About Thought Starters

We are the first Thought Leadership Marketing company in Asia.

We specialize in Thought Leadership Marketing, a new approach towards branding that bypasses the challenges that define today's marketplace. Driven by research, domain expertise, and key stakeholder engagement, Thought Leadership Marketing leverages innovative mediums including content marketing, flagship platforms and collaborations - all designed to establish our clients as experts in their field.

Our domain expertise in IT and Healthcare enables our clients, ranging from small and medium enterprises to Fortune 500 companies around the globe, to plan and execute effective long term branding strategies.

What is Thought Leadership Marketing?

Do you take TV spots, hoardings and newspaper ads at their face value? No, we don’t either. Technological innovations and economic challenges have transformed the marketing landscape. Subconsciously, we’ve been trained to question advertisers’ claims and promises. Those who can see, can see that Marketing, in its traditional form, has lost its edge.
Thought Leadership Marketing bypasses these challenges by addressing the basic ingredient that seals any seller-buyer relationship - trust. It is a new approach towards branding driven by sound research, domain expertise, innovative thinking & key stakeholder engagement that helps establish a brand as an expert advisor or trusted partner.

The mode and the medium, both are different than those used in traditional marketing. Mode, in Thought Leadership Marketing, is driven by research, insights & domain expertise whereas in traditional branding, it depends on message & visual. Medium, in the former, includes content marketing, influencer engagement, collaborations and flagship platforms, and print ads, hoarding and TV spots in the latter.

By turning the focus away from glamorizing the product or service to establishing credibility, Thought Leadership Marketing establishes the ‘humanity’ in the brand-customer relationship.

Have we got you hooked yet?

What it is:


What it is not

1. It is about sculpting the 'soul' of your organization, to which all business, branding and marketing decisions must be aligned to.


1. It is not just another new term for established marketing techniques.

2. It is about creating long term credibility for brands as trusted advisors.


2. It is not just a marketing communication add-on.

3. It is about increasing visibility and standing with the people who matter.


3. It is not just about populating social media sites with content.

4. It is about being able to influence.


4. It is not just about content marketing.

5. It is about being an advisor, strategist and executer.


5. It is not about being a 'me-too' brand.


6. It is not about churning out whitepapers and reports without a unique point of view.


Thought Leadership Marketing vs Traditional Marketing



Traditional Marketing

1. Target is long term


1. Target is usually short term

2. Driven by research, expertise and innovative thinking


2. Driven by targets and lead generation.

3. Aim is to garner trust by establishing client brand as an advisor and expert.


3. Aim is to help Sales meet its quarterly/annual targets.

4. Mode comprises research, insights, and domain expertise


4. Mode comprises catchy messages and striking visuals

5. Medium comprises content marketing, influencer engagement, collaborations and flagship platforms


5. It is not about being a 'me-too' brand.


5. Medium comprises print ads, TV spots, hoardings etc.


Management team

Karthik Nagendra

Founder & Director

Karthik Nagendra has a decade of core marketing experience with prime focus on branding, communication strategy, executive communication & thought leadership marketing. He has been instrumental in creating many award winning marketing programs for leading brands like MeritTrac-India's largest Skills Assessment Company, Wipro Technologies and Accenture. He has worked closely with leading universities, industry bodies, analysts and research firms globally and acted as a catalyst in providing best practices and insights to customers across sectors. He has authored papers & articles on thought leadership marketing in international journals & has been a guest speaker at many Ivy league Universities globally. At ThoughtStarters, the first end to end Thought Leadership marketing company in the world, Karthik & his team help businesses transform from sellers to influencers by helping them unearth their 'big idea' and thus brand them as experts in their field. While their approach is grounded in facts, they seek fresh perspectives to showcase clients' USP through research, academia collaboration and strategic content marketing. Karthik has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University & an MBA in Marketing & Finance from IIPM Bangalore. Karthik can be followed @thoughtstarterz

Erica Klein

US Partner

Erica Levy Klein is the author and executive editor of 8 books from Random House and other publishers, including the top-rated business book, "Write Great Ads: A Step-by-Step Approach" from Wiley and the upcoming "Working With Freelancers, Consultants and Creatives: How to Get the Most From Your Hired Guns And Outside Vendors." She was most recently profiled by Forbes.com for her work with LI-Financial.com, which restrategizes and rewrites LinkedIn profiles for professionals in the financial services and investment industries.

Mentor board

Madan Padaki

Co-founder and Chairman, Head Held High Services

Madan’s passion and drive have created an ‘Industry’ for Assessments in India that did not exist before. Apart from all the other things that he is well known for, as a Co-founder and Chairman of Head Held High, Madan has been driving much of the organization’s initiatives through his ability to create, drive and scale-up new ventures. He was recently heading Strategy & Innovation for Manipal Global Education. Madan also serves on the Governing Council of TiE Bangalore.

Mukul Pandya

Director/Executive Editor- Knowledge@Wharton, Wharton Business School

Mukul Pandya is the editor-in-chief and executive director of Knowledge@Wharton, a web-based journal of research and business analysis published by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

A winner of four awards for investigative journalism, Mr. Pandya has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Economist, Time magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications. He coauthored knowledge@wharton on Building corporate value, as well as Lasting Leadership.

He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Bombay.

Arun Katiyar

Communication Consultant

Arun Katiyar is a media expert with three decades of professional experience. He has worked as journalist and editor with the India Today Group.

Arun was the founder and Chief Operating Officer of the India Today Group’s online venture and was instrumental in setting up their online global syndication business. He later moved on to become the station director for the country's first 24 hour private FM radio station, Radio City (Indian radio station) and then became Vice President, Operations, of Microland's technical support business. In 2005 he led a start up as CEO called SEraja funded by entrepreneur Rajesh Jain that addressed the media-centric management of events using the Internet and mobile phones. Arun has produced a rock album for CBS and has authored a book for Harper Collins Publishers—Bombay A Contemporary Account of Mumbai. He attended St. Xavier's College, Mumbai from 1977 to 1981 and was listed under "Alumni of Distinction from St Xavier's College, Bombay" in 2006.





"Karthik exemplifies the best traits of a creative, disciplined marketing professional with a high degree of insight and innovation. In dealings with our entire team, my colleagues and I have found him to be consistently dependable, clear thinking, tenacious and fast-moving. It is especially remarkable to see such an individual have a keen grasp of the emerging field of thought leadership."

Mukul Pandya- Executive Director/Editor-in-chief, Knowledge@Wharton The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Success Stories

A leading global IT services
Develop a comprehensive cross-functional thought leadership solution that could directly support their IT and business strategy. This program involved collaborating with leading universities, industry bodies, analysts and research firms throughout the world and served as a catalyst for best practices and insights.
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