How Pune-based Mark and Make Media is helping brands tell their stories right
In an industry, where the message you want to send across can make or break things, entrepreneurial duo Tanmay Wakankar and Suraj Krishnan found several brands struggling to tell their stories right.
Engineers by education who were well versed with the potential of website development in branding, the two set out to fix the problem with their branding, marketing and digital advertising agency Mark & Make Private Limited Media in 2014 in Pune.
However, the two had their fair share of ups and downs before they tasted success.
“We knew that we were good at communication and wanted to help companies tell their story more easily and effectively. We started by building websites as back then India was going through a dotcom boom and then ventured into graphic designing," recounts Tanmay.
As digital platforms started gaining more traction, they evolved into a full-stack branding, marketing, advertising and design agency. Their mantra was to leverage technology with a timeless design philosophy and help their clients create more impactful stories.
Learning on the go
As is the case for any budding venture, the two did encounter some challenges. For starters, the evolving nature of the advertising and marketing industry didn't help matters.
"There is always something new happening in the industry and companies often want to latch on to a trend, once it starts getting popular. Something that worked yesterday, might not work today. It was challenging for us to keep up with new developments in technology and regularly try out new strategies," says Suraj.
At the same time, theMedia team believes that their penchant for learning new things helped them strike a connect with clients from different sectors and understand what they wanted. "Typically, agencies are often interested in selling multiple services, even if they are not likely to help the customer. At Mark & Make Media, being a full-stack agency, we don't sell services for the sake of selling," says Tanmay.
What helped the team along was having an interactive website and a .in extension name that positioned the agency as an Indian brand. The domain name enabled the team to cater to a diverse market while drawing the attention of international clients.
"We have seen our customers decide on a name and then be disappointed when they couldn't get it with a .com extension. The .in domain came as a boon for several such brands as they were able to tell their story right from the get go. Imagine coming up with a difficult name only to realise that you can't get it with a .com domain name," explains Tanmay.
Why being digitally-savvy works
The two believe that a .in domain name helps brands create their own identity. “Plus, it helps you establish a connection with the local audience immediately. The brand recall makes it a sell-out," they add.
The National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) has helped hundreds of businesses across sectors and sizes distinguish themselves as a brand with its .in or .Bharat domain — which is India’s Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD). It’s among the only internet exchanges in the world to offer a ccTLD in multiple languages.
“We are very proud to be an Indian company. Given how the government is supporting local businesses with campaigns like ‘Make in India’, we feel brands should go out with their heads held high and the.in domain is a great medium to position yourself as an Indian company.”
They explain the benefits of getting a .in domain by referring to a client they had worked with. “A customer of ours offering manufacturing services based in India had a .com extension and we advised them to go for a .in domain name. Soon enough, they were getting inquiries from across the globe. With a lot of search engine optimisations, they were able to get business from local companies too. Over a period of time, shifting from a .com to .in extension boosted their business growth,” explains Tanmay. In fact, the inquiries about the brand grew by 150 percent year-on-year and almost 60 percent of them were from India.
Powering growth, one story at a time
An advantage that a .in extension fetches brands is that of customer trust, feels Suraj. “It inspires confidence in the client that we’re not a rookie business and have a registered presence.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses started reeling under the pressure of a challenging business landscape, Mark & Make Media was able to tide over the crisis due to the jump in the demand for online solutions. "For ventures like ours, a .in extension acted as an enabler that ensured that customers were in no way at a loss by shifting to an online platform," says Tanmay.
The two feel that a .in extension name fits well into their business goals too. With benefits like ease of access, no premium charges and a robust technological framework, the domain name is what is fuelling the growth journey of several homegrown companies like Make and Mark and creating a level-playing field for small businesses.
The Shaping India Inc's Online Growth series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.