Brand Makers

#ShareTheSpotlight: Grapes’ Shradha Agarwal on intrapreneurship, aspirations, and the woman she wants to spotlight

Both Shradha Agarwal of Grapes and the woman she endorses, shatter stereotypes and conquer age-old biases.

By  Kashmeera SambamurthyMar 28, 2023 12:43 PM
#ShareTheSpotlight: Grapes’ Shradha Agarwal on intrapreneurship, aspirations, and the woman she wants to spotlight
Shradha Agarwal (left) shares spotlight with Pooja Narayan (right) as Narayan made tough instead of stereotypical choices and prioritized both her and her partner's career equally.

Note to readers: Storyboard18's Share The Spotlight aims to highlight inspirational stories of women who continue breaking barriers and setting the precedent for other women marketers, entrepreneurs and communication specialists.

The initiative aims to kick off a movement where people from across these communities step up and share their spotlight with other women. They could be women in their team or any other team, a new group or previous one, from a past workplace or the current one.

Share The Spotlight calls on us all to come out and share words of praise and encouragement for each other, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions of so many people who make businesses, brands and workplaces better. Learn and understand how to face challenges and seize opportunities while bringing along others on the path to progress.

This is just the beginning of a long journey to spotlight individuals who are empowering others and bringing change and growth for all. Together we rise.

Who would have thought that a woman born and brought up in a conservative Marwari family would go against social conditioning, challenge the status quo and become one of the most influential women in her domain. Shradha Agarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Grapes, a communications agency did just that and more.

Agarwal who has been reimagining intrapreneurship at Grapes says, “I have been able to create a very unique zone for Grapes where I was able to help clients in terms of strategizing, organizing and creating processes on both data and experiential led ideas.”

Agarwal started out as the head - digital strategy and engagement at the agency. In a span of five years, she held the title of COO and strategy head. Since 2022, Agarwal is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Grapes.

For Agarwal, 2022 turned out to be an eye opening year where she was able to identify the top line (total income generated during a particular period) and bottom line (net profit of the company) of various agencies. This was followed by identifying their revenue per employee too. She mentions, “I am making a very tall bottom line target of another 25 percent this year. This year, I aspire Grapes to be in the list of top 3 agencies in India, by keeping my focus on the bottom line to be very healthy.”

Like all leaders, Agarwal too learnt from her failures. Maruti, which was one of her clients, provided her an opportunity to take on full funnel strategies, and helped her and the team to ideate, experiment, and drive different methodologies and models. But, advertising and marketing agencies are able to perform the best when the clientele budget is to expectation.

“If you have that kind of budget, then you can experiment and come up with ideas. But, if the budget is very tight, then you are driving only the lower funnel, where driving the upper funnel becomes impossible. Moreover, we were new on our journey and the responsibilities of Maruti left us with very little time. Hence, we took the decision of moving away from handling their mandate, though it was not very favourable at that time,” mentions Agarwal.

Sharing the spotlight

Agarwal shares the spotlight with Pooja Narayan, compensation leader - IBM Middle East and Africa. Agarwal is inspired by Narayan because the latter didn’t put her career on the backburner for her family and instead took the step of moving to Dubai for her career prospects when her husband had a full-fledged career in India.

Narayan decided that neither she nor her spouse would compromise on their career. “They decided that they would shuttle as many times as possible between Dubai and India. This inspired me with the fact that one needs to make choices, which are tough and not stereotypical, says Agarwal, adding, "you need to do what makes them happy."

Know anyone you’d like to share the spotlight with? Join the movement, give them a shout-out on LinkedIn and tag Storyboard18 so we can take it forward.

First Published on Mar 28, 2023 9:42 AM