Pink Lemonade: Time to Refresh the Firm’s Positioning 

March 2021

Tina Garg, founder and CEO of Pink Lemonade, an integrated marketing communications firm needs to rethink her strategy as she plans for growth and expansion. According to Garg, “Pink Lemonade was perfectly poised at the intersection between brand strategy and insight-based marketing to serve brands holistically today.” With a vision to go after larger, global clients, she contemplates challenges on various fronts. Inviting two experts, one from academia and one from the industry, we present two insightful commentaries on the way forward for Pink Lemonade.

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Case Study:

Tina Garg, founder and CEO of Pink Lemonade, an integrated marketing communications firm, contemplates challenges on various fronts.


It was May 2020, a time when the world was still struggling to come to terms with the global pandemic that erupted at the start of the year. For Tina Garg, founder and CEO of Pink Lemonade, an integrated marketing agency based in Bengaluru, India, the disruption provided an opportunity to rethink strategies for her nine-year-old venture and look for avenues to grow the business and scale up operationally. Estimating the impact on business, Garg felt, “15-20% reduction in our revenue was better than the industry average of 30-40%.”

Returns on Strategic Projects and Tactical Jobs

Presiding over a review meeting with her senior leaders, she was looking at the slide that compared average time spent on business against revenue earned across their various activities. It was becoming increasingly apparent that they had to diversify into newer high-growth areas while consolidating and scaling existing business functions.

Garg told her team, “When we get requests from clients for one brochure or one video, we take those projects on as they are the entry points from where we then figure out how to pitch our other offerings.”

The question on the table was, how could Pink Lemonade transition from being a boutique communications agency to becoming a brand partner that consults with the clients on strategic brand marketing decisions, playing a more critical role in their business strategy? This was a journey that the brand had embarked on a couple of years ago.

Pink Lemonade - Inception and Branding

Garg’s career started out with positions held in the advertising, communications, marketing, and journalism space. Keen to break out on her own, she began operating as an independent consultant. At one point, she was managing assignments for seven different organisations which triggered the confidence to bootstrap an entrepreneurial journey.

Around the same time, in 2011, she enrolled for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Programme at the Indian School of Business[1], an initiative that offered training, guidance and mentorship to budding women entrepreneurs. Interactions with the cohort at the programme gave her the confidence to start her own brand, and she set up Pink Lemonade as a formal entity.

Growth and Business Offerings

Garg was funding her business solely with the earnings from her consulting assignments. Her first team comprised two women who were returning to work after a break — a designer who eventually took over as head of design, and a writer who became the head of content.

Garg recalled, “We worked out of an extra apartment I had, across my home. No rent, minimal overheads, three salaries and lots of enthusiasm, talent, and determination!”

The initial business had thrown up several challenges. While work gained momentum, they needed to put together a team to meet their commitments on several projects.

Reflecting on how she approached that hurdle, Garg said, “There was an early realisation that we should look to hire people for their attitude rather than just their talent. We should be creating flexible policies that would have us stand apart from peers in the industry, opening our doors to those looking to resume work after a break, or even making a shift in their career.” 

Speaking about her early efforts to get new business, Garg said, “We started by handling smaller brands, and with consistent word-of-mouth from satisfied clients, we created brand visibility for Pink Lemonade.” Garg also realised that propagating on social media and leveraging digital marketing were effective means to build a database of clients.

Undertaking projects from across different domain areas helped to develop capabilities across verticals and build a wider portfolio of services. 

Garg built a client servicing team to manage existing and prospective clients.  Her personal involvement in mentoring the team in terms of their business acumen, marketing language, delivery, and presentation skills, over time led to establishing the culture and agility that Pink Lemonade is known for.

Garg recalled, “We learned the ropes quickly and began providing web services one year after founding Pink Lemonade. By 2013, video production took off, and we also took over another design firm. In the following year, we started UX services and digital media, as well as brand strategy and planned to consolidate and crystalize these verticals by 2016. Eventually, brand strategy and digital marketing became our most prestigious verticals.”

Over the years, Pink Lemonade pivoted from being a creative agency to an integrated strategic marketing and communications service provider. By 2020, Garg had successfully grown her company to 110 employees, serving close to 800 clients across industries. Over the years, they had worked on some prestigious projects —designing and launching consumer brands for companies like ITC, Toyota, Ajio, Swiggy; extensively covering the United Nations Children’s Fund’s five-year program across 15 states in India; the outreach and communication for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 for the Indian Space Research Organisation, among others. They also had to their credit multiple awards, most recent being the Big Bang Awards[2] and Foxglove[3] for creative excellence in designing. Commenting on their growth, Garg said, “While many have not been able to sustain a size of more than 50-65 people, we have grown to over 100 and have also been able to provide personalised services.”

Despite challenges that come with accelerated growth, Garg had built an organisation in favour of women, where women rose and occupied key positions[4]. Pink Lemonade however, hired only on merit and not gender.

The Need for a New Recipe

As the advertising and digital marketing space evolved, Garg and her team felt the need to get equipped and adapt to newer technologies and platforms. Increasing competition also meant that they needed to be better trained in the nuances of their business verticals at a rapid pace.

Service Portfolio at Pink Lemonade

Being a mid-sized agency meant that they were compared with both the big and small names in the marketing and advertising space.

Garg felt they were ready to scale up the business to Delhi and Mumbai and gain business traction overseas in the United States. This implied that staffing across the business verticals would need to go up by nearly five times. The challenge was that not all clients understood the pricing and delivery pressures, nor have budgets to deliver successful outcomes.

Going after larger projects was certainly promising but these took longer to close and had fixed and longer payment cycles. Smaller-value projects would end up with a short-term view of business engagements, but these added to the requirements of working capital. Thus, scaling-up operations in a consistent manner across different price points was crucial.

“While many large brands are aware of us and the body of work we have accumulated, we can do more to build further visibility with those brands. We have already been putting a system in place and increasingly matching the hiring profile to meet the evolving needs. The need is to position ourselves as a brand partner and custodian as opposed to being just a vendor. This evolution needed a mindset change, as well as a functional shift within the organisation,” emphasised Garg.

Ingredients for a Successful Transition

According to Garg, “Half the job is done while making the business pitch to the client. Demonstrating solutioning capabilities in the initial stages of the sale would open the door for us to engage strategically for the long term.” Thus, Garg felt further investments in training had to be an ongoing effort to equip her technical and marketing teams.

On the people management front, Garg was keen to develop a second line of leaders who could take Pink Lemonade’s culture and business vision forward. These senior members would allow her to delegate tasks and track employee productivity and contribution. She wanted to deploy formal performance management systems and train leaders on the same.

Pink Lemonade’s unique project management office drove project delivery, in turn improving productivity for the businesses it worked with. Leveraging the power of data and analytics, Garg also wanted to identify and remove redundancies in the processes.


Garg nurtured an organisational culture that was fun, energising, safe, and creative, yet committed to deliver. The growth of the venture propelled many careers. Thus far, Garg had been actively involved across each function— driving growth numbers, targeting higher conversion rates, and assessing the business from a strategic eye.

According to Garg, “Pink Lemonade was perfectly poised at the intersection between brand strategy and insight-based marketing to serve brands holistically today. My closely-knit leadership team and I envision the organisation to be a thriving workplace recognised for inspiring conversations through bold creative thought for marketing global brands." 

Pursuing this vision, Garg found herself contemplating challenges on various fronts, “Going after larger, global clients would mean risk and efforts spent on some pitches that we don’t win. Some business loss too as we would have to free our bandwidth of working with smaller clients. Also, the investment in shifting to selling this way will not show results immediately as it’s a longer cycle.”

She needed to decide her game plan for pushing Pink Lemonade into the bigger league while ensuring that the pandemic did not derail her endeavours. What could Pink Lemonade do to win the bigger brands? How should Garg grow the team to realise her vision and what kind of skills should the team have?


  1. How could Pink Lemonade leverage their internal resources and capabilities to realize their vision of scaling up? 
  2. What strategic changes could help Pink Lemonade to position themselves as a brand partner to their existing and prospective clients?  


The experts bring in their perspective as they respond to the key questions the case poses.

Professor S. Ramakrishna Velamuri

Professor Ramakrishna Velamuri is the Dean, School of Management, Mahindra University, Hyderabad. He was formerly Chengwei Ventures Professor of Entrepreneurship at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.

Chandana Agarwal

Chandana Agarwal is President, North with 82Point5 Communications, part of the Ogilvy Group and has over two decades of experience in brand communications and strategy. Recognised as an ‘Accomplished Woman’ by WEF, she is a mentor for upcoming women leaders and writes actively on women and their journey in the corporate world.


[1] The Indian School of Business (ISB) and Goldman Sachs launched the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Ambassadors Programme to drive the growth of India’s economy through the acceleration of women-owned businesses.
[2] Awardees. (n.d.). Big Bang Awards. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from

[4] Dubey Tanvi, 2014. “Turning the tables on gender ratio, Pink Lemonade employs 75% women”.

[1*]  Procter & Gamble aims for equal representation of female directors for its ads in India. Feb 17, 2021. Afaqs! Retrieved March 2, 2021, from

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