Kunika Rathore is a Young Woman Entrepreneur, the CEO, and the Founder of The Unknowns agency. She has years of experience in Marketing & Advertising industry with top organizations like HogarthWW, Ogilvy, and Grey.
Kunika has served some of the most renowned Fortune 100 & 500 brands in the world like Apple, Bose, Emirates, Unilever and google. She is a speaker & mentor at FICCI, The Brood Incubator & Entrepreneurship, Research and Incubation Centre (Delhi University). She also runs a podcast to help people with their basic mental day to day issues at - "The KunikaRathore audio show".
She started The Unknowns Agency with an idea of creating two ways communication / interaction where the consumers can interact, connect or talk with the brand to learn and share the experience to help them improve for better with the help of technology and creativity.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
I am someone who believes in exploring until you find your journey and I did the same. I started as a professional dancer while teaching mathematics who had nothing in mind to put her foot in the advertising industry, but God always has his own plans for you. While taking care of the website and marketing requirements for my dance company I got this job opportunity at Hogarth (A WPP company). I got the job as a software engineer which I never wanted to take. However, I never said no to any opportunity, and like many others my family wanted me to have a stable career. So I gave the interview, got selected, and that’s where my journey in this industry began. Leaving dance was a very big deal for me so I made a promise to myself that I will do the job for 6 months and if it doesn’t feel fine to me I will return to dance and if I am choosing this then I was not going to do a 9-5 the whole of my life. I will learn and then start my own agency. Well, interestingly enough after 6 months I was in love with this. I gradually shifted from being a software engineer to being a designer and then to a lead and furthermore to looking after the Asia pacific for India. My journey has been rewarding and incredible as I got to work with the fortune 50 and 100 brands and that made me realize what we all are missing in the industry.
I started to develop a dream of creating a new-age agency that develops campaigns that are not bound to brand side interaction but also the consumer side interaction. Campaigns where the consumers can interact, connect or talk with the brand to learn and share the experience to help them improve for better with the help of technology and creativity.
Q: What motivated you to get started with The Unknowns Agency?
This is something I always wanted to do. I didn’t just wake up one day with this idea. When I started with my job, I joined it with a motive to learn and then start my own agency but when? was never decided. It happened gradually while working for other agency I realized that the customers have become so curious nowadays that they do research before they actually invest their money and want a brand to educate and interact with them. So for sure, our old fashion method alone is not going to work to get them on board. We need to adapt to a new change and I never was able to openly do that while working in my past organization where I didn’t have the power to make the decision. I didn’t want to wait as this was the time and if we don’t change now we are going to let behind so much. Hence I thought why not now!
Q: How have you attracted clients and grown your firm?
Brands need someone they can trust no matter big or small and this is something I learned in my past experiences. But, How do I make them trust the brand? Well, by having a team who already has experience working with them, a team who already is aware of the processes and quality these brands expect. I have been one of them. Another one is the timeliness in our work as the brands are always in a rush. These two were my major strengths to grow or attract clients.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I would say to create a place where people feel free to say what they feel and feel valued because in my industry it requires everyone to be creative and people can be most creative when they have a sense of freedom and have the right to put their idea or perspective to the table without hesitation. I want to create a New Age Agency that just doesn’t develop designs or video ads but creates campaigns that let the brand educate and interact with the consumers in the way they resonate and understand it nowadays. I can do that with the help of a careful combination of technology and creativity which has always been my niche.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome?
My biggest obstacle was being new as a company, being a woman, and with that being young. But here I am, doing good now and growing every day. I was able to overcome these challenges because of the great connections I made while being employed at Hogarth. More importantly the team I have at The unknowns who are more experienced than I am and love what they do for a living. The love they have for me and the organization has really helped me. Well, you can’t always rely on connections they obviously can give you a start but to be running on the ground you need to be independent or I should say only dependent on your skills. So learn as much as you can and with that keep Networking.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
I would love to share the pointers that helped me with the young female founders out there. When you will enter any room for your business people, especially males will look at you before they listen to you. Make sure once they listen to you they end up talking about your skills and knowledge and what you can bring to the table.
You being a woman is a power in itself but you need to find what you have that can turn it into a superpower. Be a people’s person, treat your people (i.e. employees) like your family. If you have a good team then you have a growing business.