Creating and applying appropriate technologies,
Confiance solves problems in the tactical intelligence community
The Saathiyas (rural health workers) had refused to put in another piece of paper in their bag, leave alone a flipbook, for pregnancy awareness. The bags were heavy enough for them, to walk extensive distances to reach the homes of pregnant women. When banglanatak dot com started their awareness campaign, they realized that only a non-traditional approach can be effective. It was no rocket science for Confiance to develop a content rendering mobile application, which Saathiyas could install in their phones and take door to door. As a bonus, the app was engaging for the rural pregnant women, as a curious innovation.
This has been the USP of Confiance and the key factor of their growth. For them, digital communication does not need to be driven by over complicated technology; it just needs to be effective and customized for the target group.
After working with leading IT companies for 22 years, of which over 13 years outside India, in likes of Microsoft, Infosys, Wipro, Tatas, serving clients such as Wal-Mart and Norwich Union, Animesh Goswami chose to return to his home town of Kolkata seeking a more fulfilling pursuit. An IIT Kharagpur alumnus, he was 41 when he founded Confiance Mobility Llp in 2014 with the aim of bringing in a change in field of communication, not just another software development house like most of his college mates.
Getting off the ground didn’t take time. Animesh’s (yes, he insists on calling him by first name) approach to technology is simple: he always thought of technology as an enabler, and not an end in itself.
As the founder of Confiance, he decided to break that paradigm. “It’s a pity that creative minds are naturally averse to discussions on technology, and technology professionals look down on the communication department,” says Animesh. Why can’t technology be used as an enabler for effective communication? With that in mind, Animesh launched Confiance.
In the words of Animesh, “You can split any enterprise into three broad segments: product/service delivery, internal processes and finally communicating the story of the enterprise to the world outside. Confiance focuses on solutions for the interface of an organization that communicates with the rest of the world, e.g. customers, vendors, media, partners, investors etc.”
The solutions are developed in a blend of modern technology with the principles of communication, marketing and advertising. “Be it about CRM or advertising, investor communication or mobile applications, digital marketing or film making, as long as it involves engaging the external world, it is Confiance’s domain”, says Animesh.
Though the primary focus is on digital, Confiance prefers working in collaboration whenever convergence (digital media merging with the traditional) is required.
Though he had a sound strategy to pursue, scaling up wasn’t initially easy. Why? “Because the biggest adversary is the common notion in India that anything digital should be driven by the IT department,” he says, adding that the problem with the approach is that campaigns become focused on the tools used and are not appraised in the right manner for effectiveness.
“The technology head of a client once asked us why we use third-party web monitoring tools and do not develop our own,” says Animesh. “Clearly, his perception was smarter companies use their own tools, but why? You don’t need to develop your own tools if you have effective and tested ones readily available. If you want to type a letter, you don’t start developing a word processor!!”
“Our experience across sectors, geographies and cultures has taught us that every enterprise is unique,” he says. “So are their needs. So key to providing them a good solution is to pay a lot of attention to what they and their clients have to say.”
Most external agencies who manage communication needs of enterprises have a one-size-fits-all approach. “Sometimes experience stymies creativity,” says Animesh. Conventional agencies can provide excellent creativity, but more often than not they do not have the bandwidth to marry that with technology. “We are willing to do new things with new ideas.” Confiance combines creativity and technology to develop its solutions.
Digital is a new medium for communication, and potential customers still have a lot of confusion over how best to use it. The only popular perception is that it needs to be pursued because it is cheap.
“A leading advertising agency once advised its client that finance being “serious business”, social media wasn’t the right channel for communicating with stakeholders, recalls Animesh. “It wasn’t so long ago that I had to deal with these notions.”
As a principle, Confiance only provides solutions that are clearly measurable. “Yes, digital is less expensive, but that is primarily because solutions can be regularly measured for effectiveness and tweaked to be made more effective,” says Animesh, “and this is a continuous process.” So, typically Confiance works with its clients as a retainer or outcome-based contracts.
Going forwards, Confiance is looking to expand its offerings by launching products for B2C commerce, and solutions that combine communication with IoT and mobility. Confiance has already started to produce multimedia communication solutions and is looking to expand in this in a big way. “I have been lucky to be able to hand pick a team, who believes in the philosophy and ready to put in the extra effort to try out new ideas”.
There are a lot of new things on Animesh’s mind; what he will not do, however, is offer template-based solutions.