Ad land’s Young Guns: Daniel David, WATConsult

Daniel David is Senior Account Manager at WATConsult. He started his career as a Social Media Executive at WATConsult five years ago and currently leads a team of 30. He works on over 40 brands across industries like L&T Financial Services, Merck, Mother Dairy, Godrej, Bajaj and many more. Account planning and media strategy are his key strengths. 

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Daniel David in his own words... 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
It wasn’t the jolliest ride getting to where I am now, but from day one I would look at my senior (Sabiha Khan) and I was like I want to do what she does. I expressed this to her and she made her job to ensure that I get to where I am today. It took a lot of learning and a lot more mistakes to get better at what I do, and if it wasn’t for her and the support that WAT offered, it would be an unrealised goal. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
I’m all about people. It can be fresher or a highly experienced individual, but for me the task is to bring out the best in them. Yes, I’m great with strategy, tech and other digital related topics, but my main skill set is how I relate to people and assist them in achieving their career goals. 

Productivity is a result of balancing emotions and talent and hence, it becomes important to help your team deal with these two aspects. 

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
Parents of Fertility, an initiative by Merck, was designed to drive awareness about the various treatments for infertility and using digital to do this was a huge challenge.  

While drafting the campaign, the major part of the job was to find these couples and identify their digital journey so that we could start up a conversation and provide educational material and a way to connect with trusted IVF centers. 

The TG sets were so dynamic that we had to a design a campaign that was, in my opinion, one in a million. We designed 4 different communications routes that would relate to 4 TG sets, while maintaining a common theme which was ‘Infertility can be dealt with’. I had always wanted to work with a celebrity for a digital campaign and when we closed the deal to bring Farah Khan on board as the brand ambassador for this campaign, it was very overwhelming because we now had the opportunity to make the campaign larger than life.  

Though the campaign was a success and even got recognition in the form of digital PR and awards, for me the biggest win was the immense learning that came out of executing this campaign.  

For me personally, learning and scaling are priority while awards and recognition are by-products of ground work that is put in during the drafting stage of the campaign. 

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
For me, I’m very particular with creatives. Whether it’s the colour palate or the fonts used, if it doesn’t flow, then it doesn’t work. 

Creatives are a very subjective topic and most of us judge a creative with our own creative mind, but the challenge is to judge the creative from the perspective of the TG that you’re talking to. 

My creative thinking process starts with understanding who I’m talking to. Once I have that, I plot out 3 to 4 keywords that are related to my creative and just do a Google Image search. I sometimes go up to the 10th page on Google just looking at images and try to see what will make sense. This exercise is mainly to understand the current state of the digital space and how my creative can strike a chord and yet stand out from the clutter. 

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Personally, I don’t have an individual as an icon, but the creative team at TBWA really does inspire my work, especially for their work with Apple. 

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

  • A team sit-down every morning (Taking stock of things and aligning new tasks)
  • A quick internet scan (Just to know what’s happening and if there’s something my brands can participate in)
  • Quick chat with the client (Industry news usually hits the clients desk before it hits ours and hence, a quick chat with them allows me to brand perspective on things and accordingly we can define our communication)
  • Breaks & Time outs (Advertising can get very stressful for the mind and hence, I make sure that both the team and I take at least 3 breaks during the day to just get away from work and ease our minds) 

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
If I was working at a creative or an event agency, then I’d say that a long-term career would be challenging. Digital is subject to constant change, the trends you see today may not be on the map tomorrow and because of its ever changing nature, Digital for me will definitely be a long-term career. 

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
It takes balls for an individual to succeed in advertising. You need to have the guts and the mind to think of something that is so out of the box that you get mocked for it because when an idea like that is executed that is when the world will stand up and take notice. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Be patient with your advertising career. You may not always start off with the brand of your choice. Be aggressive with your learning and try not to narrow down your learning and experience in one aspect of advertising. Spread yourself thin when your start off and just do what it takes to get the job done, because when you’re all grown up you’ll see the merit of those long nights you spent in the office. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I love what I do and 5 years down the line I’d like to be what I’m currently doing, but on a much larger scale, especially with international brands.  

I’ve always loved to travel and I love my job and if I can do both together, then I’d say that I’m doing pretty damn well. 

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I would like to work with any company that is driven by innovation and is willing to push the creative envelope. Companies like Tesla/ Google/ Apple/ Tata.


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