Digital still experiencing new additions every day: Mehul Gupta
Mehul Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, SoCheers, started the agency at a very young age, which goes to show his merit and vision as a leader to see a prominent future in this industry and the persistence & passion to follow it through. Apart from growing the company in its capabilities from a small social media marketing agency to a multi-offering Advertising & Marketing agency, over the last 9 years, he has also been able to maintain SoCheers’ independent status with pride and success, that too in a highly competitive market.
In conversation with Adgully, Mehul Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, SoCheers, speaks about co-founding SoCheers, understanding the business objectives, icons whom he looks up to, long term career in the digital era, his success mantra, and more.
What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
Being a strong believer of the people-first approach, I consider empathetic understanding to be one of the most important skills sets that I have. It has played a vital role in building and successfully running a team of over 160 millennials & GenZ.
Speaking from a more business-oriented perspective, I have an innate ability to understand different businesses and their objectives, which expands the scope of the clients I and, by extension, SoCheers can service expertly. In the same vein, looking at things with a wider lens allows me to see how a certain project will pan out and make the decisions accordingly.
My educational background, especially the engineering and MBA degrees help me understand how and why things happen in the way that they do. Successively, I can then communicate them in my own creative way.
How did you start this organisation?
I was always driven to do something of my own, because I couldn't listen to anyone else and I'd make a very bad employee! This attribute showed itself throughout my life – my school, my MBA and my first job. Be it when I made and sold mix tapes at my school or when I created a multi-purpose social networking platform in college. So, it wasn’t long before I thought about pursuing this entrepreneurial trait in earnest.
In-depth research about the then market situation and the experience I earned as the Social Media Manager at Naaptol.com, familiarised me with the true potential of digital and social media. Back then, it was an era of new technological transformations and expanded communication channels. This is what made Siddharth Devnani (Co-Founder & Director, SoCheers) and I want to leverage this space. And, that is how SoCheers came into existence. Though initially we thought of just producing creative work for the brands and helping them connect with the audience in many diverse ways, we did not just stop there. We’ve managed to successfully mark nine cheerful years, counting down to the 10th!
Icons in this field you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
I’d say that one of the biggest icons in the industry for a lot of us has consistently been Piyush Pandey. His work taught me how advertising doesn’t have to be complicated and achieving simplicity in your communication is the real challenge.
Then there are others, listening to whom on their podcasts has become a habitual part of my day. Mark Pollard and Julian Cole are among them. Their learnings and expertise have impacted the way I approach strategy and planning.
Additionally, I take inspiration from Dan Weiden, CEO, Weiden+Kennedy, for his bold approach towards advertising; and James Miller, Creative Director, Leo Burnett, for his playful one. They’ve both given the world some exemplary campaigns, each one adding something unique to my creative understanding.
What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
I make sure that I take out at least an hour every day to think of something new, be it for an existing client or for a potential one, or for something internal. This practice has produced some stellar results for me and SoCheers over the years.
I also try to learn something new every day. Keeping myself apprised of what’s going on in the sector, in the country and the world over, listening to podcasts and reading articles, all in order to gather significant insights which, in turn, help me make my decisions wisely.
Keeping an organised schedule definitely adds to my productivity. Walking around the office, making myself approachable to everyone, helps me assess and tackle the daily issues in real-time. And then there’s the time I spend playing a sport (usually cricket or badminton) every day, which is also rather productive, I believe.
Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?
Digital has grown exponentially over the years and is still experiencing new additions every day, its scope expanding by the minute. With its growth trajectory showing further promise, we have so many opportunities available now that a career here is not only viable, but also lucrative. If you have the spark to adapt, create and evolve every second, you’re in the right place.
So, it will be fair to say that digital media has become quite an aspirational career choice among the younger generation today.
What does it take to succeed in a career?
Even though every profession requires a varying skill set, there are some qualities that add utmost value to your personal growth, no matter what career path you choose. Consistency, hard work and perseverance, I believe, are three things that can help one succeed in their respective fields.
What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
‘Just do it’ – take that risk, go the extra mile to achieve what you have aimed for. Most importantly, believe in yourself and enjoy that journey!
Where do you see your organisation in five years’ time?
Being a market leader in the advertising fraternity, with footprints spread across national and international geographies. And, this won’t be possible without my people and some clutter-breaking campaigns. Therefore, towards the same goal, I’m focused on building a bigger team, training them and producing some amazing work without forgetting our core philosophy – ‘Create impactful campaigns and have fun while doing that’.