media Professional of the Year" by the World Brand Congress.

Sanjay has been one of the earliest Internet entrepreneurs in India. In 1998 he co-founded, an e-commerce venture that sold ethnic Indian products to customers all over the world. Nine years of bootstrapping that venture saw Sanjay learn and master various aspects of digital, from design and development to digital marketing, and commerce.

Mirum's clientele includes some of the largest brands in the country such as

AMFI, Franklin Templeton, KFC, Mahindra Holidays, etc. They are also a Salesforce Gold Solutions partner and offer solutions, integration andimplementation, and ongoing management across the entire Marketing Automation stack of products such as Social Studio, Exact Target, Pardot and now DMP, Pardot, and GA360.

In the first part of this two-part Leaderspeak, Mirum India's bosses talk about their journey, WPP's acquisition of Social Wavelength, how different Mirum is from other agencies, their best campaigns and a lot more.

Edited Excerpts.

Mirum was Social Wavelength before. How was the transition from Social Wavelength into Mirum? And how has the journey been so far?

Hareesh: It was a very interesting journey when we started social wavelength, our idea was to basically create a social media agency. We started Social Wavelength in 2008 and it probably the first of its kind, there was no role model to keep on building the road as we went along, well we said social media, but what kind of people are kind of things to build and at one point of time, we realized that we need to go beyond social. The lines between social and digital were blurring.

The transition from Social wavelength to Mirum to allowed us the opportunity to increase our entire span of services, to improve the gamut of digital services, with technology and marketing automation. We now could consult on a profile of services that we could offer. The transition also brought us a lot of support from WPP, the five year relationship that we have had with JWT or WPP has actually worked very well for us.

Before we were getting acquired, people used to tell us that once we become a part of a big network, nobody will even bother about us and it's a wrong thing that we were doing. But in our case, it worked out very well. We had to make efforts, go reach out to people build contacts, build a network, create faith that we can deliver what is required, but the last five years have really demonstrated results, both in terms of growth in revenues, profits to the kind of clients that are working for and obviously getting better returns.

The transition from Social Wavelength to Mirum, in terms of expanding our product profile, and also in terms of getting access to the entire network of WPP clients in India, USA has really worked really well for us.

So tell us about the various services that Mirum offers which differentiate it from the other there are agencies outside.

Hareesh: So today where we stand I am not sure if the word agency would be the right nomenclature to use for a digital organization, we are a digital solution consultant, if you have a problem which can be solved digitally, you should have the capability to solve the problem. It could require the use of creative, media, which is traditionally what agencies do between require the use of technology, which is building of a platform or an application or something, which is typically what IT companies do. We offer a marketing automation platform, which is really system integration plus the DMP, and stuff coming into whether it will require any of these elements. So I don't think we think of ourselves like a traditional agency anymore. But think of us like a digital solution provider, if you have a problem that can be solved digitally, we will figure out what is the best way to solve it. Is it communication that you require? Or a reorganization of business is what you require? Is there a new piece of technology that you require? That can probably create new customer experiences.

I think in general, the world of communication is shifting from a great creative idea to have great consumer experience. You can see a great video or a fabulous TV series, very emotional and feel great about it. But if you go to another brand, where your actual experience is brilliant, I think you will go with a brand that gives you a different experience. You check into a hotel and they already have all your information to walk you into your room. So the whole opportunity for us as a digital agency to articulate where every consumer touch point and see how we can use digital to create a better and a much better experience. So every service that you provide starts becoming more and more personalized. So I think the entire sphere of communication is shifting from actually experience creating to them being a big idea. And we believe the idea that we are somewhere here we are focusing on that experience creation opportunities.

Why do you feel other agencies are more on the creative side and how different is Mirum from them?

Sanjay: The reason why a lot of agencies have continued to be creative, is because of their genesis, a lot of these agencies are either young guys out of college and started an agency because it's easy to start; there are no big assets or big investments required to start a digital agency. And most of those people have a creative bent of mind. And then there are people who work from mainline agencies and are inclined to get into digital. And then there is a legacy set of agencies which came from the search marketing background. It's a legacy from where somebody comes from, typically continues to grow into something better. I'm not saying that they're more transformed or changed or something, some of them have. But for us, we didn't come from any of those traditional backgrounds. We didn't start Social Wavelength when we were just out of college, we didn't come from an advertising agency background. For us, it was more of a business background. The focus has been from the very beginning, in terms of how can we help a client achieve a business goal? And it's changed over time, of course, because of various reasons and things which have influenced the transition from what the original agency was into the social agency model where we are today.

Previously there were a couple of things which used to happen, one is of course the base of users really significantly grown. So when we started in 2009 - 2010, when wewent to an FMCG brand, they would say all digital is good, but only about 10% of my consumers are on digital. So they would still do a lot of TV, and do a hygiene work on digital, whereas their big monies would still go to mainline. Today that has changed, probably 70% - 80% of their consumer base is already on the internet.

Second, is the bandwidth obviously, Jio and all that has happened, has enabled a significant kind of dependency on the internet for real time transactions or consumer journeys across different kinds of devices to be enabled through digital. So a brand can be thinking about creating a bigger solution than just doing a Facebook post and getting a bunch of likes, those days are really gone a lot. Marketing, automation, and technology and those elements have become big. We at Mirum have embraced those, and have invested in people and skills around those. We've tried to be ahead of the value chain, when we started as social media agency. When a lot of people started coming in, we said keep on going up the value chain, that's the only way to sort of demand a certain premium in terms of what we offer and differentiate ourselves. So let's continue to be the way that Mirum has grown.

Which will be some of the key projects or campaigns that Mirum isextensively proud of?

Sanjay: One of them was for AMFI which is the Association of Mutual Funds in India andthe wholeplatform, which has been created around "Mutual Funds Sahi Hai". So our work on that project has been multi-fold. So we built that website, we created all the content, it's a content rich website with a lot of text, and there's a lot of video content. The reason why we are very proud of it is that AMFI is an association of mutual funds about 44 mutual funds made the association. Most of them were already doing their bit of marketing and trying to grow the market with limited success. I mean, not that they had a problem when they came to us they were not growing the mutual fund market enough, with all the individual efforts and all the biggest funds are there. So when they came together as an association to make a difference. Now, what can you do, which the others have already not tried? I mean, I'm sure all of them at tried a whole lot of things, whether it's content, videos, education or everything. So to see what has been done and not worked, and finding a better way and making it happen was the challenge.

I think to a large extent, this campaign has made a huge impact on the industry, which has grown many fold over the last two three years since we've run this. It has come through a lot of effort in terms of understanding user behaviour, understanding why they were not adopting mutual funds. What kind of content will work the suited booted investment banker talking to a consumer and saying why he needs to buy a mutual fund would not work for sure. So he got into a campaign that was for the common man, the language was a very hinglish kind of a language, easy to understand, and taking them one simple journey in a step by step manner on the website, on social media, through digital campaigns. Campaigns which are more with Kabbadi league on one side to cricket on the other side relating mutual funds, do the very basic connect by various levels, and making it work. And the end thing is that he was the results matter, the results have been phenomenal in terms of the growth of the user base and investment which are increasing, which meant that a lot of people start thinking there's a mutual fund is a definite investment part of the portfolio.

The other one, which I can think about is this one from our marketing automation which is, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) with which we are associated for a long time now. Here is where a business approach of business solution kind of approach has worked really well. Where is the opportunity with marketing automation for a QSR business like that so they sell a lot of the product to online partners and with the Zomatos of the world? They also have their own online order booking application, so they have data of the consumers, they know, at the back end that a lot of people prefer these products. Some people come on weekdays, some people come individually, some people come as groups, different locations, different outlets, and up to a full day of data in multiple places. So one is to bring all the data together as a like a unified source of data, and then visualize a solution about what are we trying to do? We're trying to increase frequency of buying from the same customer, maybe when there is an IPL game going on and people were ordering because they were watching a game. And they were ordering more, how can I improve my market share versus other QSR out of the deliveries? So all the different kinds of scenarios are different kinds of consumer journeys, different kinds of opportunities in terms of campaigns, on an existing customer base, thought through planned out, created those journeys, implemented those journeys, measured the data, seeing the results, that last IPL we were so what is it, we're doing so much specific increase on the existing customer base with audit and, continued from there on multiple campaigns and all that. It's, again, the results through that, you know, how significantly business impacting our role has been, and that's what excites me. It's not just about a great looking campaign, or that video was awesome for us it's about how have we made a difference to the clients' business.


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