In today’s digital-driven age, marketing and communication is one of the most popular fields steadily growing, owing to a demand for businesses needing highly skilled professionals who have knowledge in digital marketing, social media and content.
In order to succeed, every industry today needs a platform to voice itself and make its presence known through various interactive and engaging activities. This has led to many fresh and innovative agencies to come up in the market. OCD is one such platform that offers a host of options including content integration, social media amplification, display media, on- ground activation or blogger/influencer led events/collaborations.
AR gets candid with Gathika Chhabra, Co-founder of one of Delhi’s up-and Ocd coming digital marketing agencies and suggestions’ platform, which allows you to discover individuals, places, associations or even a lifestyle. An English Literature graduate from Venkateshwara College, Delhi University, Gathika takes us through her journey of how she came up with the idea to launch OCD, how brands can leverage the power of social media in today’s competitive landscape and what kind of skills are required to excel in the field of communication today.
AR: While growing up, were you always drawn towards what you do now? What led you to opt for Communication and Marketing as your career choice?
GC: Since a very young age, I have been drawn towards the idea of opening my own business one day. Drawing on that passion, I tried launching a start-up which involved selling clothes, scarfs and sports day costumes. After that, I began with my own start-up for event management called themedecorindia. Over time, I developed an interest towards creating a discovery platform where I believed I could help other companies and brands grow through my creative ideas. In order to raise capital for this start-up idea, I began studying digital marketing as it is currently one of the fastest growing industries in today’s day and age.
AR: Did you get formal training in this field? Please elaborate on your educational and experiential journey.
GC: The idea of OCD came to me while I was already pursuing an English Hons. degree from Delhi University. However, in order to get training to help OCD grow, I did a few 3-month long professional courses in Contemporary Art Curation, Event Management and Advertising from University of Arts London. I now use the skills I developed and honed during these courses to curate my own art shows as well as do marketing for other companies.
AR: How and when did the idea of OCD come about? What made you opt for this term as your company name?
GC: While brainstorming various plausible business ideas, I along with my Co-founders Prerna and Nikkhita, came up with an idea of creating a discoveries’ platform. We had always felt that there was a willingness amongst Delhiites to explore new things – be it in the form of art, food or music.
However, we also felt that there was a lack of knowledge regarding the same. People don’t know what events they should host or attend. This is what gave us the idea of developing a discoveries platform where we wanted to promote people, places and events happening in and around Delhi.
OCD stands for Our Chutzpah Diaries. ‘Chutzpah’ stands for self-confidence and audacity.
We ourselves, while working on OCD, were discovering new restaurants and cafes, meeting new people and coming across undiscovered art. At the onset, we thought that if our startup did become successful and reached where we had dreamed it would reach, people would depend on us to bring new and undiscovered art and talent to them, be it in any form. Taking on that kind of responsibility requires self-confidence.
Moreover, we had this diary that we used to record things every time we came across something new and interesting. Therefore, the name Our Chutzpah Diaries seemed apt for the start-up.
AR: What kind of skills are required to excel in the field of communication today?
GC: The most important skill required in the field of communication or marketing for that matter is being understanding. You will only be successful if you understand your client and the idea behind their brand.
You need to see their brand as your own and then formulate a growth strategy that fits its need. Every brand is different and hence every plan and strategy needs to be different too. It is once you have understood the client and the brand that you can use the formal training you gained through degrees, courses or books to formulate a growth plan.
Secondly, it is also extremely important to study market trends. Within the digital marketing industry, these trends are constantly changing and your ideas need to change accordingly too. If you do not incorporate these changes in your strategy, you and your ideas could be considered to be outdated.
AR: How can brands leverage the power of social media in today’s competitive landscape? How can they stand out and be relevant?
GC: Using social media as a marketing strategy is extremely important and beneficial. This is due to its ability to reach out to a large number of people in a short span of time.
Majority of the youth today is on some form of social media, and on an average, each person spends about 2 hours on their phone daily.
Newspapers, flyers as well as underground marketing are slowly getting outdated. Moreover, it is much easier to start and follow a trend on social media.
In order to stand out, there are three things that a company should keep in mind. First, the product or the idea of the brand should connect with its consumer base. This is usually done by adding an emotional quotient to either the product or the marketing strategy.
Secondly, it should be readily available and easily accessible to people. Thirdly, it should somehow make the consumer’s life easier. If it solves even a small day-to-day problem, people will definitely buy your product.
AR: What are the various verticals that OCD helps with?
GC: OCD is a discoveries platform, digital marketing and events company. We are currently operating in Delhi, Pune, Chandigarh and Bahrain for digital marketing and discoveries platform and have our own set of events called Art Accession, which promotes upcoming artists by giving them a platform to showcase their work.
Along with this, we also have curated a number of events such as Solo Art Shows, Master Class for the grub fest, Dessert Experience’s and Surge, which was a beatboxing festival. Our main goal is to provide people with unique experiences in Delhi. Along with that, marketing and branding combined makes us a one-stop solution.
AR: It takes a set amount of capital to start your own business but not everybody is blessed with the economic conditions to make that happen. What would your advice be to such aspiring individuals? How can they navigate through this?
GC: Not all have the privilege to be someone who have funds for their start-up. I am thankful to God for all that He’s given me, as I did not have a lot of finance in hand while establishing my organisation in this revenue-driven market.
I firmly believe no matter what field you get into, if one aspires to become an entrepreneur, one has to have patience, and needs to work hard for years to achieve what they’ve aimed for. We also took 3 years to get at a platform where we always wanted to be. A piece of advice I’d like to give is not giving up when things get hard, and always have the hope and the will to do better in life.
Additionally, making others believe in you and what your beliefs are, in terms of your venture, is also a skill set that comes handy. I personally feel that you have to measure your personal growth every day and at every step of the way. No one can be good at all the things from Day 1. They have to stay dedicated and motivated to make the business reach its zenith.
Lastly, all of the members in OCD are treated as a family and not as employees. Being a member of the family comes with its own perks – we like our interns, trainees, full timers and part timers to make them think of the company as their own and welcome every idea and suggestion thrown in our way. Equality as well as the right to speech is crucial in our OCD family, thus, we give them the freedom to grow and develop our brand as they would for their business with content curated by themselves. Direction is provided to them from time to time, if need be.
AR: What are some of the challenges you faced while setting up OCD and how did you overcome them?
GC: The challenges that we faced during setting up OCD were quite a few.
Initially, it took us time to understand the needs and expectation of the market and what our skill set would be exceptional for.
The number of people in the company at the beginning were only a few and we didn’t have a lot of experience in hand. So making customers believe that we were the right choice for them was a bit formidable. Having said that, I think these challenges were rewarding and inspiring too, because as and when the clients started coming in, we too began to get the opportunities to make ourselves seen as a competitor in the market, getting a better understanding of what our competitive advantage should be.
AR: What are some of the best colleges and courses (in India and abroad) that aspiring entrepreneurs can look at to excel in the field of communication?
GC: Some of the best colleges you can look at to excel in the field of communication, are University of Southern California, Northwestern University, London School of Economics, Aston University, University of Warwick, etc. Within India, you can look at Xavier Institute of Communications, Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, MICA, etc.