Kanishka Upadhyaya, Celebrity Brand Leader - Exceed Entertainment. has been recognized as Under 40 Industry Experts by Business Mint

There is an audience for everything - Davy Jones.

Kanishka Upadhyaya, Celebrity Brand Leader

‘There is an audience for everything"—Davy Jones. It’s a timeless belief that all marketers and creators live by, but the real trick is going about ‘finding it and hunting it’ in a complex, fragmented and multi-dimensional universe of people, believes Kanishka Upadhyay – a seasoned strategic brand partner at Exceed Entertainment.

With a background as a strategic planner and a business lead across leading creative agencies like McCann Worldgroup, Grey and Havas, Kanishka has extensively worked on large brands like Pears, Stayfree, Pantene and Maybelline where she helped create transformative work – an outcome of deep understanding of consumer motivations, the communities they belonged to and subsequently its impact on their choices.  

She has been developing on this domain experience at Exceed, where she has co-authored and scripted long-term growth agendas through brand partnerships for top artists like Saif Ali Khan, Dia Mirza to name a few.

In the last 4 years, she has been an integral part of engineering new ideas like the following:

-   Converting Saif Ali Khan’s sartorial sense into a commercial venture with Myntra – House of Pataudi – a Pataudi heritage focused ethnic lifestyle brand.

-  Equity-based alliances with young parenting focused, sustainability-oriented brands for Dia Mirza (Shumee Toys, Greendigo, Allter)

-   And partnering with young D2C startups focused on scaling the brand and widening the reach with right celebrity fit – Priyaasi, trueBrowns, Carmesi, Zlade.

All of the above are unconventional partnerships that go beyond the realms of a classic time-bound endorsement alliance. None of them are constructed realities that just rely on the artists presence in ads. Rather they are mutually beneficial skin-in-the-game brand partnerships that explore value propositions exclusive only to that artist.

Her role involves a deep diagnosis and nuanced understanding of the artist’s career-life stage, their fan communities, imagining new growth pillars around them and forging new business models with like-minded ambitious brands that are open to building a meaningful business together.

The framework for such partnerships is to define and unlock the honest story of the artist that resonates with its core audience base. It’s what Kanishka and her team at Exceed keep asking themselves every now and then – ‘Is this true? Will the fans connect with this too?’ and this filter helps them takes the call.

The result? It could literally be anything - a new brand for a new category, a capsule collection to energize the existing market, tapping into a new cohort through content integration or a meaningful brand narrative refresh, the outcome is an open canvas of possibilities.