Left to right: Vikas Jaiswal, Priyanka Jain, Sebastian Jacob
Circa 2013, with a hard-bound folder of creative designs, Vikas Jaiswal, an aspiring entrepreneur, was sweaty palms in a large conference room of a big multinational company facing a multi-agency pitch. The designs look good, but how are they different from those, the CEO asked pointing to a scatter of other folders on the giant table. A young, nervous Vikas replied, “our designs are empathetic to your user”.
Fast forward seven years, we find ourselves in a world where content is abundant, and attention is scarce. When asked the same question, Vikas, a tad older now and CEO of Pichkaari, backed by a team of 45+ talented enthusiasts, smiles sheepishly and replies, “Empathy is always the answer”.
“Our clients walk up to a meeting with us, but we walk miles in their shoes before we dare put a single stroke of ink on paper”, he adds.
This underlying philosophy has helped Pichkaari (www.pichkaari.com), a small design studio nestled in India’s IT hub Bangalore, chart their way to find the voice for over 250 brands, including Fortune 100 companies and unicorn startups through design thinking and solutions.
When everyone is screaming for attention at the same time, brands that are able to establish a real connection with their users are the ones that thrive. Hence, design and communication partners have a significant role to play to help businesses identify and plug the loopholes in their brand lifecycle.
You managed to build a truly creative website, but your product is lost amidst the design intricacy. Your consumer might be impressed with the website but bounces off without a real understanding of what you have to offer. Or perhaps, you got the brand character laid out with clarity, but consistency and constancy is missing in action.
“There are so many possibilities to make a lasting impression, so many ways to build recall. The way we communicate is evolving at an exponential pace. Trends will come and go, the channels of communication will always be transient, but the thirst for consumers seeking meaningful interactions and genuine connections is here to stay, and that will always drive us to do what we do”, says Sebastian Jacob, empath, creator, thinker and Co-Founder of Pichkaari.
It begins with a discovery process to identify the “why” or the intent of the project. Correlate that to human behavioral patterns, the what and how of the communication becomes lucid. The next part is an all-out creative exercise to deliver meaningful design relatable to the target audience.
“We curate workshops and clarity sessions for our clients built on the fundamental principles of design,” Vikas adds. “There is no cookie-cutter formula when it comes to design. Our workshops are developed to help us arrive at unique solutions for each of our clients that address their relevant challenges through meaningful communication.”
As a pivotal part of their journey, the team sees itself breaking the perception of a “Working For vs. Working With” relationship with their clients. “For us, our clients become our partners and we urge them to look at us the same way. It is a conscious effort of being selfless in our approach, one that allows for an impactful engagement,” adds Priyanka Jain, ideator, designer, thinker, a working mother and Co-Founder of Pichkaari.
Businesses today are assessing and reassessing their brand positioning, user experience and communication methods, as the world navigates through the pandemic with caution. This has almost forced the professional world to reinvent systems and build new habits. Seeing this as an opportunity to refresh, Pichkaari has adorned a whole new identity based on the same values that drove them for the last eight years.
Left to Right: Chandana Nair, Rohit Sheoran, Yash Jain, Yellow, Malveena Ramchandani-Bhatia, Abhishek Kempraj
Team Pichkaari, is a collective of young and ambitious makers - comprising of designers, strategists, researchers, copy writers, developers, illustrators, UX professionals, photographers and digital media specialists. Each and every member of the team contributes to the creative process as a result of their own unique capabilities.
What does it take to be a part of such a diverse team, and to collaborate effectively to arrive at an impactful solution?
"We like to think of every project that we work on as a journey through a labyrinth," explains Malveena Ramchandani Bhatia, Creative Strategist at Pichkaari. "We have a starting point, which is the client brief. We try to keep a bird's eye view of the destination, which is the desired outcome, and we all work together to map out how we arrive at it."
The team has mastered the skill of navigating through the jungle of creative subjectivity, by recognizing the need for breaking down the process into phases and recognizing how each member can contribute to paving the way.
At each phase, they take an account what they have accomplished and what they need to get to the next phase.
The team is encouraged to not shy away from taking risks or exploring unconventional routes. Learning what doesn't work, is a part of understanding what will work.
"The one thing that matters to me the most about being a part of this team, is the fact that each and every member is empowered with a sense of ownership towards the projects that we take up," adds Abhishek Kempraj, Senior Art Director at Pichkaari. “We have created a safe space, where we can be the toughest critics of our work, where we can unlearn and relearn, and where we can feel comfortable asking difficult questions such as ‘Have we pushed our creative boundaries enough?’” he adds.
“Our objective at Pichkaari is to keep growing our abilities to address the need for digitization, effective communication and stronger user experiences, all to help brands build a crisp presence and overcome challenges, COVID and beyond.” concludes the team.Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.