MUMBAI: Small digital agencies set up by 20-somethings are taking business from established agencies through a mix of ability and customer service, according to industry figures.

"Brands want to work with them," conceded Chaaya Baradhwaaj, CEO and MD of bcwebwise, a full-service digital agency. "They are not just good with digital," he told the Economic Times, "but have been able to deliver in terms of client servicing."

One reason for that is the different work culture they have embraced "The turnaround times for creatives and campaigns on digital are 24-48 hours," said Adhvith Dhuddu, the 27-year-old founder of AliveNow, noting that traditional agencies worked on weekly or monthly schedules.

Like many of the young businesses now making waves in the digital marketing world, Dhuddu found it difficult to get clients at the start and struggled to impress the importance of digital just three or four years ago. "Senior marketing heads were unconvinced by some 20-year-olds making a pitch," he remembered, but that had changed. The company now numbers Reliance and Honda among its clients.

"In recent times, when we walk up to companies with our pitches and explain it to 45-plus-year-old senior management teams, they look at our body of our work and not our age," said Dhuddu.

Songita Verma of Blogger's Mind, which has worked with Nokia and Durex, said that social media and digital should create content that was less "brand speak" and more shareable.

And she was dismissive of those questioning the ROI from social media, arguing that digital was measurable in a way that traditional advertising or outdoor was not. "One can find out instantly what people think about products as they like to share their opinion," she said.

"One can also find out how many people are engaging at a time and their sentiments towards a brand," she added.

While these small digital agencies may be the current flavour of the month, many are realistic enough to know they face a battle to maintain that position.

Brijesh Jacob, one of the founders of 22feet, which has worked with Axe and Red Bull, hoped the agency would still be relevant in five years.

"Every time you refresh your browser, something new is happening," he said. "I don't think we are in a position to say where we will be even six months from now."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff