Kulzy.com, a professional networking platform for the ad, media and marketing fraternity, is turning one, and has plans to expand beyond Indian shores
KULZY (kulzy.com) defines itself as a data-driven networking platform for the ad-media-marketing community— a LinkedIn of sorts for these segments of professionals. Launched in October 2014, Kulzy was the brainchild of Sandeep Vij and Sreekant Khandekar, founders of Banyan Netfaqs! (the parent company of afaqs! and The Mobile Indian). In the month marking its first birthday, the social network is all set to expand in South-East Asia, starting with Singapore and Hong Kong, and it also wants to get the television industry to be a part of the platform.
The fundamental goal of Kulzy is to let its members create their profiles and connect with each other. Another major aspect is the online marketplace (Project Hub), where clients can find agencies to work on projects and vice-versa. The site has received funding through Seedfund, Bedrock Ventures and a few professionals from the industry including Abhinay Deo (ad filmmaker), Ambi Parameswaran (ED, FCB Ulka), Bobby Pawar (MD & CCO, South Asia, Publicis India Groupe), Rahul Kansal (executive president, BCCL) and Sonal Dabral (chairman & CCO, DDB Mudra Group).
According to Vij, Kulzy currently has 50,000 pieces of work and about 30,000 registrations across 6500 communication agencies of all sizes across the country. The website is in the midst of a re-engineering exercise which is being handled by ITSA.
Some of the main sections on the platform include Rainmakers, where senior professionals get recommendations from people they have worked with. So for example, Pidilite’s managing director Bharat Puri wrote on his personal experience of working with Sonal Dabral. In a section titled Spotlight, people/agencies can highlight what they think is their best work. Every profile shows the number of work views, ratings for work, followers, etc. Is there a risk then, of the platform becoming a hotbed for showcasing scam work/false credits?
Vij says that solving these problems has been embedded in the technology itself. “There is an alert button next to all the credits and if someone sends an alert to us, our system automatically sends a mail to the person in question asking him if he uploaded the work by mistake.” If that person doesn’t respond within a specific number of days, the system sends out a mail to other collaborators, and if 66% of them say that the person wasn’t part of the team, the credit is removed immediately. Each person also gets to segregate work in categories like released brand work, unreleased brand work and non-brand work.
Apart from the individual profile, agencies can create their ‘professional’ pages as well, and there are company pages for brands which are basically collections of all the creative work that has ever been crafted for them by different agencies.
Kulzy will soon have a Guru-Shishya section where senior professionals in the industry will mentor communication students online. This will also be extended into on-ground activities. The attempt is to create more job opportunities for young talent. Another new section will be ‘Over the Years’ where a brand’s strategy over a period of time will be written about by someone from the brand’s agency. Overall, the content strategy for Kulzy is to have all its content generated by its users only.
Kulzy aims to serve a two-fold purpose. First, to be a marketplace where agencies and clients can connect in an organised way. “In fact, we are doing a pitch very soon where the brand will host its 10 shortlisted agencies. On day one, the agencies would be briefed and on day two, they will have 24 hours to come up with the communication solution that the brand is seeking,” says Vij. If something like this can be accepted and implemented on a large scale within the industry, the whole pitch process – which is often infamous for wasting agency time and resources – can be streamlined.
Another growth potential area is that many hitherto unknown agencies in tier 2-3 towns of India can get an equal opportunity to showcase their talent and compete for work. This can bring a lot of unidentified talent to the fore.
How Kulzy actually pans out and what it really achieves is something time will tell.