Interviews

There is no way you can stay updated with the trends unless you are awake 24×7 – Dhawal Prajapati

Tell us how has been your professional journey so far?

The journey has been incredible. I started 8 years ago after graduating from Mass Media. Got an interesting role in client servicing with a Pre Media-agency. This role got me into a different industry doing client servicing in packing and designing for some top FMCG clients. Somehow, I was always been keen towards Digital and I used to read a lot about it which made me switch to Isobar.

It gave me a platform to perform with a lot of responsibilities, dealing with clients from every category. After almost 3 years I took up a new role in Strategy, Planning and Buying at Mindshare to lead some of India’s top brands like Jaguar Land Rover and Star India. It is always exciting to work on such brands where you get to lead to giving integrated solutions. I have always believed to give the best solutions to my clients, it may be some business problem or some launch. Being into this space for a while I always made sure my client has best possible deals and have always fought for this which made me get into the role of Head – Media Buying at Isobar again. Well, I can just say it been a phenomenal journey as I am loving what I am doing

 

In a short time, you have dealt with a lot of clients and vendors who would make your work easier. How has been your experience so far?

Yes, it is always good to have clients and partners who would make your work easier. I have been lucky to get some on both sides. It really helps when you work together as partners and not as a client’s or publishers. As in life, you come across people who are not easy to work with but there is always a way to deal with them. I keep learning from my experiences and try to implement solutions which make my work easier

 

How do you make sure that you get the best price for your clients at the same time without compromising the quality of it?

Today, all marketers want to save money that they are spending on ad campaigns and for some, it has always been the criteria. This can be in terms of value ads or savings. It has become very critical for most brands today. When I started, quality was never a question, it was always the price. Nowadays quality has become the top priority for marketers after brand safety getting highlighted since last year.  I try to look at the objective and see what it that is we are buying and at what cost and look at the ROI. There are benchmarks and industry standard rates for most of the inventory available. I make sure all the verification and tracking are in place for all the campaigns to take care of the quality. I keep trying new and best possible tracking mechanism to get good results.

 

According to your experience, what were the three trends that stood out for you so far in 2018?

Last year, we have seen artificial intelligence subject to a wide variety of associations, but this year there have been a lot of innovations. Few things that got the attention:

Brand Safety –  Learning about your brands alongside violent content is a nightmare for any marketer. The association between the brand and the content seen together was always a question, but this had shaken the whole industry to the highest levels. This has changed the way media is bought. Buyers now are looking after quality over quantity. Clients are taking a programmatic route to get better control on ads. Planners and Buyers with marketers have started exploring more and more platforms for verification and transparency. We can expect a lot of new companies coming this way, but it will take some more time to solve everything.

Augmented Reality –  AR has launched a couple of years ago and it’s not news today, but brands are now looking at it as a new entertainment marketing tool. This probably is going to change the way brands are doing ads today. If we look at the recent launch of IKEA store in India, the way they had used AR was simply astonishing. An audience who were on their way to the store in a special vehicle arranged by IKEA were asked to wear the VR sets and they could experience the products placed in an interesting way. Apple, on the other hand, has also come up with the AR kit which helps you to measure things with the use of camera

A rise of OTT’s – Hotstar being the first mover in this space, clearly Netflix has taken all the cake today. The way they have come up with their content is amazing. Also, we should note the different ways they market their shows. Amazon prime being in the race is trying to match the speed. There are other players like Voot, Zee5, Sony Liv who have come up this year and are growing. This has started a new game where brands have smartly started using integrations. We can see this growing as marketer feel this as a safer space when it comes to brand safety.

 

You have handled clients like Star, Jaguar, Saavn, and Practo. How has been the experience so far and how do you decide which approach to take while dealing with different clients?

I have always loved to work on brands which made me get into this industry. There is no specific approach that can be used for all clients.  The way I look at approaches is giving a customized solution, which will help them to achieve their objective. The idea is to analyze the brand’s audience and their objective to arrive at the solution. Brands like Star India is one of the top brands in the entertainment space and most of the times the need is Reach but this will again be different from show to show. This means Reach of the audience will be different when we plan for Kabaddi than Cricket. For clients like JLR, the approach will be totally different, as the brand is for a specific audience and not a mass brand.

 

How do you stay updated with the latest trends?

There is no standard way to stay updated on latest trends but to thoroughly read blogs, subscribe to digital marketing newsletters, follow influencers on social networking sites. A practice that I have to follow regularly.

 

Tell us one mantra that you live by and why?

I truly believe in one mantra of Give & Take. The book by Adam Grant talks about how helping others carrying zero expectations can bring success. Being a competition freak at a workplace can backfire but being yourself and sharing knowledge selflessly can take you places.