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Ad land’s Young Guns: Faisal Haq, WATConsult

Faisal Haq, AVP - Operations, WATConsult, is a digital marketer, having more than 20 years of experience in the field of digital and social media. His key strengths lie in the strategy and execution of ROI driven campaigns for brands/ clients. He anchors and manages the entire Delhi operations for WATConsult for over a year now.

Passionate about technology, changing customer behaviour and how organisations can capitalise on this through new propositions, products and services, Haq is motivated by making a difference.

An excellent academic background backed with qualifications such as M.Phil. in Mass Communication & Journalism, PG Diploma & double Masters in Mass Communication, his zest for knowledge drives him to work towards attaining Ph.D. in the Social & Digital Media domain.

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

How did you get into the role you are serving?
My journey started close to two decades ago in 1997, I was addicted to the Internet like most teenagers then. During that phase, I joined India’s first and only chat/ social networking platform, TalkCity, a subsidiary of VSNL. It was the only online platform in this part of the world for any social networking. Within a year’s time, I was selected to launch world’s first online shopping network by LiveWorld. It was a biggest online advertising platform for global brands. My passion for advertising started with the fascination for the phrase “Jo Dikhta Hai Wahi Bikta Hai”. Advertising for me is the medium through which you can change consumer behaviour. I joined WATConsult in 2015 when I was on a break from the Middle East after designing the Digital Marketing Framework for marketing professionals in the Middle East.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
One of my biggest strengths is crisis management. I ensure that my team remains calm and composed in pressure situations and do not panic. I’m a people’s person – I love to listen, be it the client or the team, and then work with a detailed strategic approach. I believe that only a planned approach backed by analytical thinking can help one in the long run. As an agency person, I try to deliver maximum ROI to the brand.

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
Every campaign is close to my heart. While a lot of minds are involved in designing campaigns, when they are planned and executed wholeheartedly then the results are exceptionally satisfying. On every campaign one should think how it can be a game changer, not just the brand but also for the industry. A campaign that can bring out a paradigm shift in how consumers consume information online and change their online buying behaviour.

While working on the creatives, how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
Often the things that appear simple are actually quite complex. My first thought is to understand how the end user will perceive the creative. As each individual has their point of view, by placing yourself in their shoes you gain a better understanding and hence, the results will be loved by the consumers. One should try create an interesting experience for the audience, it’s all about good storytelling.

Icons in advertising whom you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
I am inspired by everyone – from an account executive to industry legends – as there is so much talent all around in the advertising industry. Each day is a new learning experience for me and I believe that one should be open to change and challenges.

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

Reading

Talk to clients

Get involved in the daily activities and discussions with my teams

Spend time with family & extended family (my team)

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Advertising is one of the industries where employees get their own high. The power of advertising is that people eat, drink and wear what they see. A career in this industry is viable and comes with great responsibility and amazing results.

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
There are two important things to be successful, and this is not just for advertising but whatever you do:

Having an eye for detail. The creative that you are putting on the drawing board today will be consumed by millions tomorrow, so make sure you give your 200 per cent to the detailing today

Engagement is the key, if you are able to interact with your audience, then there is nothing that can come in-between you and success

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
There is no substitute for knowledge, consume as much information you can. Invest in the profession that you have opted for and take each day as a lesson. Don’t get demotivated easily as there is no shortcut to success.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I see myself growing within WATConsult with a bigger team, more clients and couple of awards winning campaigns in our kitty.

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I would like to take WATConsult globally and create opportunities for freshers who want to be part of the industry.

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