Surviving and thriving amid the presence of large agency networks are the smaller, independent agencies, often referred to as ‘boutique agencies’. Quite often created by former employees of larger networks venturing out on their own, and sometimes by people from different professional backgrounds, these independent agencies are being increasingly recognised for their brilliant campaigns and benchmark-setting innovative thinking.
Adgully presents its latest feature offering – The Disrupters – which puts the spotlight on such small independent agencies that have been setting a blazing trail in the advertising industry with their work, their new way of operating and ideation, which have been creating disruption in the way the advertising business is done in India.
Founded in March 2015, AndBeyond.Media is a group that caters to brands, media publications and content creators globally, offering Digital Media Monetisation, Holistic Video Content & New Age Brand Solutions with technology at its epicentre delivered at scale. AndBeyond.Media has offices across the US, UAE and India, working with 500+ premium advertisers and publishers from all around the world.
AndBeyond.Media is a firm believer in the power of technology and scale via programmatic channels. Adding yet another feather to its suite of bespoke technology and video content solutions, the company is focused on driving quality engagement in its offerings of the future that will AndBeyond.Media is a firm believer in the power of technology and scale via programmatic not only compliment other businesses but also help drive growth in new avenues of digital.
Karan Gupta: A young digital innovator with over 13 years of experience in the advertising and digital industry, Karan Gupta is CEO, AndBeyond.Media. Since the turn of this century, Gupta has been spearheading strategic efforts in various capacities that have shaped his internet business acumen to cover the spectrum of Innovative Internet Technology, Award-Winning Creative Advertising and Next Generation Online Media consumption.
Pankil Mehta: With over 10 years of experience spanning across digital, Pankil Mehta is Chief Business Officer at AndBeyond.Media. In his role, Mehta is responsible for leading new product initiatives, engage in new business opportunities and help diversify growth for the brand globally.
Dharika Merchant: With her strong management background and extensive leadership experience, Dharika Merchant is President at AndBeyond.Media, where she leads the company’s business and help scale AndBeyond.Media’s growth to its full potential. In her role, Merchant, a specialist in business development, product strategy and operations, is focused on driving the execution of AndBeyond.Media’s strategic plan for expanding the business’ reach globally and deliver operational excellence.
The AndBeyond.Media Story – How it all began
Truly “Above & Beyond”, nothing short of a rollercoaster with pure energy and will to grow, especially the last year has seen exploratory decisions into new avenues of the business, allowing us to get exposure in new domains like content and social media. Our strengths together as a team and unique skill sets we bring to the table have allowed us to build our new businesses and operate them with efficiency. Pankil, Dharika and I have been on a rollercoaster journey and the best part of it has just begun, it feels really good for the 3 of us to take this leap of faith and aim to collapse the X & Y axis for us and our business.
The 3 Verticals
Our legacy of native ads and programmatic business, which operates under the parent banner AndBeyond.Media, also has the inclusion of our Header Bidding business along with any evolution in the Programmatic space. We successfully launched VidTent in the second half of 2017, which is a holistic video content solutions business and offers platform and content creation, distribution and monetisation across the board. The ecosystem consists of Brands, Content Creators and Publishers. We were always looking to be present in the Social Media space and now with our new Influencer Marketing business WORD, we have a complete end to end turnkey solution for Brands to reach their audiences via our strong Influencer Network which also leverages the content studio team of VidTent. These 3 verticals of our business are the pillars of our foundation across domains that give us strong presence in the digital media, content and social space.
The ‘WORD’ Business
WORD is an influencer marketing agency that places us well in a new domain, that is, social media. Our model is that of an integrated platform, with agency services that offer brands to connect with their audiences via influential voices across social media. With this offering to brands and content creators, our business leverages not only our content studio, but also a futuristic channel of influencers on social media to reach consumers for emotional to transactional communication. Offerings like WORD are here to build a mark amongst brands and influencers globally for the next-gen audiences at scale, especially when we bring in automation to the entire value chain through our platform and allow services like this to be delivered with ease and efficiency, from as simple as influencer packages to highly experiential content based solutions, brands can pick and choose how they want their marketing objectives delivered.
The objective & vision
We wish to “GO BEYOND” traditional digital media solution offerings and create a niche in the products and services that we offer to our clients, right from ad formats to programmatic solutions to content marketing services like Influencer Marketing. All of these had to go beyond the traditional way of how we go about branding, selling and delivering these products and services. Spanning across the media, content & social domains our objective is to deliver at scale and automate as much of the value chain to ensure maximum efficiency in our ecosystem that can be leveraged by our current clients and new ones as well. We have come a long way to achieve most of this under each business, however with every step we take, we face new challenges and learn more to refine our objective and make it more achievable. You will see this right from our pitch to process to clients.
The ‘VidTent’ offering
VidTent is our holistic video solution to brands, publishers and content creators, where we cater to clients who wish for us to create premium video-based short form content as well as use our DIY platform to not only syndicate, but also deliver the video to their destinations using our platform. The benefit is simple, we handle everything end to end, where the client only gives us a brief or, in case of publishers, a destination where they wish this content is to be showcased.
All our offerings are disruptive since they are unique and futuristic, our ethos is to bring method to the madness and with our processes and platforms working together to deliver the same. Right from creative to ad format to marketing campaigns are based on ideas with the clever use of content and media to engage audiences.
Running an Independent Operation
Where we come from, the pros overpower the cons hands down. Advantages like being agile, fluid and dynamic make our company strong to deliver new business ideas and run the operation effectively always geared to adapt with client needs and grow to achieve scale. We look at disadvantages like not being able to always be in the limelight or go after the big accounts because of the lack of our might as compared to the other companies, however this only encourages us to stretch our goal and ensure that we create an advantage out of it and not look at it that way.
We have been working with some of the largest media companies globally, namely Yahoo, Hearst Media, Conde Nast, Network 18, The Times of India and many others based out of the US and APAC markets.
The Challenges & Objectives
Relevance and Agility. Any small independent company needs to have these 2 values as a part of their model and that’s not only how they stay afloat but are also setup for success and growth no matter what they have to storm. Spend well, recruit smartly and always BELIEVE! The key to face and sail through disruption all around us is to have smart people beside you and believe in them.
Was it worth all the trouble?
Effin Yeah! Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you the same thing, the feeling of being independent and successful at the same time is Nirvana. I am super proud of the people who have stood by us and how we stand by them. We believe that our decisions and actions are only directed towards making our company have a seat at the table with the giants and not just survive, but ride the wave like a Hawaiian surfer, doing things differently is in our DNA and having a little more insight would have definitely helped us shape the business better, however we will work towards building that process to gather the same.
The 5-year plan
I feel like 5 years is too much to plan for, especially keeping in mind the nature of our industry, but our horizon has a bright light shining at the end of the tunnel, with our plans to build business across media, content and social domains. I always look at every year as the last and try to max what I can within that time so we try to stay ahead of ourselves and keep up with the dynamic business that we are a part of. All in all, the next 3 years look really strong for all 3 of us and everyone at AndBeyond.Media, VidTent and WORD, with new collaborations, new business launches and building even more to GO BEYOND!