Anita Menon is a multi-faceted and dynamic entrepreneur, based in Bahrain. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Bahrain's digital marketing agency - The Butterfly Effect, which has been creating many success stories, with their client portfolio while strengthening their digital footprint.
Anita believes in maximizing the most of her life and ensures she always has her hands full. Be it managing her other venture - a premium salon or blogging her restaurant reviews and her food chronicles, or running a book club.
If any free time is still left, she would be found turning the pages of a novel or experimenting with a new recipe, or re-discovering her passion for painting and singing.
"When I decided to start my own venture in 2014, I knew I was stepping into unknown territory"
The biggest challenge for any newbie entrepreneur from the corporate world would be getting used to the idea of not being able to draw a salary at the end of each month as you do at your job.
It is a mindset change that needs to happen quickly but the acceptance of financial uncertainty is something that doesn't come easily.
Over 6+ years of being an entrepreneur and running two businesses, she has accepted that each month and each year may be so uncertain that it would only be wise to take each day at a time and do your best.
However, she is lucky enough to have a strong support system that is her family and friends who kept her motivated and on track. Therefore, It was easier for Anita to jump back into action from her setbacks.
Anita is a physics and mathematics nerd therefore theories used to fascinate her to no end.
"I am particularly fascinated by the 'Butterfly Effect Chaos Theory' which talks about interconnectedness in a dynamic system"
The theory is the vision behind the brand name. She feels that applying small efforts in any system has far-reaching results.
The same thing applies to social media, and how better results can be achieved for a brand when they make small yet consistent efforts in marketing themselves.
Anita follows Gary Vaynerchuk (Chairman of VanyerX) on social media and finds his advice to be practical and very relevant to entrepreneurs. The other social media evangelist she follows is Steven Bartlett, the CEO of Social Chain. His agency experience resonates with Anita and she finds his insights truly motivating.
"Most importantly, my sounding board and my critic – my husband, Amit helps me stay focused on the task at hand and inspires me with his stoic approach to life."
She believes that it is important to have mentors who can guide you through the journey where each day is so different from the previous.
There are people with who she has crossed paths and have taught her how to listen to the gut and make business decisions. That is the single -biggest lesson from her mentors.
The Butterfly Effect has got an opportunity to market the first-ever Drive-in Cinema in Bahrain. The timelines were very short and the expectations high as it was a flagship project in Bahrain during the pandemic.
She along with her team launched the project on social media through fun animated videos, movie trailers, and sponsored ads. She also assisted on all digital fronts such as google ads and YouTube ads to make sure there was maximum awareness across the country.
It was the most awaited entertainment project for the country. Social media was the chosen marketing channel to post updates about the movies playing and the upcoming ones as well. They also captured the reactions of a live audience on social media.
"We have many exciting projects that we are managing right now in Bahrain and in the US. Looking forward to the ones in the pipeline from Egypt, KSA and Canada"
She feels that investing in digital marketing isn't an option anymore. The only way to be seen by your potential target audience is to be on social media and to market yourself through websites etc. on Google.
Start-ups particularly must understand that it is imperative to invest in digital marketing to be able to launch and eventually scale-up their business.
If we look at the GCC market, internet penetration is as high as 92%
If the start-ups in MENA want explosive growth, it is important to understand the dynamics of these social networking platforms and optimize their budgets to get the desired reach.
If the budgets are limited, they must make every penny count by running shorter campaigns for a set budget, review results, and learn from the experience.
Bahrain is an entrepreneurial economy and has an infrastructure to support the same. The Government has laid down business-friendly policies regarding business ownership and has also made provisions to support start-ups and SMEs through funding programs.
These funding programs support marketing costs, IT expenses, salaries for locals, and such. With such support, the business owners, myself included, feel more confident about approaching the market outside of Bahrain as well.
She believes it is very easy to cater to the neighboring economies from Bahrain especially when the service offered is digital. Pre-covid it was also easy to travel to GCC countries to meet and grow their relationship with clients.
"I always say, if I wasn't in Bahrain, I wouldn't be the entrepreneur I am today"
Bahrain has laid out an open playing field regardless of whether you are a local or an expat, a man or a woman.
The environment is so encouraging that she never felt like she was from a different country. So, there were no particular challenges that she faced being a woman entrepreneur in Bahrain. The only thing that matters is how good you are at what you do.
The Butterfly Effect differentiates itself from other marketing and digital agencies in Bahrain through their business consulting experience that they bring to the brands and clients they work with.
"We call ourselves a boutique agency that looks at a brand from a business point of view and understands their pain points"
They offer marketing and digital solutions to address those pain points and grow the brand. For this reason, their clients have continued the partnership with Anita for years because they understand the value she brings to them and their business.
Anita is an early riser. She wakes up at 4:30 am every day, and goes out for a walk in the morning. When she is back home, the house is still asleep and she has that time all for herself. She takes that time to meditate, journal, and chart out her day.
She also makes sure to take time out to read (fiction and non-fiction) every single day without exception. This routine has helped her recharge during her worst possible days.
"Me- time' is sacred because I am at my creative best at that time"
She feels productive and in sync with everything that is happening in her life.
At The Butterfly Effect, Anita uses Social Bakers (tool) to manage their clients' accounts. It has served them well for 3 years now. You can do everything from scheduling to getting any kind of analytical reports from this tool.
Other than that, she uses Instagram story apps like 'Over' and all the regular designing software to deliver creates and animation videos.
Personally, she uses her Fitness Pal app to track her progress on exercise and food and Medium app as a creative outlet to develop her ideas.
People management determines whether the business will be a success or a flat-out failure. Hiring can sometimes be challenging, but tie-ups for internships and campus recruitment with Universities here has eased out the process.
When she hires anyone for the role, she ensures that she has understood their expectations very well. She meets every individual personally a couple of times to assess their energy. This is the most important criteria for hiring – good energy.
"Keep the workplace fun to-be-in and work doesn't feel like work anymore. Client demands tend to increase the stress levels, so she makes sure that the internal work dynamics are fun and light."
Apart from that, she makes sure that each team member has challenging work to do which keeps them motivated and they are happy to stay on.
The relationship of trust Anita shares with her clients and the value she along with her team offer no matter what the external circumstances. Her team adapted to the new normal very quickly and started to offer content ideas to clients that would increase the traction for their brands.
A good example of this would be when The Butterfly Effect curated a 'work from home' & 'stay at home & show it off' campaigns on Instagram for their fintech client with an e-wallet product.
The campaigns encourage followers to share pictures of their 'work from home desks' and the 'show it off' campaign invited videos of followers of all age groups to show off their talent whilst at home.
Prizes were awarded to the best photos and videos. The campaign went viral where they received numerous entries and the brand awareness was top notch.
"We observed that most customer segments were leaning toward online buying to avoid stepping out"
She encouraged her clients to set up e-commerce shops and, in some cases, focus more on marketing their shopping app.
Another instance is where she ensured that the new normal did not affect the sales of our auto clients. They used 'Whisbi' to make sure the conversations of the client's sales and marketing team continued virtually with their customers and assisted with conversions.
All in all, they have managed to stay afloat despite the slowdown because of faster reaction time and offered solutions that worked well for our clients.
Digital marketing will continue to be the first choice among all the brands because of the high rate of return they get from investing in it.
The trend that Anita sees continuing into 2021 is brands asking for more video content. Videos with clever concepts and sleek execution that hook a viewer within the first 3-5 seconds of playing on the feed are the ones that will be in demand.
Micro-influencers are beginning to gain ground and where the brands are more inclined to prefer them over the mega influencers.
More and more clients have started asking Anita to provide gaming solutions to keep their audience engaged on microsites and she believes the demand will grow steadily in 2021.
The shopping feature with shopping tags on Instagram hasn't rolled out yet in the GCC, but when it does it is going to take the user experience to a whole new level where the customer can buy a product without leaving the app.
"I particularly mention Instagram because it remains the channel of choice for brands in the GCC"
Programmatic Ad buying will become more automated and precise in its targeting.
This is a huge space for marketers to spend time and understand the evolution and then apply the learnings to their clients' product categories.
To get ahead of the curve, digital marketers must keep an eye on all of the above trends in 2021
The Butterfly Effect is looking forward to 2021 with optimism and excitement. There are growth and team expansion plans in countries not limited to KSA, Egypt, Canada, and the US.
They are also looking at adding more services to our portfolio.
In her own words - "It is my vision for The Butterfly Effect Co to become the digital agency of choice in the region and all my efforts are in that direction"
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