Ad Land’s Young Guns: Lalit Varma is Assoc Dir, Content & Innovation, Essence India

Lalit Varma is Associate Director, Content and Innovation, India at Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency that is part of WPP’s GroupM. He has over nine years of experience in the media, advertising, sports, entertainment and non-profit sectors, helping brands to achieve their marketing and business objectives. He has a proven track record in developing and executing innovative customer-led marketing strategies and campaigns to deliver results across platforms and channels. His exposure to integrated marketing communications has enabled him to better understand brands, to create holistic strategies for them and act as their brand custodian. His diverse experience also helps ensure that his advice to brands is solution-oriented and actionable.

In conversation with Adgully, Lalit Varma speaks about how his journey with Essence began, Long-term career in Content and innovation, advice to youngsters, Success Mantras, and more. 

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

I am a competent marketer with first-hand experience and practical knowledge in several areas of the sports and entertainment business. The landscape is very complex in nature, as sports in India is not a standalone industry but part of the entertainment sector. Having worked in non-profit organisations, I also understand the social value of that sector.

My diverse career path has given me much exposure to integrated marketing communications. This has enabled me to better understand brands, to create holistic strategies for them and act as their brand custodian. My experience also helps ensure that my advice to brands is solution-oriented and actionable.

How did you join your current organisation?

Having worked with key stakeholders in the sports and entertainment industry, I wanted to be on the other side of the table representing brands across categories. Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency, was the perfect place where I could enrich my knowledge and skills, and gradually handle more challenging roles and responsibilities with a data-driven approach to brand solutions. There was an opportunity to join the content and innovation team, I was interviewed and got selected!

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

My current roles and responsibilities give me exposure to working with multiple teams from across verticals – the work is not confined to a team or department. I learn from every single person I interact with in my professional as well as personal life.

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

  1. Starting my day listening to devotional songs – it is like a ritual in my family
  2. Connecting with my friends on a grassroots sports project
  3. Playing with and or coaching kids from my school
  4. Preparing for my Japanese language examinations
  5. Spending time with my father and assisting him in his business

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

Yes! In this complex and ever-evolving media landscape, the role of content and innovation will play an increasingly important role. It is only going to get bigger and better.

What does it take to succeed in a career?

  • The hunger to learn
  • Having a mentor
  • Asking for help
  • Taking ownership of your work
  • Continuously upskilling yourself
  • And most importantly, being humble and kind

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

Keep learning, keep growing.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In these changing times, I intend to continue to work within the same industry. Moving forward, I also want to contribute my services to a non-profit organisation.

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

At the moment, I feel that I am in the right place where the future is headed. I just want to keep learning and growing.


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