Featured News

Why Values Are More Important Than Skills?

By Rishika Agrawal, Senior Associate-Culture

Our story is set in a large corporation, where our two protagonists worked one in hand. The first one had always been the top performer, acing any project they were assigned to. The other was our Average Joe who had been around for longer but was hardly in the limelight. Within the team, the Ace always brought out their top-notch skills and breezed through their task list. Our Average Joe, on the other hand, was a tad bit slower but always managed to finish their tasks on time. Both of them while in similar roles, reached the same goal eventually i.e, the accomplishment of tasks. However, there lay a stark difference between the two. 

This difference did not lie in their speed of completing tasks, but rather, in the way they approached their work during pressing times. 

One time when faced with an uncertain and unfortunate business period, the company was forced to reinvent their work style which was difficult to adapt to. In the absence of direct supervision, our Ace who was equipped with the best skillset, found themselves making excuses to get out of tricky situations. Technical glitches and network issues became more frequent, just to avoid the extra workload. 

In the meantime, our Average Joe who didn’t necessarily have the best of skills stuck to their value system. Guided by honesty, great work ethic, and hard work,our Joe continued working with the same dedication and vigour as before. 

Now here is an interesting question for you. Which of these two candidates is the real asset to the organization?

Values: The Game-Changer In A Workplace

Values form the behavioural core and the motivational force for an individual, making them the foremost criteria for business leaders to assess while recruiting candidates. Everyone wants to build a highly skilled team that comprises the right skills and values. 

A study from City of London Economic Research says that 98% of employees do not prefer working at a place that does not align to their value system. This is precisely why recruiters should give candidates a clear picture of how the organization’s values are in sync with their own.

Will The Ideal Candidate Please Stand Up?

For most recruitment professionals, finding an ideal candidate is nothing short of a far-fetched dream, but they try nevertheless. But what makes the candidate ideal? In the perfect world, an ideal candidate is one who strikes the perfect balance between the right culture-fit and the right skill-set. 

In the real world, these seemingly perfect candidates may exist on resumes. But apart from reflecting their competencies, do resumes really offer us the opportunity to assess the candidate’s personality? Recruiters thus have to take the risk and decide what is more important- culture or skills. 

Values Cannot Be Taught, They Are Inherent

According to a study, it was discovered that 86% of employees blame workplace failures for lack of collaboration and poor internal communication. The study also revealed that 97% of employees cite a lack of alignment within the teams as a critical challenge, which negatively influences the outcome of a project. Someone who lacks the functional skills can be trained, but how can one be trained to learn the foundation of life, i.e. values? It’s an important point to reflect on.

A Culture-Fit Candidate Is Good For The Business

A candidate with advanced skills won’t require much training. They can seamlessly jump right onto projects and deliver productive outcomes. On the other hand, a candidate who is attuned to the culture is more likely to be a good team player, produce stronger and high-quality work, and boost the organization’s morale. They would be the right investment an organization needs to achieve long-term success. 

If such people feel truly valued, they are more likely to become key additions to the overall organizational structure. With the right value-fit, employees will be more engaged with their work, approach it with confidence, and stay on for longer- ultimately resulting in reduced attrition rates. 

Don’t Just Talk Culture, Walk It As Well

Top performers mostly possess the functional skills which can definitely bring in short-term successes, but not long-term wins. Moreover, values can also be called as the bedrock of a high-performance culture. But more often than not, organizational values remain at the conceptual level and fail to be embodied, because organizations do not know how to objectively integrate these values at the operational level. Hence, the reinforcement of organizational values in all processes, especially the hiring process, will help distinguish oneself from other industry players.  

After the successful incorporation of these values in the organization’s system, recruiters then need to hire keeping the long term objective in mind, to ensure that the selected candidate is not a liability, but a true asset for the organization!  


Featured News

Is Your Client A Good Culture-Fit For Your Organisation?

By Shoebahmed Shaikh, Director

“How many times can we expect to see ourselves on the front page” used to be the PR equivalent of the graphic design client who asked you to “make our logo bigger”. No one misses those days. The agency-client relationship is sometimes the corporate world equivalent of a sadomasochist relationship and unless consultancies want to be a glutton for punishment, it doesn’t end well.

Here’s the next billion-dollar idea – a filter that accurately predicts the cultural fit of a candidate in your company. Think of how much attention recruiters pay to ensure that candidates can seamlessly integrate into the cultural fabric of their organization. The rationale is sound; efficient and productive teams should be able to bring their A-game to work (or from home) despite their backgrounds, diversity markers, education credentials, and work experience. The case is being made for organizations, global companies as well as startups to amplify the diversity quotient within ranks to create a delicious fondue of innovation. So, why shouldn’t the client be cut from the same cloth?

A good place to start is to study exit interviews with departing colleagues which indicate client related reasons as an influential reason for their decision to leave. ‘Recruiting’ clients as a means to your organization’s growth deserves as much attention as recruiting team members.  It’s easy for any consultancy to draw a line between ‘green zone’ and ‘red zone’ clients based on ease to work with, collaboration which leads to business outcomes and an empathy layer to understand the day to day challenges. It is not hard to guess which type of client the teams will naturally push harder and consistently for. 

You spend a third of your day working to ensure client success. It seems fair that there is a camaraderie that leads to collective success. Here’s a quick guide to ensure we don’t get into an “it’s not you, it’s me” situation:

1. Assign the right teams – The most understated method to ensure long term client success. Yet, agencies often prioritize the availability of resources over anything else. When’s the last time you pulled a servicing or content executive from an account for another because they were a better fit for a new challenge? Matching client personalities is also an art for operation managers to master.

2. Learning to say no – There are few teams whose default mode is to settle for mediocrity. Everyone wants to do more, achieve more, and set a high benchmark. This often leads to your team being predisposed to saying yes to everything a client has to suggest. A higher premium is set on catering to client requests despite their validity which inevitably leads to failure to deliver.

3. First impressions – The pitch stage is a window into the future of the client relationship. Repeat this statement over twice. Pushy clients don’t miraculously accept the virtue of patience to see long term results. Hard bargainers will think twice about campaign budgets. Opportunistic clients will think that they can poach your best performers to begin a glorious era of in-house teams. Pick them at your own peril.

4. Adapt to client platforms – Collaboration is a keyword that defines agency and client success. It can be as simple as the chat platform that both partners use to communicate (Slack versus Whatsapp, OneDrive versus Google Docs). This seems trivial on paper, but understanding and adapting to this early can make a world of difference.

A lot of these observations seem to fly in the face of the market dynamics agencies face today. But the long term implications that a toxic client will have on your team’s mental and professional well being are far more impactful.  It is not easy to say no business that comes knocking at your door. A lot of times leadership sets the tone on how a client relationship evolves as teams will follow suit. This is why it is important to catch early signs, set expectations right, and be able to keep pace with the required aggressiveness of the market that your client inhabits.

Blog News

Little Deeper About Cones

By Mayank Khanna

Corona Immune strategies (Cone), named after the business environment created by COVID-19, is basically a package of new and innovative marketing strategies keeping human psychology in mind, to support business strategies in a Volatile-Uncertain-Complex-Ambiguous (VUCA) world. 

Businesses are affected by the lockdown: people are panicking because of layoffs and restrictions, economies have slumped, world recession seems around the corner and life seems at a standstill. Many businesses are finding it difficult to comprehend the steps to take in order to not fade into oblivion, because of the current market scenario.

Cones, the package of new and innovative ways to combat the rising volatility, can be the way ahead for marketing managers, in particular, and businesses, in general. The following Cone strategy can be adapted:

  • Content Marketing: A marketing approach for the creation of valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain the target audience.

Idea to implement

Create awareness, generate interest, establish emotional connect, or entice existing customers. The focus should lay on providing solutions to relevant pressing matters.


No-contact delivery” and “Best Safety Standards” introduced by Swiggy to meet the safety concerns of its consumers. 

  • Colour Psychology: It states how colours play a role in the visibility, recognition, and perception of brands.

Idea to implement

Using colours that best suit the purpose. 

For instance, yellow is said to induce cheerfulness and happiness. Since social distancing has nurtured gloomy days using yellow can be refreshing and catchy for user attention.


Zomato uses the colour red, as it is said to stimulate the appetite. Therefore, assisting in its food delivery business.

  • Conversions after Brand Equity: A Brand’s recall value, perception, and engagement should be of prime focus (exception being businesses that are in the essential goods and services industries). Focussing on conversion can result in negative brand perception. 


Dominos partnering with ITC Foods for “Doorstep Zero contact delivery” of essential items in Bangalore can garner traction.

  • Social Media Marketing: It is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service.

Idea to implement

Every social media platform has its niche. Use content that best suits the platform: this increases organic engagement. 

Videos and blogs have a longer shelf life as compared to posts, as they are searchable, thus, making them evergreen.

In terms of paid-ads, interstitials and ad banners increases engagement. Geo-fencing and SEO through keyword research can be productive.

Also, the website and mobile application working on the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) would provide a refreshing view.

  • Socially Responsible Marketing: This focuses on attracting consumers willing to make a positive impact with their purchases. The brand builds an emotional connection with the audience, which creates a positive brand perception and augments conversion rate.


Marico claimed that the share value of Nihar Naturals in the east grew from 19.5 percent to 21.5 percent in January-October 2011 – the duration of the marketing campaign (wherein 2% of the sales proceeds would go towards student’s education) against a drop of 0.3 percent in the same period, the previous year.

Even though the above marketing strategies might help you in holding onto your spot; creativity, relatability, and intent to solve problems, always garners more traction. Thus, in such critical times, the agenda for marketeers should be to reach where their audience is, being sensitive, showing empathy and laying focus on consumer sentiments.

Blog News

Branded Content Literacy

My flatmate and I, each booking separate taxies to our work, set off for the day not knowing we would run into each other at the same event. Belonging to different companies, little did we know we would be consuming the same content at the same time and from the same amazon of sources. Though it was not inconceivable being the communication industry where everything under the sun is interlinked.

This is the case with many, if not all brands. Consumers of n number of brands rapidly consume content at the same time and often from the same source. You may find both a doctor and a DJ at the same dinner reception preferring different cuisines. But the underlining difference is the kind of questions they may ask about the content, in this analogy – the food: What food is being served? As opposed to what alcohol is on the menu. All jokes and stereotypes aside, naturally as marketers we target a certain audience who will potentially enjoy the idea and purchase our product. And sometimes we see brands marketing products that may not answer all the questions of all the consumers be it in healthcare sector, electronics sector, or food.

My question is – How should a brand sound when speaking to this entire gamut of consumers. Should they sound ‘massy’ or focus on uber targeted content.

It is a logic which stems from the fundamental concept of the marketing mix – 4Ps. Philip Kotler defines this as a set of ‘controllable variables’. ­­ But how does it matter when we cannot measure it, let alone control it. This was the different side of marketing which my aforementioned flatmate had asked at the very same event we attended.

“How do we measure impact even if it is 0.3%?”

Branded content is subtle. It is not ‘push’, neither is it fundamentally ‘pull’. The two are strategies suitable for various market scenarios. And branded content is a concept which breathes a fire of its own in creating values instead of being a canon of ads yelling the word ‘ME’.

Many brands successfully pull off this aspect of sublety by creating impact through means of content and not traditional placement. Typical branded content prioritizes the experience first, and then adds its name to it. For example – in this record-breaking free fall from the stratosphere, one will find a number of brands mentioned along the course of the video which will set the vibe and tonality of the brand. These are things consumers remember for a lifetime. We can refer to the Maslow’s theory for a more indepth understanding of the field.

Advertising has changed a lot. A student who studied advertising & film in the early 90s will know different things from a student studying advertising & film now. The media is a highly dynamic environment and demands scalability in terms of content and technology. And to my opinion – we are abusing the privileges of accessibility. Give a man a fish, he will survive for the day, give him a fishing rod, and he will survive forever. But we seem to be given a fishing rod only to catch things that we shouldn’t, for example, an endangered whale. Advertising must be regulated and measured for best practices and impact. Which brings us to data analytics in digital content – but that is a debate for another day until we understand the difference between sponsored and branded content; and finding the number of brands cheekily named in this blog.