Do brand experiences matter? Three brand consultancy stalwarts unleash its power with startup 1+99


In 2013, Coca Cola released the Small World Machines campaign where people from India and Pakistan could interact with each other using a 3D touchscreen that live streamed the visuals of the people standing across the vending machines!

This certainly was a one-of-its-kind experience for the people and took the ‘Open Happiness’ branding of the product to the next level. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more brands and many more experiences that can be created for them; the only limit is your imagination (and the client’s budget of course). But is it possible to create newer experiences for different brands and leave a stronger impact than the competitor’s? “It is very much possible,” says Anaggh Desai, Co-founder of 1+99 Experiential Marketing firm.

Yashesh Sethia, Kiran Khalap and Anaggh Desai are known names in the Indian brand consultancy landscape. Yashesh and Kiran have been together at Chlorophyll (an end-to-end brand consultancy firm) for quite some time, before the lure of a restaurant in Goa took him away. Yashesh and Anaggh met via a common friend and interacted via Twitter, which led to many more meetings over coffee. Over discussions around customers, brands, experiences and how India just seems to be ignoring customers, they decided to start up in this space.

Kiran believes that a brand, as a part of its communication strategy, should also “do” something! And thus, the trio set forth to build 1+99!

Anaggh goes on to add that, “Experience is platform, industry, and people agnostic. And yes, in today’s networked world it is extremely important that the same communication and experience is felt across platforms. When we refer to the word ‘experience’ an example can be - Why do you repeatedly visit your favorite restaurant even if the food is not so good at times? Because after a while food is a commodity, but the ambience, the interactions with the people there lead to a sense of empathy with them and what is relevant is the ‘feel’ factor more than the food.” The intricate way in which the brand message can be conveyed is something experience marketing firms should bank upon. This also reflects in the name they’ve chosen ‘1+99’, that conveys the adage that it’s 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration that goes behind creating a strong brand.

How do they convey their offering? How does the client comprehend the intangibles? “Yes, a lot of intangibles are involved; however, at some point they need to converge into a ‘tangible’. This can be by virtue of feedback, footfall, invoice, ambassador, referrals, feel good and spread the news factor. There is a 7 step process which we take the brand through (once they accept that experience is important and they would like to craft/create one). This is then monetized,” says Anaggh.

Their seven step process involves the following steps:

With a process in place, the three aims to combine their understanding of brands, insights into human behavior, ability to script and execute the brand experience, on both, offline and online platforms. However, even with a strong acceptance, the application or rather the issue of accountability of such projects on the client or agency side is something that’s holding companies back from experimenting. This is building up a major challenge for 1+99 currently.

It’s good to see someone venturing into a holistic experience marketing space when most individuals today think of banking solely on the digital medium. For, no matter how digital we become, we still eat, breath and live physically!



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