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The New Age Marketing Journey with Ruhani Mann, Founder of Brand Talk India

In a conversation with Entrepreneurs Today, Ruhani Mann, founder of Brand Talk India, talks about how her agency brings a pragmatic approach to marketing. 

With a background in engineering and an MSc from Imperial College, her marketing journey is a result of her keen curiosity about product success. Having honed her skills at a London marketing agency and gaining insights into the Indian landscape, Ruhani founded Brand Talk India in 2021. 

Specializing in 360 Degree Marketing Solutions, the company focuses on public relations and social media management, recognizing their pivotal role in today’s market. Embracing the trend of AI, Ruhani emphasizes the synergy of human expertise with technological advancements to deliver optimal solutions for clients.

Founding Brand Talk India

Ruhani Mann’s inspiration to start Brand Talk India stemmed from her observation of the traditional agency landscape upon her return to the Indian market. She noticed that prevalent agencies were deeply entrenched in tradition and hierarchical structures, resulting in sluggish client service.

Recognizing the need for agility and responsiveness in the fast-paced Indian economy, Ruhani aimed to redefine the agency model. Brand Talk India prioritizes serving clients efficiently by adopting a wider hierarchy, enabling faster and more flexible client interactions. 

The core motivation behind establishing the company was to bring together a dynamic, young team, providing them a platform for creativity and challenging the notion that excellence in agency services is age-dependent.

Currently, Brand Talk India has a diverse clientele spanning 11 industries, including fashion, beauty, hospitality, lifestyle, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and FMCG. While catering to a wide range of sectors, the company has carved out a prominent niche in the hospitality and F&B industry.

Notable collaborations include renowned properties such as Pullman, Novotel, Shangri-La, Lodhi, Westin, and Courtyard by Marriott. The agency strategically blends clients from various sectors, fostering synergy and collaboration among diverse businesses.

Integrating AI

The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of Brand Talk India lies in its flexibility and adaptability to the rapidly changing market trends. Unlike some agencies that may lag in incorporating innovations like AI, Brand Talk India embraces new ways of working and positions its ability to navigate challenges with agility as a key differentiator.

Established two and a half years ago, Brand Talk India’s brand evolution reflects the dedication and hard work of the team. Despite being a relatively young player in the industry, the agency has rapidly gained traction, particularly in the challenging hospitality sector. 

Within just a year of inception, the agency secured partnerships with prominent properties across India, defying industry norms that often prioritize agencies with extensive experience. 

Interviewer: How exactly do you integrate AI into your daily processes? 

Ruhani: “Suppose we are developing a narrative for the hospitality industry. In the past, individuals would spend around two hours conducting research by searching on Google, reviewing three to four thesis papers, or consulting reports such as KPMG. With AI, this research process has become more efficient. We can now obtain basic facts and figures on any industry within just one minute. Additionally, AI generates a preliminary draft exclusively for us, ensuring original content and avoiding plagiarism.”

Ruhani further explains that the initial draft generated by AI serves as the foundation for the second draft in Brand Talk India’s content creation process, particularly in areas like public relations. This second phase involves tailoring the content to align with the unique brand language and guidelines specific to each client. She adds,

“Some general managers prefer concise codes, while others may want longer, detailed statements. Communication with clients is crucial to understand their preferences, ensuring the final product aligns with their expectations. This personalized approach is essential, as AI cannot capture the nuances of individual client requirements.”

However, Ruhani emphasises that the final touches, such as typography, color selection, and background elements, require a human touch. She believes that while AI serves as a valuable tool in the creative process, offering suggestions and initial designs, the expertise of human designers is indispensable for refining and perfecting the visual elements.

Brand Talk India has diversified its offerings by venturing into a new project called Wed Talk India

More projects

Ruhani’s other venture, Wed Talk India, offers two main services: physical and digital wedding invites. The creative team at Brand Talk is actively involved in producing creative content for clients looking to send out invitations digitally or in physical form. The goal is to streamline the process, offering clients a faster turnaround time and a more efficient service for their wedding invitations.

In addition to wedding invites, Wed Talk India extends its services to Wedding PR. The project aims to help clients showcase their weddings in prominent publications like Vogue and other renowned wedding magazines. 

Celebrating feats

Brand Talk India has achieved notable success in various aspects. One significant accomplishment is the establishment of a thriving work culture, marked by a high employee and client retention rate, possibly reaching 80%. 

Externally, the agency has received recognition and awards, including being named the Time PR Agency of 2022 by the Times Group. Additional accolades from Business World, Economic Times, and Marketing Minds further highlight Brand Talk India’s impact and effectiveness in the competitive marketing landscape. 

Navigating challenges

Brand Talk India, like any entrepreneurial venture, faced a myriad of challenges. Finances emerged as a significant hurdle in the early stages, particularly given the nature of being a cash flow-centric business. 

Overcoming this challenge, the company has achieved remarkable growth, with revenue increasing by 50% in the current financial year.

Building and maintaining a positive work culture presented another obstacle. Ensuring a healthy work environment and avoiding toxicity required meticulous hiring practices. Brand Talk India prioritizes quality over quantity in its team, with around 45 individuals who share a clear vision and commitment to mutual growth. The company actively conducts both interviews and physical assessments during the hiring process to ensure new additions align with the established community.

Plans ahead

Brand Talk India currently operates pan India, focusing on providing services within the country. The decision to concentrate on the domestic market was to ensure that the quality of service remains at its optimum level in Client Servicing. 

The company envisions international expansion after reaching its four-year milestone, with plans to venture into London and other cities in the United Kingdom. The rationale behind targeting the UK market is the observed demographic shift, noting an older population that presents an opportunity for a young and dynamic agency like Brand Talk India to bring fresh perspectives and solutions.

Takeaways from the journey

One of the major lessons she wants to send across is to:

“Keep your head high and persevere because every day brings new challenges that you cannot expect; you can never plan for these challenges.”

Before signing off, Ruhani explains the process one must follow to build a thriving business. She highlights,

“I would encourage them to see entrepreneurship as a five-stage process. First, you come up with your idea, start your business, and then you enter the problem phase. There will be challenges, whether in your business model, assembling the right team, or any other aspect. It’s crucial to acknowledge and recognize the problems your business is facing so that you can move into the next stage, which is designing a solution for that problem. Once you’ve designed the solution, the fourth stage is to implement and monitor it. The fifth stage is reassessment because another problem is bound to arise. I would recommend a targeted approach towards your problems, rather than assuming you’ll never face any and letting things go the way they are.”

Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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