Shibani Gharat

K B Vinod and Bhupal Ramnathkar start Company

The former creative head of Mudra West and the founder of Umbrella Design have together started a full-service integrated creative agency.

Umbrella's founder Ramnathkar and the former creative head of Mudra West, K B Vinod have together started Company. As you set foot on Company's 4000 square feet terrain and speak to its co-founders K B Vinod and Bhupal Ramnathkar. "The design agency and the creative agency Company are two different entities all together, declares Ramnathkar.

K B Vinod and Bhupal Ramnathkar start Company
Earlier, Vinod was executive creative director at Leo Burnett for over six years, working on brands such as Bajaj and Thums Up. Prior to this, he was creative director, Publicis Ambience. He began his career at Lintas, where he spent more than six years.

On starting the agency, Vinod says, "I have been working for the last 18-20 years now. After working for so many years, you realise that if you have something of your own, with the right partner, you can do a much better job."

On this, Ramnathkar adds, "Also, when you have something of your own, you can control the work and the kind of work that you want to do." Umbrella Design was started by Ramnathkar around seven years ago.

What's the name?

It will not be called Company for long. The co-founders have kickstarted an interesting initiative, NameUs ( where any name of one's choice could be acquired by this agency after a bid. The name suggested by the biggest bidder will be taken by the new agency. The proceeds will be donated towards a noble cause.

K B Vinod and Bhupal Ramnathkar start Company
"We thought of several names, explored various options and finally realised that in our business, a name really does not matter. It is a very small community, with two-three clients and they know you. Hence, we decided to monetise this activity. We hope that one day a person will come to the forefront and give the agency his own name," says Vinod, adding that they could probably change the name every January, just like everyone changes their logo.

Vinod feels that there is no fear of identity crisis. "This is not a consumer product that you pick up from a shelf, neither is it an impulse purchase. We are the faces of the agency and we are in touch with the client day-in, day-out."

Currently, there are 15-20 employees working in the organisation and it seems to have a strong creative team. It also plans to hire more employees in about a month. "But, building hierarchy is not on the agenda now. Depending on the requirement, we will build the system and not build a system first and try to fit into that," says Vinod.

Although the two founders have been talking and planning for the last couple of months, active planning began only in December, 2011. There are a few projects that the agency is working on, but nothing that can be announced at the moment.

Triggering Change

This full service creative agency will have digital as integral to its growth. "I believe in what KB thinks and that is digital is a medium that should be cracked by a creative person and not by someone who understands the software," says Ramnathkar.

To this Vinod adds that one should look at digital not from the angle of technology and jargon but as a great idea that appeals to people. "The production of it could be done as you produce films," he adds.

Vinod dismisses the argument of a big agency v/s a new set up. "Every big agency that you see today was started small by a few people at some point in time. The founders build their agency brick by brick and will continue to do it even today," he says.

Good Work is all that matters

Speaking on how they plan to grow business and get clients, Ramnathkar says, "Once you work on one good project, you get noticed by everyone."

Speaking about ad campaigns, Vinod says that he loves large ideas and big campaigns that are influential and get something done. "It is not about carving your niche, but letting your work speak for itself," he adds.

Both of them also mention the need for good idea complementing a good execution and vice-versa. "It is important for a good idea to meet good execution. I am good with the execution and KB is good with the idea. Together, we can create magic," concludes Ramnathkar.

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