There have never been more writers in the world today.
Of course, this depends on who you define a writer is. If a writer is someone who writes one 1000 word article or story or draft in a month, we say he or she’s a writer (and all those posts on social media, captions etc.). The reader is question reading this may have another definition. Does someone become a writer only when he or she has an officially published book from a publishing house having say, 1000 copies sold? It all depends.
For instance, today an aspiring writer doesn’t even need to depend on any publishing house. Amazon trampled on publishers’ turfs a long time ago now. Although, of course many publishing houses, especially the ones in India focused on education continue to do well. India is probably the only nation in the world where all media – TV, Digital and Print, continue to grow every year, unlike the west where digital media is eating into TV and Print’s share of readership.
Coming to today’s story, we want to write about two sides – consumer facing brands in multiple business categories and the networks who help them reach said consumers and in the process help them grow. Today, brands have a golden opportunity to build their own value narratives and have original conversations with their consumers, starting from the very first time a consumer uses its product or service, all the way till they spread word about the brand and keep coming back in time.
Agencies (of all manners – from the SEO specialists and the Web developers to the Media planning and content creation teams) on the other hand, have their task cut out. Can they help their client brands to grow? Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to Karl, the founder of StudioLIV, who has been helming corporate roles for the last 2 decades, and has now plunged into building his own storytelling legacy. Below are the excerpts from our conversation.
Give a brief info about your startup?
I started my journey as a content creator 20 years ago, when content wasn’t even a buzzy word, and films were stored as beta tapes in file cabinets and libraries. Today I call myself less of a content creator and more of a curator of engaging ideas and stories, that come to life through videos.
Storytelling is as old as time, and branding is thought to have its origins in ancient Egypt, where livestock were branded as early as 2700 BC! No longer a quest to establish mere ownership, a brand today must not only have a strong story, but must become an extension of the audience it serves. And the best way to do this is through strong storytelling, compelling and creative content that truly resonates.
StudioLIV was born out of the need for this content-first storytelling. Having worked in television in major networks in the US and in India, I felt that there was a gap in communication between brands and the true purveyors of their content. With digital first, brands big and small have the opportunity of shaping their own micro narratives in a way that is more relevant and engaging than ever before- creating dialogue with their consumer where previously there was only a monologue. That is where StudioLIV comes in to breathe life into these stories, and create CONTENT THAT CLICKS.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I am a Bombay boy and started out my journey into the media playing field at the turn of the century. Did my masters at Emerson College in Boston. I worked on independent films, entertainment news, documentaries and managing a local channel as the program director across New York, LA and Boston.
With all the knowledge and experience I got the ground running in India in 2006 at CNBC TV18… started out as a producer and eventually found a home with the network and landed up staying with Network 18 for 10 years and became the executive producer for special projects for the entire network. I proceeded to join the Times Group and worked with their leadership team. The mandate was to grow the branded content division of the entire news network.
I am a very keen sportsman and play golf daily. I am a big fan of active sports like football and squash and ensure that this finds space in my weekly schedule. This is something that keeps me fresh and invigorated to start my day on a positive high.
Where is your startup based out of?
Bombay. We have the capacity to work with anyone in the country or anywhere in the world.
Why do you think that is the best place for you?
I have been fortunate to work in the biggest corporate news networks in the country and abroad for many years. Have worked independently for the most part with an amazing leadership team.
I guess it was time to put my own vision into action and take the dive into the entrepreneurial bandwagon. Digital media is on a continuous rise and brand custodians have great news for compelling storytelling and content that clicks! Our one-line mantra is “to take a brand from good to great.”
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
I am not a fan of paranoia, but the current situation of the pandemic is a huge deterrent. While we can ideate and be future-ready etc. honestly we are living in unprecedented times, the view is foggy and uncertain. It is all the more imperative therefore to ensure we are agile and responsive, and able to deliver differentiated solutions to our clients.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
The competitive landscape is infinite, given that content has many custodians. From influencers with sharp cameras to traditional agencies getting into the digital frey. The difference we make is in our agility. My years in branded content and the passion of the team helps create focused, first time right content solutions.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Creativity and imagination is at the forefront – everything happens in real time. It is definitely not a 9-5 job.
I have been spoiled with multiple teams always in action while working at big networks. Being an entrepreneur I am forced to do everything from finance, HR, accounting and business development. Everyday is a learning experience and it’s been a great ride. Work life balance is also a matter of discipline, and I am a firm believer in the power of carpe diem!
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
In the time of Co-vid realistically it has become more of a waiting game and also at the same time keep brands engaged.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
It may be a consideration that I am way to calm all the time and it seems like nothing ruffles me but in truth I am a stickler when it comes to being on time, pushing the boundaries on what is possible.
What gets you excited about this company?
Everything about this company excites me. It’s my baby! We are bringing together imaginative concepts and creating greater impact for brands. It helps that there is no red tape, hierarchy, pandering, all things that drain motivation and time. Trust, transparency and talent help us bring effective solutions to the table, no matter what the challenge.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Unstructured yet very energetic. The current world view helps, where there is flux and dynamism and the old order no longer holds. We have pivoted our offerings to help clients in need, and we are constantly re-imaging how we could provide better with less.
This is a constant and ever-evolving process. We have also mastered the art of remote producing and every day has its new learning’s and challenges.
In my downtime, I am assistant to my 8-year-old kid, Zane creating his YouTube channel and figuring ways to keep him off the screen for the most part. Evenings I play team coach for him and his friends, re-discovering skateboarding and cycling
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
My team is a heady mix of millennials, domain experts and storytellers.
The good part of being in the media industry for the better part of 20 years I have built a wonderful network of talent that can be engaged with depending on the job at hand.
Collaboration is the only structure that drives StudioLIV, and firmly believe this way forward -a no brainier and is the future.
Know a great startup story or want to share your own? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. For more updates follow Bangalore Insider on Facebook and Instagram.