Agency Feature: Social Catalyzers

Social Catalyzers
Brand Saga

Who are we?

We started as a small three member company, with my Co-Founder Vaibhav who was 27 at the time and me (Kalyan Kumar).  We had another young sleeping partner who was finishing college, so yes, we were very young apart from me who was almost 40 at the time with over 16 years of corporate experience and zero agency experience. We had all met when I was running another BTL agency with my friends doing the Coca Cola FIFA world Cup Trophy tour in 4 countries – became friends and decided we could do something together on the side.

Initially we were simply a small Influencer marketing company that worked on the Twitter platform. Over time we decided to put our heads together to do a lot more, which is simply that how can platforms work with the power of Influencers and Communities to give disproportionate returns for Brands ( thought mostly FMCG, Liquor, Auto, we also have many other clients- in Media & Entertainment clients (Television Channels and Movie houses) and the new wave of OTTs (Viu, Zee5 and soon on).

There is a SoCat DNA which helped us grow, something akin to ‘taking up unique client problems’ which no one else had a solution for, in fact SoCat is often called by Clients and Their Agencies for exactly this “Can you check with SoCat is they can solve this?” One of our services which we coined two years ago is called “Speed ORM” which came about exactly like this.

What’s in the name?

Well we are called SOCIAL CATALYZERs or SoCat in short. We did think about this – our name – a lot. And in the role we play, which the last mile buzz and advocacy for brands which needs to happen in a very short duration and spike buzz. We wanted to stake ourselves in the Social Media space and the name came to us as Social Catalysts… but we were late to that domain (dot.com blues if you may) and had to with Social Catalyzers – the next best thing. Guess it all turned out okay – the moment we mention our name to our friend or clients – they kind of know what we are probably about.

What we do?

Social Catalyzers is a digital innovator in Content & Influencer Marketing across platforms like YouTube , Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & TikTok and a bit of Dark Social among others.  A really short summary would be that we can literally inject radically powerful burst of virality across digital social platforms using the power of Community aggregation and Social Enablers to drive exceptionally high quality engagement that propels a brand’s content with guaranteed metrics.

We like to think of ourselves as Earned media  specialists and have proven case studies to our claims with the leading brands across India & SE Asia. And thus our Tagline: “Engineering the Social Spread”

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The service highlights would simply be:

  • INFLUENCER ADVOCACY & COMMUNITY MARKETING: Across Instagram, TikTok, YouTube by Region etc
  • YOUTUBER Content Integration with Insane Numbers – millions of views!
  • ANCILLARY SERVICES: YouTube Video SEO & long tail virality,  Speed ORM
  • Traffic (Direct to OTT, Websites etc)

Why we do it?

Not everything was planned but the opportunity spelt itself out over time. Great Brands have Great agencies to help them Make great content and Other Great agencies to help them disseminate it – mostly using Paid media which is very efficient. But every brand also desires  “Virality” which is “Advocacy” “Self Propulsion” of content . But “Virality” happens when “Audiences Choose Content” and not in the Paid Media philosophy where “Content Chooses Audiences”. We saw a big Opportunity to solve this Earned Media space of Virality and Content Marketing – using a Science based approach using Influencers, Communities and algorithms to drive Virality. We have gone way beyond concept and continue to humbly apply ourselves to do more for your clients.

Having said that, there is a lot to be innovated in the space of Influencer and Content marketing – what are the “credibility and depth drivers” Vs what are the “width” drivers. How to “Engineer for the Social Spread” and engineering for credibility – what makes content brand friendly but not brand obtuse? What is the right mix of Credibility Vs Reach? What appears believable?  Can we take Influencers and Communities entirely as a serious strategy into the consumer outreach? What about Consumer Insights specific to Influencers and Communities and Content marketing?

How we evolve?

The industry is growing so fast and we are still keeping up with the trends. Things you do to keep up and evolve.

Firstly, we evolve by ‘questioning ourselves’ to the questions above and literally taking thought leadership on the space and presenting the same to our increasingly progressive clients.

We have many little firsts –innovations-  to our kitty and surely we will keep on adding, we will have to to stay relevant).

An Example – We have actually Launched a new brands in the market entering for the first time into the landscape using ONLY the Social Catalyzers’ Earned Media approach – TooYUmm last year. With a very small budget and  very sharp ‘social engineering’ we were able to contribute more than 30% to awareness (via Digital) using our methods when most the spends was on TV and Offline. That is massive, incredibly so and even to us, unexpectedly so.

We keep finding new ways to do more than what even the Influencers and Communities would think of – that is how to engineer the momentum using them all and getting the proverbial “Ek Aur Ek Gyarah” outcome.

We are also humble in our efforts – by which we mean – we know it’s the little innovations that add up than trying to be another ‘pure tech’ innovator unicorn approach. Ironically “We are driven by the power of the lack of too much ambition” or simply put we like to ‘keep it real’

Social responsibility in social media

This is a difficult question and honestly has an constantly evolving answer. We have supported many social causes led by our partner client agencies like Isobar and Watconsult and sometimes UniCEF via YouThKIAwaaz where we helped share content that goes beyond the business.

We so far have had the luck and guidance of our partnering clients to further help us in our responsibilities of engineering the right kind of work.

Need of the hour

Not much to say here, but we are watching the space and so are the brands and the agencies. This is a good time for collective action, which has served me well personally in my corporate career – pre-empt that which is not regulated and “Self Regulate”- the motto being “Help others, help you , and help the ecosystem work with and for you”

We learned the hard way

Simply put, its been a rough hard journey understanding the intricacies of the agency world, in which we were babes in the wood so to say. It takes a lot of navigation to get noticed, heard and accepted and we have learnt that over time. Luckily a few gracious clients were generous enough to give us the breaks and from thereon, slowly by surely, our work spoke for itself and we grew doubling our business each year.

Did we just share that?

Way too many, but I like to quote something I heard on this “Write Drunk, Edit Sober” We have created some hilarious memes and videos esp for a deodorant brand that took on the internet. Funnily a leading , by which I mean supreme, political leader, participated in a #Shoefie contest we were running for a leading Shoe and Apparel brand 3 years ago, later deleted it after realizing it was just a branded contest on Twitter.

They work with us

We have worked with most of the major brands in the country from the Unilever stable of Axe, Dove, Ayush , to clients of OMD/PHD,  Dentsu Aegis Network group –Isobar, Watconsult, to Group M clients. Way too many to list, and utterly grateful for their work, but the list is way too many – Coke, Unilever, Zee, CEAT,  Sony, Panasonic, LG, Bacardi, Diageo, ReckittBenckiser, Mondelez, Reliance, Jio, Fresh.

Also Read: Agency Feature: Eggfirst

Industry as we foresee

Constant change. That’s the only guarantee.  Facebook didn’t exist before 2006 in India, Instagram is suddenly going strong, Whatsapp is so so big, and Suddenly Snapchat seems to have almost disappeared and then you have TikTok(previously called Musical.ly) us new rage. So in Buddha’s own wisdom, impermanence is the only truth and highly accelerated at that. And this agility for us all is key!

A day without Internet

Its too late for that as a collective – way too many critical and crucial systems are increasingly intertwined with the Internet . So yes, we have to be careful of the opioid that are some aspects of the internet and yet, it is simply a tool, that can and will make lives better, but not without the right regulation and controls. Cant blame the tool.

Lastly, are you hiring?

Yes, We are hiring.

Designation: Zonal Client Relationship Leader/Account Manager 4/7/10 years work.


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