Kunika Rathore is the CEO and Founder of The Unknowns Agency. She provides expertise from her time working for prestigious companies like HogarthWW. She has served some of the world’s most well-known Fortune 100 & 500 companies, including Apple, Bose, Emirates, Unilever, Google, and others. She was honored with the SheThePeople 2021 Digital Woman Award, the 5000 Women Achievers Award in India in 2022, and the 2022 BTX Top Woman Executive Award.
In this interview with Business Upside, Kunika Rathore describes her entrepreneurial journey with “The Unknowns.” Moreover, she also talks about other aspects, such as the difficulties of being an entrepreneur, how to achieve success by overcoming those difficulties, and more. Here is the edited excerpt from the Interview.
Edited Excerpt from the Interview
Business Upside [BU]: What Inspired You to Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey with “The Unknowns”?
Kunika Rathore [KR]: It is something I have 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 agency, but when was never decided. It happened gradually while working for another agency. I realized that customers have become so curious nowadays that they research before they actually invest their money. There are significant issues with the effectiveness of some of the more traditional marketing and advertising methods. Consumers now ignore 89% of ad content. Television advertising has been hurt by the ability to watch shows on-demand and skip ad breaks.
Most millennials have ad-blocking software installed, limiting the effectiveness of online advertising. Businesses are looking for solutions not just to increase ROI but to get the customers’ attention simultaneously without losing the brand’s profit and credibility. We need to adapt to a new change, and I never could openly do that while working in my past organization, where I didn’t have the power to make the decision. I did not want to wait as it was the time, and if we don’t change now, we would fall behind so much. Hence I thought, why not now!
[BU]: What are You Striving to Accomplish through Your Venture?
[KR]: There are major issues with the effectiveness of some of the more traditional marketing and advertising methods. Customers have become smart with the increasing use of smartphones. They all do their research before they put their money into anything. They are aware of the marketing tactics or that brands are trying to sell their products, making them question the brand’s credibility. Consumers now ignore 89% of ad content. Television advertising has been hurt by the ability to watch shows on-demand and skip ad breaks. In contrast, most millennials have ad-blocking software installed, limiting the effectiveness of online advertising.
ROI is downgrading every day. Customers’ attention and brands’ credibility are at stake. Businesses, brands, and even marketers are looking for solutions not just to increase ROI but to get the customers’ attention at the same time without losing the profit and credibility of the brand name.
Majorly, big brands can now use the power of experiential marketing and make a difference, as it requires a lot of investment to generate a single experiential marketing campaign because only some people can create the experience or are aware of the same.
[BU]: How Do You Help People with their Basic Mental Day-To-Day Issues?
[KR]: By putting myself into their shoes. All of us have our journey when it comes to mental health, especially when we talk about healing. I just try to talk and understand how I can add value just by listening or having a general conversation, and I would say that’s all sometimes someone needs to let it all out. I try to help them with my experience or what others have shared.
[BU]: According to you, What Qualities Should an Entrepreneur Possess to Achieve His/Her Goal?
[KR]: I believe there is no limit to what all qualities an entrepreneur should possess. But I would want to share a few. The top quality required is to be a people person, and an entrepreneur should be able to converse with anyone at any time.
Second, faster decision maker. Third, super patient because he/she has chosen the most complex and long journey, and yes, fourth, should love whatever they are working towards because we have to learn a lot. In contrast, going through the process and if you don’t like it, you wouldn’t want to learn it, so you will eventually fail.
[BU]: What Do You Think is Your Greatest Asset?
[KR]: I wouldn’t think twice and definitely say that it’s my team. Without them, I or TUA is nothing. They made it possible for us to reach here by delivering excellent quality work with their experience.
[BU]: What Do You Envision through Your Work?
[KR]: I would say to create a place where people feel free to say what they feel and feel valued because my industry requires everyone to be creative. People can be most creative when they have a sense of freedom and the right to put their idea or perspective to the table without hesitation. As we try to disrupt the traditional methods, our initial focus is to educate people about the method. Hence new methods require a new skill set. We will introduce a new job role, i.e., experience engineer, and start a fellowship training program.
Top agencies have tried their hand with experience, but the major issue has been the cost which is our 2nd major focus, i.e., to be cost-effective to make it accessible to everyone. Initially, we will target the fortune 100 & 500 who are the early adopters of this change, but we will also state the method’s credibility. Experiential Marketing Market to reach USD 15.53 Billion by 2025. This disruption will not just increase the ROI for the brand but will also generate employment and add to our economy. We are initiating that here in India and want to add our contribution to the country.
[BU]: What Hurdles Did You Face When You Started Your Journey, and How Did You Overcome them?
[KR]: My biggest obstacle was being new in a company, being a woman, and with that being young. But here I am, doing good now and growing every day. I overcame these challenges because of the great connections I made while employed at Hogarth. More importantly, the team I have at The unknowns is more experienced than I am, and I love what they do for a living. The love they have for the organization and me 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.
[BU]: How Do You Motivate Yourself in an Adverse Situation?
[KR]: I actually can give you an amazing motivating answer, but that won’t be the truth, and as I want to put something out to help so, I will be honest. I, or any entrepreneur, don’t feel motivated in any adverse situation. We all feel the same as any other normal human. The only difference is we don’t give up. We keep moving on.
[BU]: What Would be Your Message to the Young Aspiring Entrepreneurs of Our Country?
[KR]: When you enter any room for your business, especially when you are a woman, people 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.
Being young is a power in itself, but you need to find what you have that can turn it into a superpower. Be a people person; treat your people (i.e., employees) like your family. If you have a good team, then you have a growing business.
[BU]: What, According to You, is Success?
[KR]: You can’t define Success in one word or even a sentence. It is in the journey, not the destination. Success is not just even yours. It’s the people who are building with you, looking at that smile of your parents when you achieve what you say, your friends who did listen to you when your dream was just in your eyes and conversations. It’s when people don’t know you personally but believe what you tell them. It’s you being you and still being accepted, and if even not, you don’t care because you love yourself.