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Entropia stands out among larger peers

Prashant: It’s been a breathtaking journey, where we went from zero to a mid-sized agency with 30-plus clients and 130 people in merely 24 months.

FOR a two-year-old agency to stand out among its larger peers can be quite challenging but Entropia seems to be defying the norm. Within a span of 24 months, the agency has upped its headcount, clientele and services at a rapid phase.

What is more impressive is that the mid-sized agency had successfully clinched 22 awards this year at the MARKies, which is equated as the “Olympics of industry awards”.

It also bagged the coveted Agency of the Year awards at the event in various categories including digital, media, social and creative agency of the year – across different clients.

Describing the agency’s achievement in a relatively short period since its operations as “breathtaking”, industry stalwart and Entropia senior partner Prashant Kumar says: “It’s been a breathtaking journey, where we went from zero to a mid-sized agency with 30-plus clients and 130 people in merely 24 months.

“Today, we are offering not just media planning and buying and creative services, but also have a highly competitive offering in social, customer relationship management (CRM), data and platform design – all offered through a sophisticated but simple integrated model.”

He said it has also been engaged by several clients to consult on digital transformation, where the contenders have been mainline global consultancies.

“At MARKies, we won 22 awards ranking at the top and almost double that of the next contender. But what makes us especially happy is that we won these across several clients, and across categories spanning brand, creativity, automation, data, social and media planning,” he tells StarBizWeek in an interview.

Prashant was instrumental in building IPG Mediabrands Malaysia when he was the CEO there before joining Entropia. He helmed IPG Mediabrands in Asia world markets as its president. He is also the co-founder of the agency.

Having said that, he notes that Entropia is continuously looking to improve itself, adding that this sense of inadequacy allows it to strive for betterment. One of the ways to achieve this is by doubling its mid-layer leadership line-up.

On the type of business models which the agency is adopting, Prashant says more than 80% of its engagement now is long-term contracts. Among others, he adds, there are services that are nature project-based, like platform design, consulting or services on build-operate-transfer model.

Commenting on how the agency is positioning itself amid competition in the ad and media space, Prashant says competition is good for the industry.

“It pushes us to get better and it is fun. I would like to believe that the industry has a stake in us doing great, since we went ahead with a bold new futuristic model, and our success validates that there is a way forward for our industry.

“We are actively associated with all the highly prestigious industry bodies such as International Advertising Association, Malaysian Digital Association and Malaysian Advertisers Association, and would like to contribute where we can.

“Entropia also believes that today, we collaborate and compete for a share of value creation in what is a highly blurred ecosystem comprising agencies, consultancies, technology players and new age media owners,” Prashant explains.

The name Entropia comes from the word Entropy and Utopia and is meant to denote the movement from disorder to order. As a small independent agency, it has the ability to customise without restrictions and is more agile than the bigger ones to changes. This is because it is not owned by a network and does not need approval from a higher authority, Prashant says.

Last year, the agency also launched its data consulting arm – Sentient – that sought to bring together the world of big data with big ideas.

Where does the agency see the media agency business going and the role of Entropia in it?

Prashant says: “Many of our leaders come from media planning and buying background. And our media work has won tonnes of awards for both breakthrough innovation and marketing automation. However, our hands have been full in the last two years developing skills that can elevate media planning to the next level.

“We believe that the future of media must cover the full spectrum from mass to personal, not just as a tactical buying afterthought but as a strategic marketing consideration.

“Last year we launched the Integrity planning process that brings together campaign planning, CRM and eCommerce into one seamless process and tool suite.”

Earlier this year, he says, the agency launched its personalised marketing offering – Roxy – which brings in a new generation of digital micro-targeting. Roxy’s mission is to bring unprecedented relevance to customers by bringing together creative ingenuity with data and algorithms.

He says the agency also introduced its Moment Marketplace Review to understand the moment dynamics in different categories better. “A lot of digital planning today in the market is still not digital first but merely being layered onto the old way, and integrity is an answer to that. It unlocks a whole new level of media efficiency and impact,” he notes.

With Google and Facebook having risen to become huge media owners, do their presence threaten the media agencies? Prashant instead view them as a force for progress.

“However, it is important today that ahead of Google’s intent graph, Facebook’s social graph, and Lazada’s purchase graph, brands are able to conceive their own brand graph – in effect staying in control of their business and margins. And I believe we have an important role there to cut through their conflicting claims, but to also bring relevant rigor, creativity and synergy.

“We believe that media is the single most important piece in the integrated brand experience. And its efficacy is not merely an engineering construct but is deeply influenced by design, mood and moment,” he says.

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