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Gutenberg plans to expand its geographical footprint in 2017: Harjiv Singh

Public relations firm Gutenberg recently announced the launch of its expanded suite of services, making it a one-stop shop for complete integrated marketing communications needs for brands. Gutenberg’s integrated marketing services offering will expand from PR to include digital, content, video and mobile. ‘Gutenberg’ (formerly Gutenberg Communications) can now be found online at www.thegutenberg.com.  

In 2016, Gutenberg added 31 clients across its global portfolio. The agency is also on track to open its Singapore office in early 2017 and will continue its expansion targeting key markets in the ASEAN region. Gutenberg is expected to grow its team to over a 100 storytellers in the first half of 2017. 

Gutenberg’s 80 team members across 8 offices in three countries work with B2B and B2C clients in industries such as technology, healthcare, mobile, financial services, real estate, education, defense & aviation, hospitality, industry associations, retail, e-commerce, fashion, media & entertainment, manufacturing and not-for-profits. 

Narrating the firm’s growth story over the years, Harjiv Singh, Founder and CEO, Gutenberg, informed that Gutenberg was founded in 2004 as a global strategic communications firm in New York City. The firm has since grown to over 8 offices across the US, the UK, and India. The key developments at the agency was that it recently rebranded to include their focus on becoming an integrated digital marketing agency offering integrated services across digital, PR, social, mobile, video and content.  

When asked about major client wins and work done, Singh noted, “We work across a broad range of industries like technology, software, consumer, mobile, education, infrastructure, healthcare, aviation, media, and defence. Our clients include US-India Business Council (USIBC), Infinite, Black & Veatch, to name a few.” Since inception, Gutenberg has grown at a CAGR of 35 per cent.  

Gutenberg’s key differentiating factors include “customer delight” and a strong research-based grounding with a focus on understanding the clients business and the industry in which they operate. Sharing his thoughts on what triggered the expansion into different services, Singh said, “Gutenberg’s expansion into the new service lines has been planned for a few years as we have invested and built up our digital capabilities over the last several years.” 

“We have some exciting plans for 2017 to increase our team size, expand our geographical footprint and service line expansion. Most importantly, we want to continue to be the partner of choice for our clients with a strong focus on ‘customer delight’,” said Singh while throwing some light on the growth plans in the near future

Sharing his insights on how digital is shaping the overall business of PR and Corporate Communications in India, Singh observed that in India, the digital advertising market, according to a recent KPMG report, is going to grow from about $1 billion in 2016 to nearly $4 billion by 2020. This will be a strong area of growth for Gutenberg’s digital business.  

When quizzed about how challenging it is to maintain a high level of profitability in today’s business scenario, Singh replied, “Profitability is a measure of a company’s differentiation and its ability to provide services that are valuable for clients. We have done some very interesting digital projects where we have helped global brands in driving both revenue growth and profitability, thereby helping to showcase strong ROI for our clients. This, in turn, helps make our services more valuable.” 

When it comes to brands, Singh believes that both brand experience and storytelling are important. “Storytelling helps you emotionally engage a customer’s interest, whereas experiencing the brand gives a customer can evoke behavioural responses that are desired by the brand. For example, Starbucks is a global brand that has stood for fair trade coffee which it does effectively through its storytelling. But the experience of walking into a Starbucks is experiencing the brand,” he added. 

On how far will the storytelling element take a brand forward, Singh opined that storytelling is important in raising awareness for a brand. A great example of a brand that did fantastic storytelling is the “Dollar Shave Club”. The US$1 billion acquisition of the Dollar Shave Club by Unilever underscores how a digitally savvy start-up completely upended the traditional razor blade industry. Dollar Shave Club launched a monthly subscription service in 2012 with a simple yet brilliantly researched YouTube video that crashed their site. The video has garnered nearly 24 million views since it launched and took the revenue of the company to US$150 million in a short span of four years till it was bought by Unilever last year. Digital is changing how companies target audiences and drive revenue growth and marketing needs to keep pace or stay ahead of these changes. “Gutenberg will help our clients navigate these exciting developments with its approach,” Singh said.  

Giving an industry perspective, Singh said that PR agencies have done a fairly good job within the industry and added that the challenge that the industry faces is in explaining how PR plays an important role within marketing to the chief marketing officers. 

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