At Brandquiver, the brand consultancy for the net, two important developments have taken place recently. First, the name of the holding company, Brand Dotcom, has changed to Brandquiver Ltd. And second, it is going global with its first office in Singapore due for inauguration later this month.
The name change happened on August 14, 2001. The reason was simple. The company had long pulled itself out from what it calls the 'dotcom space'. "Since Brandquiver was out of the dotcom business long back and changed its profile to a brand consultancy for the net, carrying on the same name did not make any sense," explains Ranjyoti Barooah, CEO, Brandquiver Ltd.
The genesis and the subsequent metamorphosis of Brand Dotcom into Brandquiver Ltd is quite interesting. Brand Dotcom started off as the holding company for brandquiver.com, a portal on advertising and marketing. In May 2000, WPP announced it would acquire 33.33 per cent stake in Brand Dotcom, in which the Seth brothers, Suhel and Swapan, had 33.3 per cent. Also the Seth brothers, who own Equus Advertising, decided to merge their advertising agency with Brand Dotcom.
But as things turned out, WPP backed out citing 'global reasons' and the proposed Brand Dotcom-Equus merger fell through. In two months (July 2000), Times Internet Ltd (TIL), promoters of indiatimes.com, bought a 65-per cent stake in Brand Dotcom and Equus became a standalone agency. Barooah came on board (in June 2000) and took charge of Brand Dotcom as chief executive officer.
Since then, Barooah has undertaken two rounds of restructuring. In the first round, he turned brandquiver.com from a news-based portal to a 'brand consultancy for the net'. In an interview to agencyfaqs! in March this year, he explained the new role of Brand Dotcom thus: "We disseminate information on net marketing, net research, understanding of net-based design and architecture to the advertising and marketing fraternity."
In the second round, he's rechristened the holding company as Brandquiver. Having taken this step, and having consolidated its business in India, Brandquiver is venturing into foreign markets. The idea: To tap the business opportunities in the markets of South-East Asia and Australia. "The market potential outside India is immense. Almost 8 per cent of the world's total ad spends happen in Australia and Japan," explains Barooah.
The first stop for Brandquiver will be Singapore, where the office will be functional by this month end. The Singapore office will be under Amy Mehta who has more than five years of experience at Grindlay's Bank under her belt. The company is aggressively courting new business in Singapore. "Talks with Gillette, Nike etc are already underway. Soon one of the deals should mature," says Barooah.
Brandquiver also plans to open one more branch in India - in Mumbai - which will take the number of India offices to three (that is, one each in Gurgaon, Bangalore and Mumbai). "To begin with, the Mumbai office will be managed by one senior person and later we may employ more people depending on the how it fares," explains Barooah.
The new offices are primarily set up for procuring businesses. "The two offices (in Singapore and in Mumbai) are going to be business development depots," says Barooah. The base though will remain in India. Recently, Brandquiver shifted its corporate headquarters to the outskirts of Delhi, at Udyog Vihar in Gurgaon (Haryana).
The company, however, will hold the leash so far as fresh investment is concerned. "We have been very frugal in our investment. A total of Rs 1 crore has been spent in setting up both the offices. For the next three months, we would observe the progress of the Singapore office. If it does well, we will reinforce manpower and also set up another office overseas," adds Barooah. Brandquiver's second office overseas will be in Sidney, which will start operations in the next three to six months.
Brandquiver already has a new team to take its expansion plans forward. Samir Verma has joined as COO, and his brief is 'new business development'. He brings to the table 14 years of experience in three of India's Top 10 agencies - HTA, Lintas and Rediffusion. "My objective is to make Brandquiver one of the top brand consultancies in the world. And this can only happen by wedding the two - the traditional media and the new-age medium, that is, the Internet. This is where the future is," says Verma
Rajesh Rai has taken over as business head, creative, Brandquiver. With an eight-year stint at Everest Integrated Communications as senior vice-president and creative director, Rai was looking for "something new". He says, "The Internet is an indispensable part of communication. The experience of building brands through the net is unique because the net is not limited by space."
With all plans in place, Barooah is confident that Brandquiver will break-even by 2003.
© agencyfaqs! 2001First Published : August 21, 2001