In 2013, 3G was launched for the first time in Bangladesh. The following year marked the advent of affordable Android-based smartphones entering the Bangladeshi market through various Chinese and newly launched local brands. Incidentally, the cost of internet bandwidth also went down during this period. With all the telecom operators promoting 3G internet through attractive products, internet users were growing exponentially and there was an organic growth in demand for brands needing to be in the digital space to engage with their audiences.
In the backdrop of such excitement, 3 friends with 5 years experience of running a small communication agency were meeting 2 tech enthusiasts almost every evening to plan the launch of a new digital agency. In May 2013, the 5 passionate entrepreneurs started Magnito Digital with a team of 6 people in a 1400 SFT floor space in the 19th Floor of FR Tower on Kamal Ataturk Avenue in Banani. The vision of the company was to educate and empower the local and multinational brands in Bangladesh, SMEs, Government bodies and even small retail based businesses to engage and reach out to their audiences effectively, through digital media.
The initial challenge for the new company was to attract top talents from the industry. However, the Management put a lot of focus on building the culture of the organization. On the job training and internal workshops were regularly organized for the team. Past speakers in these workshops have included the likes of Macon Phillips, the digital strategist for the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. Visitors included the British High Commissioner to Dhaka, Senior Journalists and key stakeholders from the industry. Sports was also considered as a key activity and Magnito became the Plate Champions in the Ascent Corporate Football League. Starting from the attractive office space to the team development programs, words started to spread about the winning culture at Magnito. Within a few months, Magnito Digital became a desired career option for marketing graduates and digital enthusiasts.
Magnito started contributing towards the industry through various initiatives. One of the well known ones was “DIGI CAFÉ”, a digital marketing networking event that the company hosted every 3 months for a whole year. Senior representatives of brands, advertising professionals and key industry stakeholders participated in the knowledge sharing sessions, run by highly credible speakers, which included professionals from Google and founders of digital agencies in France, Malaysia and Pakistan. DIGI CAFÉ turned out to be a successful networking platform among the marketing professionals.
Within the 1st year, the company was working with over 20 small, medium and large clients, which included Unilever & Marico brands, City Bank Limited, Symphony, Maximus, Mobil, Omera, Chevron, Fish & Co., Sanmar Properties, Noir etc. Core services included brand strategy development, campaign planning, social media management, creative content development, analytics and digital asset development work. DMCs (Digital Media Commercials), a term that Magnito uses, became one of Magnito’s strengths. From May 2014, Magnito Digital started working with Banglalink, in collaboration with Melonades. Some very successful projects were executed within 6 months, which included the Banglalink Football Fiesta, the digital leg of the Network Campaign, some successful video projects including Detective Rana and revamping the UI of the Banglalink Mobile Application.
In October 2014, Magnito Digital pitched for Grameenphone’s digital account alongside 6 agencies and won the pitch to become the dedicated digital agency for Grameenphone. Few months later, Magnito Digital became the dedicated digital agency for Access to Information (a2i), a project of the Prime Minister’s Office in partnership with UNDP and USAID. In May 2015, Magnito Digital won the account to be the exclusive content and marketing agency for Wow Box, an Android based lifestyle application owned by Telenor Digital, Norway. The team size grew from 20 full time employees in 2014 to 61 employees within a year. The company shifted its office to a new location in Gulshan 1, with an in-house video production panel.
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Following numerous successful campaigns, in August 2015, Magnito Digital won a Gold and a Silver at the Commward, Bangladesh’s most prestigious awards platform for the communication industry, presented by Bangladesh Brand Forum, in partnership with Cannes Lion. Earlier they had also won the Judge’s Award and People’s Award at DigiBuzz 2015, organized by SD Asia.
The average age of the 61 employees of Magnito is under 30 years. The fairy tale story of this 2 and a half-year-old company continued. In December 2015, Magnito Digital won the ‘Gold’ and became “Campaign Asia-Pacific – Digital Agency of the Year 2015” in the ‘Rest of South Asia’ category at the recently concluded “Campaign Asia-Pacific Agency of the Year 2015” Awards Program. They were the only Bangladeshi agency to win globally in the digital agency category and were also one of the only independent and non-affiliated agencies among the shortlisted agencies across all categories.
Since 1994, the Campaign – Agency of the Year Awards is one of the world’s most prestigious awards in the advertising industry. It looks at all aspects of an agency, such as, management excellence, leadership, strategy, team growth, client acquisition, company growth, industry initiatives and overall achievements in advertising and communications industry. With results tabulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), it is the only awards program that honors agency performance as a whole, at both, a local and regional level.
The Magnito team remains very humble. They clearly understand & acknowledge their development areas and work positively everyday to learn more and develop themselves. The management gives a lot of freedom& independence to the team. While it may at times seem like one big party at the office, the Magnitons are in fact extremely hard working and work passionately as part of a family.
By Karishma Mahfuz