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DDB Mudra West launches Karma for start-ups

As the number of start-ups and SMEs grow, there has been a pressing need for agency formats that provide lesser hierarchy and faster solutions. Karma doesn’t have any hierarchy and all will be ‘partners’

DDB Mudra West launches Karma for start-ups

As the number of start-ups and SMEs grow, there has been a pressing need for agency formats that provide lesser hierarchy and faster solutions. Karma doesn’t have any hierarchy and all will be ‘partners’

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | February 28, 2017


With the growing number of start-ups and SMEs, Indian business has been witnessing a consistent, growing need for agency formats that provide lesser hierarchy and faster solutions. Addressing this need, DDB Mudra West has launched Karma. The agency was soft-launched seven months ago.

The name Karma has been inspired by the legacy of Mudra which, born in Ahmedabad, made the city its ‘Karmabhoomi’. Karma’s philosophy is ‘If you do good, then good will come back to you’. Headquartered in Mumbai, Karma has been established as a creative business catalyst with an agenda to partner those clients that are making small beginnings but are nurturing larger ambitions.

Sanjay Panday Sanjay Panday

Sanjay Panday, Business Partner, Karma, said, “The idea of launching an agency was created from a need. In last two to three years, we are seeing that there is tremendous amount of push in the economy. We see a lot of start-ups and SMEs growing and getting closer to their ambitions. A lot of the credit also goes to our Prime Minister, who has spoken about ‘Digital India’ and ‘Make in India’. Smaller businesses have started scaling up. We have realised that there are many large agency groups that have created specialised offerings for this kind of a market. We also realised that this kind of market also requires a different kind of an offering and that gave birth to our agency Karma.”

The agency is formed from needs. There are a lot of small and medium-sized enterprises. They have large ambitions and not necessarily enough means to work with big agencies. “Big agencies come with their own culture and hierarchy. The larger you get, the processes also increases. A Unilever will not work a start-up agency. But a start-up company can’t work with an agency that works with Unilever.”

Why form a separate agency when a team at Mudra could have been made catering specially to SMEs?

Panday answered, “The main thing is that their culture and ecosystem is very different. We could have done it. But when a small client comes to a big agency, then they get less attention.”

With existing operations in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the agency is on a consistent expansion mode. Unlike many small-sized agencies, Karma provides clients with the expertise of a full service, large agency. The clients are facilitated with a customised solution, which captures various facets of marketing and advertising under a single umbrella. As Karma follows a zero hierarchy structure and has a young and empowered team that is entrepreneurial by mindset, the turnaround time for solutions is faster and smoother.

There won’t be any designations at the agency. Everybody would be partners at the agency. There would be a creative partner, strategy partner and business partner. For internal purposes, there would be grades but that would be more for managing payrolls and HR purposes.

Panday further said, “The hierarchal way of working is slowly getting outdated. The millennials today are not motivated and driven by hierarchy. They would like to report to anyone. Millennials today want to create their own mark by dealing with clients and dealing with challenges on their own. Nobody will report to anybody. There won’t be any senior or junior at the agency. But a lesser experience person will definitely look forward for suggestions from the seniors.”

There are already 12 people on board and the agency hopes to double the number of people by the end of the year. The agency’s backbone comprises Sanjay Panday on the business front and his Creative Partner Vinayak Nayak. They are front-ending Karma’s efforts towards a journey of unique and differentiated proposition. Panday is supported by Ronak Shah, his business partner in Ahmedabad, and Makarand Gholba, his business partner in Mumbai.

In the first few months of its inception, Karma has already gained quite a few prestigious clients such as Brand Factory, SOTC and Shree Plan Your Journey in Mumbai, and Arvind Infrastructure, Chartered Speed and Electrotherm in Ahmedabad. The Karma team’s latest campaigns include SOTC’s ‘Summer 2017’, Brand Factory’s Free Shopping Weekend & Denim Fest that created retail history. There are also a few brands that are in a negotiation stage and contracts are yet to be signed.

Rajiv Sabnis Rajiv Sabnis

Rajiv Sabnis, Executive Director, DDB Mudra Group, said, “Karma has been conceived to tap into the start-up story of India. Many young entrepreneurs who have big ambitions but are making small beginnings, need a creative partner that can be a catalyst in their business success. Since Karma itself is a start-up, it understands the challenges and opportunities that businesses starting up need to overcome, to succeed and grow."

Panday said, “Karma is a tribute to our roots. It aims at creating a disruption in the marketplace with its new model and is bound to kill silos with its fresh ideas. We are currently in a happy start-up space and 2017 is a very critical year for us to be fully operational in both Mumbai and Ahmedabad.”

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