Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Gautam Bhirani: Steering India's Digital OOH market with Out-of-the-Box ideas

A fitness enthusiast & youth icon, Gautam is recognized as one of the Most Influential Leaders in the OOH Advertising Industry

Published: Nov 10, 2020 03:41:40 PM IST
Updated: Nov 11, 2020 05:59:14 PM IST

Call it serendipity -- Gautam Bhirani's journey to becoming one of the most formidable names in India's thriving Media and Advertising landscape.

From being on billboards himself to building canvases, Gautam has charted a rare career story made successful on the back of his courage to take risks, knack for innovation and flair for persuasion.

A college dropout and a former National level sportsman who went on to have a brush with ramps and brand endorsements, his tryst with entrepreneurship via his maiden venture came as early in life as 23. With his impeccable communication skills and in-depth understanding of the ecosystem, he turned brands that he once endorsed into his clients.

In a career full of peaks and troughs, Gautam has defied all perceived norms of the business world to build and establish what is today one of India’s largest and most talked about integrated digital media companies, and to be a pioneer of progress in the industry at large.

Innovation has been at the core of any and every enterprise by this Out-of-Home advertising specialist, who is a self-honed marketer at heart and an entrepreneur by choice. Be it pioneering taxi top advertising through Mumbai's famous 'kaali peelis' or bringing cutting-edge technology to bring advertisers and consumers closer in the Digital Out-of-Home universe, Gautam has always been a step ahead of his contemporaries in the business.

A 40 under 40 & Youth Icon awardee, Gautam is recognized as one of the Most Influential Leaders in the OOH Advertising Industry. While his work as a contributor and columnist has been widely appreciated by leading Indian and international business media journals, he has also cemented his space as an active voice in discussions around the present and future course of the industry.

Gautam launched Eyetalk Media Ventures (EMV) in 2016-17, marking his foray as an investor. With over 2,000 content driven live displays, reaching 3 million urban Indians daily with its multiple networks, EMV is India's largest integrated DOOH media company today providing consumer engagement platforms to urban ecosystems. EMV's disruptive platforms have enabled convergence of both digital and physical worlds using IoT-driven, state-of-the-art tech infrastructure, thereby playing a key role in India’s OOH digital transformation journey.

Amid the unprecedented reality and impact that the Covid-19 pandemic brought upon the global economy, Gautam's EVM identified the digital shift within the industry, and capitalised on new, lucrative business opportunities. This was done by providing solutions backed by latest technology to help businesses connect better with its customers in the intra-Covid physical world, thereby securing some major contracts for EMV. For this, Gautam was also honoured with the Indian Achievers Award 2020 for innovations, apart from being widely quoted across publications on business transformation articles, consulting government on role of modern media in pandemic and research for offering new ways in customer experience during Covid-19.

As a strategic advisor, he has closely worked with organizations from India, Europe and South Asia including a top corporate like Reliance Industries. He has been actively involved in contractual consulting and been a trusted counsel for media start-ups in the country.

At 36 years of age, he sets the right example for youngsters by putting his mind to his heart, following his instincts, believing in himself and standing tall in the face of failures, only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

A fitness freak, his free time is best spent while immersed in calisthenics. An animal lover, Gautam takes initiatives to provide food, shelter, healthcare and welfare for strays and has been supporting various NGOs as well as Animal Shelters. His philanthropic side also extends to caring for homeless kids and the elderly, while his idea of unwinding lies in reliving his passion for cricket, playing the piano and being the people's person that also drives his business.

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.