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Ad land’s Young Guns: Janhavi Iyer, Gozoop

A quintessential bibliophile, Janhavi Iyer, Associate Director, Content Strategy, Gozoop, is usually found brainstorming in all corners of the office when not actually working. She is a poet at heart and part time food-blogger, who sometimes moonlights as a content strategist. She is an alumnus of The University of Melbourne. 

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

How did you get into the role you are serving?
It’s been a long road to get to this point, with a lot of twists and turns along the way. I am a wordsmith at heart and I believe that all writers are also thinkers. They express fundamental truths of life, in meaningful creative ways, which is really what marketing is all about. 

Reality television. That’s where I began my career, I’ve been a post producer, an assistant director and even a script writer. One day I took a long hard look at what I was doing and realised my heart wasn’t in it. What followed was a difficult time and after a lot of soul searching, I found that words were always where I felt alive. It was a good thing I also had a degree in communications to support the transition. 

From old school copywriting, I moved to digital marketing, as a content writer. From SEO content to copy writing and eventually crafting content strategies across platforms on digital, I have developed a unique perspective on crafting communications, which has led to me being here today. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
I “brain” a lot (also known as thinking, analysing and ideating). Great ideas need to find the right expression, or else they die a silent death. I give ideas a voice, by listening, understanding and then finding the right words to bring them to life. 

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
While a lot of creative campaigns have challenged me, none have been as rewarding as the 1SmallStepForCancer campaign. As a result of this fundraising campaign, we were able to raise an emergency fund to help 1,000 children fight cancer. 

While working on creative how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
Crafting a campaign or a strategy is a lot like embarking on a road trip with people you don’t know. What’s the smartest thing to do in this situation? Well, begin by getting to know your companions. Ask questions. Ask the right questions and then enjoy the conversations while you reach your destination. 

Whether it’s a communication, a strategy or an article, the most important thing to do is research, research, research. It helps set the context and align ideas to your goal. 

Icons in Digital you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
There are so many bright young minds in digital, inspiration is usually found at every nook and corner! However, I also believe that great communication transcends mediums and someone whose work I look up to is Anuja Chauhan. She has crafted some of the most iconic campaigns of our time, including Pepsi’s “Yeh Dil Maange More” and also happens to be one of my favourite authors. 

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
Coffee. Conversations. Contemplation. Confabulation. Collaboration. (I love alliteration - writer’s habit). 

Oh, I also read. A lot. 

Do you think a career in digital is a viable one in the long term?
Digital is a medium. Marketing is what we do. We strike conversations and great conversations never go out of style. Mediums will change, platforms will evolve, but at the heart of it, marketing and communications as a career is here to stay. 

What does it take to succeed in a career like digital?
So, this will probably read like a list of what you need to succeed in any creative profession.

  • A genuine love of what you do.
  • An innate desire to learn.
  • Infinite curiosity.
  • The ability to look at the world differently.
  • Sheer hard work.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Digital is like the new frontier. We learn as we go along. So, if “you know nothing, Jon Snow,” don’t worry, the right attitude and a willingness to learn will always hold you in good stead. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
It’s funny, I was asked this question when I first interviewed at Gozoop, and my answer still stands. Someone once said, life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. So I try not to make plans, and instead go with the flow. The only thing I’m sure of is that I’ll be doing what I love – life is too short to have it any other way.

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