Social Media Agency Feature: Manhattan Communications

Who are we?

Founded in 2009, Manhattan Communications India Pvt Ltd, is a 360 degree Digital services agency with offices in the U.S, Canada, U.K and India. We work with over 100 clients across the globe including marquee brands and multinationals.

Our management board comprises of the best minds from the industry who guide the company’s growth with their vast knowledge and experience.

Adris Chakraborty, Founder & Chairman is a pioneer multicultural marketer, credited for successfully exposing the importance of marketing to the South Asian Diaspora in North America. He has facilitated the entry of many South Asian clients into North America. Adris is frequently called to consult on strategy and best practices for marketing to South Asians across the globe.

His recent ventures include launching the full service advertising agency Manhattan Communications India with focus on digital marketing including the Ad network – Ethnic Online Network that targets Ethnic markets worldwide and 360 degree digital services including Social Media, Search and Reputation management.

He started his career in International Banking and holds a Masters in Economics from the University of Calcutta. He lives in New York, USA.

Shantonu Aditya is the Co-promoter and Director of the company. He is also the CEO for India operations. He is a MBA from XLRI and has over 30 years of work experience in a number of businesses – Media, FMCG and Industrial Products across functions. In media, he has worked with Sony Entertainment Television and Disney UTV. He turned entrepreneur in 2010. At Manhattan, while traditional media business continues to grow, he is now focusing on our global Online and Digital business.

Shantonu has varied interests – Technology and Equity markets being the major ones. He is based in Mumbai, India.

Sandip Tarkas, Independent Director, graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay and Business Management from IIM Bangalore. He has worked in areas as diverse as oil production to Sales, Marketing and Media Management.

During his stint in advertising media investment management, he was involved in three successful start-ups on the agency side (MindShare Fulcrum India, MindShare Fulcrum Sri Lanka and MPG). Sandip is currently with Future Group, India. At Future Group, Sandip’s Customer Strategy role involves owning the customer relationships from end-to-end, including Loyalty, Insights, and Media. He is the CEO of Future Media – which is the retail media specialist company of Future Group, and T24 that is a unique Telecom-cum-retail-loyalty programme offering of Future Group.

Sandip is an avid reader and movie and cricket buff and also practices Hindustani Classical music. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Chinten Shah, Business Head (Digital) has worked with over 75 National brands with an overall experience of more than 12 years. With a proven track record in strategic growth and increase in revenue for an SBU, he is well known in the industry to be a commercial negotiator who specializes in optimizing and heading business operations.

His previous experience includes being the Head of Digital Sales for Viacom18. He was also a partner at a community based advertising portal in Canada. He carries with himself immense experience of working for various clients like Baskin Robbins, Godrej, Morphy Richards, CEAT Tyres, IDEA, Valvoline Cummins Ltd, ICICI Bank and many more.

What’s in the name?

We started the business in New York addressing the needs of the NRIs and the South Asian diaspora, hence, the name Manhattan. Since the time of our conception, we have grown to become a complete ethnic agency (covering Hispanic and East European markets as well) and now to a mainstream digital agency.

What we do?

We offer 360 degree Online Marketing services:

  • On-line Advertising – We represent about 10,000 publishers globally through our ad network – and can target audiences and demographics suited specifically as per client’s requirements.
  • Social Media – We handle the strategy and execution of campaigns across Social Media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram for a number of clients in the FMCG, BFSI, Real Estate, Media and Telecom sectors.
  • Online Reputation management – We manage this using a number of ORM tools for a number of our clients.
  • Search – We are experts in SEO, PPC and usability. All our team members are Certified Google Analysts.
  • Web development and hosting – We offer complete creative services from Conceptualization to execution. The team consists of Art Directors, Visualizers, UX/UI designers and Project managers. We also offer website hosting services for clients.
  • Technology services – We are developing a Programmatic software platform to ensure best delivery and efficiency of campaigns based on client’s specific requirements. That shall include a Supply side platform and Real time bidding features as well. The platform will be designed to ensure effective digital investment results for our clients.

Why we do it?

The Online business, both on the Internet and Mobile is growing rapidly across the globe. As the market gets more fragmented, we believe that agencies like ours that are focused on specific ethnic services shall stand to benefit. Advertisers are no longer looking at mass advertising but are targeting specific demographics and ethnicities based on behavioral trends across the globe. This is where our expertise lies.

How we evolve?

From 4 employees, a few years back, we have now grown to 40. We are maintaining a topline CAGR of 100% for the last few years. We are targeting to reach 100 employees by the end of 2015. Earlier we had offices in New York and Mumbai, but now our offices have grown to London, Toronto and in the near future – Dubai (by Jan 2015).

The industry is growing fast and we want to be leaders here. This shall be driven by – Technology and Tools to monetize that technology.  We can grow much faster but we never lose sight of topline and profitability. We believe that this space is overcrowded and only the strongest shall survive.

Social responsibility in social media

Agencies need to clearly explain to clients regarding the expectations and deliverability from social media. Unfortunately, sometimes both clients and agencies get carried away and build huge expectaions.

Social Media is not just about “likes” and “fans” but about quality, relevant and engaged audiences.

Need of the hour

The entry barrier in this business is very low. Hence, agencies are mushrooming every day. Many do not survive beyond a few months. Agencies need to clearly be business and bottom line focused.

Also, Social networking laws are not properly drafted yet. Hence, a lot of “dos and don’ts” are still evolving.

We learned the hard way

The fact is we have had quite a few learnings but all for the good.


  • Hiring quality people is the key to success. Employees must be passionate and driven.
  • Pitching and winning Accounts is critical.
  • Retaining important clients even more so.
  • Keep a focus on Cash flows and profitability always. If you have no Cash, even the best of ideas and clients are of no use.

Did we just share that?

  • A major client just wanted Fans & Likes and to have the most active Social media page in the industry. We refused but some agency took that offer. The client released soon that the approach had backfired.
  • Almost all clients expect the moon from Digital Media. They ask questions that they would never ever ask mass media agencies in the Print or TV business. They expect online media to give those leads and revenue, solve their customer service problems and want detailed analytics. Sometimes the demands can be unreasonable.

They work with us

The best of brands works with us – Lifestyle products, Education, Travel, Fashion, Healthcare, Telecom, Food & Beverages, Real Estate, Finance, etc.

Here’s a list of our clients.

Industry as we foresee

The industry is bound to change rapidly. In future, there will be even more transparency and analytics. In Social media, we see clear shift from the current models. Many of the Social media platforms shall undergo revolutionary shifts and some may not exist at all.

Overall, businesses that have deep pockets or have good cash flows shall survive.

A day without Internet

Cannot imagine that!! Worse than a day without electricity or water!

Lastly, are you hiring?

Yes.  We are looking for passionate and driven persons in the areas of Business Development, Publishing and Operations, Creative services and Technology.