Bootstrapped and profitable, The Brand Saloon goes global with its digital marketing solutionsAthira Nair
The Brand Saloon, which nurtures and grooms the look, feel, and vibe of brands, uses innovative digital marketing campaigns to turn your business into the next global brand.
At a glance
Startup: The Brand Saloon
Founder: Jayesh Khandor, Hitesh Khandor
Year of launch: 2008
Where it is located: Mumbai
Sector: Digital marketing
Problem it solves: Digital marketing solutions for scaling up businesses and increasing profitability
In 2008, digital marketing was far from being a buzzword; the idea of internet marketing was at a nascent stage.
With lack of awareness about how digital marketing could propel business growth, most brands were not even seeding a digital presence, leave aside hiring a digital marketing agency.
But visionaries are those who imagine a distant, yet possible, reality.
Mumbai-based brothers Jayesh Khandor and Hitesh Khandor, who came from a business family, were passionate about starting and running a business since childhood. Both Mumbai University graduates, they had minimal work experience when they decided to start up in digital marketing 10 years ago.
The timing was right, with falling internet costs, better connectivity, and the rise of affordable smartphones. The duo soon launched the bootstrapped The Brand Saloon to nurture and groom the look, feel, and vibe of a brand.
“With our out-of-the-box digital marketing solutions, businesses seldom fail to garner eyeballs, just like the neat, well-primed look,” Jayesh claims.
As per a Dentsu Aegis Network-e4m Digital Report, the digital advertising industry is pegged at Rs 82 billion at present, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 32 percent to reach Rs 189 billion by 2020.
Digital media spends currently contribute to 15 percent of the total advertising industry, and are expected to reach 24 percent of the entire market by 2020, according to the report.
Exploring this opportunity, The Brand Saloon caters mainly to mid-size businesses and companies from different verticals.
“The world is changing, and so is the way brands market their business. Digital is the new revolution; that’s where all businesses want to be. It is this quest for providing home-running digital services that led us to establish our digital marketing agency,” says Jayesh, now 37.
The Brand Saloon claims to provide digital marketing solutions for scaling up businesses and increasing profitability.
Hitesh, 32, says their campaigns are a blend of creativity and efficiency, which seldom fail to strike a chord with the masses.
A multitude of opportunities
Jayesh has an interesting anecdote about how The Brand Saloon’s first client led the growth of the agency.
“Initially, we were working with an automobile company in the SME sector. The client was very impressed with the quality of services provided by The Brand Saloon, and he recommended the agency to a leading brand in the FMCG sector.”
The Brand Saloon’s services include:
- Search engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content writing
- Digital PR
- Search engine optimisation
- Video and mobile marketing
Today, The Brand Saloon’s clients include Red Bull, Talwalkers, PNG Jewellers, and Sanjeev Kapoor’s WonderChef among others. They work with clients not only from India, but also from the US, UK, France, and other European countries.
Jayesh reveals how the expansion took place. “We optimised our website very strongly to rank well on Google USA. A popular fashion brand from the US was looking to outsource their SEO services and when they saw us on the first page of Google USA, they figured out the resourcefulness of using our services and instantly hopped onboard!”
Building a team from scratch
For a relatively new concept, hiring the right talent was no easy task.
Jayesh recollects they had to take freshers and train them for the required profiles. In fact, this led to them to establish a digital marketing training institute in 2011. While getting initial traction was a challenge, the TBS Digital Marketing Institute has, in the last seven years, given hands-on training in digital marketing to thousands of youngsters, several companies, and educational institutes.
Over the last decade, digital marketing companies have sprouted in scores. The Brand Saloon is in the race with not just Indian digital marketing startups Webchutney, Blue Vector, and Geekschip, but also sector leaders Ogilvy and Pinstorm.
However, this does not bother The Brand Saloon.
“Agencies offering solutions, and not services, are our competitors; however, they are very few and far. We believe in offering solutions that cater to the clients’ requirements and ensure that our clients get good returns on their time and money,” Jayesh says.
In fact, The Brand Saloon’s big break with Red Bull shows their uniqueness. To market their client’s video, The Brand Saloon targeted media in the following three verticals:
- IT, FMCG, durable goods, retailers, automobiles, urban lifestyle, humour/general entertainment, news outlets, and even Bollywood – The Brand Saloon reached out to almost every community and group available on the internet to begin momentum around the campaign.
- Creative messaging specific to each niche.
- Pushing the video through creative, compelling messaging on top websites, blogs, forums, and online social networks.
“The video received 2.9 million hits in just 12 days,” says a proud Jayesh.
This profitable company plans to start new education and agency franchises, both in India and abroad soon.
“We plan to have a presence in all metro cities in India along with offices in Dubai and Thailand,” Jayesh tells YourStory. For this expansion, they are considering raising external funding. “We mostly work on monthly retainer. Our average monthly retainer is Rs 1.5 lakh,” Jayesh says.
Now a team of 40 people, including social media marketing professionals, SEM experts, content and copy writers, and creative designers, The Brand Saloon is aiming to increase revenue by 30 percent in FY2019.