Es Chandra has been running Glide Agency in Perth for 12 years and
Chandra, CEO of the agency, spoke with Media week about their work with crowdfunding campaigns, expected growth for the coming year, and IMAA’s support for independent agencies.
The agency and being CEO
Glide Agency was established in 2007. That year, Chandra partnered with the agency before buying out the partners four years into the business.
Glide became a digital-focused agency after working with its first national client, Bed Shed, in 2011 and since then has focused on investing in digital by ramping up marketing and strategy.
“We focused on metrics-based advertising, where we could prove ROI to customers. That was pretty early; analytics and tracking weren’t as advanced back then. Then we we went strong in that direction from then on.
Chandra comes from an educational background as an animator teaching information systems, multimedia and animation at Murdoch University and Curtin University. He said his background in the education sector meant his approach to the industry was different. His method is to be accountable to clients and their budgets rather than a process driven by creativity.
As CEO, he explained that he encourages leadership within the agency, so that his team evolves and grows within the structure and day-to-day business.
He said: “I’m very focused on the team and developing their skills and the culture, making sure we hire the right people who live and breathe our values, in terms of impact, what we stand for and our unique proposition to the market.”
Chandra also noted that he plays a role in agency strategy, the companies they want to work with, and the verticals and spaces they want to strengthen.
Specialized in crowdfunding advertising
The CEO explained that due to its responsible model and being driven by data and metrics, the agency focuses on paid digital advertising or PPC advertising.
“We help clients manage digital advertising spent online. This generally lends itself to customers who are internet-focused. They look at ad spend, and they look at what that direct revenue is generating. These are typically customers who have online e-commerce capabilities,” he said.
Glide Agency also has another specialization of its own: equity crowdfunding through its partner, the Birchal crowdfunding platform.
Chandra explained that Birchal takes care of the client’s offer document and process. At the same time, Glide takes care of the client’s social media campaigns, manages the accounts and builds the strategy to help increase the goals. “Typical goals are between half a million and three million dollars,” he added.
The CEO said the agency did well with the campaigns it worked on in the niche market. “I think we’ve raised over $30 million so far in a few years. I think the industry has made about $150 million so far.
He added: “It’s a new market, but it’s growing. It’s exciting because we work with many start-ups in new ventures and ventures that have popped up on the radar.
“Once they get to this crowdfunding format, they already have a brand. They have a purpose-driven product, usually built around environmental sustainability, increased efficiency, or application or something.
Chandra said, “It made us evolve as an agency. We tend to now only work with like-minded brands that are purpose-driven, like enduring brands, brands that are very strong with their values and what they’re trying to do and where they’re impacting the world.
Some of their recent and notable crowdfunding campaigns include Birchal itself which raised $3 million, Bubble Tea Club which raised $1.7 million, Eli Electric Vehicles which raised $1.3 million and Good Earth Dairy, which reached $1.2 million.
While Glide Agency gets many of its projects through its partnership with Birchal, they have retained long-term clients. Among them are Perth Zoo, Destination Perth, Curtin University, Hawaiian Group, Kommunity Brew and Pearls of Australia.
The impact of the pandemic on Glide Agency
The pandemic and its impact on the industry was not a serious issue for Chandra and the Glide team. He said it had been a seamless transition for them as a digital business. They were already set up to work from home as part of an office move just months before the pandemic hit.
From a business perspective, Chandra revealed that the agency has done well, except for a month in which clients canceled during the height of the pandemic.
“A few months later everything was back to normal and we found that clients were focusing a lot more on the internet. We went from being an agency laying out a digital strategy to clients telling us ‘we just need to settle this problem, we need your help”.
The CEO noted that the pandemic “has sped up” Australian industry by “about three years”.
“Australia was a bit behind the US or the UK. Now it’s booming and more into e-commerce businesses. We saw that and pivoted a little more heavily to that area. We had clients selling online, but we decided to specialize in this area because it was a thriving market for us,” Chandra added.
Outlook for Glide Agency in the coming year
Looking to the year ahead, Chandra said Glide Agency is focused on greater growth. The agency hopes to expand further into Australia’s e-commerce and crowdfunding space and grow its reputation as interest from the US and UK grows.
“I think e-commerce transactions are 7-10% of all retail in Australia, which is low. So there is still a lot of growth to be had in the e-commerce sector in Australia.
“As technologies advance, there will be more and more people who only sell online. So that will be the growth for us in the future. Then, obviously, with teams that grow as we build services around those verticals,” he added.
About the IMAA
Chandra shared that he is a strong supporter of the IMAA and the independent agency culture and said, “I think that’s where a lot of boutique ideas come from. This is where you get innovation and new strategies.
The CEO also praised the IMAA for supporting local businesses and local jobs and added: ‘The money stays in Australia, whereas a lot of the agencies that are bigger they hire here but have their agencies that are global and overseas, and basically that money is flowing back.
Chandra said, “I think if brands can look to independent agencies and have brand awareness, as a collective, rather than operating as individuals. I think IMAA is doing a very good job of holding that and speaking on our behalf and being the voice.
“As we move into this future of people wanting to keep local businesses and support locals, I think that’s a powerful message,” he added.
Top Image: CEO of Glide Agency, Es Chandra