Who are we?
Flarepath, Social Media Agency is a team of perpetually bored people, headed by Saurabh Kanwar, who need the excitement and frisson of terrific creative ideas, and the real-time buzz of social and digital to feel like they are alive. Kidding (but only slightly)!
The firm was incubated within Nexsales Corp, a B2B demand-generation firm that was focused on global markets, as a division since 2011; it recently spun out as an independent entity.
The current team of 30, as well as the alumni, is studded with folks with a significant and influential following of their own across genres like music, fashion, humour, art, entertainment, marketing, and other specialties. They handle a diverse variety of enterprise-class brands across lifestyle, retail, entertainment, media, travel and Bollywood, celebrities, as well as leading digital and media agencies.
What’s in the name?
A flarepath is classically the outline made by an airport’s runway lights, which guides a pilot during a plane landing. We tie this back to the work that the firm does: helping bring high-flying brands home safely in the bumpy, dangerous world of social media. Also, the two words ‘flare’ and ‘path’ together signify ‘energy with a distinct direction’.
The name Flarepath was actually recommended to a client for a corporate identity project, but the client preferred ‘Indian’ options. The team however, liked the name so much that when it was time to name the business, we decided to retain Flarepath for ourselves.
What we do?
Flarepath covers the gamut of marketing and business promotion across digital and social media: content creation and dissemination, social media and digital campaign management, community creation, influencer relations, event and media planning, social ads, apps and video.
All of the above are based on a strong brand management approach and strategic marketing planning.
Ultimately, the firm is a hybrid model for today’s marketing needs: part ad agency + part production house + part TV channel + part special-interest magazine publisher = content based marketing solutions firm.
Why we do it?
Flarepath was the somewhat unexpected result of Saurabh Kanwar’s quixotic mission (unexpected, because it was without the luxury of a real plan, since the industry didn’t really exist) – to bring digital and social media up to the class, depth and value that mainstream media, especially Television, carried.
The focus, since the genesis of the firm, has always been to provide provable, repeatable marketing solutions that deliver to business objectives, while being relevant and interesting to the new social customer of today.
How we evolve?
The most important for Flarepath’s growth is that the team maintains strong connections to their passions and interests (which isn’t just tweeting), and has a life that doesn’t revolve entirely around their work. The ideas generated are thus, grounded in market reality and do not come from an arbitrary ivory tower which knows nothing about how the world runs.
Also, most of the team has worked with TV brands, so the core content marketing draws strongly from those practices.
But above all, since the medium itself is so young and dynamic, we have our clients’ blessings to go out and experiment time and again so that the outcomes get stronger, and we grow because we are helping the category itself grow (rather than chase its coat-tails).
Social responsibility in social media
The team as well as all clients are urged to follow “don’t lie, don’t misrepresent, don’t be corporate” in all communication and activities.
Besides this, the TV industry has a great model called Standards and Practices, which helps regulate content so that it doesn’t hurt or damage anybody’s interests or lifestyles. Adapted for digital media, it helps keep the work socially aware.
Need of the hour
Digital laws that respect our fundamental constitutional rights, instead of behaving like they were hatched at the time of the telegram.
Internal self-governance by the digital industry – to protect and ensure growth of the sector, ensure timely client payments, as well as hiring/poaching norms to prevent what has happened with other industries.
We learned the hard way
- In the short term, social media will not change the world. In the long run, TV and social/digital will be indistinguishable from each other.
- No one can ‘sell’ the idea of social media marketing to a client – they either feel the need for it, or they don’t.
- If your great digital idea does not work on TV (or print, or outdoor) it probably won’t scale on digital media either. The best ideas are platform-agnostic.
- Twitter influencers (and top bloggers) are innately good marketing thinkers.
- Stop giving away iPads to get engagement.
- Ideas age much faster on social media.
- You can’t satisfy the trolls. Don’t engage them, but don’t ignore them.
Did we just share that?
Most of them relate to how clients view our daily work:
Client: “Why can’t you change the font of the Facebook ad?”
Us: “Hi Client, we’ve kicked off the Twitter contest 5 minutes back” Client: “Why isn’t it trending yet?”
Client: “I’ve taken a photo of the QR code, but nothing happened”
Also, more often than we like, we have hidden behind Facebook’s analytics dashboard and its eccentricities to help explain some snafu. Damn them for the new efficient one! :)
They work with us
Over 300 campaigns for over 64 brands: Diesel, Times Group (TV), OgilvyOne, Priyanka Chopra, Musafir, Flickbay, Universal Music India, Steve Madden, Balaji Telefilms, Excel Entertainment, Rajshri Production, LFTC, Fox star Studio, UTV Television, Bloomberg, Walt Disney Pictures, Sony Music, Rolling Stone, Vans, Timberland, Aza, Ermenegildo Zegna, OMD, Starcom, East India Comedy.
Industry as we foresee
The Indian industry, based just on the sheer size and dynamism with respect to other social media markets, has the potential to be a global leader, just like Software was in the last decade.
At the same time, mainstream media and social media cannot remain two distinct organisms, and over time, they will evolve to form a hybrid that will be bigger than the sum of its parts.
A day without Internet
It would like one of the gory scenes from The Hunger Games :D