Brand it smart with ‘zero-budget’ tips

Kolkata: City-based Rashi Ray, a graduate from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, and her father, adman Ram Ray, have launched India’s first specialist agency to offer zero-budget communication solutions. Aimed primarily at startups, Zero Budget Agency (Zero for short) promises solutions based on ideas that are effective despite low spends.

“Zero focuses on creative skills and energy on developing ideas that blend powerful design and sharpened strategy. It creates integrated brand communication solutions that are fresh and cost-effective. Its out-of-the-box thinking minimizes media spend and production cost from less than half to as close to zero,” explained Rashi, the key driver of Zero’s core philosophy and modern approach to marketing.

Her father Ram, a name to reckon with in marketing, advertising and design, is co-founder and partner in Zero. “As the starting point, Zero develops for its clients a zero-to-infinity roadmap for their brands, from their inception till they grow the right number of zeros in the right places,” says the senior Ray, who claims to be the junior partner in the firm.

Typically, Zero offers to help establish a brand for fast-tracking startups as well as reinvention-minded old businesses. It evolves a simple idea that proceeds to become a large campaign without a big budget.

“There is an agency fee, a part of which we can adjust against sweat equity. We can also design a campaign in a fortnight but it costs more. Production cost is brought down through powerful design skills. Accurate communication and use of digital technology slashes media spend,” said Rashi.

Zero’s lean media agnostic approach has spurred interest among firms from small towns of India and big cities like Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Calls have also come from San Francisco, Toronto, London and Colombo. Most calls come from innovators, forward thinkers and risk takers. “We get an enquiry a day, which is great given that we have chosen a niche field,” said Ram.

Zero has already done some campaigns for clients like Story and Missing. When the Crossword book store changed its name to Story, Zero integrated the logo in all communication and merchandise like box, gift tag, shopping bag, mug and book mark. In the Missing campaign by an NGO that works on raising awareness about the sex-trade industry, it has produced brutal short clips on a prostitute’s experience that will then be uploaded on YouTube under the campaign branded MISS NG (with the I missing).

“We hope the video will go viral and do the job,” Rashi said, adding that Zero is where the journey to infinity starts.