Milestone Brandcom adds new businesses to its kitty

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | February 23, 2010
The young OOH agency has recently bagged new clients. Here, the managing director discusses these new campaigns, the agency's four-month journey and the challenges faced

Four-month-old OOH specialist agency, Milestone Brandcom, founded by Nabendu Bhattacharyya, former president at Ogilvy Action, has come a long way in its short journey.

The agency has recently added new brands to its portfolio. Some of these are ET Now, Tata's Croma, Lodha Construction and Westin Hotel.

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For Westin Hotel, the agency ran a light projection on the entire building in Goregaon, for three days. As the building is located on the Western Express highway, the visibility was for about a kilometre. The light projections also announced the hotel's special restaurants - Prego, which specialises in Italian cuisine, and Kangan, an Indian restaurant.

For Lodha Group, which is into construction, the agency developed the creative, besides handling the execution for a full bus wrap, on a bus that ran across Mumbai.

Croma's campaign, which discusses the end of the recession, was executed across bus shelters and road medians in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad. ET Now's Budget campaign was executed in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Nabendu Bhattacharyya, founder and managing director, Milestone Brandcom says, "We've been working on a number of brands on project basis. This is something that is common to the outdoor industry." He shares that Milestone is the AoR for Binani Cement and a few other clients.

The agency now handles a little over two dozen clients, including Tanishq (Mumbai), Axis Bank, Axis Mutual Fund, Viacom 18's Colors, eBay, DSP Blackrock, Sakshi TV and Newspaper, ITC retail, Dhanlakshmi and the energy drink, Cloud 9.

The agency is also affiliated to Starcom MediaVest Group under its initiative, Project Jumpstart, which supports start-ups and small companies in the marketing and communication business, with the aim to help them achieve scale rapidly.

On how the association has worked for Milestone, Bhattacharyya says, "I looked at the association from a long-term perspective, to build intellectual capability in this space. We are working together to develop planning tools and research and monitoring mechanisms to address accountability and creative solutions. We are working closely to develop real value offerings, rather than pitch winning templates for the group. Eventually, our group clients will be benefited out of these associations."

While he says that the start-up has largely had a smooth journey, he shares some of the challenges faced.

"Finding the right private equity partner to arrange funds, someone who shares the same vision with us, was a big challenge," he says. The agency found this partner in Bay Capital.

Keeping spirits of the core team high was also challenging, especially of the key eight-member team who made a difference, after the funds were organised.

Another challenge, according to him, was to keep the momentum up. "Many start-ups take six months and over to start; but we never delayed and kept the team confidence and spirit strong."

Getting the initial few clients to build the portfolio is the toughest job, he feels; and for the first two months, it was a real challenge. Patience was required while waiting for results from various clients' pitches. And while awaiting decisions, managing everyone's mindset and keeping spirits high was not easy.

"Another challenge is attracting good talent. The core team that accompanied me from the previous agency helped me win the confidence of good talent. Now, we are flooded with CVs from all large agencies," says Bhattacharyya.

His vision for the company is to make it a full-service OOH advertising agency. He strongly believes that creative agencies are not doing justice to this medium and merely use press creatives for outdoor too. "We request clients to look at the OOH medium separately, like in the case of digital media, where the mainline creative agency is not the creative agency for digital."

Milestone Brandcom has also, in a small way, started its retail unit, Milestone LastMile, and is in the process of expanding this. After this, the agency will look at building a brand activation unit and also a sports marketing unit. Bhattacharyya reveals that a few international tie-ups are in the offing as well.

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