‘DigiChefs’ is an independent high-performance creative agency based out of Mumbai. Established in 2015, DigiChefs has been working with companies across business verticals like Health, BFSI, Real Estate, Fashion, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Technology, B2B and so many more. Co-Founded by Deep Mehta, the agency today is a team size of 60 people in 6 years, having worked with over 300 clients, over 50 of whom include fortune 1000 / NSE listed companies.
Deep Mehta, Co-Founder, DigiChefs in an exclusive chat with medianews4U on the completion of 6 years, the growth story, navigating the pandemic, and the way forward…
DigiChefs will be completing 6 years this October, how has the journey been? What have been the challenges?
Full of unexpected twists and turns. That would be my short answer.
Looking back, we started with just a team of 2 but even then we had a vision for ourselves and the organization. We were focused on how we want to grow, rather than how much we want to grow and that holds true even today. While we have grown into a team of 60+ amazing folks working with some of the biggest clients in the industry, our focus still remains on the way we grow rather than the speed of it.
The journey has come with its share of challenges, both big & small. From how to crack our first client to how we best serve them once they are on board, we’ve gone through great learning & unlearning. Finding people whose priorities align with yours is a challenge that every business has to overcome (repeatedly). But challenges like these & more have only helped us refine our vision & channelize our efforts in a more effective manner. Throughout these our guiding principle has been to deliver the best results for our clients & our team.
2020 has been very difficult, how have you navigated this period and can you compare the journey before Covid with last year?
2020 has been an unprecedented year. Not just in terms of emotional endurance, but also in terms of adaptation and learning.
We were, in fact, among the first few agencies in Mumbai to get into complete WFH mode right at the onset of the pandemic back in March 2020. While protocols for remote work always existed at DigiChefs, we never had to adopt them at this scale & at this speed. It definitely came with a learning curve. We brought in several measures to ensure ease of coordination, improved accessibility, and invested in better infrastructure (devices & accessories) for optimal work.
Even with these things in place, two things that suffered the most during the pandemic were personal interaction amongst the team members & training the team. While the first one is very difficult to bridge, we started holding virtual town halls and several online engagement activities to bring the team a bit closer and align them with the culture and vision of the organization.
For the second one, we created courses in Google Classrooms for freshers and started conducting monthly intra-team training sessions. These helped the team stay connected and further grow as individuals.
While we still continue to work remotely as we speak, we definitely look forward to things settling in & then meeting everyone back at work. Because frankly there is no substitute for human interaction. It’s that intangible force that exponentially impacts everything around.
Today we are seeing new Apps or Digital Platforms being launched. What is your USP?
While Digital is the go-to space, it’s extremely cluttered and there are multiple agencies at different levels that offer very similar services. Hence a differentiator not only becomes a want but a need in order to stand apart & thrive.
The market of good agencies is predominantly filled with those that are either creatively strong, working majorly on creative projects, or are very good with media and handle media buying projects mainly. We are an amalgamation of both. We have consistently built our strengths in an integrated approach. The core rationale being that a bridge between creativity & performance is the only way to truly bring the best out of your digital campaigns.
Hence, we focus on being a HIGH-PERFORMANCE CREATIVE AGENCY
Talent is the biggest issue today, what are your steps to identify talent and retain talent?
A few weeks back I was reading an article titled “The Great Resignation”. It talks about the psychological aspect of making a move and how individuals take it as an accomplishment and a victory after such a long battle with covid. Unfortunately, organizations across the globe are facing churn with talent in the current times.
In our experience, we have come to identify three primary motivations for any individual – Compensation, Respect & Personal Growth. These tend to be the major deciding factors behind most career decisions. We have taken conscious measures to focus on these three for our team. Ensuring a competitive pay scale along with a clear path of growth has always worked for us. But frankly, our greatest strength is our culture. A culture built on respect, camaraderie & openness. We are now in a time where the quality of work-life ranks extremely high in people’s priority & rightly so. And our focus has always been on ensuring the same for our teams. Even our hiring philosophy is built to support that. We believe in hiring for intent & training for skills.
Today thanks to the pandemic the digital platforms are the go-to for many brands, how have you conceptualized communication for your clients?
With the increase in digital consumption, being agile and adapting to trends is extremely essential while keeping a hint of freshness in your communication.
While personalized & fresh communication for our audience has been the backbone, during the pandemic, we’ve focused a lot on moment marketing to capture the current essence of social media behavior. All this while obviously being mindful of the current times & the sensitivity they deserve. We also saw a shift in audience expectations, shifting from responding well to social awareness messages to wanting to move on towards normalcy (even if just in content). Our approach has been gauging shifts in emotions & navigating them accordingly. This has helped us become more relevant amongst our target market.
More and more clients are today looking at customized communication for their TG, why do you think it is necessary? Can you elaborate?
We live in an age of information & over-information. With so much clutter in the market, so many mediums, both online & offline, it is only natural for people to not remember everything or every brand that they have viewed. What is remembered, more often than not, is the experience and the emotion of the communication, rather than the brand behind it. And if the experience continues to be consistent it becomes synonymous with the brand perception.
This means if we reach out to our audience with impersonal, generic communication it’s going to be extremely difficult for our brand to build a relationship with our customers. Personalized communications relevant to the audiences is not just necessary but the only way to build that connection and build that recall.
Way forward in the new normal?
As we tried to cope with the new normal and adapt to the situation covid had brought on us, we’ve realized that certain basics of human nature cannot be altered. Human interactions are required to collaborate, ideate, and get the best outcome. Similarly, our productivity is a function of the environment that we work. In my opinion, the new normal will not be as drastic as we had thought it would be probably a year earlier. There will be shifts in our work patterns, our thoughts, but it may not be a paradigm shift overall.
Where do you see yourself in the next 2 years?
In the next 2 years, we want to achieve 2 key things:
1 – Continue to grow the nurturing environment for our teams.
We are focusing on consistently working in tandem with them to improve our service quality and offerings while giving them the required exposure and training to grow.
2 – Grow business from thriving sectors.
As we are seeing a shift in the marketing ecosystem and now that more consumers are drifting towards digital mediums. We’ve identified industries that will see improved growth. We are focusing on building capabilities to service these industries, so we can be with them at the onset of their digital growth.
Having said this, we do want a bigger team, a swanky office, and bigger accounts. But we believe these are just secondary outcomes as a result of the work we put out there.
Hence we’ll focus on our work & our people and the rest will follow.