It is a platform that brings businesses face-to-face with the people who might have creative solutions to their marketing and advertising problems. For many, this is a mall where you can sell and purchase creativity. It is a stage where you can showcase your creative talents and find avenues of making them you career. It is a place where you can wear your lateral thinking cap with aplomb.
The most recent recognition that CreADvity has been honored with has been winning a place in the Entrepreneurial Acceleration Program (EAP) organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) in July 2008 , making creADivity a TiE-EAP venture. creADivity has excellent support from TiE in terms of contacts and opportunities for partnerships and business.
CEO Profile: Mr. Sitashwa Srivastava, currently the CEO & Co-Founder, creADivity is an established name in the Advertising & Design industry. An MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, Mr.Sitashwa has worked with Cognizant Business Consulting as an Associate Consultant.
CEO Under Scan: Mr. Sitashwa Srivastava, CEO & Co-Founder, creADivity
Can you please brief us that how you started off with creADivity? The major hurdles you and your team faced and how did you overcome them.
creADivity, as an idea was born during the time I was doing my masters from Great Lakes, Chennai. We had a class on International Entrepreneurship and I shared the concept of creADivity with the professor and the class. Rest is history!
Since then, the last 2 years have seen the idea being built into a business plan, a pilot and now a full- fledged offering. Though still in a nascent stage, we have covered some distance with more than 300 creatives registered on our website from 30 cities across the globe. Importantly, we have been able to attract our initial few clients and as expected, building a client base has been a pretty challenging exercise because we are trying to do things a little differently than the current process and we have to convince our clients that the processes we institute will deliver.
The 4 month pilot which we ran last year helped us in understanding the client’s requirement from grass root level. The period also helped us develop a more elaborate sales plan and stronger offering for startups, AD Agencies & Educational Institutes – the 3 pronged strategy, as we call it.
You are also one of the Founding Partners of I-Startups Consulting, a Startups Consulting Venture. Do you think the business environment today provides an adequate platform for new ventures? What according to you are the missing links in this respect?
I would say the environment today is extremely helpful to startups – from building a business plan to executing it, the environment today offers complete support to the startups.
But I also believe that there does exist a lot of potential which goes untapped and that’s primarily due to two reasons – one being the inability of the startups to approach the right set of people for the job. So many a times, we find so many startups taking support from people who themselves are not the best in business. Two, the fact that the network of investors/startup consultants isn’t the strongest and widest in reach leading to missing out on startups/ideas in tier 2 & 3 cities.
I think these probably are the two areas which the ecosystem needs to be strengthened a little; but overall it’s a very conducive environment for startups.
creADivity is in the business of sharing creativity and ideas online to come up with marketing and/or advertising solutions. What actions do you take to ensure protection of the creative work?
Protection of creative work stands high on priority list of creADivity.
We do make sure that all designs shared with the client carry creADivity’s watermark and hence can’t be used unless bought. Also, we are in process of setting up legal processes across the creADivity platform to ensure that creative work is protected and not copied. We are trying to ensure the best interests of the creatives who contribute to the platform.
What is your product USP?
creADivity is a first of its kind platform to bring the enterprises and creatives at same forum and produce an environment of competitiveness. Unlike most other creative/advertising freelance platforms like where the enterprises and creatives handshake happens based on bidding (pricing) and portfolio based screening, creADivity brings the unique advantage of organizing creative competitions for selection thereby removing the project management process, bringing down the time taken to get a creative process completed and decreasing costs to customers. It also minimizes chances of customer dissatisfaction and plagiarism. Also it aims to become an engine for an end to end advertising & a creative service provider unlike most others who fill in one or two blocks of the entire value chain.
Who are your major competitors? Please comment on the strategies your company is adopting to capture a higher market share amidst stiff competition?
creADivity expects competition from the following quarters:
– Any website or forum where there is absolute freedom of expression – Blogs, for instance
– Traditional Advertising and Design enterprises
– Other companies like creADivity
Rather than take the competition head-on, creADivity will try to collaborate with as many potential competitors as possible. This will be done, largely, by acting as a facilitator and a forum where all of them can come together.
creADivity intends to build itself as a single largest platform providing a handshake between the creatives and buyers. Building alongside the platform, creADivity plans to offer complete spectrum of services in the Advertising & Design domain including design outsourcing and offshoring.
In the coming months, creADivity has plans of building on the creative base by hosting specific competitions for designers in different forums. Also, to strengthen the current solutions portfolio, creADivity intends to launch a few new services & products;
CreIDea Lab – A Virtual Ideation Lab – The lab will work as a virtual laboratory for organizations to test their Ideas and Advertisements before the same are launched.
CreADpack – ADpack wil be creADivity’s solution to SMEs advertising needs helping them build their own marketing and advertising strategy with least investment.
Virtual Brainstorming Forum – creADivity intends to offer moderated brainstorming sessions to its clients with support from creADivity’s Knowledge & Design Partners.
Besides launching the new services, creADivity also aims to collaborate with partners to build presence across the value chain. creADivity has defined the partners in three categories namely Channel Partner (Supporting creADivity’s Service Portfolio), Knowledge Partner (to build on Advertising Knowledge base) & Design Partners (to build & strengthen on the designing front).
What do you think is the most challenging task in the field of advertising?
The biggest challenge is in accurately defining customer requirements and benchmarking expectations. There is a lot research being done in this area and we are also developing a standard for understanding requirements suitably. Sometimes, even the clients do not know what they want so we have to work with them collaboratively to discover their business needs and translate the same into creative requirements.
So I believe it’s the ability to convey the correct message which is most difficult part of advertising.
What kind of background and domain expertise you look for in your employees?
It depends on the role they will be playing but one quality that is kind of necessary in working for any startup, be it creADivity or some other venture, is the entrepreneurial spirit. People who have the passion to work in such an environment and want to stand up and take responsibility and accountability of whatever they want to do are the most preferred lot.
Do you think employees get attracted by the leadership styles’ of C level executives?
Very much! Though, I would put it a little differently – its not just C level executives but the leadership which matters. So even a project manager in a company can make a huge difference in how his team delivers & on the flip side a CEO might not attract the right talent if his style isn’t most conducive.
How do you see this present economic downturn? Do you think the right part of the world will emerge as a leader finally?
It’s very difficult to predict right now. The way things are currently going, I am sure there’s much more to come. It’s always the right side which emerges as leader but there’s no economy which doesn’t depend on US economy and so my belief is any recovery whatsoever will depend on America’s recovery.
Even if we look at India or China, we have lots of dependence on US & UK and it’s too early to say that India or China can get world out of this economic crisis. However, this is the right time for the right part of the world to share some of the innovative business models that thrive here, with the rest of the world. Conditions in countries such as India have always been less conducive for business than in the US so over all these years, a lot of innovation has happened in the way we do business.
Where do you see the field of online marketing / advertising 5 years from now and how do you see your company evolving?
It’s going to be the next big thing in the industry. If you look at the current trends most of the companies already use online marketing and advertising as a branding tool. The percentage of the same is lower in developing countries as compared to US or Europe but that’s primarily due to the lower internet penetration in these areas. As the internet penetration grows, online marketing and advertising will become the most cost effective and efficient branding tool.
We hope to be benefitted with this trend and capture the market far more quickly once we are settled & are known in the market. We have a small team of four people who founded the company along with me and do have our own ramp up plans alongwith launching of newer products and offerings (which I mentioned earlier) in near future.
Do you think that the B-Schools today are on the right path of tapping the creative bent of mind of the potential entrepreneur?
Coming out of a B-school I feel there’s a small gap between what the needs of entrepreneurship are and what typical b-school education offers. But then they never aim to make an entrepreneur of a person but a manager and I believe that’s something they are doing extremely well.
May be there’s a need of E-Schools (Entrepreneurship) or like many say you cant teach entrepreneurship, it has to come by just doing it. Incubation Centers can be a termed as a good example of schools which give a wonderful opportunity to young entrepreneurs who are looking to set up their ventures.
Do think management education help you in real Business world.
Yes, it gives you a more holistic view to the business environment.
Who is your role model?
I don’t have any role models as such. But I do observe people a lot and try to pick up anything I like.
What are the basic Do’s and Don’ts that shall be followed in Entrepreneurship?
I am completely against a Do’s and Don’ts list. There’s no right and wrong across ventures, across different situations. A wrong for me might be a right for someone else.
But some basics which one should always keep in mind are not to go against ethics. We have seen so many companies going unethical and losing within hours, whether its Enron or the latest saga of Satyam.
On the Do’s list – Entrepreneurship requires lots of passion, motivation and determination. So by all means have the right people around you who can support you in achieving the above three. Also, make sure when you start-up you select a team which can add value.