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Fostering a unique business vertical: Digital, data and design thinking with a focus on sustainability

Sri Lanka’s digital, data, and design thinking partner for the connected age, recently won the Bronze in the ‘Grand Prix Award’ category for ‘Best Content Strategy’ and the Silver in the ‘Best Social Media Content’ at the international ACEF Content Marketing Awards. ALT X Founding CEO

Kabeer Rafaideen provided his insights on the company’s areas of expertise and the story behind the inspiring campaign that brought digital marketing glory to Sri Lanka. Given below are excerpts of an interview:

Q: What’s the inspiration and the story behind the forming of ALT X?

A: What brought all of us together to create ALT X was a shared vision for change, innovation and the need to go beyond traditional digital marketing. We never wanted to create ‘an agency’ and we developed a unique partnership framework for clients centering on real digital transformation for businesses. From day one, we differentiated as a brand that specialises in data, design thinking and digital marketing solutions.

Q: What are ALT X’s products and services?

A: While ALT X offers services in traditional digital services such as creative and content and digital media, our extensive product portfolio also includes the complete spectrum of data services, strategy and technology but what truly sets ALT X apart is a unique vertical and expertise – digital, data and design thinking with a focus on sustainability. We are able to provide credible digital solutions for the sustainability agenda based with the data and expertise of our group partner, the Carbon Consulting Company.

Q: What makes ALT X different from other companies in your domain?

A: People often make the mistake of slotting ALT X as an agency. While we offer some services that are in the realm of digital marketing agencies, our business model is different. Two key features differentiate us, First in every single touchpoint in our work, data and design thinking is the DNA; Second, our uncompromising value system – we consistently refuse to work with brands that do greenwashing.

Q: Tell us about your team

A: Clients simply identify our team as ‘technology-based professionals gifted with a strong creative mindset’. A group of experienced and qualified professionals who have created exceptional work for some of the world’s largest brands, they embody the ‘T-shaped personalities’ that businesses in the new age need to provide rounded and empathetic problem-solving to develop viable solutions. They also play an instrumental role in nurturing the next generation of digital professionals with to our affiliations with University of Moratuwa, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the Asia Pacific Institute of Digital Marketing.

Q: How did ALT X win a prestigious international award so quickly?

A: We have always benchmarked our work at the global level aspiring to win internationally. Using a combination of behavioural data, social listening tools and keyword analysis we were able to identify an opportunity to create a unique concept that gave the user an experience versus an interaction. In Eswaran Brothers we found a client who believed in the idea and the campaign was launched in the US, Canada and Hong Kong markets, with the results exceeding our expectations. Despite being just seven months old, we entered it at the ACEF awards, a prestigious international competition recognising the best digital work with entrants from Singapore, India, UAE and Iran amongst others. Fellow winners at this years awards included acclaimed brands like DHL, MTV, Kellogg’s, Dell, VH1 and ZEE TV.

Q: Tell us about the T-GO Teas campaign?

A: Our strategy was to link up with and leverage a global happening that would serve to amplify the brand presence. As Zack Snyder’s cut of ‘The Justice League’ had hard core followers eagerly awaiting the film’s release, we created a campaign where the core thought was that tea was the superhero of drinks – and the drink of superheroes. We created a new (parody) brand of teas, a unique concoction that bestows its users with super powers, and we brought them all together in the aptly titled ‘The Just-Teas League’ where we used unconventional content and ad formats to reach them. With the buzz around Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’ driving consumer interest, this became an engaging and humorous journey for the user to discover the drink of superheroes.

Q: What are your key learnings after participating in such a prestigious international event?

A: One of the key learnings for us was how brands are now bridging consumer relationships by amalgamating traditional mediums like ATL into connected and mobile channels to create unified omni channel experiences. Despite all they say, video didn’t kill the radio star and digital isn’t going to kill the ATL mediums.