Ad land’s Young Guns: Aparajita Saxena, Omnicom Media Group
Aparajita Saxena is currently working as Group Head – Digital Planning at Omnicom Media Group. Her five years in the industry have been marked with recognition for her exceptional work spanning across multiple industries. A proud recipient of the coveted Young Dragons of Asia 2016 and India’s Top Digital Planner 2015, she has been actively involved with brands like BJP, Airtel, GSK, Perfetti, Virgin Atlantic to name a few – spanning across categories.
Here’s a look at what gets this young gun blazing.
How did you get into the role you are serving?
After completing my MBA from Symbiosis, I wanted to get into a role which was not conventional. I had some opportunities from leading brands as part of the placement process, but I took the path which allowed me to think differently and deliver accordingly. This led to my journey towards the Digital world.
What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
My meticulous nature as a planner to get quality work delivered and ability to multi-task would be my strengths.
One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
I worked on the 2014 General Elections campaign for Bhartiya Janta Party and it has been an unparalleled experience. I was responsible for driving the digital strategy and planning piece for the BJP elections, which was the first election campaign in India to use social media and information technology as one of their core platforms to reach out to voters. The campaign’s immediate intention was to create a positive image of Narendra Modi and the party in the eyes of the youth voters who are largely present on digital and social platforms, which was implemented via disruptive strategic planning, keeping the voters and their sentiments in mind. This campaign was a pinnacle moment of my career as it led to success not only in the form of soaring media numbers, but also the historical win in the elections. More importantly, despite being a young gun in the team, I was able to bring innovative solutions to the table which led to multiple accolades such as massive media coverage, Smarties (India), India Marketing Awards, and India Digital Awards, among others.
While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
My funda is clear – Keep it simple. Messaging plays a critical role, along with context. Especially on digital, the messaging should be such that there is a reason to explore further for the user. I feel user experience is something that is not paid enough attention to and this is where we end up losing a large chunk of interested people.
Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Sam Balsara is the reason I got motivated to get into advertising and specifically media planning. When I heard that Madison was coming to the campus for placements, I knew I had to go there. He has pioneered the way the Indian media industry works and has been very influential in shaping my views towards it. He has a strong point of view and doesn’t mince his words, which I feel is lacking in the industry now. We need more people like him!
What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
Maintaining a daily job list, I ensure that I am 15 minutes early for any engagement to collect my thoughts and points, explore new opportunities and technologies, keeping a tab on ongoing campaigns, and meet with friends on a regular basis, because unwinding is most important to keep my brain cells charged.
Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Yes, it is. It gives me a lot of learnings across industries and categories. Also, considering that Digital operates in a very dynamic manner which gives opportunities to learn new technologies and innovation, this will help me build my career in a way that I want to achieve.
What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
Advertising is a very people-intensive profession; People management becomes the most important aspect of it. It is always about people working with people, whether it is between agency and client or agency and partners. It is also important to be flexible and have an open mind to operate in an ever-changing environment, where no trends are constant even in as short a span as two quarters.
What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
My advice would be to focus on learning as much as you can. This is the time to be a sponge and absorb every detail, irrespective of what work you are given. Big or small, you need to take it and complete it with perfection. Also, it’s very important to be a patient learner and take each day as it comes, as it is rightly said that there are no shortcuts to success.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I intend to lead a full service digital agency and harbour a growth-centric structure which ensures each employee to learn and grow in their specific specialist unit. I should also become a partner rather than a vendor for my clients, to support them to achieve their business objectives.
Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I would, some time in my career, like to work in an organisation where data and creative talk to each other. I feel that is the future.