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Offbeat: Gopa Kumar – An introvert with dreams of flying

In our constant endeavour to give our readers content that is a little ‘hatke’ from the trade media norm, Adgully has been coming out with Special sections like The W-Suite, Ad Land’s Young Guns, Spirit W and ‘Offbeat’. 

‘Offbeat’ seeks to give a glimpse of the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more. 

Gopa Kumar, Executive Vice-President, Isobar India, heads strategic planning and media buying across Digital & Emerging New Media for Isobar India. His position entails a gamut of responsibilities like social media, mobile marketing, web analytics, communications planning, strategic partnerships and business expansion. Kumar was previously heading MEC Interaction and GroupM, where he has handled a massive range of clients like GM, Philips, British Airways, Adidas, Reebok, BMW, RayBan, Goodyear, LG Electronics, Accenture, and Bose, among many others. 

Kumar is an innovation strategist who believes in getting better than he was yesterday. 

How were you as a child and which childhood trait do you still possess?
As a child, and still today, I don’t talk much or I can say I am a man of few words. As a child I was introvert, which I still am...though my profession has made me change a bit. 

Which superhero did you look up to as a kid and why? Which superhero power you wish you possessed?
While growing up, I used to like Phantom. Maybe he never was a kind of superhero with supernatural powers, he made do with his skills and raw power with a hint of mystery around him. Superhero power that I wish I possessed would be to fly and reach wherever possible at the blink of an eye. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
The biggest fear is being irrelevant and now more so in this dynamic world which is changing so fast with each passing day. I try and face or gear up for it by knowing this and consciously trying to be ahead of the curve – be it in my work or anywhere else. I consciously work towards it by reading, knowing, learning about new skills which would help in future. 

A skill you possess that no one knows about?
I think I do write well. Well, at least I think so. So someday I might end up writing. 

What would one find in your playlist?
Lots of 80’s Rock – from Def Leppard to Dire Straits to Pink Floyd. 

Your go-to activity to relax?
Apart from reading, my go to activity these days is to be with my 2 Golden Retrievers. They keep me busy and grounded. 

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
You are in it all by yourself and you are the only person who can change and make a difference. So, no matter what life will throw at you, keep walking and in the end when you look back, feel happy you made it all good. 

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
Education of girl child is a social cause that I am most passionate about and continue to strive for the same in whatever humble way possible. 

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
Guess I need to make quick decisions; sometimes I take too much time which may be good or bad. So, I need to be more decisive. That’s what I want to change and I am in the process of doing just that. 

If not the Executive Vice President at Isobar India, what would you have been?
I always wanted to be in advertising and hence, I guess this is what I wanted and I am here. Before I chose advertising as my profession, I always wanted to join the Indian Air Force. 

What are the three apps on your mobile you couldn’t live without?
Apple Music, Uber and Paytm. 

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
The last thing I was watching was ‘Black Mirror’, an interesting take on the future and today’s technology-led world. 

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
When I think of it, most of the people that I know are in Advertising and Marketing communications as having spent some 15 years in this industry, you tend to get acquaintances and friends here as well. So, apart from my own organisation, I have friends and acquaintances across Media and Communications industry and other than those, I know people in consulting, aviation and financial domain. 

Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
Things I don't understand:

  • We as an industry are all about people and they are our biggest asset, but still I think we don’t take much of efforts to understand their triggers and do more for them.
  • As an industry, we see lots of lip service, but one seldom walks the talk. Taking a stand that may be opposite to a popular view rarely happens here.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I want to live and work in New York once.

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