"Persistence, Patience helped startup to overcome challenges during COVID-19"

CLIQ founder and CEO Rhea Patel talks about how a young women entrepreneur overcomes all the obstacles or challenges faced during various stages. She also speaks on social media trends bring momentary spotlight for brands.

"Persistence, Patience helped startup to overcome challenges during COVID-19"

Rhea Patel, CEO and Founder of CLIQ, a Mumbai and Ahmedabad based creative, brand-savvy digital marketing community, founded the company at the age of 23 in December 2018.

She launched this company with one primary focus which is to be able to provide unique, out of the box creative digital solutions that can help brands enhance their marketing efforts.

In an exclusive conversation with Mumbai Live, this young and dynamic women entrepreneur, Rhea, talks about how a young women entrepreneur overcomes all the obstacles or challenges faced during various stages. She also speaks on social media trends that bring momentary spotlight for brands.

What inspired you to start CLIQ at such a young age?

Like any other young professional of my age, I was driven to do some exclusive work. I trained and worked with different companies and agencies before I realised that the whole art of creative digital advertising was made into a money-making business that was beginning to prove really difficult for brands. What inspired me was the idea to fill that gap. I owe the thought of starting my own community to a casual bet I made with my co-workers. Three years later, it is now a dream passion project my team and I are working to build.

Being a young women entrepreneur, did you face any challenges in the initial years?

For the longest time, no one took me seriously because I was so young. However, I now feel that my work helps validate my opinions and thoughts. Because after working with several established and upcoming national and multinational brands, we are now recognised and looked up to. This has led to many seasoned players become more cautious by my new age perspective; but, the true secret to staying relevant is investing in the right people to work with and building a consistently evolving team.

During COVID-19, you came up with a campaign to help people during the crisis, can you elaborate on the initiative by CLIQ?

‘Cards for a Cause’ was an initiative by CLIQ and The Artlet Poetry (A creative community run by Nidhi Shah). The thought was simple, we knew that the pandemic was hitting everyone hard in unique uncertain ways, forcing people to enjoy simple pleasures at home. We wanted to use our creative instincts to make a difference (That being a very important value we follow at CLIQ). We collaborated with 55 illustrators from across India to create artworks around the theme of the pandemic. The result was a beautiful compilation of a deck of cards, each a piece of art. We sold them at extremely reasonable prices and donated all profits to the initiative at Give India that fed children. We hope to continue to give back to society and do well with our creative communication skills.

As a startup company, how did overcome the obstacles that came your way amid crisis due to the pandemic?

The only challenge for growing communities like mine in such times is the volatility of the markets that brings along with it a lot of instability. It causes brands to spend less on services like us. The already established giants in the industry aren't very affected as they carry years of lineage with them which helps them crack MNC's with tucked away budgets even during such times. For us, this stage of our life cycle is to prove ourselves, one project at a time with utmost patience. There is only one solution- persistence and patience.

According to you, what are the changes witnessed in the industry due to COVID-19?

More and more brands are moving to create in-house teams so that funds invested can be capitalised in the best way possible. This has actually become easier for them after encountering numerous bad experiences with agencies. Communities like ours are roped in regularly to engage in projects and help keep things fresh while investing wisely so that returns can be gained.

Of course, as you must already know, brands are moving funds from traditional media to digital now. Brands are being more conscious -- talking about sustainability, the environment and more.

Moreover, marketing has now shifted from a pure sell strategy to an engage and sell one. If you are able to entertain and engage your target audience with interesting content that adds value, you eventually will make them your customers.

According to you, has social media and digital marketing taken over in this new India? 

India has taken several steps towards digitalization, the visionary companies that were far-sighted were already investing and moving investments to digital. However, with the onset of coronavirus, the country saw what I call a complete digital revolution. From the smaller to the largest businesses, everyone wanted a presence online. That was something I'd have imagined to happen in our country 10 years down the line, which has now become a reality that we live in. While this is great news, it is also alarming as a digital move for a small or large brand is very overwhelming – with so many new avenues and opportunities that are emerging every other day there is an urgent need for brand and business owners to become fully digitally aware. Hence, numerous brands tend to make wrong decisions in this movement. We at CLIQ are trying to help these brands establish a place in the digital world.

When you say, “unique and out of the box creative digital solutions” what does that mean?

All things unique are always noticed. They always beat the clutter. So, we are unique because of the quality of work we offer. It sounds very simple and unusual but when you see a campaign or content of a certain quality it immediately strikes a chord with you. That's what we offer to our clients. Unlike traditional agencies, we design content and strategies for the brand based on thorough research of its target audience and not just the resources available to us in-house to execute a campaign. Then we execute the same vision with a wider variety of individuals from the creative fraternity and with our own in-house team to deliver something truly unique. We believe in creating original content that truly fits the brand brief and is engaging for its customers.

In this era of social media trends, what is your take on – “Absurdity is more popular than logic?”

I don't believe in social media trends unless absolutely relatable, they don't do much for a brand. I'd rather put more thought and time into creating less generic content but more valuable thought through content. To me, logic matters more. What trends are popular (all thanks to marketing showcase platforms), only gives a momentary spotlight to the agency that makes it. From a brands perspective, unless it engages with the target audience it doesn't make much sense.

What advice would you give to the young girls/women who want to become entrepreneurs?

Having a career and a passion beyond your family and friends is so important. The best advice I'd like to give to women who want to become entrepreneurs is to come prepared to hustle, multi-task and believe. If you aim for perfection and believe, you will find like-minded minds to help build it into reality.

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