Passing by the security gate, one gets the feeling of an old machinery company with huge white walls and an open space used for parking. I make my way through the open space and finally find the entrance where I’m greeted by a bunch of youngsters, armed with their morning cups ready to start the day. May be they had a long night at work or perhaps a client wanted last minute changes. Life in a digital agency is always on the go, here changes in a campaign happen in run time and work happens round the clock.
Finally, when the security guard opens the door, I get the feeling that I’m in a digital agency, I feel I’m at a college. I am at the new affluent office of Experience Commerce, a Mumbai based digital agency which survives on youth to deliver creative work targeted to today’s youth in the country.
Whether it be the Lenovo A6000 or A7000 smartphone launch, the new positioning of Britannia Bourbon or the #RCBInsider web series for IPL8 for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Experience Commerce has created a new benchmark in digital marketing in the country.
“Creative thinking is in the DNA of our entire agency. I believe that we cannot survive by traditionally typecasting people as left-brained or right. At EC we espouse the belief in ‘whole-brain’ thinking, a theory that is backed by modern science. Our technology team is as creative, as our social media team or content team. Creativity is not just about cracking a big communications idea – it is as much about writing smartcode or cracking an agile production method when faced with near impossible deadlines” said Sandip Maiti, Founder and CEO at Experience Commerce (EC). The agency, therefore, has literally broken down the walls between technology, copy, content & art teams and encourages people to work together on bringing alive big ideas for the consumer.
EC has spent a great deal of thought in designing the reception. Sandip elaborates that apart from other guests, there are applicants who keep visiting the agency and spend time in the reception. “Our idea was that they should experience the cool factor of EC brand, from the moment they walk in, thus making it irrelevant for our HR team to talk about it. We want to remain true to our belief that it all starts with ‘experience’, just like our name.”
The reception area has a big screen where the animated EC logo keeps changing with mood changes. There is a handle @Namaste_EC, if you send a tweet to the account with #life, you get to see a video that shows how cool is the life in the agency.
Right next to it at one end, there is a small tab that gives a preview of the work that EC is known for. The other end has few cool transparent cabins where most of the interviews happen. The entire reception area has shades of fluorescent green derived from EC’s logo.
The next exciting space that Sandip was keen to show after the workspace was not his cool small cabin that is nothing more than a lounge, it was the relaxation space or the area to recharge. After you pass by the workspace and conference rooms, a small door opens up the world of joy.
The first thing you see is a doubles game of table tennis being played and the much needed carom board. The other end of the huge room had a couch with joysticks lying around and a big flat screen mounted on the wall, the latest version of Xbox waiting in invitation.
Pass through the room, you land up in another room that looks more like a squash court being used as a gym, rumba classes and belly dancing too. “Digital agency life is a stressful life. I want my employees to come here, relax, get recharged and go back to work. There is no fixed timing for all these recreations, if you feel that you want to start the day with a FIFA game on the Xbox then so be it.”
We take the stairs and land up in a cafeteria which has a reading section in one corner, followed by a kitchen that gives you the feeling as if you have walked into a bar. In fact the agency turns into a beer night on Fridays.
The cafeteria also has a brainstorming space and a huge screen that acts as a theater attached for the much required movie nights. “The screen is used for movies, live matches and for work. The cafeteria is again an open space, people come here, have their food, sometimes they work from here as the entire office is connected.”
Inside Experience Commerce _________________________ The cafeteria has a reading area, a couch to have a much required nap post lunch, Friday drinks bar and a movie theater too. I won’t complain working in weekends too 😉 #digitalagencylife #digitalagency #mumbai A photo posted by Lighthouse Insights (@lighthouseinsights) on
The cafeteria has the distinguishing shades of the logo, otherwise the agency decor isn’t loud staying true to the character of the entire EC team. We don’t flaunt our achievements, informed Aarti Shah, Creative Director at EC and also the lady who volunteered her time to design the new office. The design is muted and largely one would find only shades of fluorescent green and grey.
The walls are grey and empty as of now but very soon they will be occupied by 3D artworks, a very unique form of art inspired by our own campaigns. “We always talk about how Facebook and Google do up their workspaces in the valley and forever complain that it can’t be done in India. At EC you can see for yourself that it is not about money and big budgets. Its all about the vision and commitment to take your team’s health and well-being extremely seriously.”
The shift to the new office has come at its own expense and risk but Sandip has had his way out. He believes that this open culture is not hampering the agency any way. “Today’s youth is responsible and they are well informed about what is happening in the world. I sit with them for five minutes and my knowledge cells are recharged. We have inverted the learning pyramid. The bosses learn from their juniors about what is happening and what is not. We rap with some of our brightest and youngest for fifteen minutes and come out more enlightened than reading trends.”
Going ahead Sandip wants to bring a defined exit culture with new recruits. For instance if a person wants to join the firm for just one year, Sandip is open to it. “We want our employees to be open with us about their life goals both short and long term, and we will see how best can we can put together a program that works best for both in that period, and makes them better prepared for future. The challenge is that most young people under 25 are yet to discover themselves and have unique lifestage challenges. They need lot of early-stage mentoring and flexibility to be able to unlock the value they can deliver; and we often rely on peer based mentoring to see them through tough times.”
By the time we ended our tour I felt like I was young again amidst youngsters who are the driving wheels of the agency.
“Future is with those who are with the youth” – Adolf Hitler. EC is marching towards the future on the right shoulders.