Inspiring Stories
A collection of personal Interviews with celebrated leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate honchos or any success stories.

Krishna Wage - Create Mind Space to Create Media Space

Every caterpillar undergoes the turmoil of battling the life inside a cocoon but when it no more can tolerate the struggle it takes up more. It fights hard to break the cocoon and come out into the free open space to fly into the sky as a butterfly. Same is the case with every youngster fighting the entrepreneurial instincts in one's own mind. Here's an interview of a boy who broke the cocoon of mindset, not just of his but others too to grow into a business-MAN revolutionizing the advertising industry. Read more...

Hello Mr. Krishna Wage! What made you start this business? How did you start this?

I was working with a network marketing company before. I had never even given a thought as to what I would be doing apart from that business. I didn't know what to do with the money I was earning. When I decided to come out of that company, my mind went blank. I didn't know what to do. So, I joined a company which was into training corporates and college students. Courtesy my experience it wasn't difficult for me. I worked for 8 months. In those 8 months I felt that I was living someone else's life. There are two ways of looking at it. Either I wasn't influencing enough to tell my partners running the business that they weren't going in the right direction or my ideas weren't great enough for them to consider and take action. One thing was very clear on my mind. That was "Job is not for me". I told myself that it was time to move on. So, I moved on from there with only thought running on mind and that was to start something on my own. There was no deeper purpose than that. I wanted to change somebody's life. It was just that I wanted to do something for myself. That's when my business partner Sachin approached me with some business ideas. We started off with a small idea of wrapping a taxi with advertisement. When this idea struck my head I googled about it and found that in UK this was one of the biggest media used to help brands reach their target group. It was stunning! The way they were using a moving taxi creatively was brilliant. That gave us a confidence that it was a proven concept in western countries and I thought that it was high time that we needed to get it down in India too.
krishna wage,create mind space to create media space
Can you throw some light about your business?

Surprisingly, we're not into taxi advertisement any more. We understood that there was nothing much we could do as most taxi operators in India were focused on just short term money making. Though we could make good cash out of it we realized that it was not the place to be in because one question that was bothering me was that, 'was I really adding value to something?' And that is my company name - "ADing Value". We moved on and saw that there were different streams to reach different audience. If you want to target kids (thinking from a brand's point of view), you advertise in Pogo, Cartoon Network etc. If you want to target investors, you advertise in CNN, NDTV, CNBC, Economic times etc. If your target market is house wives, you advertise on Star TV, Zee TV etc. But one gap which we saw was how to target 100% of corporate audience. IT guys are people who want to get pampered online. We thought as to where to find them and start marketing for them. We realised that the best place to target them was IT parks where they spend 60-65% of their lives. They come to Cafeteria to relax and have fun. 'Can we add on some more fun?','Can we engage them in a better way?', 'Can we create a better impact of a brand on them?' were the possibilities running on our mind. We started with IT parks and have taken exclusive rights to advertise in the best IT parks.

We have developed some media spaces in IT parks where we conduct activities and develop concepts for brands to engage that particular audience. We've done campaigns for big brands like Flipkart, Airtel etc.Some brands just want people to recall them while few ask for highly engaging activities with people. So, we come up with concepts for them. For Vodafone we did a 6 months activity, where in we took some media spaces and consistently engaged them, end of which we did something called as war of bands. Two competitors would be performing representing their brands and keep performing throughout the day. Crowd can come over, listen to the music and vote for them. It was a 3 day event for which we did 3 months of priming of audience. We had almost 25000 people. This was a huge turnaround for Vodafone.

How do you take permissions to conduct these activities?

With media spacing, we have to take the rights. We've to pay some upfront money. Those media spaces will be our property for some duration. Every event is customized. We approach them with a concept ready to explain them. Usually they don't agree. Since it is a work environment, they wouldn't want to disturb the employees. So, we've to plan as to how it will fit the employees and entertain them. So, every event will have a different pricing, and a different way of doing it. We don't want to dilute our focus on too many things. We want to focus on one thing and develop it well. Now we are into IT parks. We solely want to be there right now. We don't want to enter everything right now.
Entrepreneurship doesn't happen without challenges. Any key challenges which you conquered?

When we started as a startup everyone had to do operations, sales, finance, everything with no defined designation. We had to keep juggling between roles. In due course we designed our respective roles. I take care of overall development of the company, strategies and sales. My other partner takes care of operations and finance. We have hired few specialists as well; one guy for operations, one for business development, and one exclusively for IT parks. We've organised everything so that we don't have confusions. Initially, the challenge was that whenever we went to any big brands, they mocked at us saying, "You guys are so young; are you going to tell me how to do branding and where I should brand and advertise? Are you kidding me?" I still remember that meeting with Reliance's GM who didn't realise my age and I had the meeting fixed. I was sitting in the conference room. He came down, looked at me, checked entire agenda and said, "I am such a senior guy; what are you guys going to tell me?" He didn't allow us to talk for few minutes while he spoke for an hour. He kept telling how big he was, and how we should be. Same happened with others, but today we're working with top notch brands of India, be it Flipkart or Citi bank. It was very difficult to break through their mindset and show them what we had got with us. They underestimated our potential based on our age. To be very honest, a lot of them encouraged us as well. They always came forward to help passionate youngsters like us. We were amateurs in marketing work then. So, they taught us as to how it really worked and I am grateful to them. We are here today because of their support. Many big MNC's who were into advertisement had approached these tech parks before us. They had done some activity, cheated and had run away. That made our work even more difficult. It was truly hard to crack and convince them. What I'm really proud of is the way we cracked deals with IT parks. That was a big achievement for us. People with 3-4 years of media experience till date wonder and ask me as to how on earth was that possible for us to crack.

Do you carry any regrets so far?

No! Honestly for me running a business was like playing a game. I've been exploring and have no regrets. I feel like God while running a business. I make my choices. I've some vendors working with me; I can either make their life or break it. I can make or break my life. It's nothing less than a CET or a CAT exam. You have 4 options and it's you who decides what to tick. It tests your abilities and character. It's a fun-filled journey. Speaking is one thing but doing is another. Every single day is a challenge to judge between right and wrong. By going against my ethics and principles I can make that additional profit but will I do it? This is what I call as making choices. I can either say that this company is a people friendly company, we work as one team or I can say it's a hierarchy company. It's my choice once again!

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 20th November 2013.

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