Ms. Khusbhoo Sharma Solanki, Founder & CEO, Zero Gravity Communications
Founded in 2014, Zero Gravity Communications, Ahmedabad-based strategy, branding, advertising, and digital consultancy. The company boasts of an out-of-the-box-creativity, leveraging of cutting-edge technology and end-to-end support in brand communication. Zero Gravity Communications has to its credit the building of brands from scratch by highlighting their value propositions, milestones, and achievements.
At a time of COVID-19 when consultancies are struggling to retain their existing clients, Zero Gravity Communications has navigated the tide and won the mandate of Also, amid the lockdown, the agency has onboard eight new clients. Media Infoline talks to Khusbhoo Sharma Solanki, Founder, Zero Gravity communications about 2020 and brands. Read on…
Q) How has 2020 treated you?
It has treated me with formidable challenges. 2020 started with a bang with great expansion plans, interesting collaborations, good two international trips, and clients onboard to throwing all of us into an unknown dark tunnel, and all the way to find a way back into the light.
2020 was a year of learning. It taught me how to not take things for granted on both a professional and personal front. As an immediate effect of the pandemic, we lost 50-60% of our clients and suddenly never explored an area of work from home for such a large team, which became a reality. Revising the business strategy on the go and how to play on our strength became the playbook for 2020.
Digital was one of the key strengths when I had started the agency, and we just bought it into the focus again. From multiple pitches to helping an existing clientele realize their digital journey became our anchor. Like they say: “Where there is a will, you always find a way. ” We became the first agency from the state to be FACEBOOK MARKETING PARTNER in April 2020.
With renewed persistence and agility, I have learned to fight back each hurdle that comes along in 2020. Each day bought new challenges but somehow, 2020 taught me not to be affected by it and take the day as it comes. It also taught me to cherish each and everyone around with the time in hand.
Now we know the pandemic isn’t going away, and 2021 has to be conquered from the lessons of 2020.
Q) What are the initial steps you consider while picking-up a client?
For ZGC synergy and mutual respect are key to get any new client on board. It is necessary to get acquainted with the clients’ vision, and how invested they are with the brand. There is a win-win for both(agency and brand) only when there is equal give and take from both entities. If both are not on the same page, it is a catastrophe for both.
Setting the expectation “right” is one of the crucial steps while onboarding the client. The brand team and the agency need to be in sync before we proceed with work.
It sounds cliche, but I believe unless the clients trust us, we can’t do anything significant for the brand, and on the other end, unless my agency team lives, breathes, and believe the brand, we can’t produce great work. So, there isn’t any fling possible with us, we believe in a serious relationship.
As an agency, we have matured to pick and choose the clients, sectors, projects that we now take onboard. We look for enough challenge and scope of work for our team to add tangible value. We want to add diverse brand categories to our portfolio, and this is one of the strengths we want to retain.
We work with legacy firms, corporates, and start-ups alike and we look for a brand team who appreciate how invested our teams are and ready to make us an extended arm of the brand.
Q) As you are working with different brands, are you noticing any change in their reaction to marketing post-pandemic?
Yes, the shift towards digital was slated to take place gradually over the next two to three years. But the pandemic hastened the transition. With the onset of the pandemic, non-essential category brands suddenly paused their marketing plans, and essential / FMCG brands, etc. that witnessed an uptick in demand didn’t have a handy playbook to explore marketing to the fullest as they were too busy meeting the demand. So, while some aced others missed the bus.
Brands with strong values and those who could think on their feet were able to create a mark. Mere selling until the demand surpasses the supply isn’t a lasting strategy for brands.
It has been an interesting learning curve, and trends are still evolving.
Q) What was the impact of Covid19 on your revenue?
Despite Covid19, we are looking forward to 30% Y-o-Y growth with digital advertising as our key focus.
The announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown in March hit businesses, and ours was no exception. As I said, we lost 50-60% of our business at that time. Post-May, our performance witnessed green shoots of recovery, and in the second half of the year, our digital team compensated well in the growth story.
Q) Digital world is constantly evolving. What are the changes have you noticed?
Change is constant. Basic human behaviour changes so do the digital media evolution. Subtle though it may be, it has a formidable impact on how we buy, what content we consume, what influences our choices, who we vote, and how quickly we change our preferences.
Our smallest to the biggest decisions are influenced directly and indirectly by apps, news, or content put on digital platforms now, more than ever.
The biggest change is witnessed in education with the shift to e-learning from kindergarten to mid-school. This trend is something unimaginable during our time. At the other end of the spectrum, even a grandpa at home is ready to buy medicines and groceries online. People are adopting digital payments.
In the past year, our behaviour has changed more than it did in the past five years, and in the past five years, more than a decade. The shift is real, and it has taken place and is still speeding up owing to digital evolution.
It is interesting to study this trend, and the more exciting would be to script this change story for brands or create a new digital journey for them to build their legacy.