Ad Land’s Young Guns: Israa Khan, Thought Blurb Communications

With a postgraduate specialisation in events and advertising, Israa Khan joined Thought Blurb Communications after a whirlwind stint in event marketing, managing mega events across the country. She started as a trainee in their Mumbai office and quickly rose up the ladder to be Associate Vice President, managing key accounts like Reliance Digital and Parle Products.

Khan has a natural flair for audio-visual communication and has been the business lead in managing highly successful TV and Digital campaigns for both brands. She specialises in turning candid slice of life insights into sharp and highly effective propositions and ideas. A team player and an avid sports lover, she can be seen debating the finer nuances of Beckham’s free-kicks or Kohli’s straight drive when she’s not brainstorming on creative strategies with her team. 

In conversation with Adgully, Israa Khan, Associate Vice President - Brand Solutions, Thought Blurb Communications, speaks about her career path so far, icons she looks up to, productive things that she does in her daily life to stay ahead of the game, and more.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

My job demands managing brands and clients, but I believe managing the internal team is equally critical. Taking a client objective and turning it into a creative solution is my strength. This comes with a lot of discussions with the clients and talking to my consumers to arrive at that one consumer truth which will become the base of my idea. Frequent market visits are something that I always undertake to understand consumer buying behaviour and their interaction with my brand. This is the skill I have hone over the years.

How did you join your current organisation?

I read about an award-winning campaign by thought blurb featured in Agency FAQs back in 2013. I made up my mind that I want to be a part of this team. I was persistent and I think I was hired because of that. It’s been a roller coaster since then and the journey from a fresher to an Associate Vice President has been quite eventful.

Icons in this field you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?

There are a number of people whose work I really love. But it’s my interaction with the professionals in my agency and outside from whom I really learned a lot. Not to mention clients of every hue and nature – the sweet to your face ones, the pull no punches ones, the clients who insist on wanting everything yesterday types and the ones who look forward to your point of views. From all these people I have learned some great professional skills like problem solving, decision making, leadership, teamwork, communication and time management.

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

  1. I set goals for the day. While most of my days are planned around my client requirements, I try to stay focused on what I would like to achieve for the day.
  2. I like to take up one job at a time and ensure closure. Having too many tasks planned for the day can lead to an unproductive day.
  3. I read articles; news related to the business I handle. I spend a lot of time browsing on social media and consuming content to keep up with the current trends and to know if any of those can be relevant to my brand in any way.
  4. I take frequent short breaks as I believe staying invested in any job at a stretch can limit my thoughts. I also make a point to have a lot of conversations with people around me to get a broader perspective and redirect my thoughts.
  5. I believe in making notes. This may sound old school but I do maintain a diary where I keep penning down anything new I hear, observe, learn or read. I keep going back to that pool of thoughts to check if there is a starting point.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?

Advertising is for the jack of all trades but the master of one – communication! Firstly, you got to have a creative point of view about the world around you. You got to be a great people’s person. You got to be up-to-date with the latest events, news, technology because your clients come from diverse fields. Advertising will never go out of fashion so long as there is a message that a product or a brand needs to take to people. Media will come and go but ideas will always rule. And to have a career in a field which is forever on the rise and buzzing with fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and interesting conversations is definitely an attractive prospect to a young mind.

What does it take to succeed in a career?

The urge to learn and to be persistent is the key! Besides, making the right choice not only in terms of where you want to work but also who you want to work with can play a critical role in shaping you as an individual. Hard work and staying focused will take you places.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

Advertising is very challenging. A lot of young minds enter this field thinking they want to crack an idea for a brand or they want to be in the limelight. What they do not understand is the process to reach that stage. My advice to them would be to first step out of their comfort zones, be patient, learn as much as they can and not rush the process. It will also help if you respect everyone’s point of views and take feedbacks with a positive attitude.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

The whole field of advertising and communication is going through a dramatic change. Where this will eventually take the industry only time will decide. But I know that I would not only be a part of the chain but play a key role.

Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?

I would rather choose the brands I want to work with than an organisation because I’ll be connected with them. If I work with a brand that I personally consume or experience daily, I will be a natural.


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