2023

Trends to look out for in 2023

2022—what a year it has been! From Twitter going through a management shift to Instagram trying features like notes to BeReal trying to redefine social media, it has been quite a journey.

With all of these swift changes, predicting trends for 2023 might be a task, but we will take our shot. So here are a few trends brands can leverage in 2023 to break through the clutter. 

  1. Social SEO will replace hashtags 

Over 40% of people between the age of 18-24 are now using Social Media as their primary search engine. This means instead of using Google Maps or Google search engines, users are using Instagram or TikTok to discover places. So, it’s time for brands to buckle up for 2023 by adding some keywords in copy rather than relying only on hashtags. 

  1. Increase in User Generated Content (UGC)

UGC is an organic marketing tool that helps to create a direct connection with the customers and in building a brand-customer relationship. This means that as a brand, you should create campaigns that motivate your customers to create content because people trust other people. So, take it one step further in 2023 with user-generated content.

  1. A rise in Nano and Micro-Influencers 

With higher engagement rates and more audience connections, micro and nano influencers are on the rise. Their average engagement rate is 7%, which is 2% more than the mega-influencers.

Follower count isn’t the most important factor a brand should look for when choosing an influencer. Nano and micro-influencers have a loyal follower base within a targeted niche that can help them reach a more relevant audience and prove more valuable to a brand. So, consider including more nano and micro-influencers in your brand promotion.

  1. Content goes Full Size

What do you do when a horizontal video pops up on your phone? Do you tilt your phone or scroll past the video? Well, if you scroll past it, you are not alone!  About 94% of smartphone users hold their phones vertically, which means vertical videos have a higher completion rate than horizontal videos. So, stick to more of 9:16 (full-screen vertical) content in 2023. 

  1. Gaming becomes the new playground for advertisers

With the gaming industry on the rise and estimated to be worth $200.8 billion, in-game advertising is estimated to reach $17.6 million by 2023. Advertising in gaming is still an untapped market, but you might see brands dabble with it together in 2023.

  1. Authenticity is the new cool! 

With the increasing popularity of photo dumps, unfiltered pictures, and the growth of apps like BeReal, 2023 would see users consuming more authentic real-time content. For example, Lush Cosmetics has a YouTube channel with a series named “Lush How It’s Made” in which their employees explain each step of the manufacturing process in a YouTube video. This creates two-fold authenticity for the brand, as on one hand, the videos help make the ingredients and products more transparent, and on the other,  employee inclusion makes the company look more accessible to the audience. These YouTube videos not only make customers trust Lush Cosmetics more but also show the company’s value both implicitly and explicitly. So, in 2023, start posting more authentic real-time content to connect with your audience. 

These are just a few of the trends that are slated to dominate the Social Media landscape in 2023. Brands can leverage these trends to stay ahead of their competitors. But remember that Social Media is constantly changing, and the only way to grow is by constantly evolving.

Reference: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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The TalkOver: Nutella and Swiggy

Every advertisement campaign is designed to bring the audience closer to the brand, create a connection with them, and increase their recall value. 

We bring you The Talkover; this festive season, we’re talking about two Christmas campaigns that has really got us in the holiday mood.

Today, we are gushing over two of everyone’s favourite brands: Swiggy, known for its quirky, witty, and fun advertisements, and Nutella, known for its appetising, sweet, and warm content. 

Read on, and tell us which campaign is your favourite. 

Swiggy’s – Santa Open To Work Campaign

Swiggy has always created clever, humorous campaigns that struck a chord with people’s emotions. And their  #SantaOpenToWork campaign was precisely that. The campaign was a clever way of illustrating how gift-givers, like Santa, can outsource all of their delivery responsibilities to Swiggy Genie and start looking for other jobs.

It was a refreshing perspective on the holiday season. The main idea behind the campaign was to show how Swiggy Genie can take care of all deliverable orders, giving people time to do a lot of other things.

The advertisement showed Santa reaching out to thousands of potential employers via LinkedIn, internet ads, emails, business cards, posters, and even a video CV in order to find a new job. As part of the campaign, Swiggy made Santa’s fliers and business cards with a QR code with their Genie and Instamart orders. So, when someone scans the QR code, it will take them to a YouTube video of Santa discussing his resume like a pro. Swiggy also distributed unbranded tear-able posters across offices in order to target employers directly. They did this so that office workers could tear out the contact information and share it with each other and their HR departments to see Santa’s video CV online. They also made digital ads where people could view Santa’s video on different social media platforms. 

All of these small details made the campaign successful. While Santa is #OpenToWork and trying to find a job, Swiggy Genie is #OpenToDeliveries and spreading smiles! 

Nutella – Nutella With Love 

Nutella’s #NutellaWithLove campaign was launched to spread love and make the holidays more special. Nutella always tries to interact with consumers across India through their digital and traditional marketing techniques, bringing joy to the celebration.  

The advertisement, created for the Christmas campaign, focused on uniqueness and encouraged Nutella lovers to craft, share, and surprise their loved ones with personalised Nutella jars during the holiday season. 

The brand introduced energetic and loving Ranveer Singh as their Secret Santa, whose Nutella obsession is no secret to anyone. 

Through an exciting digital contest, the brand provided a platform for all Nutella enthusiasts to get their personalised wishes on Nutella jars and Christmas hampers. To do that, customers, had to visit the Nutella website, create a Nutella recipe, and share it on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #NutellaWithLove. A Nutella hamper was given to the top 25 most loved recipes.

Along with personalisation and consumer engagement, the brand also created a unique experience for Nutella fans by giving them access to limited-time collectible Christmas packs which were available in 350-gram variants with a QR code that redirected them to discover all the Nutella special content, like – DIY, Nutella recipes, and up-cycling tutorials, by simply scanning the QR code on the jar. Nutella lovers could choose their favourite Christmas dish with Nutella, bake it with love, and share it with their loved ones. 

In the end, both campaigns did an amazing job of leveraging social media platforms. While Swiggy took a witty turn to introduce its delivery services and made everyone smile with Santa’s wholesome video resume, Nutella went ahead and interacted with the customers by customising personalised Nutella jars for them. 

All in all, Christmas campaigns are known for spreading smiles and joy. So which Christmas campaign made you smile more: Swiggy or Nutella?

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The TalkOver: Cadbury vs Coca-Cola

Every brand needs a story that strikes a chord with its audience. There are so many exciting marketing campaigns and commercials that not only help brands sell their products but also capture hearts through heartwarming stories. The TalkOver brings you some of our favorite campaigns of all time, told through our team members’ perspectives.

However, we’ll let YOU be the judge of it. Read on and tell us which is the better campaign according to you.

This time on the TalkOver, we’re gushing over these Diwali campaigns that have gotten everyone talking. On Team Cadbury is Jo, who picks Cadbury’s Diwali campaign while Kunika, on Team Coca-cola, picks Coca-cola’s Diwali campaign.

Let’s go!

Cadbury – Not just a Cadbury Ad

Cadbury Celebrations | Not Just A Cadbury Ad

Cadbury has always been a household name around the Diwali time and so have their ads. Their ads are relatable and connect with their audience instantly. This campaign however, connects with their audience on a whole other level! The Not just a Cadbury Ad campaign, starring the legendary actor– Shah Rukh Khan, (to me, that’s already a win) was released in Diwali, 2021 and conceptualized and executed in collaboration with Rephrase.ai, Ogilvy and Wavemaker.

The ad follows Shah Rukh Khan talking himself up with all the new things he’s bought for Diwali from the local shops around him and urging the audience to do the same. What’s special about this ad is that it was simply a template for any small business to use. With AI, businesses could have their products advertised by Shah Rukh Khan! Again, that’s a win in my books. But we have numbers to back this up!

The technology and thought behind this campaign was so unique and never done before, that these results seem inevitable–

  • 105k users logged on to the NotJustACadburyAd.com to create their own ads
  • 139k different versions of the ad were created and shared through social media

There isn’t a person in the country who wouldn’t have felt the repercussions of the pandemic. The Cadbury campaign resonates with its audience because of its honest intention to genuinely do some good. Be it the consumer or a business owner, the Cadbury campaign gives a glimmer of hope that drives a post-pandemic Diwali.

Not Just A Cadbury Ad, like its name, was aimed to look out not just for the identity of the brand but also for the many other businesses that went unidentified and unappreciated after the pandemic. The ads pushed for a good cause by helping lift up local shops, and is overall a well thought out campaign.

Coca-cola – Milke hi manegi Diwali

Coca-Cola | Follow the bottle

Coca-cola has always been synonymous with greeting guests in Indian households, more so on festive occasions like Diwali gettogethers, visits, parties, etc. (which usually happens when friends and family meet, in person). Coca-cola’s latest Diwali Campaign, ups this a notch by encouraging people to not just ‘greet’ but also ‘meet’ to celebrate Diwali. 

The best part of the campaign is the one-of-a-kind tech-driven packaging update which PROMISES/guarantees to bring people closer, much like depicted in the commercial! A special Bluetooth-enabled locked cap, that is programmed to open only in the presence of the sender’s mobile phone. A smart idea symbolizing an emotional promise made to meet in person.

The Campaign ad follows a young man working alone late at night, responding to various text greetings with happy emojis while looking pretty exhausted in reality. This is when he happens to see a Coca-Cola bottle attached to a red ribbon. He grabs a hold and follows the ribbon until he arrives at a Diwali party, reunited with his family to celebrate Diwali.

This is also specially impactful given this is the first Diwali after the pandemic when people can freely travel and meet their family without any fear of infection, breaking the two-year long period of ‘virtual greetings’. 

The campaign worked because it pulled on just the right strings of nostalgia and friendship. The audience feels the need to go a little over the top just to make meeting, after a whole pandemic, that much more special.

Overall, Coca-cola’s #MilkeManayengeDiwali 360-Campaign spoke for the whole Indian demographic celebrating Diwali this year in the physical presence of their families and loved ones. As promised by the creative masterminds behind the campaign, the ad provided a positive nudge for people to come closer together WITH a chilled coke, of course! 

In closing, both campaigns hit home in very different ways. While Coca-cola manages to rekindle friendships and bonds in the post-pandemic era, Cadbury manages to bring hope to businesses that struggled. Both campaigns brilliantly make use of tech in positive and innovative ways, pulling at your heartstrings. It’s tough to decide which brand did it better, so let’s just say Shah Rukh wins.

Which brand do you think aced their Diwali campaign? Are you on Team Coca-cola, Team Cadbury or Team Shah Rukh like us?

World Podcast Day

4 Podcasts You Need to Listen to this World Podcast Day

Binge watching a show or doing a movie marathon may seem like good ways to wind down over the weekend. But, the winding down need not be saved just for the weekend. Podcasts are a great way to relax even when you’re on the go. Besides, podcasts can also be a valuable source of information.

Over the past couple of years, we aren’t the only ones who have absolutely enjoyed listening to podcasts. The podcast scene has been booming with so many new creators to choose from, especially in the Marketing and Media fields. So, this World Podcast Day, we’re celebrating some of our favorite episodes that could help you learn something new, motivate you to do more or maybe just help you calm yourself!

  1. Advertising is Dead.

Advertising is Dead is a weekly podcast hosted by Varun Duggirala. Varun delves into all things media, startups and brands with fresh insights and new takes. The podcast often brings on experts in the industry that make for riveting discussions.

Episodes we recommend:

In this episode, Varun speaks with Rishabh Sharma– Head at TwitterNext India. They discuss the India Twitter Trends report and highlights. Rishabh Sharma delves into the trends in detail and even takes you through the research process.

Here Advertising is Dead brings on Manish Pandey– Content Strategist, Photographer and Consultant to discuss the ever evolving creator/influencer scene. The episode discusses experimenting with content creators like Ranveer Allahbadia, Prajakta Koli, Bhuvan Bam, etc, optimizing content and many useful insights.

  1. Founder Thesis

Founder Thesis by ThePodium.in, is a podcast hosted by Akshay Datt. Akshay is a serial entrepreneur and a LinkedIn Micro-influencer with a fascination for people who disrupt the norm. The Founder Thesis podcast talks about just that. The podcast discusses the stories of many successes and failures, and of hardworking entrepreneurs who have made a mark.

Episodes we recommend:

The episode delves into a candid conversation with Malika Sadani and Mohit Sadani, the founders of The Moms Company– a Mom and Baby Care brand. They discuss the journey of building The Moms Company as well as the fundamentals of building a contemporary brand.

  1. The Seen and The Unseen.

Hosted by Amit Varma, The Seen and The Unseen gets its title from a popular essay written by Frédéric Bastiat. Much like the essay, the podcast discusses the intended and unintended consequences of public policies on society. Later the podcast delves into in depth interviews on philosophy and thought with multiple guests.

Episodes we recommend:

Though all of the episodes on the podcast have a lot to offer, we recommend this one. In the episode Amit interviews Nishant Jain, a.k.a Sneaky Artist on his journey as an artist. Nishant Jain also discusses his insights and thoughts on the current creator economy.

  1. The Social Pros.

The Social Pros Podcast is one of the most popular marketing podcasts in the world. Created by Jay Baer and Adam Brown, Social Pros gives you valuable insight into the marketing world by inviting real people in the social media world to give you the inside scoop.

Episodes we recommend:

In this episode, José Avila– Customer Engagement Transformation Lead at Sanofi, takes center stage to discuss breaking out of your comfort zone within Pharma. He talks of wanting to make the Pharma landscape more transparent and helpful to customers. This episode is packed with helpful tips and genuine advice that could help you with your own media strategy.

Taking the Road Less Travelled

Taking the Road Less Travelled

The world came to a complete standstill after the most unanticipated global pandemic. Since then, we’ve seen a myriad of changes in our last two trips around the sun. The pandemic has slowed down life, bringing a newfound sense of responsibility and love for our earth. The need for an adventure and to get lost in a strange, new place is urgent.  All we need are a couple of tour guides to help manifest our nomadic dreams. 

So, as a part two to our list of favourite bloggers, we’re sharing with you some more creators that have evolved with the times and celebrate their love for what the earth has to offer. Responsibly, of course.

  1. @honey.imm.home

Image by @honey.imm.home

If you haven’t heard of them already, ‘Honey I’m Home’, or @honey.imm.home on Instagram is a travel vlogging couple named Atulan and Divesh. Having met at dance class, their love for each other slowly grew to a point where finally they decided to pack their bags and take to the road. They created their travel vlogging adventures on their very first trip to Goa and have been doing it ever since. Honey I’m Home celebrates their love for travel and each other. As queer men in a country so hostile to the community, Honey I’m Home gives a sense of hope and safety to queer folk who wish to travel and live candidly.

  1. @travelpilgrimage (sustainable travel and living)

Image by @travelpilgrimage

Aishwarya a.k.a @travelpilgrimage on Instagram, is an Instagram travel influencer. Recently having moved to Toronto, Aishwarya identifies as an eco traveller. She takes her time as she goes through different cultures and landscapes and her Instagram is an archive of her memories. She believes in slowing down otherwise fast paced travelling, promoting the idea of a calm, relaxed way of living. Along with the breathtaking sights of the northern Indian mountains, @travelpilgrimage is also a writer and often posts the poetry she has written throughout her adventures.

  1. Workaway (volunteering, culture exchange, language exchange, work exchange tourism) @workawayinfo

Image source @workawayinfo

The idea of slowing down life, especially tourism, is one that is currently resonating with a lot of folk. WorkAway.info is a network that has been making this possible and creating attainable travel goals. WorkAway connects people who wish to travel and explore different cultures with hosts who need help building their businesses or simply just need a helping hand. With little to no money, travellers can learn languages, explore cultures in exchange for handy work or creating art and many other fun activities. @workawayinfo on Instagram, chronicles the adventures of many people as they work away from home, exploring paradise in every corner of the globe.

  1. @kipepeoindia (sustainable tourism)

Image source @kipepeoindia

@kipepeoindia is an Eco Tour Agency based in North East India. They help transport you into the very unexplored and underrepresented regions of Bhutan and The North East of India. Their Instagram takes you through the nooks and crannies of some of the most spectacular landscapes and cultures. Kipepeo creates unique experiences in socially responsible ways, educating explorers on the communities through immersive treks and camps. They celebrate adventure and exploration through means that are safe and protective of the environment and cultures. *aggressive starts packing*

  1. @thehottestmowgli (animal rehabilitation)

Image source @thehottestmowgli

Abhirup Kadam a.k.a @thehottestmowgli on Instagram, is a wildlife influencer. Like his username, Abhirup is truly a character taken right out of The Jungle Book. He is a wildlife enthusiast who travels the world looking for creepy crawlies all over. Closely working with reptilians and animal rehabilitation, @thehottestmowgli is also the CEO of MARA (Maharashtra Animal Rescue Association). Abhirup is as offbeat as it gets, showcasing his love for reptiles and travel. He also shares this love for animals by conducting immersive and informative experiences for people who want to know more. Abhirup is slowly helping people learn and develop empathy for the stereotypically antagonised species, one scaly friend at a time.

Embracing the road less travelled definitely makes for the best travel stories. This World Tourism Day, let these unique travel experiences inspire you to live your life on your own unique terms, and just have fun. Happy travels!

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What Women Don’t Want

Mukta Lad has over 13 years of experience in writing, with a special focus on advertising, marketing and media. She has extensively covered the Indian advertising and marketing communications industry as a trade media journalist and is currently the Assistant Editor at Brand Equity.

In a country that expects marriage and kids to be non-negotiable aspects of a woman’s life, you’ve chosen to go solo and live life on your own terms. What are the questions you get asked in this regard (and that you wish people would stop asking!) and how do you respond to these? 

Me choosing to walk out of my marriage and live independently has been a lot of privilege coming together – the privilege of being financially independent, having a well-paying job, no children, the agency to live by myself and have the lifestyle I want, supportive parents who’ve raised me in a progressive environment, and a now ex-partner who has been nothing but amicable and understanding throughout this process; not once has he tried to be difficult or delay any legalities. 

Any one of these privileges, if missing, would have made my life look completely different. I feel it’s important to acknowledge this at the outset. It’s much easier to chart the course of your own life when you have so much going for you. 

In terms of the questions I get asked, they are mostly a combination of the following and some random advice. I’ve taken the liberty to put together a bit of an advisory: 

“OMG are you okay?”

Yes, relax. I’m getting a divorce, not a death certificate. I understand people’s concern, and that it can get awkward when someone says “Oh, XYZ and I aren’t together anymore” but there’s no need to be this dramatic. 

“Are you happy?”

I genuinely love this question. It’s the perfect way for someone to gauge where someone is at mentally with their separation/divorce/break up and decide further course of conversation. 

“How much alimony are you getting?”

I’m not getting any alimony, thank you. And even if I were, why would I discuss the financial nuances with anyone and everyone? 

“Are you marrying again?”

Perhaps start with ‘have you gotten your divorce yet?’ If I marry right now I’ll also have to serve a prison sentence for having two husbands. Kindly stop springing this question. A person who’s getting out of a marriage or has just gotten out of one might not want to answer questions about returning to the very same institution. If you must know their thoughts on marriage, maybe an ‘Are you open to ever marrying again?’ might be a more sensitive variation. 

“Sign up on dating apps already!”

Finding yourself suddenly single can be disorienting. While some people may want to find a partner immediately, others might want nothing more than casual sex. And some others might just want to be alone for a while as they process the end of a long-term relationship. There’s no saying who’s ready when. Friends and well-wishers should stop pressurising people to date/hook up with people on apps. We know apps exist and we’ll do it when we’re ready.

“Don’t commit quickly!”

To me, this is really bizarre advice. When I met my now partner on a dating app six months ago, we decided to be together exclusively in about 2-3 weeks after we met. Questions from friends ranged from “Why did you commit so soon?” and “Keep swiping nevertheless” to “You should have played the field first for a while!” As if partners are refrigerators you might get a better deal on if you wait for a couple of months. Or is there a Big Billion Sale for boyfriends no one told me about? 

We know people mean well, but it’s also not our burden to think of everyone’s intent behind the unsolicited advice. And no one wants to feel judged – like it’s ‘uncool’ to commit but casual sex is ‘cool’. It’s all cool to whoever’s deciding, just stay out of it! 

What are your thoughts on the depiction of women in advertising today? In what way would you like to see it (the way women are depicted) change? 

I could write a book on this. I have been covering advertising for a while now and there’s so much that needs to change when it comes to depicting women. Having said that, advertising also reflects society and its mindsets, so well, it’s natural it’s not going to become ideal overnight. 

My biggest bone of contention with women’s portrayal in ads is the absolute lack of understanding of the everyday woman. She’s either a sanskaari mummy toiling for the well-being of her husband and children since dawn (wearing a full-sleeved salwar kameez) or she’s straddling a Bullet and going off on long bike rides. There seems to be no relatable in-between for the everyday woman – the one who manages her home, feeds her family but also holds a full-time job and looks after the elderly in her house. As if her routine struggles and rebellions aren’t ‘cool’ enough for TV.

I did a story recently for Women’s Day, where one advertising veteran I quoted said, “The worshipping of a woman’s many roops is a burden she carries. You can make lots of cute ads about lazy fathers but never an ad about a forgetful mom.” I think this sums this up very well. That it’s always nice to see women doing virtuous things on screen as far as possible. If she’s doing ‘rebellious’ things – the other end of this stereotype, it’s to make a statement, of course. And don’t forget to show she has coloured hair, tattoos, multiple piercings, a bike, a drum kit, and an electric guitar to complete the look.

Leveling the Playing Field

Surabhi Date is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and the former captain of the India Women’s Rugby team. She has led the India Rugby team at the 16th Asian Games (Guangzhou), and at other prestigious tournaments like the Singapore Sevens and the Borneo Sevens. She has also represented Auckland Rugby for two seasons. She currently offers speed, strength and power training for elite and sub-elite tennis players preparing for national and international competitions.

As a professional sportsperson, what are some of the questions you’ve been asked that you think a male athlete would never be asked? How do you respond to these?

“How long will you play for? I was a mother already at 23! When do you plan to settle down?”

Good for you. I captained the India rugby team when I was already 19. I continued playing for the country till I was 23, played rugby for Auckland at 24 and now I am busy training athletes to win medals at the Olympics. Reckon my plans of when and where and how to settle down are clearly different than yours.

“You have such big thighs. Are you doing anything about them?” (They basically mean reducing!)

Yes, I squat a 100 kilos and sprint at 6.6 meters per second. I can probably save you when you’re in trouble. But I probably won’t. Joking. Maybe not! 😏 


“Playing sport especially when you’re on your period must be hard, no? Do you take days off on during such times?”

Have you ever heard of a world champion draw out of competition when she was on her period? What will you do when a female person from your circle wants to make a career in sport, or is already facing the same problem? Will you teach them to back off when things get hard (every month for her entire sports career), or will you help them to deal with it and get stronger?


“This is such a rough game for a woman. Why do you even play this game? Why didn’t you choose a gentler game?”

Because rugby chose me. I never went out of my way to get into the game. I was meant to be here. It just happened to me. FYI I did try other sports like football, athletics and tennis. I really wanted to make it big in tennis.  But somehow life just kept bringing me back to rugby, effortlessly.

Because I’m the most alive when I’m on the field. And I would do whatever it takes to feel alive again and again. I’d rather live a fearless life and enjoy it with all my heart than live it with the fear of being hurt and end up staying in a cocoon. Injuries are a part of every athlete’s life, every sport, every gender. Sport has and continues to shape my life in a better and more meaningful way, every day. All these scars I have were important for my growth and I am extremely proud of them. Also, when I turn 50 years old, I never want to say, “When I was young and able, I had a lot of opportunities to play, but I chose my job instead.” I don’t want to regret. Sporting career is short. I want to live it fully with no regret. Asking a sportsperson why they play is such a ridiculous question.

What has kept you going on tough days? What advice would you give aspiring female athletes?

My main pillars to keep me going on my tough days are discipline, self-belief, a good support system and developing endurance. 

Discipline
Nothing unique about what I say here. It is quite known that discipline is much more impactful than motivation. It is a constant choice between choosing what you want now, and what you want the most. You will get uncomfortable and you will get used to it over time and you will do what is supposed to be done every damn day, no matter what. That is discipline.

Unbelievable faith in myself and my dreams
Self-belief is perhaps the most important aspect in an athlete’s life. When the going gets tough, my belief gives me hope and this hope keeps me going.  However bad it gets, there has to be something that you could do that’ll push you at least an inch closer to your goal. That push will only come when you have hope, which brings us back to— how much do you actually believe in yourself?

A good support system
No matter how strong you are, your family, mentors, friends are your pillars so don’t feel shy to reach out for help. Winning medals and in general succeeding in life is a team game. Although you are at the coalface, you win because of your support system. So, making sure you have your emergency dials and pin cushions and advisors ready is paramount.

In the Spotlight – Neha Panchamia

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the Spotlight, this week is Neha Panchamia. She’s an animal rescuer and the founder and president of RESQ, an organisation aimed to minimise human-animal conflict and provide relief to animals in distress. Read more to know her journey.

Tell us about yourself – how did you get into wildlife rescue?

My love for wildlife began when I was in boarding school. It was located near Bhimashankar, Maharashtra. I often felt like an intruder, watching and observing them in their home for hours on end. Once I came back to the city, it became infuriating after a point to keep watching people rescue animals, keep them in their homes or dump them in zoos or rescue centres permanently. I remember thinking to myself that ‘There has to be a better way of doing this and ensuring that an animal is not rescued only to be subjected to further suffering!’

I moved to Pune in 2006. There was a phase where I would constantly end up witnessing scenarios where a lot of wildlife would end up being subjected to unnecessary handling, captivity and mismanagement, all in the name of  ‘animal rescue or welfare.’ Pune District and the areas around it is home to a multitude of wildlife. The landscape that surrounds us and the amazing wildlife that thrives in it has greatly changed over the last decade. The growth in urban development, shifts in agricultural patterns and climatic changes have led to an increasing number of animals getting endangered, which started getting reported to our 24-hour animal emergency helpline at my organisation, RESQ. I decided that I wanted to change the way animal rescue and rehabilitation was done and since then, there has been no looking back.

What’s the story behind your initiative, RESQ?

“Are you just going to complain that nobody provides emergency rescue for animals in distress or are you going to just do it yourself?”  That’s what I asked myself back in 2007, one month before I founded RESQ. That’s where it all began. Fast forward to today;

Species no bar. I run RESQ Charitable Trust (RESQ) as the Founder and President, which is a not-for-profit that works with all kinds of animals – domestic and wildlife. Powered by human connections, we tackle problems hands-on with a smile every day! Over the years, I’ve rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of animals myself but collectively, as an organization that thrives on teamwork, RESQ has changed the lives of over 1,00,000+ animals since inception through its ‘response’ and ‘prevention’ verticals which include:

– Distressed Animal RESQ Teams (DART)

– Wildlife Rescue and Treatment Transit Centre

– Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre and Sanctuary

– Disaster Relief and Rescue for Animals 

– Rabies Response and Testing Facility 

– Human-Animal Conflict Mitigation, Education and Awareness 

– Research and Training Programs

What are some of the biggest challenges you faced in your journey and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge has always been finding a steady source of resources for our work. Especially in a country like ours, where there are so many social causes that are in dire need of attention and help, animal causes lie way below most people’s list. These challenges have often been overcome thanks to community support, but in recent times, we feel the need, even more, to stabilise this so that we can continue the work we do for animals, who are greatly dependent on the support we provide for them. 

What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to adopt an animal? 

I think it is extremely noble if one chooses to adopt an animal instead of purchasing one of pedigree from a breeder. However, there has to be a complete absence of bias when looking to adopt. You cannot justify adopting a Husky or a Pug because these are actually your favourite breed of dog and you’re just patting yourself on the back for saving yourself the trouble of paying a hefty amount to a breeder. Animals who have been re-homed from previous owners and are in need of a new loving home are looking exactly for that, love. You have to be patient, loving and firm because every animal that you choose to take home will also come along with its own endearing qualities but also some challenges. You need to ask yourself if you are at a time in your life and career where you can put aside enough time, energy and other resources to give your pet a fantastic quality of life; one that you would love to enjoy. Can you give your pet the best nutrition from the options out there? Will you commit to exercising them or spending time with them enriching their minds? Will you be able to afford veterinary bills if your pet falls sick? Will you be patient enough to work through house training or any challenging traits or temperaments?

Bringing pets home is a lifelong commitment and not a decision to be made lightly.

How does Social Media help you in building awareness around wildlife protection?

Social media has a large role to play when it comes to creating awareness. Documenting the various rescues that the team does shine a light on the various ways in which wild animals can be injured or trapped because of human activities. For example, nestlings and fledglings who become homeless and orphaned due to tree felling or marine animals which get trapped in fishing nets and hooks.

It is also a great tool to bring attention to vulnerable animal species and the risks they face due to industrialisation, urbanisation or changes in land-use patterns. When more people recognize how threatened or vulnerable certain kinds of animals are; that’s when moves can be made in the right direction to bring about their conservation. Social media can impact change in small yet significant ways, too. Even if a single person understands the right way to respond to coming across a snake and does not kill a snake fuelled by a knee-jerk fear or panic-based reaction; that’s one life saved.

How can people volunteer to help rescue animals?

If you have the time to dedicate to rescuing animals, you can do so on your own or alongside a network of like-minded people. It is not difficult to find and join forums like these online. No two rescuers are expected to be exactly as committed. If you cannot open your house to foster animals and can only offer to transport a sick or injured street animal to a veterinary clinic or shelter, that’s fine too. Often while rescuing an animal, stress and poor handling of the animal during rescue is what leads to more damage. So rescuing an animal safely using the right technique and equipment is just the first step. Thereafter, ensuring a swift release or minimum stress during transportation to a rehabilitation centre is the next. Go about rescuing animals responsibly. Do not trespass into private property. Always be up to date on your inoculations, especially vaccines against rabies and tetanus. Take care of yourself first. Never extend beyond your means. Temper your compassion with rational logic.

Tell us something about your ‘wildest’ rescue story.  

It is literally impossible for me to pinpoint one as the wildest! The funny thing is that even the wildest and most improbable stories wind up comprising just a regular day at RESQ

If your life were a book or movie, what would it be called?

Life the way I love it! 

Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media accounts and why?

Dr. Joel Alves @the_conservation_vet and Dr. Heinrich Vollgraaf because the work they do for wildlife is incredible! I also love following Justin Mott @askmott because I think the images he captures of animals are simply powerful! 

Where can people get in touch with you?

Email [email protected]

Twitter @nehapanchamia 

Instagram @nehapanchamia

LinkedIn – Neha Panchamia

In the Spotlight – Pavandeep Singh

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Pavandeep Singh, a travel blogger and an entrepreneur. A foodie by heart, he’s the founder of Tadka Singh and also the co-founder of Tasty Tales. Read more to know his journey.

Tell us about your journey – how did you get introduced to the food business? 

I was always fascinated with food and its flavours. I was running my automotive business and started learning how to cook just as a hobby when I happened to take a barbeque class. In 2012,  I went to one of the flea markets in Bangalore called Kitsch mandi. It was then that I decided to set up my own stall in one of these markets to serve barbeque food. Just a couple of days prior to the event, I was told that no cooking equipment and gas would be allowed within the stalls, so barbeque was out of the question.   I went to my mom, who also loves cooking, and asked for her help to cook some dishes. To my surprise, everyone loved our food and we got sold out. That’s how it started. While still being in the automotive business, I started doing more of these flea market stalls. We were called the ‘Keema pav’ stall because of its popularity. Then we did NH7, October fest and other big music festivals. That’s how I realised this is what I truly wanted to do and started my first restaurant, Tadka Singh.  

What’s the story behind your ventures Tadka Singh and Tasty Tales?

I co-founded Tasty Tales with Rinka Banerjee who’s a food technologist. She’s a veteran in the food space, involved in  R&D for companies like Hindustan Unilever for 16 years. She had this idea to create a natural, ready-to-cook paste that would not only be preservative-free but would taste just like your grandmother’s traditional recipe. We got to know each other through our investors who also happened to be my mentor at Tadka Singh. Rinka and I connected. It took us about a year to do our research and our investor was kind to give us some money for it. We got our first 2 recipes from our mothers. The Amritsari Mutton Curry was my mother’s recipe while the Bengali Mustard Prawn was Rinka’s mother’s recipe. We took it to our investors and they loved it. That’s how we got our first pre-seed. 

Apart from being an entrepreneur, you’re also a travel blogger. Tell us the story behind Hungry Travellers

My wife and I share a love for travel and food. In fact, Hungry Travellers was my wife’s brainchild. Even today, she’s the primary reason for its success. During our college days, we used to discuss how our life and travel will be after we get married. Right from our marriage, we had this idea of blogging. Capturing our happy moments for ourselves seemed a fun idea. When platforms like Instagram and Facebook became mainstream, we started putting our stories, Initially, the audience was just our friends and family. But we started growing over time and amassed a lot of followers. 

What are the challenges you faced during the pandemic (as a restaurant founder as well as a traveller) – how did you overcome them?  

As a restaurant owner, I had a tough time. There were times when we had no revenue coming. We had to dig into our personal savings to pay employee salaries. During this time, we decided to help others around us. Through a hotline number on our Social Media, we offered free food to all Covid patients who showed their RT-PCR reports. We served thousands of meals through this initiative. 

My wife started Project Passion where she interviewed different people on the internet who followed their passion and made it their careers. She talked to a lot of people from a DJ to a dancer. This idea was well received and we also got a lot of new followers.

What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur? 

In your entrepreneurial journey, always believe in yourself. Never lose sight of your goal and keep persevering. Your resilience will keep you going. 

What’s your favourite travel destination and why?  

 I like Bali a lot. We went there many years ago before it became a touristy place. I like the place for its food and culture. My trip to Leh-Ladakh was also a memorable one. Besides these, my most favourite city in the world is New York. I love NY for its energy. The buzz is second to none. 

If your life were a book or movie, what would it be called and why? 

No guts, no glory or Good Grit. 

Name the top 3 things on your bucket list.  

  • A pan India food tour exploring the country through its food – from the streets to the fanciest restaurants 
  • Travel to Japan 
  • Bungee jumping and sky diving  in NZ

Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media and why? 

My favourites are food-related pages. So I like  Chef Zac and his  Chef on the road series on Instagram. I like Hungry Travellers because it’s great memories for me and Anushree

Where can people get in touch with you?

Hungry travellers 

Tadkasingh 

Tasty Tales

5 Best Podcasts To Listen To Right Now

Podcasts have transformed the way we consume content. They have become an important part of our routines as much as a favourite TV show or book. From entertainment on-the-go to informational content that keeps our mind occupied, podcasts provide a diverse range of topics to suit everyone’s interest. So, we have put together a list of our favourite podcasts that you can listen to. 

  1. Let’s Do Shots!

How humans made computers smarter by solving captchas? How Starbucks functions as a bank? How Pepsi’s marketing campaign caused riots in Philippines? Find answers to all these curious questions in this engaging podcast presented by Siddhant More from Mad Over Marketing. From unknown business anecdotes to some of the best marketing success strategies, the podcast puts them together in short and crisp episodes that everyone can consume. This one is worth giving a shot! 

  1.  Cyrus Says 

A comic, satirist and video jockey – the legendary Cyrus Broacha has done it all for decades. In his bi-weekly podcast Cyrus Says, he brings his infectious wit while delving deep into topics like life in urban India, politics, sports, food, films, civic sense, traffic, kids, and more. The podcast features guests from different walks of life – from actor Taapsee Pannu to stand-up comic  Abhijit Ganguly. Highly recommended! 

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  1.  Casefile True Crime 

If you’re a fan of true crime, then this podcast might be of interest to you. Narrated by an anonymous host – popularly referred to as Casey – the critically acclaimed podcast is known for its well-researched episodes that feature some of the most thrilling crimes, both solved and unsolved. The podcast features episodes ranging from 1 to 2 hours, and is regarded as one of the best most successful true crime podcasts ever made. A gem any true crime fan shouldn’t miss! 

  1. Maed in India 

Founded and hosted by Mae Mariyam Thomas, the podcast is truly a one-stop shop for indie music. The podcast has featured over a hundred bands and artistes, introducing listeners to some of the best independent musicians from India and overseas. With interviews from artists who also bring renditions of their original music, this podcast is a delightful combination of story and music. If you’re someone who likes to discover new music, Maed in India is the one for you. 

  1. The Michelle Obama Podcast

Debuting in her eponymous podcast, Michelle Obama features open conversations between her and guests like Conan O’Brien, her mother, former US president Barack Obama and more. The podcast is a deep dive into various meaningful topics to encourage users to open up to new conversations with people who matter to them. 

We hope you have as much fun listening to these podcasts as we had while curating them for you!