Branding Edge completes two years; eyes international market

Mumbai: Branding Edge Strategic Communications founder and managing partner and a young lad of 28 years, Rahul Tekwani was part of the strategy team of Enormous Brands prior to taking a leap of faith when he decided to flag off his own communication outfit. And more so, amidst the pandemic in 2020. Yes, on 16 December the agency completes two whole years of existence and flourishing in spite of it being a tough time for many.

Branding Edge is a data-driven and consumer insight-backed creative strategic communication agency that focuses on brand and reputation programmes to achieve business goals, build awareness and credibility, and looks at enhancing the long-term enterprise value of its clients. On the brand side, the company offers 360-degree services, which include branding, design, digital strategy, research, data-driven storytelling, and influencer engagement strategies. The agency’s reputation management offering includes media strategy, a customised investor relations program, capital market & transaction advisory, crisis management services, and social communication for public sector units.

In a chat with, Tekwani reveals that Branding Edge currently has four offices across the country – Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. "We serve over 30 customers across these four offices, with our headquarters in Mumbai generating the most client traction and revenue, followed by Delhi and Bangalore," he explains.

Tekwani also points out that the agency is considering opening an international office, "We’ve done some good work for brands abroad, and enquiries from the Middle East and the United Kingdom are coming in very frequently. This is only a preliminary thought process; if the trend holds, we will make a decision in the future."

Tekwani is one of the well-known communication strategists, and in a career spanning nearly a decade, he has curated successful strategies on both the brand and reputation sides of media.

With his in-depth knowledge of the business side of the brand, Tekwani curates work that drives business and the brand both. With a special love for the Indian consumer, he is a big promoter of having an ‘audience first’ approach.

Launching during the pandemic & completing two years

One wonders what could be Tekwani’s objective of launching an agency during the pandemic. And was it the right decision for him to do so? He affirms that it was the best idea. "That seemed like the greatest time to step into the communication strategy industry. The brand and reputation firms found it difficult to adjust to the shifting media landscape and client business. Covid served as a fantastic leveller for us as clients were also looking for a fresh approach, and the industry welcomed us with open arms," Tekwani expresses.

What were the challenges that he faced in these two years? And what were the key lessons and learnings that he plans to implement and keep in mind for the future? He says, "One of the most difficult challenges I had at first was convincing myself that it is okay not to know everything. It’s okay if you’re not great at administration or human resources. All that matters is whether you can build one of the greatest companies in the sector."

He goes on, "The key facts that prompted me to start Branding Edge were that each company needs a different communication strategy and that you cannot simply copy and paste the same plan for each company. There have been several lessons learned, the most important of which is that business is a game of patience and the skill of accepting what you don’t want."

Branding Edge’s USP

There are so many agencies that were launched during the pandemic, and many startups shut shop. How did Branding Edge sail through? "Maybe because I wanted to be a problem solver first, then an entrepreneur," Tekwani reveals.

What is the USP of Branding Edge that makes it stand out? "I think the 'audience first' approach and flexibility in terms of strategising events. We just aim to identify the target audience for the campaign and base the message and medium on that audience. We don’t follow any set procedure," he says.

This is the first normal year after the pandemic, and talking about how the agency fared, Tekwani is pleased to cite that overall it was a good year for the firm. "We did some exciting work with brands during the IPL, we were part of Google Street View launch in India with one of the partners, and we also helped some multinational brands discover their communication for India," he says, pleased.

When asked upon, Tekwani seems to be unperturbed by the biggies of advertising. He clarifies, "I don’t think I ever intended to run in that race. We are focused on our niche, which is communication strategy, and we aim to expand on it."

Pouring his heart out about the defining moments for Branding Edge in these two years, Tekwani says, "I believe that while you are young, creating a brand, moments cannot define you; rather, minutes define you. We have simply continued to build on the good quality of our work and the relationships we have with our client partners in order to exceed their expectations."

Branding Edge’s offerings and work

In its first year, Branding Edge was involved with a few major product launches, from being the communication partner to eFORCE, a real estate platform, to establishing Stoxbox, a subscription-based investing app. The agency has curated creative campaigns for players such as Spartan Poker, Capacite Infra Projects, and CapTech Technologies, to mention a few.

Tekwani mentions, "We were strategically associated with several marquee brands during the IPL this year, and we also prepared some branding work for the government of the railways’ PSUs."

On the reputation management front, the agency has been a part of the launch of Google Street View in India and has worked with legacy brands such as Doms Industries, S Chand Group, Parag Milk Foods, and many more.

Apart from creative, strategy and media, Branding Edge has expanded its offerings to include influencer marketing, capital market advisory, and investor relations advisory. "With the Indian stock market at an all-time high, we are managing a number of companies that intend to go public in the near future," Tekwani says of these services, which are in high demand in the market.

Discussing digital, trends and innovations

Tekwani strongly believes that digital is here to stay and will evolve even more next year, with businesses attempting to improve the consumer experience even further. Metaverse will be the new buzzword next year, and it is expected to gain momentum, he believes.

As the next version of the internet unfolds, Tekwani is of the view that we are experiencing yet another transition in the digital environment. According to him, more than the trends, the purpose of the industry will be to help the next generation of companies and brands not only understand the benefits of technological developments but also position themselves at the forefront.

Shedding light on the innovations that are expected to disrupt the market in 2023, Tekwani elucidates, "I believe that the metaverse and programmatic advertising will advance further in 2023. And that, as in 2022, AI (artificial intelligence), AR (augmented reality), and other immersive technologies will get a larger portion of the marketing pie the next year."

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