Ad land’s Young Guns: Ilena Bose, Isobar

A Social Media Manager with over 2 years at Isobar, Ilena Bose has been creating content for and managing clients like National Geographic India, Marks & Spencer India and Adidas India. She has over 4 years of experience within the creative and marketing space, from writing for Wall Street Journal and working as a Student Brand Manager at RedBull during her undergraduation in English Literature from Delhi University to being the editor of a digital art and lifestyle magazine, interviewing some of the top artists in the country. 

Bose has always followed her passions and interests and tried to incorporate them into her professional career. Having done her Masters in Psychology, she always has had a desire to understand people better and has used this to further her understanding of marketing and brand building. 

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Ilena Bose in her own words... 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
I started at Isobar as a Senior Executive in Social Media, never having worked at an agency before. However, my experience as a product & marketing manager in my previous company helped me learn the ropes quickly and I adapted to my new role quite fast. Starting as a dedicated resource for Micromax India, I soon expanded my knowledge, working on accounts like Adidas Originals, Adidas Uprising, National Geographic and Foxlife India and Marks & Spencer India and was promoted to Manager after my first appraisal at the company. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
I feel like my strongest strengths are my people and communication skills. I have always had a desire to understand and help people and this helps me work well in a collaborative and creative environment, where I am excited to embrace diverse ideas and work with people from across genres and expertise. I am also creative, passionate and always searching for knowledge, which pushes me towards constantly learning new things and improving myself. 

How did Isobar come about?
I started my professional life at Red Bull, while I was still in college, managing the Red Bull marketing mix in colleges in Delhi, where I was responsible for Events, Marketing and Sales Audits. Next I joined The Wall Art Magazine & Best College Art, where I was responsible for creating, sourcing and editing content for an art and lifestyle magazine. I also took care of ad sales, partnership proposals, promotional events and social media. After taking a break to complete my Masters in Psychology, I joined EazyDiner’s Marketing & Product Team. Here, I was responsible for Product Content & All Communication: (promotional material, campaigns, emailers, app notifications, SMS), campaign management & events, reports and analytics. This finally led me to Isobar India 2 years ago, where I eventually became responsible for complete end-to-end social media management and execution on National Geographic India – from content creation to ideation of campaigns, execution, monitoring analysis and reporting. I am now a Social Media Manager, handling accounts like National Geographic India, Foxlife India and Marks & Spencer. 

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Being relatively new to the advertising space, I tend to draw inspiration from icons across fields, be it writers, psychologists, or artists. My recent experiences at advertising conferences & seminars have inspired me to look up to global icons like Fernando Machado, CMO of Burger King, who is constantly pushing the limits and re-defining what traditional branding and marketing has always been, or Mark Shayler, Director of Ape, who talked about the importance of purpose. 

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  • Read the newest trends in the technology and social world.
  • Read the morning news – if you don’t know what’s happening, how will you know what to talk about?
  • Browse through my favourite social accounts – be it personal or brands, to get inspiration.
  • Talk to others about my ideas to gain perspective.
  • Listen to music to clear my thoughts.

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Although I think advertising will be around forever, its nature will change immensely in the future. As is already happening now, brands are moving away from selling products to creating experiences and purpose led communities that can make a difference. So the answer is yes. It is viable, but it will definitely be transformed. 

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
Keep learning, keep reading, keep growing and keep trying to understand the brand you work on better. Advertising and especially social media is growing at a rapid pace and we have to keep growing with it. The more we see the brands we work on as dynamic and growing entities, the easier it will be for us to help them connect with their audience in a more real and meaningful way. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Although this is a sometimes stressful line of work, it’s more fun and dynamic than I ever thought possible. It gives you a chance to constantly create, innovate and learn, which is something that I have always craved. Only advice – know what you’re getting into and make sure you care about the work you’re doing. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Creating something new and furthering my fields of knowledge, both in terms of seeing the world as well as learning new skills and advancing my current ones. 

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
Although social media is a line of work I enjoy immensely, creating content and telling stories is my true passion. I would love to someday work for a company like National Geographic or Condé Nast Traveller, which would combine my love for travelling, animals and writing!


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