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Abhijit Avasthi’s ‘Sideways’ look at 2020

Wonder what is Sideways up to! The co-founder of the consultancy, not agency, in conversation with shares his way of entering the new year

In the time of slowdown, Sideways Consulting is focusing on partnering with government bodies in the infrastructure sector or mass impact social movements to drive business growth.

In an interaction with, Abhijit Avasthi, Co-Founder, Sideways Consulting, said, “Be it 2019 or 2020, we are not chasing numbers but only interesting business opportunities. Our constant endeavour is to get our hands dirty with interesting opportunities. In 2020, besides businesses, we are looking to partner agencies of change in India - they could be government bodies in the infrastructure sector or mass impact social movements and such.”

In the past four years, the company has worked with over 50 clients across categories, and solved a myriad of problems.

The agency says that it's not just a creative agency but a creative problem-solving company.

What helped Sideways to cushion the company against the slowdown was its diverse offerings beyond advertising. “Besides advertising, work flows in constantly across tech consulting, innovation, service design, customer experiences, product design etc,” he said.

To up its game in digital, the company has formed partnerships with big data firms and spatial design agencies and brings them in when needed.

As per Avasthi, the seeping in of technology in every sphere of life and the democratisation of the desire for better products will help businesses across sectors in 2020.

Avasthi said that being acquired by any network makes the independent agency follow their agenda. “I have no interest in being acquired by any network, as we want to enjoy the work, and we intend to reap the rewards ourselves,” he said.

“We did India's biggest and most successful automobile brand launch, partnered a fintech giant in helping build a better product, conceived products and services for a leading chemicals company desirous of entering new categories, doing an HR project for one of the biggest corporate mergers and reimagined a luxury brand dealership.”

One of the most satisfying achievements for the company was the work done in partnership with Asian Paints and St+art India - our tribute to ISRO where Sideways painted the Lunar Dome at the Nehru Planetarium in Bombay.

Speaking on the growth aspect, Avasthi, said, “From day one we have measured our growth only in terms of the variety and the quality of work we do, and not numbers. I have always believed that if the work shines through, numbers will follow; and that is happening. Four years back, I couldn't have imagined doing all this. We have been extremely fortunate in finding awesome partners who have believed in us: clients as well as those who joined us.”

In terms of challenges, this year was not very different from the previous years for the company. “For us, the biggest challenge has always been explaining the concept of Sideways to clients and the value we bring to the table. But it is getting easier with each passing month as we have more and more successful case studies, and an ever-growing client base,” he said.

The width and depth of skill sets under one roof, and the processes sideways follow makes its offering highly differentiated. The company does all immersions and diagnostics in-house (means that the team on the business knows the issues on the ground exceptionally well).

Apart from this, the company is also solution-neutral in its approach. “Our credo is 'Do the right thing' - this means we have no vested interest in pushing any specific vertical: be it advertising or digital or service design or any other. We recommend and execute what is actually needed for that situation.”

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