Entrepreneurship is all about applying your cumulative learnings to build an intangible experience for your customers by taking things to the next level.

Vishal Purohit, our next pathbreaker, Brand Strategist, talks to The Interview Portal about combining his experiences in Advertising, Marketing and Brand Management in his Entrepreneurial venture, Cheese & Crackers which provides a coherent and unified content strategy for brands.

For students, Entrepreneurship is nothing but waiting for the right opportunity at the right time, to fill an unmet market need

Vishal, tell us about your background?

I am a bachelors in Commerce from Mumbai University. I then completed my MBA in Marketing from Mumbai University. Having started my career in advertising with FCB ULKA where I managed brands like Tata Indicom, Bajaj Consumer Care, Tata Mutual Fund, IDBI etc, i moved on to the marketing side, heading Brand Marketing for Tata Teleservices Ltd. and later heading Brand and Resort Marketing for Club Mahindra. Three years ago, I started my entrepreneurial journey with my own content production house called Cheese and Crackers. We create a lot of video and still content for our clients. Some of the brands for which we have created content for include Club Mahindra, Thomas Cook, Start Gold, ACC Cement, Fevicol, Rustomjee, SOTC, Jalesh Cruises, Lawman Time Gear, Emerson to name a few.

What did you do for graduation/post graduation?

I graduated in Commerce from Mithibai College and my post graduation(MBA) was from N.L.Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research

What made you choose such an offbeat, conventional and fascinating career?

I was strongly influenced by Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi in the field of Advertising, as well as mentors, Joemon Thaliath and Kavinder Singh over the course of my career.

Also, the explosion of digital media made me realise that there is a lot of scope to create perpetual content for brands

I feel the biggest turning point was Digital Penetration exploding with Jio around 5 years back

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path

I think my internship in Mudra Advertising was a key step in my movement towards an advertising/brand marketing role.  

My Summer Project on “The launch of Reliance Prepaid Mobile”  which involved consumer research, consumer insighting and communication strategy exposed me to all aspects of advertising and communication and it was an amazing learning experience. This stint pretty much sealed the deal for me. I was convinced that this where I wanted to be. The icing on the cake was being judged one of the best summer project reports within our college and in external inter collegiate competitions.

I started my career at FCB ULKA in Account Management, the idea obviously was to understand the client’s business as well if not better than the client itself, so as to offer robust and effective communication solutions. Additionally, ensuring that there is a smooth work flow across functions from Planning to Creative to Studio to Films was another important part of the work flow. And lastly, working on new business development to drive growth year on year.

In my Role as a Brand Head ( Tata Teleservices and Club Mahindra), the role contributed in multiple ways:

1) Driving pull for the brand and brand health scores.(Awareness, Contribution etc.)

2) Head the Brand Strategy Planning, Brand Communication, Experiential Marketing, DigitalContent Creation and Resort Marketing

3) Driving Consumer Insights across members and prospects to enhance the brand experience

4) Driving Planning and Execution of the Media Strategy

5) Work closely with the Branch Sales and Resort Operations teams in ensuring effective implementation of the marketing plan

Having worked in advertising across varied set of brands over a 3-and-a-half-year period, movement to a brand marketing role seemed a natural progression. Having spent over 6 years in telecom in a brand role and having learnt a lot, given that telecom was booming at that point of time in India, hospitality seemed like a good shift around 2011. And then having spent another 6 years in hospitality, I felt the urge to start off as an entrepreneur in an area I thought I could bring a lot of value to, given my experience, of over 15 years and the relationships I had built. And that’s how I got into Content Production for brands

How did you get your first break?

At FCB Ulka Advertising, through campus Placement

Where do you work now? 

We are a Content Production House. We believe that in today’s cluttered media space, powerful, relevant, high quality & cost effective video and still content is the need of the hour for Brands, People, Celebrities & Businesses. Just like a slice of Cheese completes a Cracker, we believe we complete a Brand’s Content Strategy requirements

  1. I am entrepreneur and the biggest challenge is to ensure that we don’t rest on our laurels and continuously aim to push the bar higher.
  2. The other challenge is to keep the curiosity alive and constantly learn given the VUCA world we live in.

How does your work benefit the society? 

It benefits brands and Marketers as we are able to produce high quality and low cost content for them, primarily in the digital space.

Given the volume of production, I am able to generate income for cameramen to light men to other aspects of film production, thus playing my part in keeping the economy moving and generating income for a whole set of people.

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

The work on Women’s day for Club Mahindra, A new year’s campaign for Club Mahindra, World Engineers’ Day campaign for ACC cement, The Fevicol Edgefix product film for Pidilite are some of the campaigns that come to mind. Fevicol Edgefix – Objective was to launch this new product and explain its usages to Contractors and Carpenters. But instead of a DIY film, we created an interesting concept where the problem and then the solution was amplified in an interesting sing-song fashion, so that it could cut the clutter and also strike a chord with the intended audience.
(in the case being the contractors and carpenters). Thy Fevicol brand name obviously helped in the trust factor. We scripted and produced this launch film.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

There is no alternative to hard work. Be passionate, be relentless, be continually focusses in your pursuit to excellence in doing whatever you love to pursue.

Future Plans?

Continuing to do the good work in terms of content production that we have been doing in the first three years of our existence and making “Cheese & Crackers” one of the top brands in India when it comes to Content Production.