MAPPING THE FUTURE OF MINDSHARE
Mindshare’s new chief MA Parthasarathy aka Maps has just been assigned a young mentor from within the company, who will coach him on what’s happening in the world of social media and what it means for the younger generation. The 28-year-old will also mentor Maps on what the work-life balance means to the young. At Mindshare, reverse mentoring is helping keep the agency young, even as it moves to keep pace with a world of young consumers, with data, digital and content at its core.
“I am going to be mentored, among other things, in terms of what is the evolution of social media and what actually works for that generation,” says an enthusiastic Maps, CEO of Mindshare, South Asia. “We might still be stuck in our opinion of what works, and everyone keeps cribbing about millennials or Gen Z, but can we actually understand what they are thinking? They are the largest consuming population. So, across our ExCo (Executive Committee), everyone is going to have aYCo (Youth Committee) person who is a mentor. That gives you an idea of the importance of the entire programme.”
THE TALENT POOL
Mindshare has close to 50% of its staff coming from three core areas - data, digital and content (DDC). “Then there is a strong youth infusion. The YCo has been a very interesting and novel mix at a GroupM level. Through reverse mentoring, they actually drive a lot of our thinking around how the agency should evolve. It’s not just that one committee; but it’s the thinking that the younger generation has to influence decision-making, and actually make sure that the rest of us are not out of touch with reality,” muses Maps.
ParthasarathyMandayam aka Mapsdivides time between Bangalore, where his family lives, Delhi, Mumbai, as well as cities in South Asia markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. “Geography is history is the famous line,” jokes Maps, “So, I am in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, South Asia all the time.” Here are a few quick takes as we try to delve into the personality of Maps, the new leader of Mindshare.
Q] What is your earliest recollection of the advertising industry?
My earliest recollection was using rubber solution to do cut-paste artworks. When I joined the creative industry, we used to have these big drafting boards, and we would actually make layouts using these huge cans of something called ‘rubber solution’ to stick pieces of paper on layouts. At 1 o’clock in the night, we would sit making material for a Print ad which had to go the next day. That is my earliest memory… I think I did it about three days after joining an ad agency. I used to work on Citibank as our client, and suddenly around 9 pm, they would tell us that the interest rate had changed and the entire artwork had to change. Then I would take the rubber solution, stick a new paper and make positives.
Q] What did you dream of or aspire to be as a child?
Like many little kids, I wanted to be a lorry driver, or a long distance bus driver. I used to love the idea of driving.
Q] If you were to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Q] What is one thing that you would want to change in the business of media and advertising?
The scale of importance between strategy and pricing.
Q] How do you function in a crisis?
Be calm, irrespective of the chaos that is happening around you, because calmness instills calmness.
Q] What is your work mantra, one tenet that you always adhere by?
Respect for individuals. Respect for time. If someone sends a mail, I will very well respond to it immediately. Try and have respect for skillsets and respect for people’s time.
Q] By what time do you head home at the end of a workday? Do you maintain a fair work-life balance?
Everyone’s definition of work-life balance is different. I think ‘reach home’ itself is a different notion when you are on the road for three or four days a week. So, home might be your hotel room! However, I really believe in the importance of work-life balance. I make sure I have enough time for my family. It’s important because it’s a huge de-stressor.
Q] Tell us anecdotes around your time in this industry – it could be about a special high point, a learning, a defining moment or a slice-of-life observation, a realization... let us have some stories.
There have been quite a few defining moments in my career. But the most impactful were – 1. Leaving behind an exciting job in IBM to plunge into advertising, which is my passion, early in my career 2. Working on the Ford brand for over 13 years across markets – brought together my passion for Advertising & Automobiles 3. Entering the media world with Mindshare, especially in the exciting area of Insights & Analytics. A learning for me is that designations and positions matter very little. Respect is gained by the ability to add value – be it to clients, your own teams or to the industry at large.
Moving to 365 days of content engagement
Vice President, Data & Technology, Mindshare India
SOME OF MINDSHARE’S AWARD-WINNING CAMPAIGNS
‘Winning at Cannes for Data and Creativity is a huge win for us’
To land the integrated mandate, Fulcrum has moved to a future-ready structure, redefined KRAs of teams to drive all-media responsibilities and re-crafted the data management and reporting structures. Proprietary practices, tools and processes have been aligned to the integrated mandate.
SOME CAMPAIGNS FOR HUL
Lux Golden Rose Awards (LGRA): The third edition of LGRA was an extension to the United Nation’s “He for She” campaign to celebrate gender equality. Some of the biggest names in Bollywood were pledging for #HeforShe campaign. This was done in partnership with Star TV Network, Hotstar and other digital platforms like Pinkvilla, Facebook, Bebeautiful, Hindustan Times and Fever FM.
Brooke Bond Red Label 6 Pack Band 2.0: Fulcrum took a step towards breaking social stigma towards mental health and disabilities. It introduced a unique music collective of six differently abled teens with special needs and incredible musical skills, talent and passion, breaking social barriers, one song at a time. The five-song campaign has already reached over 90 million people.
Brooke Bond Red Label @Asia Cup: No one had seen AamerSohail of Pakistan and Venkatesh Prasad of India together after that electrifying cricket match of 1996. Fulcrum got them back after 22 years and that too in a live match between India and Pakistan at the last Asia Cup on Star Sports, reliving the moment, this time over a different cup.
Hamam: Making Self Defence a part of school curriculum: For the HamamGosafeoutside campaign, Fulcrum made the native martial art of Silambam a part of the school curriculum. Silambam training modules, both theoretical and physical, were given to 3,00,000 girl students across 612 schools in 21 districts of Tamil Nadu.
Axe ‘Ab Teri Baari’: Built around Axe’s brand purpose of inspiring guys to express their individuality, the song mirrors the brand’s communication platform of ‘Make Your Own Rules’. The song was sung by Naezy, a leading rapper, along with icons who made it to the top by breaking the stereotypical notions. The song has already crossed 50 million views.
BeBeautiful and Cleanipedia: As a strategic step, Fulcrum created domain-specific content destinations to build equity with the consumer. It strengthened BeBeautiful with more content and expanded its userbase; another destination named cleanipedia.in was created to address gaps in the home care segment.
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