Catalysts to bridge the gap between digital growth & traditional agencies: Syed Amjad Ali

Catalysts is going to function on a geo-agnostic, open-source model

NEW DELHI: The marketing world has been in a state of constant flux for the past few years. There are emerging trends and technologies popping up everywhere, every few days. Brands are looking forward to ever smarter ways to engage with consumers. And the consumers are moving on to newer platforms for content consumption. While everything is moving at light speed, the marketing world might not really be abreast with trends that are always transforming. This has left a huge void in the industry, which former president of Mullen Lintas  Syed Amjad Ali is trying to fill with his new venture, Catalysts. 

The start-up aims to utilise the infinite content pool available for non-TV assets today to deliver smarter, sharper, and platform-focused marketing solutions to clients, Ali told’s Mansi Sharma in a recent conversation. 

“I have spent more than 25 years at the same organisation, working on some stellar and hugely successful brands and campaigns. And I was thinking about my next step for the past year and a half. That’s when I started planning Catalysts because I felt there is a huge gap in how the world of consumers is evolving and how most agencies are dealing with that. Catalysts will bridge this gap with unique platform-centric solutions to its clients,” he elaborated. 

Ali started his marketing journey almost three decades ago and played a big role in the success of brands like LG, OLX, Havell’s, and Micromax in India. He was also one of the founding members of Mullen Lintas in 2015. 

It was naturally not a very easy decision for him to move on from an agency that he had started seeing as home. “I owe a lot of what I know to Lintas. It was where I got many unique opportunities at every step of my career and worked personally with legends like Balki (R. Balakrishnan) who helped my professional growth immensely,” he shared. 

However, his zest to bring in a substantial change in the course of the industry prompted him to make the jump this year. “A very close friend of mine, who is a big brand consultant, told me that it is the perfect opportunity and time to start something new,” Ali quipped. 

He added, “I have very little to lose right now. The whole industry is dealing with a lot at this time and I truly sense a huge pool of opportunities lying out there. The pace at which digital is evolving, especially with Covid2019, and how traditional agencies are evolving are very different. I want to speed up that whole process with the Catalysts.” 

Ali also showed immense gratitude towards the whole industry and the people he has previously worked with, who are now extending supporting hands to him. 

“Now I realise what I have truly earned with my journey at Lintas. It is this great sense of belief that the industry has in me. It is overwhelming to see so many of my older colleagues and people that I have worked with asking me if I need any help. They all are so eager and willing to participate in the journey of Catalysts,” he noted, with some emotion.

Currently, Ali is working hard to develop a strong open-source model for Catalysts and looking to bring in fresh talent in the small team he is curating for phase one. For the majority of its operations, Catalysts is going to be geo-agnostic and will rely on modern-day technologies to not only deliver solutions but also manage team operations. 

He happily added that they are already working on a few client projects, each in very different verticals and stages, and said to expect some exciting news in the coming weeks. 

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