Suveer Bajaj is Co-Founder, FoxyMoron, which has been recognized as one of India’s finest digital marketing agencies, and thereafter went on to co-found Zoo Media, a larger, independent media network that owns the flagship agency Foxymoron along with six other agencies that together offer a bouquet of services ranging from digital marketing to creative tech, influencer marketing and more.
In this exclusive piece, Suveer shares how the core values of Zoo Media helped him navigate 2020 and the pandemic. He also speaks about his upcoming projects and the lessons he learnt in 2020.
Back in 2019, when we were listing down our values for Zoo Media and thinking hard about the kind of culture we wanted to create in the network, we knew we had to come up with something cool, fun, and easy to remember. So we did exactly that and came up with ‘ICE3’ (read as ice-cube). A simple mnemonic for ‘Integrity, Creation, Excellence, Empathy, and Endurance’.
Unknown to us at the time, this would hold us in good stead over a year later. As a leader of an organisation, people look to you for direction, motivation, and support. They expect you to have the answers.
2020 was unprecedented. Where do you go when your simple routine of wake up, get dressed, and get to the office takes a 360 turn; when everything around you changes, when the outside is completely inaccessible? You have no choice but to look on the inside to guide you and in this instance, it was a simple ‘ICE3’.
Testing Creation & Excellence in times of Endurance
People find inspiration and motivation in different ways. As an extrovert, I am the sort of person who finds my penchant for creation through ‘exposure’. I believe it contributes to my risk-taking ability, motivation, and fuels innovation.
Exposure for me varies from trying my hand at an adventure sport, meeting and having conversations with people in different walks of life or just having lunch or playing table tennis with our people at work.
So, when a State ordered curfew put a restriction on the outdoors, I simply had no option but to look indoors and more importantly inwards to find that exposure, to get that ‘inspiration’. I listened to phenomenal podcasts, read incredible books, and learned from experiences that were imparted to me through those channels, within the four walls of my home.
Leading with Empathy and Working with Integrity
At our core, we are a close-knit, people-first organisation. Empathy is at the epicenter of everything we do. We endeavour to prioritise our people’s needs first and make the office a hub for collaboration and camaraderie.
But budget cuts from clients juxtaposed with an increasing task list and tighter turnaround times, meant incredible pressure on our teams, eventually staggering motivation across the board to an all-time low.
At our core, we are a close-knit, people-first organisation. Empathy is at the epicenter of everything we do. We endeavour to prioritise our people’s needs first and make the office a hub for collaboration and camaraderie: Suveer Bajaj
Rallying motivation across 250 people meant having honest conversations with all of them. It meant putting ourselves and our Business Heads on the firing lines to the tons of questions our people understandably had. It meant really listening to them and empathising with the challenges they were straddled with.
For us it meant being honest with them, being vulnerable enough to say that while we value the integrity with which they were working, we didn’t have all the answers but to have faith that we would always act in their best interests. Six months into the lockdown, we hit the pause button and the entire organization took a week-long ‘Wellness Break’ to refresh and reprogram.
In the last 10 months, we’ve launched our digital transformation agency ‘DoyenOink Consulting’. We’ve onboarded over 36 new clients. Our people have pulled off phenomenal campaigns for Kellogg’s and SanDisk.
In a few weeks, we’ll be launching a passion project of mine ‘883 to Infinity’, a podcast that aims to bridge the cultural gap between India and Pakistan and, ‘Man’s Life’, India’s premier digital infotainment platform for men. A project nurtured, labored, and launched entirely during the lockdown by one phenomenal team.
In the last 10 months, we’ve launched our digital transformation agency ‘DoyenOink Consulting’.
We’ve onboarded over 36 new clients. Our people have
pulled off phenomenal campaigns for Kellogg’s
and SanDisk: Suveer Bajaj
There was a funny meme that went around recently, depicting a rather overweight man peering inside an empty refrigerator with a line on top “What you’re looking for is already inside you”. This couldn’t have been more deep and true.
While I would still take that dive trip or that hike up a mountain anyday, I take comfort in knowing that even without it, I and we as an organization can commit ourselves to work with integrity, lead with empathy and create with excellence even in times of endurance.