We wanted to provide branding solutions that are different from those provided by the traditional advertising agencies,” says Nikhil Kuruganti, the founder of Inno Garage. Started in 2009 with a working capital of just Rs 150, this start-up now aims to become a leader in digital marketing and branding solutions. “We used the money to print business cards and distribute them to companies in and around Hyderabad,” says the chief innovation officer, recollecting the humble origins of the agency.
Besides Nikhil, The Inno Garage team at Hyderabad consists of Kaushik Shivaswamy, Chandra Shekar and Pramod Kuruganti. The group is trying to carve a niche in the field of social media branding. “We focus on how social media platforms can be used to market products,” says Nikhil. “Our USP lies in using the most cost-effective methods and the technological platform to give effective brand visibility. This can range from designing posters, brochures and fliers to developing a marketing campaign for a brand.”
Nikhil is an MBA graduate who finished a course in entrepreneurship, while Shivaswamy, the resident brand doctor has completed MSc in clinical research. Shekar is a BCom graduate and Pramod is doing his BE at MVSR Engineering College. The first company to be incubated at the University of Hyderabad, Nikhil feels the association with an institution for a business like this, is mutually beneficial. “It is like a symbiotic relationship. We get a space to do our work and set up infrastructure at the lowest possible cost and also pick up fresh talent from the institution. In return, we help with their branding and promotions and give them visibility.”
In December 2010, Inno Garage started collaborating with Aurora Group of Institutions — provided them branding solutions and designed their brochures and posters. To facilitate seamless work, they set shop on the campus of Aurora Business School at Punjagutta, Hyderabad, from where they operate presently.
The fledgling agency is already making a mark in the field of digital advertising by becoming the first Indian company to develop a social media tracking tool. Called Inno Gate, it uses real-time tracking of users on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter and provides an information bank about the tastes, likes and interests of the consumer. “Social media is a great means to find the likes and dislikes of the target audience, which is mainly in the 16-30 age group. Our tool offers information on the usage patterns, which helps our client place their product according to interests of the consumers,” explains Nikhil.
Another first in the feather of Inno Garage is developing a branding strategy for the new social media platform, Google+. “The tool not only helps companies to promote their brands but also track and analyse the marketing campaign on Google+. With an ability to track a keyword within the social media site and its search patterns, it is the first-of-its-kind tool in the world,” says Nikhil.
Talking about his team, Nikhil says he has been lucky to find the right people to work with. “We are a bunch of ad-crazy individuals who love innovating new branding solutions.” He, however, uses stringent methods to pick new people. “I follow the rule — Eagles don’t flock, you have to find one at a time. We choose persons who are passionate like us about the work.” New recruits are provided on-the-job training. “We make them work on a new project right away. If they make mistakes, we are there to rectify them. But it helps us to ensure they are right for our team,” he says.
Some of their clients include the Aurora Group of Institutions, Chocolate Hut and Neo Quiz Spot. Future plans include rural marketing and youth branding. “Sixteen-30-year-olds have the most spending power and are likely to try out new products. We feel this group has not been targeted properly. With our unique marketing and branding solutions, clients can place their brands strategically to tap into this population,” signs off Nikhil.