The Opinions

Simple stands out in a complex world.

Early on in Ideosphere, an advisor told me ‘if you can’t explain to me your business in two sentences, then you do not know your business’ I arrogantly brushed it off then. I agree our pitch was complex, but it worked. So what’s his problem, I thought. 

And, then you grow wiser or learn by fire. I grew wiser, after the fire. I realised that people find it difficult to talk about the brand if the pitch is complicated. A complicated pitch also hinders your happy customers from bringing more customers to your door. 

Getting your audiences to talk about you, remember you, recommend you, celebrate you, and love you is one of the outcomes of great branding. But, how will they ever talk about you if all of them are still trying to figure out what to do? Today the market has become even more cluttered, complex and nonlinear, making the need to be simple the reason you will win your market. 

But, creating a simple front end of your communication, requires a complex back end. You need to deep dive into the way your audiences think and what they really care about? Understand what is the pain you solve? How important is the pain? What are the choices they have if not you? Having the pulse of your customer is a tedious, and often, chaotic process, but once you get it, you will reach a higher level of clarity. And with clarity, your messaging will be simple, intentional, relevant and purposeful.You must consider three main elements in defining this simplicity in your message framework. It lies in the centre. Consider the brand to be your customer, and study it as if you are understanding it for the first time. Then, study your ‘customer’s customer’. These are otherwise known as the end users of the product, and then study your ‘customer’s customer’s choices’. 

It is important to note that your customer’s customer’s choices are different from only your competition set. It is all the ways the end user can solve their problems instead of coming to you. You will find this often goes way beyond our traditional competitive sets. The first step is to find and define overlaps in each of the elements. Between the brand and the user define the key pain you are solving, and ensure the pain you are solving is a pain the customer wants to solve. You will be able to define the journey of the user in selecting how to solve their pain as an overlap between the user and their choices. And, between the brand and the users’ choices help define all the ways they solve their problems without you. The definition of how they solve their pain with you is your right to win. 

The 3 key elements start looking different. They are now focused on the pain your brand solves, the pain your users have and all the ways they solve it. The overlap of these three will create the simplest messaging you can create. 

Message I: The pain I solve
Message II: The type of user personas that have this problem
Message III: The way I solve it better than everyone else

A great example of how to win the market with simple messaging is Airbnb. Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels. That’s it. It talks about a solution and why it is better than hotels, but what is the pain of the user they solve? It was missing. And then, they brought in with ‘belong anywhere’. Not being able to feel like they belong was the pain they solved. And they solved this better than anyone else. Here is what their Brian Chesky had to say about their messaging shift:

“It turns out the answer was right in front of us. For so long, people thought Airbnb was about renting houses. But really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong…And what makes this global community so special is that for the very first time, you can belong anywhere.”

This simplicity not only helped them build a strong, differentiated brand with a simple, intentional message, but also, build a strong, significantly profitable (something you do not hear with heavily funded companies)  business!

Change the way you look at your messaging from the solution you provide to the pain you solve. This change in perspective will not only simplify messaging, but make it relevant and easy to understand for the user who is paying the cost of not being able to solve the problem every day. 

Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat, Ideosphere.


Finding Culture On Our Balance Sheet

By Aniruddha Bhagwat, CEO and Co-Founder

Culture Means Business. We have all been exposed to extensive discourses on building a strong work culture within organizational structures. It is important to understand that every culture is different, and the key is consistency in the shared sense of purpose, personality and character an organization showcases. Evaluating an organizational culture has to do more with ensuring an alignment of vision and likeminded professionals than whether it is a good or bad. As with life, culture is not an element to pass judgment upon, but rather identify as boundaries of who gets in and who stays out. 

Culture has to be defined not by taking inspiration from the market, but by looking within, to identify the organizational goals, mission and vision. With this retrospection, it is clear that culture is very closely coupled with business, and while it may be difficult to directly correlate with profitability, it does influencer several levers that enable a strong business bottom line. 


It is easy to understand the people are at the core of your culture, and thereby, your business. A consistent, well-defined culture can help companies to attract great talent and more importantly, retain them. It is the basis of employee engagement and job satisfaction. Multiple reports suggest that companies with highly engaged resources consistently perform better than peers lacking regular collaboration. All of these lead to the most important lever for business: Trust. 


Engaged teams not only believe in each other, but they exercise faith in each other’s abilities and can depend on each other. Processes are closely linked with culture, as processes are only as good as their adoption. Culture ensures the organizational strategy is interspersed within the way the organization defines its uniqueness, values, behaviors and attitudes. These processes also build discipline within an organization, and are further fueled by ensuring accountability at an individual, team and organizational level. Discipline and adoption of standardized processes linked with organizational strategy ensure quality of delivery and customer satisfaction. Both of which can be directly correlated with the growth trajectory of a business.


While profits are the common scoreboard for any business, it is the revenue efficiency that enables business to grow well and fast together. This leads to a sustained business flight path, and one a company can replicate, enhance and refine as it grows in size. Studies show that great work culture leads to superior employee engagement, and engaged companies have shown operating income increases of 28-30% and earnings growth by close to 20%. Moving past to absolute earnings, well engaged companies have been able to consistently show a 4-5 multiple return over their disengaged peers. 

Our balance sheets reward us for putting people and culture over short-term business opportunities. As business are infinite by definition, it is more important to create an environment for long term, consistent success than just tomorrow’s gains. The impact and efficiency of culture is largely dependent on leadership. Culture is all about showing, and very little about telling. Leaders showing and demonstrating great culture often yield the best results. A 2018 AON report suggests that even a 5-point bump in culture and engagement can impact revenue by 3%. These are the rewards of doing good business, and prove that as businesses continue to fight over sales, revenue and opportunities; it is the people and environments that decide the winner. And that’s why, culture absolutely means business. 


The Age Of The Idea Is Immortal. **conditions apply

By Aniruddha Bhagwat, CEO, Ideosphere

The age of the idea is gasping for air as it finds it difficult to survive in the evolving market dynamics. Everyone has ideas, but how many of them can add to my bottom-line, how long will it take and what’s the probability of success? After strategically running away from these questions for many years, they have finally caught up. While some may scoff at these questions blaming this changing attitude for taking the excitement out of our industry, it is not really true. We are witnessing a transformation. The age of the idea is changing to the age of ideas that can mobilize inspiration. Inspiration to be part of a community, try a product and even, recommend it to others. Ideas leading to inspired customers can impact the bottom line, today, with a high probability of success.

The industry is evolving as per the audience. People have more choice, more money; more power of influence, and honestly, more expectations from brands vying for their attention. An idea, by itself, is just not good enough, they want to really be prodded, flattered and inspired to give their attention. It’s the difference between a child growing up with multiple siblings and an only child. As much as the parents may deny, a child with many siblings has to try slightly harder to get his parents attention.

The changing customers, consumers and environments are forcing a change on the way communications functions. Insights are passé, insights mobilizing business intelligence is the need of the hour. Today, brands can get consumer insights from multiple avenues, but they need help in decoding these insights. Mapping these insights to identify business challenges, and quickly, moving them to develop communications methodologies is a dire need of today’s customers. But how will this happen? Are the current industry structures geared to handle this change?

Frankly, no. This change will level the playing field, where even lean teams adapting to this new industry code can win. In fact, lean teams with multi faceted, sharp and flexible team members can have a clear advantage. Mobilization of ideas to inspiration cannot be bound to one method of communication, it needs to be agile, flexible to change, and adapt based on the impact it’s having. Marketing communication teams need to have the ability, acumen and freedom to toggle between mediums, focusing more on the message, business insights and inspired action. This freedom is not easy to gain, and brands may only give it, if there is a single source of truth. (read: a transparent, real time way to measure impact to justify the freedom of flexibility)

Business outcomes leading from inspired ideas will be lauded. With strong pressure on budgets, leaner teams on the customer side, and technology enabling real time measurability, ideas, by themselves, just wont work as clients are unable to carry the heft of just an idea to be different and possibly, lead to business. They need more surety, not to be mistaken with guarantee, and the teams who can unlock this code will be the leaders of the next phase of our industry.

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and may lead to a distinct divide on ‘thinking’ consultancies and ‘execution’ agencies, with neither being better or worse than the other as both need to co-exist. The teams who can bridge this gap will survive. Connecting thinking to execution, insights to logic, transparency to freedom, measurability to truth, and most importantly, ideas to mobilizing inspiration. The age of the idea will never truly die even as it gasps for air, but what it defines as ‘air’ is subject to change. Just like each of today’s campaigns:

The Age of the Idea is Immortal. ** conditions apply


The One That Took 8 Years

By Aniruddha Bhagwat, CEO and Co-Founder

The first one is always special. It is special because of all the times we failed, the times we doubted ourselves, and the commitment we made to never to give up. It is an outcome of the struggle, fights and terribly hard work. In reality, its really only one recognition at one platform in one category, but for us, it means so much more. It’s our first gold, and while Ideosphere has been recognized at various times in our journey, this recognition just means a bit more. 

We have always taken pride in working together, working hard and ensuring we never give up. The launch of Balco Medical Centre stretched this ideology to the fullest. As we came closer to the launch, we found ourselves in between a bitter fight between the Government and the opposition on the launch of this hospital. We were receiving notices from the Government, criticism from the media, and a cloud of doubt on the actual launch of the hospital, even as close as a couple of weeks prior to the launch. In fact as I landed in Raipur a couple of days prior to the launch, my phone was filled with messages alerting me a crisis had broken out as I was in the air. 

 As my stress levels began to rise, I received a call of assurance from my co-founder back at our offices telling me not to worry and that she is on it. I knew the launch was going to be success, and this two-minute call with Minal further strengthened by intuition. From then on, our teams were on ground every minute until the launch ensuring the media was getting the right messages, keeping a look out for demonstrations from the opposition, and ensuring a positive image of the launch was demonstrated. We looked at every message, and even stayed up the night prior to the launch rewriting the entire anchor script to analyzing each word that was spoken. We took ownership of the launch, and treated the launch, not as a client, but as our own. 

 This launch was truly a team effort, and my intuition was right. It was a great success, and with the Hon Chief Minister stating on record this was a the best facility he had seen in Central India, we knew we had won. The team wasn’t only our own, but the Balco Medical team as well. It was a truly partnered launch, and a successful one at that. 

 The journey of not only this launch, but also all the learning we have had as a company over the last eight years, allowed us to make this launch a success. We truly believe that good things come to those who wait, and this Gold was truly worth the wait. I am sure we will win more golds in the future, but this one will always stand tall at the top of our war chest. 


In God We Trust

By Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat, CEO and Co-Founder

Entrepreneurs cannot be atheists. Young businesses go through so many business cycles, and looking back a dip in business a few years ago may seem easy as every curve, positive and negative, in the cycle exaggerates itself with every passing year. It is a series of challenges, and as soon as you overcome one challenge, the next one starts to presents itself. The most difficult part about entrepreneurship is the ability of many things, outside of the entrepreneur’s control, which affect the solution to each presented challenge. And to think, the entrepreneur took the dive into starting a business to be in control of his or her own destiny.

Completely counter-intuitive of the known definition of entrepreneurship is having the ability to give up control. As businesses grow, it becomes increasingly important for the founding team to reinstate their control of the company, and while it is important to ensure you have the business by the reigns, it also means controlling a series of constituents which one has no control of such as the clients, economies, political instability, reforms and taxation, etc. The list, which the entrepreneur does not have control over, far outweighs the aspects of control by manifold. For a young business, which has been through multiple business cycles, the founding team starts to understand that the team can only do what is in their hands, and leave the rest to fate. Sometimes in business, there is no choice but to keep you head down and work hard without having complete confidence of the end outcome. This is what makes it exciting. Exciting maybe, but what keeps the entrepreneur sane in this insane environment?

After meeting many successful entrepreneurs, there is an under-riding sense of optimism no matter what state there business is in. They laugh in the face of challenges, know that the end outcome cannot be controlled, but still go out there everyday with the confidence that if the business sticks to its core, works hard and keeps focus, it will ‘all work out’. This is the same message that we tell ourselves even in our personal trials and tribulations; starting with our parents telling us the same when we were kids to us, as entrepreneurs, reminding ourselves of the same when things just don’t seem to move. It’s a faith in our idea, our co-founders, teams and the business that keeps us going in the face unrelenting, immobile, and rigid challenges the business throws at us.

Entrepreneurship is not possible without faith. It’s just not possible to be in control of a situation of uncontrollable elements, and still be confident in your ability to control it without a belief in a power outside of yourself. It does not necessarily have to be faith in God, but it is a faith in something that keeps entrepreneurs going. And if you put ten entrepreneurs in a room to discuss miracles in their business; things that happened in the face of failure, which were completely unexpected, one story will follow another, and the number of stories will be unending. How can this be possible without some force outside of the one in the realm of control ensuring that things ‘work out’?

Again, the faith doesn’t need to be in God, but it needs to be in something. It’s just not possible to face such a situation for any human being without having a crazy, unrealistic faith and optimism that the business will survive, grow and prosper. If money is the central score board of any business underneath all the passion, culture, and aspirations, then it makes sense that the world’s largest economy, at least currently, inscribes the words ‘In God We Trust’ on its currency. As the business grows, one can start connecting these dots, breadcrumbs left by our entrepreneurial predecessors, giving more hope and optimism to not just think, but know. Know that it will all work out in the end