Obtaining factual creativity is our biggest and the most effective differentiator, says Shiraz Khan

Shiraz Khan, Founder & Director, SpiceTree Design Agency
Shiraz Khan, Founder & Director, SpiceTree Design Agency

Based out of Mumbai, Spicetree Design Agency (SDA) is a multi-faceted marketing firm that offers a gamut of services in design, digital, and development spheres. Their experience in digital marketing, print design, website and development has made them one of the leading marketing agencies. Founded by Shiraz Khan in June 2004, SDA puts its dedication to every project. Their talented team of designers and developers constantly evolve both as people and specialists. They believe that ‘everything can be bettered’ and are pushing brands into new, deeply engaging territories.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Shiraz unfolded Spicetree Design’s journey and its future plans with HelloPost Team:

Tell us something about yourself and Spicetree Design.

My unquenchable thirst for and indulgence in creative thoughts and environments define me as an individual. I also have an insatiable desire to understand everything there is to know about making the best impact through my work. These personal traits of mine are the reason why Spicetree was born to back creativity with in-depth analytics in the realm of digital marketing. We curate web, print, and social media design; offer digital marketing solutions such as Social Media Marketing, Social Media Optimization, Search Engine Optimization, mailers and retargeting; and develop our clientele’s brand identity while offering consultation on products and services.

When and how did the idea of Spicetree Design come into being?

Rather than a clichéd Eureka moment, it was a series of thoughts and events that eventually reached boiling point. During the early 2000s, I started ascending the corporate ladder and had acquired financial and work stability as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of a company by 2004. However, the monotony involved in the coordination of sales was not only uninspiring but also suppressed my thirst for creativity. I was increasingly growing impatient with my mundane job while a fire began stirring in my belly. My only source of intellectual respite was in deciphering concealed and subliminal meanings behind diverse advertisements and campaigns.

Being an introspective person, I gradually understood that my passion for creativity and innovation would gel perfectly with my expertise in science, detail, and analytics. Such a combination would keep me continually driven and satiate both my personal and professional hunger. Realizing that time was of the essence, I handed my resignation without a shadow of a doubt and began my entrepreneurial venture on the 6th of June the same year.

How tough was it to leave your job and start Spicetree Design?

Leaving my job was a piece of cake, but starting SDA was like baking one. I had no recipes to follow or chefs to learn from, but I had the ingredients in the form of business expertise, creative mindset, and mental strength to grasp the bull by its horns in creating a revered marketing company.

What challenges did you face while starting Spicetree Design?

The source of major challenges was the declining economy of the country during the initial years. There was a direct implication on sales while clients delayed payments on several occasions. We, in turn, got back to the drawing board and conjured safeguarding strategies to leave no margins for error, especially in terms of remaining unhampered by a nationwide economic decline.

What makes Spicetree Design stand out in comparison to other marketing and web development agencies?

Our core philosophy of obtaining ‘factual creativity’ is our biggest and most effective differentiator. The term refers to the perfect blend of creative thought and scientific analytics which gives unfound impetus to our marketing strategies. Being a service provider, the importance we lay on practicality through our creative solutions interestingly translates to the image of our clientele enabling them to stand out as well. We further motivate and sustain criticality and caution while managing each project while garnering effective communications for target groups.

What are your main market insights right now and how many clients have you handled so far?

We are living in a fascinating moment of time wherein the horizons of consumer engagement and personalization are extending as we speak. This has been pedestalled with the advancements in AI and machine learning, analytical tools, and blockchain technology; which are not mere trends but mainstays that will continue to raise thresholds on industry performance instead.

We have catered to 1200+ brands and individuals across several industries including retail, healthcare, event management, real estate, corporate, architecture, engineering, education, travel and tourism, BFSI, insurance, and ecommerce among others.

How important is it to have a digital platform for a business, and does it impact business growth?

Each industry has digitized their solutions today for the very reason that digital platforms incur substantial business growth. This is solely because customers constantly use their digital devices to either purchase, travel, understand, or engage in an activity day in and out. The reason is simple – a business must establish presence wherever the consumer is, and currently, there are more consumers participating in the digital revolution than ever before. Businesses must, therefore, understand their appropriate strategies involved in digital sales, service, and marketing and invest accordingly.

How do you ensure that you are the first choice for customers?

The meticulous and immaculate nature of our entire team of professionals ensures us to be shoe-ins in the eyes of clients. Many of the latter have in fact gone one step further by involving us in crucial decisions regarding business expansion and launch of any new products/services. This is due to our in-depth knowledge of digital marketing, and implementing effective strategies in the right place, at the right time, and to the right target audiences to incur optimal consumer engagement.

In addition, we use advanced technological tools to leverage our experiential and tactical nuance in digital marketing. For instance, we use LAMP Stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Classic PHP), HTML5, CSS3, SCSS, jQuery, and Angular. Our other tools include Bootstrap, WordPress, Code Ignitor, and Magento while our software technology includes Dream weaver, Sublime, Photoshop, Notepad++, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and After Effects. We frequently keep updating our design technologies as new versions are released while keeping an eye out for newer interfaces as well.

What are your expansion plans? Where do you see Spicetree Design in the next 5 years?

SDA lays a firm belief in ‘growth for all above all’. In other words, we believe that the growth of the highest order lies in inclusivity of clients, team, and all associates. In terms of tangible growth, our aims are to dwell into ad film production. ‘Concept’ has gotten lost in the wildfire of communication in our eyes as industry players continue to predominantly create and distribute meaningless and redundant videos time and again. Such uninspired content lacks the essence of thought, concept, and purposeful direction and poorly affect audiences to extents they are unaware of. We, therefore, intend to break this trance of mundane content by creating meaningful appetisers for audiences in the form of video ads, short films, etc. Our efforts will come to the fore once the ongoing project for our state-of-the-art in-house studio is completed as it will have the resources to make video content of the highest quality.

How has the SDA journey been so far?

The journey has been exhilarating and inspiring in my perspective, and I have faith that it has been the same for everyone associated with the company as well. I can write a book about the journey right now, but that’s for another day; as much as it is comforting to go down the memory lane, I intend to look forward and make SDA a living legend with some impactful stories yet to be created and be a part of. I am relishing prospective opportunities because, in my opinion, the SDA journey has only just begun.

With the advent of latest technological trends like IoT, AI, AR, chatbots, and blockchain, how has Spicetree Design evolved with these trends?

SDA adapts to all trends that impact the decision of end customers, with the winds of change happening at a very fast pace we stand unruffled because of our strong roots. We evolve and adapt when we see a change in customer behavioural and expectation and taken on all new technologies to counter and cater the same.

What are the most interesting projects you have handled so far?

It would be very cliché to say that all projects that were challenging have been very interesting but that is a fact, One of the project in which the client wanted prospective leads to fill up the seats for a particular tour was very interesting, The challenge was that we had very little time and the product had a very specific TG which is not too big in number. We got straight into analytics to find out the possibilities and compilation of data to hit the bulls eye. We managed to get 1748 leads in a matter of 2 days just because we had data backed by scientific workings.

In yet another project a challenge was entrusted on us where we had to increase sales on their ecommerce platform. The challenge was that the website was designed and developed by some 3rd party and was absolutely not conducive for sales to happen because the UI / UX was done without a thought and the overall functionality of the website was too long. Yet again we pulled off this one with our scientific approach and helped them increase their sales multifold.

Which one is the interesting market for you right now?

I find the retail sector very interesting (whether a physical store or online). Reasons are many but some of the most interesting ones are:

  • Full of daily action
  • Measurable
  • Very dynamic
  • Transparent

What’s the business model of Spicetree Design?

We charge for the services we provide to clients and therefore, work on retainer and project basis.

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