Scarecrow’s simple way to Success

03 Jul,2012

 

By Tuhina Anand

 

We try harder as we are not number 1! This line aptly sums up the attitude that has helped in the success of Scarecrow Communications. Launched in February 2010, the agency has seen growth which has surpassed the expectation of the four partners – Manish Bhatt, Raghu Bhat, Arunava (Joy) Sengupta and Vivek Suchanti.

 

The mantra for success as Manish Bhatt himself puts is that like the name of the agency, Scarecrow: We as an organization are rooted to ground and are earthy in our approach. We believe in doing hard work and we have taken the longer route to success while slogging to reach where we are today. We don’t get swayed by things happening around and do not get into creative indulgence, but do work that brings a real difference to our clients’ brands.

 

Mr Bhatt recounts the journey that they embarked on with Scarecrow – even before they started, the duo (Manish and Raghu) were approached by a few network agencies and some independents to work for them as freelancers. So when they actually announced Scarecrow, they had four clients on board.

 

CLIENTSPEAK
 

Subhrangshu Neogi, Director- Brand and Corporate Communications, Religare Enterprises

Working with Scarecrow has been exciting so far. They don’t approach the engagement like a typical client-agency matrix but do so more from a partnership context. They sit and co-create – co-creation is not just lip service. The team, including the founding partners themselves, make that extra effort to understand the little details and nuances which eventually leads to the creation of a good breakthrough end product.

 

Jiby Thomas, Co-founder, VP, Marketing, Quikr

We decided to partner with Scarecrow because of their ability to  align their creative thinking to business strategy and develop breakthrough creative that connects with consumers. They are young, hungry and passionate about the work they do and brands they work for.

 

Dinesh Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, Anchor Electricals

From the outset, Anchor was clear that we wanted to associate with a small agency. As the company was evolving and moving away from being a family owned business to being a part of an MNC, there were a lot of processes which were not in place and it was time for a change. What we had in mind was an agency that would become an integral part of our organisation and understand our challenges and meets them effectively. We wanted the agency to grow along with the company. With Scarecrow, the partnership has unfolded exactly as we had envisioned. They understand our issues and requirements and very often they come with more solutions than what we have asked for. In fact, even during the pitch process we were impressed by their involvement with the brand. More importantly, my team is comfortable working with them and I would say that its been a positive relationship.

 

One thing the partners were clear about, even when they started, was to not establish themselves as boutique, but as a full service agency. Raghu Bhat said: “We wanted Scarecrow to be one-stop that delivers a client’s business and marketing solutions. Also we were clear that for an organization to sustain growth, we need to deliver diverse solutions.”

 

Interestingly, the agency’s digital presence is just one page that gives their contact details along with their logo. The explanation being that they don’t want people to come with any prejudice while approaching the agency, hence the single contact page works best for them as it gives out crucial detail and has even given them many leads.

 

As Mr Bhatt explained: “It’s a clean slate for those who want to connect with us with no preconceived notions, and I think this approach has worked best for us.”

 

When they started out, Joy Sengupta explained, there were 18 people and within 4-6 months they wanted more people on board. “The truth is that we have ambitions but we were never over-confident or over-ambitious, and in that sense we underestimated our potential. Now the agency has over 50 people on board and has offices in Mumbai and Delhi and is looking to expand footprint.”

 

Another reason, according to Manish Bhatt, that has worked to Scarecrow’s advantage: “Advertising is ultimately people’s business and if you don’t recognize that, you would not grow. We have consciously tried to get fairly senior resources in the agency and have focused on empowering our second line of resources. We take pride in the fact that we have invested in people.”

 

The focus has been to give best service to the clients, and for this the agency had to do certain trade-offs. Most importantly, the agency didn’t concentrate on any awards nor entered for awards, instead they focused on client servicing and acquiring new businesses. However, getting new business has not been an issue, as many came because of the equity the partners enjoy in the industry.

 

Mr Bhatt said: “Scarecrow, since its launch, has managed to create buzz and remain at the top of mind of the industry. For us getting new business has not been a constraint.”

 

So what is it that has made the independents take the industry by such a storm – is it because the value for money small sized agency would provide? On the contrary, Mr Sengupta pointed: “We are rather expensive, as we don’t have scale that big agency networks provide. So, if I have a new client, I might actually hire new people to look after that business, than in a bigger agency which might just end up reshuffling the resources.”

 

Another practice that Scarecrow doesn’t encourage is taking up businesses on project basis, 90 per cent of their business is on retainer basis, allowing them a sense of stability.

 

While they have Nestle, Danone, Religare, Future Capital and a host of other businesses but when asked where are the big ticket spenders who many of the independents have in their kitty, Mr Bhatt said: “We are only two-years old, and I think the big brands would come to us, but we have not designed from the beginning to have them, as we believe we must do good work and we will get good work by default. We have got the mid-sized businesses and probably the bigger spenders too will follow.”

 

Right now the focus for the agency is to build the Delhi branch and look at getting more visible work. It has recently come out with 10 second ad for Quickr that has been garnering good reviews.

 

Scarecrow also has a gallery that is a platform for encouraging talent. Besides they encourage industry experts to come at the gallery and share their view points with others in the industry. They also have initiated MoM or Method of Madness which is a reverse internship program, where instead of few interns coming and working with them, team Scarecrow goes on campus and participates and interacts with the students.

 

Asked if Scarecrow was open to selling its stakes, Raghu Bhat replied: “I think we have enough going in India, so we not looking for selling any stakes. However, we are open to collaborating with partners that will help us in maximizing our potential.” The agency also doesn’t rule out the possibility of acquiring an entity outside of India which will help them in expanding their footprint.

 

Mr Bhatt concluded: “We are a group of well grounded, down to earth people. When you see us at any pitch you can make out that we don’t come with any swagger that many in the business come with. We are genuinely interested in the brand and want to make it work for the clients in the market place. We might not have the big telecom spender or the cola giant but our clients, with variety of portfolio, truly gives us an opportunity to bring creativity that will help their businesses grow.”

 

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One response to “Scarecrow’s simple way to Success”

  1. Kurao says:

    Joy, Bhat and Manish are simply superb and they have the business expertise of Vivek to boot

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