Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

How two Australian entrepreneurs worked on creating a million-dollar agency

Defiant digital exists to provide online solutions for business growth

Published: Dec 22, 2020 03:50:57 PM IST
Updated: Dec 24, 2020 06:13:42 PM IST

How two Australian entrepreneurs worked on creating a million-dollar agency

You know those random stories you read about whiz kid entrepreneurs who amazingly struck it rich while churning out 16-hour work days in a tiny room in the back of their parents kitchen? I’ve read more than my fair share of them, which made chatting with these two young Aussies who lived the experience first hand an absolute delight — I’m talking about Co-Founders of digital marketing agency Defiant Digital, Sid Pierucci and Jamie Kritharas.

At the time when their friendship and the money-making madness first began, Sid and Jamie, both in their early twenties, crossed paths under the shining lights of Sydney’s infamous Golden Mile, Kings Cross.

Young fellas, hungry and ambitious to make a name for themselves in the music and hospitality industry -

Sid climbed to the top of the Australian music scene as a promoter and artist-liaison rubbing shoulders with the likes of Prince, Drake and Martin Garrix. Jamie on the other hand landed global recognition as a DJ & producer with support from EDM heavyweights Hardwell, Tiesto, Afrojack, Calvin Harris and more.

Not bad for two up-and-coming twenty-something, right?

After half-a-decade of separate successes Sid Pierucci (28) and Jamie Kritharas (30) reconnected in late 2019 and decided to formalise a business partnership under the name of Defiant Digital, to challenge, provoke and resist the marketing norms of ‘the old days’. A forward thinking digital marketing agency advertising for the ‘NOW’ was born.

“Defiant digital exists to provide online solutions for business growth. We built our agency model around not being afraid to fail, and that’s how we innovate. We push the boundaries of what is possible. We are brave in the way we communicate; resilient and relentless in the pursuit of achieving our goals and our client’s targets” – they told Forbes.

12 quick months later, having grown their advertising and SEO agency to six figures per month, the duo’s stressful days of nightclub’s late nights and heavy hangovers are long gone… and their partners don’t seem to mind.

But how were they able to grow their company from 0 to $2 Million in a matter of months, while in the midst of a global pandemic?

We take a constant aggressive approach to the market; Sidney answered.

“With the novel coronavirus pandemic accelerating consumers’ shift online, we saw an opportunity tapping into small-businesses and legacy retailers to double down on ecommerce and AR viral projects. We signed our first office lease on July 1st2020. We started recruiting, scaled and got to work” Jamie told Forbes 

Though the duo spent less time on their personal story, and more on advice for novice entrepreneurs and brands during our conversation, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by where they both had come from, where they currently are and what the future looks like for these two young industry leaders. Below, you can find their thoughts on AR, business and more. Perhaps you’ll have a similar experience.

“To be successful, in today’s online landscape brands and businesses must adopt and ever-green startup mentality that allows them to be quick and agile when leveraging new advertising technologies and experimenting with creative user experiences. Additionally, they must take the ‘day 1’ approach to aggressively capture market share, sometimes at the sacrifice of initial profitability”. Sid said.

Both Sid and Jamie, long-time friends and now business partners agree that attempts and failures are a prerequisite to innovation and eventual success. 

“Our mission at Defiant is to turn online attention into revenue. We push the boundaries of creative output and facilitate pathways that empower businesses and people – that’s essentially what we do”.

Now onto Augmented Reality…

You have heard of it right?

Augmented Reality has been on the lips of many, and on the cusp of mainstream appeal for some time. As AR technology becomes omnipresent and consumers demand ‘always-on’ marketing opportunities, Defiant Head of Growth Jamie argues that AR is about to radically change the way businesses advertise online. 

“It’s an understatement to say advertising has changed over the years. Advertising has changed from advertising a product to advertising an experience. Instagram AR is the first social media step that allows consumers to personalise and experience brands in a way that’s all-encompassing”

Instagram is particularly well-suited to branded content and there are many reasons why. 80% of users follow a business on Instagram, which indicates that Instagram users in general are quite eager to follow brands they care about. Furthermore, Instagram Stories have proven to be highly effective ways for businesses to promote themselves, with branded content accounting for 1 out of 3 of the most viewed Stories.

But as much as it is about the platform, the two believe that in 2021 content will still be KING.

Augmented Reality is a very effective form of social engagement and advertising because it’s inherently highly shareable. As long as you build a compelling effect, you are likely to get shares simply because of users like it. AR content also has average dwell times of 75 seconds, four times longer than video, making it an incredibly engaging form of content.

Augmented Reality is an interactive experience where the real-world environment is enhanced by computer-generated images. AR Filters are no different, they alter what the camera sees, either on a selfie or regular mode. These can be as simple as adding freckles to your cheeks, to as complex as transporting you to the summit of Mount Everest.

There is unlimited poforntential for businesses to use Instagram AR as part of their marketing strategy and the filters can be designed to capitalise on this shareability… But just like all marketing, the creative is always going to be the variable to attracting eye-balls and ‘grabbing attention’

As a final thought, Sid added:

I believe that there is unprecedented potential in fashion and product-based industries to benefit from the viral aspects of Instagram AR effects, and we are currently developing several concepts in this area. We are also super excited to see how other agencies and brands will use this creative technology to meet the needs of consumers across a range of different niches and verticals. As we have seen of late the world around us can change overnight, and with change comes the opportunity to adapt to consumer needs and the environment they live in. Expect a new world of AR engagement and advertising in the not-too-distant future.

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