Who are we?
Influx is a digital agency that started out of the founder’s bedroom in Chennai in 2005. At a time when most people were clamoring on to the outsourcing brigade, Influx was formed with a fierce commitment to improving the quality of websites that dotted the Indian internet landscape. From redesigning the Reliance-ADA website in 2005 when the split was announced to re-working the digital presence for brands like Kingfisher Airlines, Big FM, Royal Enfield and Apollo Hospitals to name a few, Influx continues to be seriously committed to providing high quality digital design and development services to India’s leading corporates and enterprises.
Over time, Influx has extended its best-in-class services to the realm of mobile app development, SEO, SEM and online marketing, to transform into a full services digital agency. Currently, the agency has over 65 full-time personnel with presence in Chennai, Dubai and London, with the next office planned in Dallas in Q1 2018.
What’s in the name?
“When we started off, I was 20 and my ‘colleagues’ were 20 and 19. We were young, driven by nothing but passion and knew that the one thing that would differentiate us from the crowd would be the constant flow of ideas that we’d be able to generate. The constant flow translated into a constant influx and thus, the name. More importantly, we also realized that we’d not remain very young for too much longer and would be in a constant state of flux – we’d be always in flux.
What we do?
- Websites, apps, kiosks, etc.
- Marketing collateral
- Other touchpoints (IoT, smart watches, kiosks, etc.)
- Guest Experience
- Digital transformation
- E-commerce setup
Why we do it?
Having entered the industry in the early noughties, our primary motivation then was to improve the quality of websites being developed in India. As more users went digital, they deserved to have platforms that were built around them rather than being built around IT systems that dictated how humans behaved with them.
In today’s times, a similar conundrum exists. At almost every industry event, panels showcase campaigns driven by modern tech such as IoT, AI and ML where most of these examples are works of their network siblings in other parts of the world. With immense amount of tech talent resident in the country, it’s a pity that large scale digital and social campaigns, powered by modern technology, hasn’t gone mainstream. In a lot of cases, it’s also the client who’s yet to find a superhero suit that allows them to think beyond what’s ‘tried and tested’.
How we evolve?
It’s in our name! Being in a constant state of flux, we’re driven by emerging technology and changing needs of consumers. If there’s one thing that’s a constant, it’s what clients want – everything by yesterday!
Social responsibility in social media
Right from the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign to influencing elections, social media has an undeniable role in shaping opinion in today’s world. As a result, it puts agencies such as ours in a precarious position of being able to influence audiences under the pretext of marketing. Our stand is simple – there’s no room for deception.
In 2012, during the last Karnataka Assembly Elections, we ran the social marketing campaign for Times of India and while our mandate was to help increase voter turnout, we ensured we represented nothing but fact. It did help that our client also subscribed to our school of thought.
Audiences are getting smart as well. They’re quickly able to tell fluff from fact and with something ‘breaking’ on social media every day, memories are short lived.
Need of the hour
I believe that unlike other businesses, digital-specific agencies don’t work as closely as they should be. I don’t know if forming an industry body is the solution but just having a group of similar minded agencies working together in non-equity partnership could help solve the problems of –
- availability of high quality talent
- access to resources, nationwide
- clients who don’t respect agencies – fake pitches, unfair practices, delayed or refused payments, etc.
- thought leadership
We learned the hard way
- Agencies don’t go down due to lack of profits. They sink due to mismanaged cash flows. In our business, cash flow is king and unless you manage to stay on top of it, you’ll never see profits of any form.
- We were in active pursuit of a Consumer Healthcare corporate to work on one of their health drink brands for a long time. The brand manager led us on promising an upcoming campaign. Out of the blue, the BM asked if we could translate an ad script (3 pages, over 1000 words) into Tamil and Bengali as a test. We refused to do it free but for a fee. They agreed at a reasonable sum of money for the task and a purchase order was to be released through their media agency. The purchase order came 97 days after we delivered the work and we’re yet to see a single rupee that the purchase order was supposedly worth.
- Today’s youth have no benchmark or yardstick for excellence. Most sport a me-too attitude based on what they see around them in their peer groups and that sets strange expectations of the industry when they get in – whether it’s remuneration, work conditions, projects, etc.
- Clients still aren’t following rationale or empirical evidence to base decisions or campaigns on. They are still driven by what their competition is doing (especially in the Middle East) or that which would impress their management and not exactly their consumers – very disturbing!
Did we just share that?
- We had this curious case of a client who wanted to develop an app within an aggressive 27-day timeline. After much prodding, we were informed that they wanted to do so to ‘gift’ the app to their CEO on his birthday!
- Especially fond and close to our heart is work we’d done for a leading international consumer cyber security brand that was inspired by Shri Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat push. What most people don’t know is that we came up with the concept and had our business development team go sell it to multiple cyber security companies! Luckily for us, the first one we presented to, decided to go for it!
They work with us
Apollo Hospitals, Tally, Clarion Hotels, Hyundai, TVS, The Hindu, Palam Silks, to name a few.
Novo Cinemas, Roxy Cinemas, Du telecom, Emaar Entertainment, Al Kout Mall, amongst others.
Industry as we foresee
Massive consolidation is but imminent, just as seen in advertising agencies earlier. Specialization is a bit trend-based. While about half a decade ago, specialized agencies were sprouting and the demand for them was high, we’re seeing brand managers preferring to go back to full service agencies who’re able to make sense of data and correlate the same with customers and their behavior.
Artificial intelligence will augment human intelligence to try and stay one step ahead of the consumer.
A day without Internet
It’d be hugely inconvenient, given how we’ve allowed the internet to permeate our lives and thus make it easier and us lazier.
However, some part of me does worry about how easily we trust what we see on the internet. Agencies like ours, working for brands that try harder each day to get their customers to make-believe, need to draw an ethical line somewhere to prevent distortion of facts, in the pursuit of corporate success.