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 enables our clients, ranging from small and medium enterprises to Fortune 500 companies around the globe, to plan and execute effective long term marketing 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:

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

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

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

4. It is about being able to influence.

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

What it is not

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

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

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

4. It is not just about content marketing.

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


1. Target is long term

2. Driven by research, expertise and innovative thinking

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

4. Mode comprises research, insights, and domain expertise

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

Traditional Marketing

1. Target is usually short term

2. Driven by targets and lead generation.

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

4. Mode comprises catchy messages and striking visuals

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

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


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

Kumarswamy KS

Lead Generation & Campaigns Consultant

Kumar is a seasoned senior executive with more than a decade of experience with a deep understanding of international markets and commerce. Kumar comes with vast experience in campaign planning, managing result-oriented lead generationcampaigns & Inside-Sales programs for Domestic & International. Previously he has worked for LeadGen Technologies, Franchise India, Muthoot Group & ICICI Group.Kumar holds a Master of Business Administration from Kuvempu University and Master of Economics from Bangalore University.

Swati Singh

Digital Marketing Consultant

Swati has over 7 years' client Digital Marketing experience with top agencies in helping business verticals such as educational institutions, real estate, medical institutions, B-B businesses, tech companies, among others to drive online visibility and generate leads that have resulted in new business online. She has been named (2015) as a Top 40 Global Digital Marketing Strategist in the industry.Swati holds a Mass Communication degree with the major specialization in Advertising & PR and ranked first in university. As well as holds a PG in Creative Writing with major focus on SMO and writing that defines the times in which we live.

Aarti Birdi

Content Consultant

A result oriented strategic integrated communications and content leader with 15+ years of global experience strategizing and driving the communications agenda of global and Indian organizations.

She brings to the table a strong ability to quickly and keenly chalk out the business needs that can be supported through her expertise in Brand Building (Corporate and Employer Brand); Public Relations, Leadership & Employee Communications, Crisis Communications, M&A Communications, Content Strategy, Creation & Marketing.

She has been part of teams that set-up the marketing and corporate communications function within the organization aligning to specific business needs.

She has driven communications campaigns across sectors such as venture capital, IT, ITeS, automotive components, gems & jewelry, textiles, healthcare, education, social service organizations, mutual funds, FMCG, etc.; handling both corporate and brand-related PR, as well as for an industry and a government.

Shefali Petiwala

PR Consultant

Shefali has over 15 years of experience in the field of Marketing and PR working with brands and agencies with a focus on Technology, Start-up and Lifestyle PR. Her past PR portfolio includes assignments with leading PR firms like Concept PR, Weber Shandwick and Genesis PR where she has handled Public Relations for brands like Oberoi Realty, Raheja Universal, Sony Entertainment Television, MTV, Disney Channel, Workhardth Pharma & Hospitals, Nutanix India, Palo Alto Networks and FICO. She is a commerce graduate from Jai College, Mumbai.

Nikhil Jain

Research & Business Intelliegnce Consultant

Nikhil has over 11 years of experience across Market Intelligence, Business research, Primary and Secondary research, and Consulting. He has led International Market Intelligence teams for Fujitsu, who supported sales team, bid management team by providing insights and recommendation. He was also responsible for primary and secondary research to understand usage practices and need gaps among key stakeholders across ICT sectors. He is a Mechanical Engineer and an MBA graduate from SIBM - Pune.


Design consultant

He likes to juggle between logic and aesthetics. He started as a UI designer initially, which makes him a blend of both UI & UX. That's where he developed his attention for detail which is very evident in his wireframes.

He is a happy, ever-smiling optimist who keeps the fun alive at the studio. He is excited about sports, adventure, movies & music.

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

50% increase in lead pipeline for a leading consulting company through engaging thought leadership content
Positioning the company as being closely integrated with the country's culture
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service Portfolio

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