Passionate in Marketing in conversation with Mr.Aadil Mehta, CEO and Partner, Ting

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Brief Profile of Mr. Aadil Mehta

With an MBA from Nottingham Business School, Aadil’s 20 year professional career has surely seen some sharp contrast. From heading one of Russia’s largest fine jewellery brands to now being at the helm of Ting, his professional journey has been far from conventional.

2001 – 2011: Business Head, Choron Diamonds, Russia Building the Fine Jewellery division for one of Russia’s largest Multinational Diamond Company – Choron. In a span of just 10 years Aadil successfully built the business ground up taking it from 0 to 390 PoS across Russia and making it the largest selling fine jewellery brand. From business operations, product development to brand strategy, he wore many hats at the time of this stint.

2011 – Current: While his journey from leading a diamond jewellery company in Russia to being the CEO (and Partner) of a creative agency in Mumbai may seem like a jump, we can tell his forte is in building businesses by getting involved at a nascent stage. He has been spearheading Ting since 2011, marking a journey from 4 team members to the current team of 325 plus. Actively participating in business growth, creative strategy, and people management, here too his approach is very hands on.

A man with many interests ranging from Sports, Politics, Yoga to Stock Markets, and aspiration of being a life coach to becoming India’s PM we look forward to knowing what’s next on the cards for him.

Passionate in Marketing caught up with Mr. Aadil Mehta to discuss about TING’s 12 years of journey in the creative and digital marketing space.

1.It’s 12 years since you started Ting, can you take us through your vision and the idea behind Ting?

When we started with ting, we were rank freshers with a couple of uninspiring months of work experience in the big agencies. We had no portfolio, no experience, no investments, no clients and no credibility. The idea was simply to give ourselves a chance in the world of advertising. Hence ting!

While survival, learning the business side of an agency, gaining experience and building our company was the first leg of ting, after over a decade we’ve realised that we’re a lot more than just another agency.

Our vision is to create a truly integrated solutions agency that our partners and our people can rely on for consistency, progress and creativity. We’re extremely employee-centric and we truly believe that the culture we cultivate at ting will define our future. 

 2.What is the unique proposition your company offers as opposed to competitors in the same space?

There are a few fundamental differences:

The generalist – Specialist mix and integrated approach:

Each of our 6 verticals work on a stand-alone as well as an integrated basis. We have specialists who understand the different nuances of brands from branding to sales. This allows us to be brand custodians.

Diversification and scale:

We’re one of the market leaders in regional languages like Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. Our diversified knowledge of various geographies, industries and services makes us quite unite in the space. For example, we cater to 14 different industries across 6 different services in 6 different languages.

Solution-based approach:

We don’t have a one size fits all approach, we look at our engagement with different brands from 3 different consideration points: stage of the business, objectives of the business and cost feasibility for the business. Hence our proposals are all tailored to make it a win: win and not skewed towards our own benefits. As we like to say at ting, “Services is what agencies offer, solution is what clients need. Let’s focus on solutions and not services”

3.Is Digital Disruption an ongoing process according to you? If so, how has this digital shift been for Ting?

The internet is maturing now, and we’ve seen some unprecedented growth in this space. India is one of the front runners in digitisation. We’ve seen the last 15 years where our lives have completely changed due to digital innovations, and this evolution of digital solutions will be further accelerated within the decade before things settle down. 

Our digital journey began fairly early, from 2010 we’ve been evolving alongside the trends and hence we’re more digital natives than anything else. Since we started early, we think digital first and increasingly investing our energies in new age digital tech. For example, we’ve made inroads in low-code-no-code, voice, automation. We’re also investing a great deal in AI to gain more efficiencies in our business and the solutions we provide.

4.Your expectations from 2022, any upcoming plans? How will the digital industry grow, given the current situation?

In a large sense, 2020 sowed the seed for major growth tailwinds and 2021 has been remarkably good. 2022 looks even better as the vibrancy in our economy comes back. Yes, we don’t know whether there’ll be a 3rd wave or many more, but it seems like the worst is behind us and we’re extremely positive and excited about what lies ahead. Fingers crossed.

5.Do you think that standalone agencies, like yours, have had an upper hand at business development during the pandemic? 

We think all businesses have certain advantages and disadvantages. For network agencies, the pedigree helps them make inroads, for independent agencies like ours, we need to work harder to make our inroads. However, agencies like us are far more nimble and able to pivot easily based on the market situations.
All agencies with different sizes and shapes have something going for them, we’ve learnt to focus on our advantages and capitalise on them. The industry is large enough for all of us to thrive. Through the pandemic we changed our strategy, we lowered our price points, we added more options, and we expanded our geographies. All these decisions helped us grow in the down cycle. We’re not sure if the network agencies have been able to do that. So perhaps, we had an advantage. But let’s not forget 2020 was an anomaly. Life is getting back to normal.

6.What are the upcoming plans for Ting?

The last 18 months have helped us define our vision. We learnt a great deal, understood business cycles a lot better, and the fact that we ended up being anti-fragile has given us a huge impetus for the future.

We’re going to focus on deep expertise, be more solution focused, expand regionally, and focus on high quality outputs.

We’re aiming to increase our presence from 7 cities to 15 over the next year or so. We’re looking to scale and increase our bandwidth from 325 to 500 and we’re looking to invest a great deal in tech, processes, and training of our people. 

About Ting

TING is a fully integrated creative and digital advertising agency based out of Mumbai. The agency completes 12 years on 02nd October 2021.

Below are some pointers on their journey.

  • TING started in 2009 with 1 employee and today is a 350+ team across 4 locations – Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi & London 
  • It was started 3 freshers straight out of MICA as a boutique creative agency which today has transformed into one of India’s fastest-growing integrated digital and creative agencies
  • TING has worked with brands like Wellbeing nutrition, RAWPressery, Smaaash and are responsible for clocking over 10 billion views for Sun Network across 4 regional languages.
  • Some key clients they have associated with include Reliance Jio, Amazon Business, Sun Network, DBS Bank, Nykaa Pro, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Avendus Capital, YES Bank, Dabur International, Wellbeing Nutrition and more

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