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The Advertising Industry Doesn’t Concentrate Enough On Nurturing Entrepreneurs: Ashish Bhasin

In a conversation with Marketing Mind, Ashish Bhasin, Founder, The Bhasin Consulting Group, emphasised lack of entrepreneurs in our industry and the inadequate focus on fostering advertising entrepreneurs. This underscores a notable gap in the entrepreneurial landscape of our advertising sector. He stated that rather than actively promoting entrepreneurship, there appears to be a prevalent sense of apprehension within our industry and ecosystem.

| Published on June 14, 2024

The Advertising Industry Doesn't Concentrate Enough On Nurturing Entrepreneurs: Ashish Bhasin

In India’s bustling advertising sector, entrepreneurial spirit is abundant yet faces hurdles in scaling ventures beyond initial stages. Many industry leaders continually underscore that this challenge persists despite the country’s rich talent pool and global recognition.

Ashish Bhasin, Founder of The Bhasin Consulting Group, is addressing this gap by mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs in the advertising industry, aiming to unlock their potential and navigate them towards sustainable growth.

Bhasin candidly expressed his concern about the lack of entrepreneurs in our industry which underscores a notable gap in the entrepreneurial landscape of the advertising sector.

Bhasin said, “Our industry lacks enough entrepreneurs. Many people possess substantial entrepreneurial energy and can grow their businesses to a certain level. However, taking a business from startup to significant growth requires a different skill set. For instance, passionate founders might take their startup from zero to 50, but advancing from 50 to 500 involves implementing processes, systems, vision, and strategic thinking.”

While explaining how The Bhasin Consulting Group is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs thrive in the industry, he said, “With my experience, I guide, mentor, and help accelerate this growth process. I find it rewarding to see young businesses thrive, and I aim to contribute to their success. At The Bhasin Consulting Group, we work with a few select promising young companies where I believe I can add value, focusing on mentoring.”

Furthermore, he underscored that in the corporate environment, entrepreneurialism has rarely received the recognition or rewards it deserves. In the advertising industry, there have been times when people have acknowledged the contributions of creatives, who play a crucial role. There have also been times when they have recognised the efforts of those in client servicing or account planning.

“However, we have often neglected the business side of advertising, almost feeling guilty about it. We hesitate to openly admit that we can make money, which I believe has been a significant hindrance to our progress,” he added.

Bhasin highlighted, “Given India’s growth trajectory, we should have by now had large, locally listed homegrown ad agencies. Our ad agency networks should have expanded globally, capturing international markets. India boasts some of the best talent in the world. Having served on a global board of an advertising network and led the Asia Pacific region, I can confidently attest that Indian talent is second to none. However, we have not yet produced entrepreneurs at a global scale and we do not concentrate enough on nurturing advertising entrepreneurs. This highlights a significant gap in the entrepreneurial aspect of our advertising industry. Instead of promoting it, we seem to harbor a sense of guilt about it within our industry and ecosystem.”

He strongly believes that India is currently in a prime position for growth. Over the next 15-20 years, if the economy continues to thrive, there is an immense potential for every facet of our advertising and market communications industry.

Furthermore, he went on to say that the traditional classifications of “below the line” or “through the line” businesses are becoming obsolete.

“Today, there is no clear line, and agencies need to follow where the client’s money is going. They must establish businesses and provide services in these areas. This has always been my principle and will continue to guide our approach in mentoring entrepreneurs,” he added.

Bhasin emphasised that entrepreneurs in India are brimming with ideas, energy, and passion, yet often face limitations in scaling their ventures beyond a certain point. Many lack exposure to large organisations or global markets, their experiences sometimes confined to a subsection of the Indian context.

“This learning curve is pivotal because proficiency in certain business aspects doesn’t guarantee equal competence in others essential for growth. This forms the core philosophy of The Bhasin Consulting Group: mentoring entrepreneurs to unlock their businesses’ full potential and facilitate their scaling journey. The group doesn’t run their businesses but provides guidance to empower entrepreneurs in expanding their horizons,” he said.

When asked about the potential for growth in various sectors such as out-of-home (OOH) advertising, experiential marketing, and digital advertising, Bhasin emphasised that unlike the Western world, where digital media has replaced TV, India has enough space for digital, TV, print, OOH, radio, and more to coexist and grow.

“Growth in India is not limited to one medium, all forms of media have room to flourish. Digital trends are accelerating, and I strongly support this. However, this doesn’t imply that other media won’t survive and thrive. They will, but they must also adapt to the new realities of the market,” he added.

In conclusion, when asked about his future plans and whether this is his final venture or if he aims to expand further, Bhasin stated that while one shouldn’t rule anything out completely, he doesn’t envision ever returning to the traditional corporate set up.

“My satisfaction lies in nurturing professionals, fostering their success, and helping businesses grow and thrive. Moving forward, I aim to focus exclusively on these endeavors. Witnessing small businesses evolve into larger, profitable entities is particularly fulfilling for me,” he added.

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