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Gritty Kolkata based entrepreneur clawing away with Ideazfirst, a marketing services company


Rajesh Kishanpuriya had an entrepreneurial heart and started up fresh out of business school with Indianmbas.com. Filled with the youthful enthusiasm, Rajesh was confident of making a dent but soon realized the challenges and he could not sustain. The year was 2000, and Rajesh accepted that it was better to get some experience and learn some business lessons before starting up. He went ahead and worked with Emami Ltd, Linc Pen and Plastics Ltd and Tata Interactive Systems for a few years to hone his skills.

While with Emami, he was a part of the execution team for an activation which had to be done for Emami Fast Relief but they couldn’t find any mid sized agencies who could execute the activation. He was getting itchy to startup again and thus came into existence Ideazfirst in 2003.

Rajesh has been taking up small projects across sectors since then and has grown to a team of 8 now. Starting from marketing and event management services, Ideazfirst now also offers advertising & brand design, media planning, digital marketing, celebrity management, taxi advertising and talent management services.

Ideazfirst
(L to R) Pintu Roy, Jeet Kapta, Rajesh K Kishanpuriya, Arindam Chakraborty

Ginni Systems Ltd was their first customer for whom he worked from the client office as a freelance consultant. Rajesh has sustained his business since then in spite of the challenges of doing a business from Kolkata which he lists as below along with how they’re trying to overcome:

1)      There are very few companies whose Head Offices are located in Kolkata, as most of the events and branding decisions were taken by the Brand managers, located in their company head offices. Even if you get to contact the brand manager, the willingness to spend in large events for Kolkata is not impressive. Hence we started contacting event and marketing agencies in Mumbai and Delhi who do not have a branch office in Kolkata, and we acted as their support function for executing projects in Eastern part of India.

2)      Getting experienced manpower was and is still an issue, as most of the people worked with us as a hobby or a college career for getting pocket money. The attrition rate in events industry is very high, and by the time you train an employee to follow the company processes, the person leaves.

3)      Lack of latest audio visual equipments with our vendors in Kolkata. Since, the customers are not spending on large events, the vendors also are not investing in getting the equipments required for multicolor Laser Shows, LED Walls etc. In case we get such projects, we have to hire vendors from other cities.

Dodging these challenges which exist in the events space, Rajesh mentions about a project closest to his heart- Managing the direct marketing activation for Hindustan Lever Limited - Lux Body Wash in 2006. “This project was outsourced to us by Midas Events, Mumbai, and we had to organize in-shop promotions across 200 retail outlets both modern trade and grocery stores. We had to hire 200 female promoters who are presentable as well as good in regional and English language to sell the Lux Body Wash across these stores for one month,” says Rajesh. He managed this project single handedly and recollects it to be one of the biggest learning experiences.

Ideafirst has also bagged an innovative project for taxi advertising for Star TV. "We are rolling out 100 taxis with the attached branding to depict the wedding of a popular bengali TV Soap
on Star Jalsa," says Rajesh.

Star Jalsa - Isti Kutum

Rajesh has huge expectations and is planning to ramp up operations massively now. “We plan to start celebrand.in and cabrand.in with the technology tieup with IIT Kharagpur. We plan to open own offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and want to appoint franchisees across 40 towns and cities,” he says.

Franchisee presentations are uploaded on - http://www.slideshare.net/ideazfirst/presentations and more about them on their website.

About the author

Jubin is an old timer at YourStory. Deeply entrenched in the Indian startup ecosystem, he is currently focused on building 'Slow Tech' for YourStory. He operates from the mountains of Himachal Pradesh where he plays with technology, farming and eco-construction. He can be reached on Twitter @jub_in and on mail at jubin@yourstory.com.

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