An Interview with Mr. Raghu Bhat, Founder Director,
Scarecrow Communications Ltd.
By Karan Mange, Correspondent, BMS.co.in
- Tell us something about yourself?
I am a B.Tech In Chemical Engg from Benaras Hindu University. I shifted to advertising because I realized that right brain thinking comes more naturally to me than left brain thinking. Having said that, my engineering background trained me to work within constraints. Constraints of time and resources. This is invaluable in my field as advertising exists at the intersection of art and commerce. I have a total of 15 years experience in India’s top agencies like Ogilvy, McCann and Contract Advertising.
- Tell us something about your business?
We create and execute communication solutions for our brands. These can be TV, print, outdoor, digital or Below the line Activities. We have 2 offices in Mumbai and Delhi and handle around 35 brands across 4 cities including Danone, Reliance, Emami, Bacardi, Quikr, ITC, Rupa, Religare to name a few. We have a design cell, Scarecrow Designs that creates design solutions for clients like SBI Life and Glenmark.
- What is your philosophy towards work?
Be positive, be happy, be focused. This improves productivity. Manage time well. That is the key to the vault of riches.
- Whom do you admire as your role model?
My role model is Agatha Christie. She is the finest observer of human behavior I have ever seen. Her understanding of human psychology and human motivations was outstanding. If not a writer, she would have been a truly great copywriter.
- “Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.
We live in an era of scarcity. Scarcity of time, resources, talent and money. In this context, management is critical. Management prevents wastage, creates efficiency and over a period of time produces greatness. Could the Pyramids have been built without management? Could Messi have become the player he is, without the right management of his talent? No way.
- Name 3 qualities of prime importance that an entrepreneur should possess.
He should be capable of superhuman effort. He should be a pragmatist. And though it sounds like a contradiction, he should also be able to dream. He should be a good manager- of money, people and time. Just think Steve Jobs.
- According to you, what are the challenges for Entrepreneurship today?
Entrepreneurship is the postpone-ment of gratification. It’s sacrificing short-term pleasure for long-term happiness. The most difficult part is starting up. You need a believer who will back you with funds. You also need to start delivering soon as people are looking for ROI almost immediately. After the teething problems, the challenge is to build a sustainable organization and a differentiated culture and ethos.
- Can Entrepreneurship be taught in B-Schools/Management Institutes/Colleges?
Yes, why not? Colleges can play a big role in sensitizing young people towards entrepreneurship as a viable career option. They are some things only experience can teach but sowing the seeds or lighting the spark, is something an institute can do, really well.
- Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?
There are opportunities all around us. There are also many willing investors. So the important thing is to
a) Develop domain expertise
b) Develop not just a theoretical business model but more importantly, execution capabilities
c) Find an investor who believes in you. And you are on.
- Is the Name of the Institute from where a student pursues his/her Graduation/Post Graduation or other courses important while setting up your business?
Not at all. Investors look at people and what they have achieved in the real world, not academic qualifications. The reason for this is, entrepreneurship is about actually doing it, rather than talking about it. A pilot with flying experience rather than than someone who has read a book on how to fly a plane.
- “Earning more & more is the motive behind any business.” Is it justifiable?
It’s not so much about ‘earning more’, it’s more about the fundamental human need to grow. People are happiest when they have goals and it’s no different for entrepreneurs.
- Share with us the most enjoyable & most embarrassing moment you had experienced on work.
– Winning our first pitch Religare Macquarie when my visiting card said, Raghu Bhat, Office: Barista, Shivaji Park.
– Winning pitches like Reliance Mutual Fund, Bacardi and McCormick against 10-12 MNC agencies.
Embarassing: Landing up at a pitch for an e-commerce client alone. From the client’s side, they were 15 people including a Chinese, German and NRI investor.
About Mr. Raghu:
Founder Director, Scarecrow Communications Ltd.
Founder, Fungus Designs
IT BHU (B. Tech-Chem Engg)
NMIMS – PGDACM
After completing his B.Tech in Chemical Engineering, Raghu started his career in Berger Paints, as a management trainee. He chucked that to join advertising, because as he reasoned- ‘any job that lets u come to work in jeans and chappals can’t be all that bad’. He is currently engaged in expanding operations of his own agency, Scarecrow Communications. In his last job, Raghu was with Contract Advertising India as Senior Vice President & Executive Creative Director, handling brands like Cadbury, Asian Paints, Tata Indicom, Aegon Religare and HSBC. Before Contract, he has also worked in O&M (Delhi, Mumbai & Malaysia), Ambience Publicis and McCann Erickson where he handled brands like Liril, Essar Mobile store, Nerolac, Hanes Undergarments, Wonderbra, Vaseline, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Marico, UTI and NDTV. He has won over 50 International Awards / Finalists at acclaimed shows like Cannes Festival, D&AD London, One Show, apart from over 100 national awards like CAG, Abby and Goafest. He was ranked No.2 (in 2006) and No.3 (in 2005) in the “Hottest Creative People from India” list, compiled by Campaign Brief Asia Magazine, Australia. With his partner Manish Bhatt, one of his recent projects has been to create the look, feel & communication of Goafest 2008. He has created several blockbuster campaigns on Aegon Religare (KILB, Irfan Pension & Star Child), Asian Paints Tractor (Budget shadi), Tata Indicom (Hello Hello & Ghar ka Phone), Nerolac (Shalini Chopra), Cadbury Celebrations (Lalten with Sachin & Amitabh Bachchan), Vaseline (Aloe Fresh), Britannia Good Day, Parachute & Elle 18. His films for Royal Enfield and Hanes Undergarments won a silver & a bronze at Asia Pacific Adfest, Thailand. His Hanes and other films for UTI Bank, The Economic Times, Nutrela and Wonderbra also have been selected in prestigious compilations like SHOTS, London & Luerzers’ TV Archive, Austria. His films for TataPress Yellow Pages & Planet M were selected by BBC ONE for a prime-time programme on the world’s funniest TVCs. His “Respect the National Anthem” & “Hostel (Eye Bank Association of India)” are some of India’s most effective, popular & powerful Public Service Communications ever. In fact “Hostel” is the most viewed Indian TVC on YouTube. Deeply interested in soccer, he has also served as soccer correspondent for Manchester-based site, squarefootball.net under the pseudonym ‘Daniel Raghu’. (After Daniel Amokachi, his fav. African footballer) His short film, ‘Waif’ has won awards at the Barcelona, Chicago and Paris Short Film Festival and earned him an entry into imdb- the world’s largest motion picture and short film portal. He is deeply interested in design, web technologies and search engine optimisation. His twin interests in brand and the web has led him to creat Fungus Designs- a company that collaborates with avant garde graphic designers from Buenos Aires, Paris, Australia and Colombia and manufactures a premium range of design merchandise.
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