We must reflect on our mistake to inspire growth, says Chandan Bagwe

Founder & Managing Director, C Com Digital

Founded in the year 1998, C Com Digital is a 360 Degree Techno Digital Marketing Agency based out of Mumbai. Founded by Chandan Bagwe – one of the earliest Indian entrepreneurs in Digital and E-Commerce business, the company caters to the entire spectrum of online software development and digital marketing services for B2B and B2C customers.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Chandan unfolded C Com Digital ‘s journey and its future plans with HelloPost Team:

Tell us something about yourself and C Com Digital.

When I had started C Com Digital in 1998, I was among the first Indian entrepreneurs who believed in the power and scalability of online business and digital marketing. Since then, we have successfully catered to entire spectrum of digital marketing services for B2B and B2C customers. It essentially focuses on the digital publicity of brands by integrating content curation & creation, influencer marketing, digitally connected events, digital public relations and distribution of varied content via online channels including social, search and OTT. C Com Digital deploys “ThinkBots” (AI interventions) to power up research, marketing, communication and optimization initiatives of every brand to achieve marketing goals.

Our clients primarily include the higher-rung companies belonging to various industries. Some of them are Times Now, Edelweiss, Tata Interactive Systems, Tata ClassEdge, Asian Heart Institute, Anunta Technology Management Services Pvt. Ltd, Blue Cross Laboratories Pvt. Ltd, We School, Chintamanis, Outlook Publishing, Southern Health Foods Pvt. Ltd (Manna), Ram Ratna Group, and Globus to name a few.

On a more personal note, I am an avid teacher; a visiting faculty member at the premier B-school, Welingker’s Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. Apart from this, I am also passionate about reading (non-diction books including biographies, philosophy, and spirituality), watching science-fiction movies, jogging, and yoga.

How did you conceive the idea of C Com Digital?

I have my roots in a business family, and I naturally developed the desire to start and grow my own business during my early life. This desire steadily ascended especially while I was studying in the United States in 1995. That was the period when the Indian IT industry began booming as many start-ups began operations. While Amazon.com began its growth in the US, other companies like TCS, Infosys, and Wipro grew manifold in India during the late 90s as well. These occurrences motivated me to start an IT company and outsource work from US to India.

However, there was one particular incident that struck a chord with me, which drove me further to establish C Com Digital. It was during a large office group level meeting where they presented the organogram, that is, the company’s organization chart. Our name as engineers was at the bottom of the page, which was not only unjustified but hurtful to me. I had already decided that I’d return to India, but this particular incident pushed me to decide on a fixed date – 31st December, 2000. It wasn’t an easy decision because I was at the peak of my professional career, both in terms of financial stability as well as my competency in a company that was at the top of the market chain. However, my mind was set on my return to India and though there was a month’s delay in my arrival, that moment was instrumental when I look back upon my journey.

How has your journey been so far?

The journey throughout the last two decades has been nothing short of fruitful. We have accurately positioned ourselves to achieve more than 100% year-on-year business growth since 2014, which is a credit to C Com Digital’s talented group of professionals. We have partnered with more than 500 leading YouTube channels and YouTubers offering services to various industries. C Com Digital also has partnerships with Google, Facebook, Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm for online marketing and ecommerce businesses. We have grown our business in the metropolitan cities of Chennai and Bengaluru, as well as Hyderabad while also servicing overseas clients in Dubai and Singapore.

C Com Digital became a full-fledged 360-degree Techno Digital Marketing Agency in 2014. We thus began providing brands end-to-end solutions by acquiring top notch skills in Branding, Marketing Communication Architecture, and Brand Positioning along with its Website and E-Commerce Solutions, Mobile Apps Development, Social media Management, Online advertising and marketing on various online channels. This was the point which significantly tipped the scales in our favor in comparison to other digital agencies.

C Com Digital Team
C Com Digital Team

It’s true that failures and setbacks have come our way considering that’s part and parcel of building a start-up. However, the perseverance of our talented team has shone throughout these years as we have collectively taken a head-on approach in tackling all circumstances. It then becomes crucial to learn from these experiences to constantly adapt, improve, and meet our ambition of becoming the Number 1 Digital Agency in India.

What challenges did you face while starting C Com Digital and how did you overcome it?

Our initial challenges were to break away from the clutter since digital agencies began mushrooming since 2007. That was the period when SEO agencies were on the rise along with SMO agencies with Google and Facebook popularising advertisements on their platform. We were able to lead the pack due to our background in core technology unlike others. This allowed us to embrace all the technological and marketing shifts that were occurring in the industry.

The demand started growing in the digital industry and at the same time the visionaries from the mainline media understood the importance of the digital agencies. This resulted in several mergers and acquisitions between digital marketing companies and mainline agencies to form new digital agencies. C Com Digital thrived in this digital outbreak working with all top mainline agencies and taking care of their digital work without getting merged or acquired.

What’s the business model of C Com Digital?

We offer Digital Marketing services on retainership or turnkey project bases.

Who are your competition and how do you ensure to outpace them?

C Com Digital has successfully outpaced all competitors despite the shifts and transitions that have occurred in the marketing realm in the past decade. Our background in core technology enabled us to embrace the changes and thus offer 360 Degree online marketing services under one roof along with ThinksBots AI Interventions,  top notch skills in Branding, Marketing Communication Architecture, and Brand Positioning.

 C Com Digital’s DNA is embedded in Marketing Communication through Technology. We work on simple marketing fundamentals, create impeccable communication, and give a technological edge.

A notable difference between C Com Digital and its competitors lies in true AI involvement. Several companies want to jump on the AI bandwagon, however no one is performing AI functions in true terms. They are portraying a false picture to derive money from customers. C Com Digital on the other hand, has immense knowledge and capacity because of our technical nature and longevity in the industry. For instance, I had done my specialization course in AI from California State University, USA in 1997; we thereby hold credible expertise in AI whereas others do not.

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

We have partnered with more than 500 leading YouTube channels and YouTubers catering to different industry and target segments with regional content. Our plans are to consistently increase this number. In addition, apart from partnering with leading OTT players and Multi-Channel Networks, we are also collaborating with production houses, copywriters, and bloggers to produce high quality video content with minimal delivery time.

We are digital partners with Google, Facebook and Amazon, Flipkart, and PayTm for online marketing and e-Commerce businesses. Above all, we provide AI Chatbots, Programmable Ads, Enhanced CRM, and customized dashboard for analytics.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Our biggest achievement lies in sustaining or even enhancing our hunger for new technology and ideas to stand on higher pedestals. This comes down to being our own toughest critics and constantly looking searching for more improvement. This answer may not satisfy some, but for us the journey is more important than the laurels, and once one journey is over, we immediately embark on another.

What is your biggest learning so far?

The biggest learning has been that failures and setbacks are natural occurrences that must be put into perspective from various viewpoints. We must reflect on our mistake to inspire growth. However, the energy must be utilized with optimism to strengthen our thoughts, approaches, and actions. On the flip side, we must not fall into a pit of remorse when something doesn’t go our way, as a lot of valuable time is lost in the process.

Another big learning is to be detail-oriented. The tiniest details must be considered in various aspects of business such as strategies, mergers, work ethic, gestures, communication, client relationships, personnel management etc. All these details cumulatively end up making a world of difference.

Tell us about your vision in digital publicity of brands and how AI is disrupting the industry you deal in?

AI is indeed disrupting our industry, but we want to drive the innovation better than anyone else, and our core technology experience will enable the same. Hence we have launched ThinkBots – AI Interventions.

Under ThinkBots we have following services – ThinkBots Insights , ThinkBots Diagnostics, ThinkBots Voice Search, ThinkBots Customer Engagement, 

ThinkBots Leads Experience, ThinkBots UX & Customer Journey, ThinkBots Advertising and  ThinkBots Sentimeter.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

We see ourselves as the No.1 Digital Agency in India.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruption in digital marketing for 2019-2020?

AI is and will continue to be the most impactful disruption this fiscal year. However, there are many players who claim to be experts in AI. Such assumptions must be debunked before more Indian and tech media companies join the deceptive AI wagon. Companies must first understand the meaning and concept of AI, and assess whether they have the knowledge and capabilities to implement AI it in their development strategies.

Any advice to budding entrepreneurs?

My advice would be to aim for sustenance rather than biting more than one can chew. Hence, the fundamentals must be in place, both in thoughts and actions before critically architecting further expansion. In addition, there are four essential qualities that any entrepreneur must have: belief, focus, planning, and action. All four are equally important and require maximum sincerity. A high regard for these ideals will inevitably create an unstoppable force.


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