From Sunil Shetty, to Housing.com and Udacity, how Brandniti+Design is helping brands connect with relevant audiencesHarshith Mallya
While this Mumbai-based bootstrapped firm has worked with companies and startups across diverse sectors, its strength lies in dissecting the real estate space for maximum pull.
At a glance
Founded year: 2012
Founders: Smita Thorat and Haresh Motirale
Sector: Branding and Digital Marketing
In mid-2012, Smita Thorat and Haresh Motirale founded Brandniti+Design, a design and advertising venture, with the long-term vision of ‘helping every brand tell their story’ and connecting them to the right audience.
Talking to YourStory, Smita and Haresh noted that the first part of their venture’s name, ‘Brandniti’ was inspired by ‘Chanakya Niti (or Neeti), the popular book by Acharya Chanakya, which highlights dos and don'ts of everyday life for any person who wants to be a grand success.
Taking some inspiration from the book, the company looks to apply strategic solutions to brands and hence name their venture Brandniti+Design. The company has had an interesting journey over the last six years. Here is their story-
Story so far
Headquartered in Mumbai with a team size of 20, Brandniti+design helps brands reach out to their target audience, online and offline. They do this through a combination of strategic outlook and prior experience in the space.
Smita brought on board 13 years of work experience in sectors like real estate marketing, advertising, architecture, and structured finance across different project cycles. She also had prior startup experience having been the co-founder, director & CEO of iProperty.com India, an online real estate portal, for close to nine years.
Haresh, on the other hand, brought in strategic outlook coupled with an innovative intent and analytical understanding of project profitability to Brandniti+Design. He has over 18 years of experience with corporates such as Peninsula Land Ltd., G: Corp Group and IL&FS across areas like real-estate marketing, branding, sales, client servicing, business development, product designs and market analysis.
Brandniti+Design has been bootstrapped over the last six years. Haresh noted,
We have sustained our growth trajectory over the last six years in spite of market volatility and changing dynamics. The industry has changed its shapes and attitudes several times in the last decade or so, but the ground rules of communication, however, remained unchanged at the core for this firm.
A challenge during their early days in 2012 was ensuring that they came out with great creative pitches for clients on a consistent basis, and that is where Smita and Haresh’s prior experience of marketing and branding helped. At that stage, they also roped in a senior creative director Adesh Navkudkar who had led teams with agencies such as BBDO, Lowe Lintas, etc. Talking about other challenges during their initial days, Smita noted,
The initial challenge we faced while starting up was to hire the right talent. When you are a young startup no one wants to take a career risk. We had to spend lot of time with the few guys who walked up to the interviews and also tell them about our vision for Brandniti+Design.
Haresh said that since inception their focus has been on result-driven solutions. He noted that while a lot of small to medium-sized firms were jumping into action and approaching clients unprepared and overpromising, they held their ground to grow organically and evolve gradually.
In 2012 Sunil Shetty, the popular actor, was looking for a company to take on one his projects in Lonavala. Brandniti was able to get the contract by making a creative video and strategic plan for him. Thus, Brandniti+Design started out their journey with Sunil Shetty as their first client. They were then able to on-board many others like Shapoorji Pallonji and Indiabulls to keep them going.
Talking about a more recent example, Haresh explained that when Udacitiy, the popular edtech company, was looking to expand to India, they were looking to understand the sector and make a big marketing splash. Brandniti+Design was able to on-board them as a client and helped them formulate different strategies for online and also offline campaigns.
Looking back now, Smita noted that in the last six years of its operations, Brandniti+Design has worked with and maintained long-standing relationships with many renowned brands such as Indiabulls Investment Advisors, Indiabulls Ventures Ltd., Housing.com, Wadhwa Group, Nahar Projects, Ruparel Realty, Dhaval Developers, MAN Realty, UK Realty, Haware Properties, Tata Realty, Transcon Developers, Bramha Corp, and Rajesh LifeSpaces.
While they have worked on delivering creative and branding solutions, social media content management, website designing and development with clients across diverse sectors, such as Udacity, Godrej Agrovet Ltd., Indiabulls LED, GAD Logistics, Tekman India, Marico, Asian Paints, Klothon, Nicomet Ltd, one of Brandniti+Design’s strengths is their understanding and capabilities in the real estate space.
Both founders having prior experience in the real estate sector helped them in this regard and they have been able to successfully deliver projects for Omkar Builders & Developers, Mahindra LifeSpaces, Shapoorji Pallonji, Sunteck Realty, Clover Realty etc. in the domain of 3D rendering and walkthrough animation. The venture also helps clients with online reputation management (ORM) and search engine marketing (SEM).
Talking more about their experience in the space, Haresh cited the example of working with SoftBank-backed Housing.com. He noted,
They were looking to hire a creative agency on retainer and asked us to pitch. The brief was to show communication of the developer offering booking online first time through Housing.com. Our creative team came up with the concept showing the Google-like search bar wherein you can find all the projects of developer with representation online bar along with a hand.
Haresh recalled that the headline said ‘Look Up Hyderabad - Book your Janapriya home now with a touch of a finger’.
Talking about their current growth trajectory, Smita explained that Brandniti+Design has been growing at the rate 25-30 percent year-on-year since inception. She noted that they have had more than 200 clients. Talking about the benefit of long-terms associations and word-of-mouth referrals, she added,
“Sixty percent of our business comes from the retained clients and rest around 20 percent is through reference of this 60 percent clientele.”
Brandniti+Design’s future plans involve setting up regional offices in Pune and Bengaluru and the company is looking to establish presence in international markets too. The company is also now looking to raise external capital to boost growth at a faster pace. Haresh said, “We are in advance discussions with a few technology companies for synergies in countries such as Dubai, Singapore and the US for international expansion.”