Offbeat: Manas Gulati on why he wants to be a Chief Happiness Officer
Adgully’s special feature section – ‘Offbeat’ – seeks to give a peek into 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.
Manas Gulati, Co-Founder & CEO, #ARM Worldwide, is considered a thorough-bred digital marketing professional. With a career spanning advertising and marketing, Gulati is skilled in Digital Strategy, Mobile Advertising, Advertising, Entrepreneurship, and Media Buying.
In June 2013, he co-founded #ARM Digital along with Ritesh Singh, Abhishek Punia and Honey Singh. Now #ARM Worldwide, the marketing & communication consulting company provides global delivery for Digital, Public Relations, Content, Analytics & Technology. #ARM Worldwide is working proactively across verticals and constantly escalating its portfolio, winning and retaining accounts such as Bajaj Finserv, Sodexo, Pearl Academy, Pearson, Jack Daniels, Future Brands, Zee Learn, Spectra, andHarman. With many other clients on board, #ARM Worldwide is looking to multiply its service offerings in diverse industry segments like Technology, BFSI, education, Retail, Lifestyle, Celebrity Management, etc.
A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
It shouldn’t come out as self-brag, but dedication and belief in whatever I do is one trait that has been with me for the longest time. Being dedicated to my responsibilities and trusting this dedication of mine on all roads, smooth or rough, is a major key to where I am in life. As a kid, it was towards dramatics and cricket, in my teenage years, it was my education, and today, it is the work I do and the organisation I run.
Any superhero fetish and what power you wish you possessed?
It has to be Batman. For someone, who despite not having any competitive power that can place him next to his comic book peers like the Superman, Batman has an edge on most of them with his intelligence and self-belief.
What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
Like Batman, my biggest fears have always been my chances of failing and standing alone at the end of the show. But also, like Batman, my only way to grow beyond it is to face them every day, reminding myself that they exist for a reason and my reason to exist is bigger than them.
We cannot run away from our fears, neither can we face them once and for all. They will keep coming back to you, in one form or the other. It is always about not letting them influence your actions in any negative direction.
A secret that you have which no one knows about?
It is a secret that nobody knows because I have chosen to keep it like that!
What would one find in your playlist?
One of the world’s greatest mix of Bob Dylan, Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel. Sneha Khanwalkar and Amit Trivedi amongst the Indian musicians are also often found in my playlist.
Your go-to activity to relax?
Lately, I have become a big fan of walking as a method to relax. Your body gets in a certain pace and your mind gets a certain headspace. A good walk in the morning with some good music sets the pace for the day.
Also, as me time I like to spend one of the weekends playing cricket and occasionally soccer with my college friends.
What are the greatest lessons that you have learned from life so far?
Happiness is the only parameter you judge your life with. If you are happy, people around you are happy and that’s a value chain. I and my partner once decided that we shall always have a smile on our face at all moments, be it huge success or failure. To our surprise, things worked out pretty well and increased the happiness index in the office.
Also, I believe you really can’t judge a book by its cover. There is much more than meets the eye of people. Forming opinions quickly is the worst thing which can happen to individuals. If you do that, you are pre-disposed in a manner which might not be correct.
We often choose to get our shields up, act insecure and never bestow our trust on anybody, for the smallest of work to the biggest of secrets. However, we keep forgetting that our every action has a people consequence. Therefore, it becomes even more important to be kind to people and to trust them.
A social cause that you are most passionate about?
I consider myself as a product of education and hence, it is one major cause I care about. As an exponentially growing country, education is that hit or miss item on the list for the larger population. While not the strongest, but my small pieces of contribution to this cause is always-on.
What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
One thing I constantly move myself to change is my time management abilities. I have worked rigorously towards it in the last five years and now that I have a baby daughter, my time isn’t just mine anymore.
If not the Co-Founder & CEO of #ARM Worldwide, what would you have been?
I always liked the designation of the Chief Happiness Officer – someone in the company whose responsibility is to ensure good vibes in the organisation. In fact, I should talk to my co-founders about it!
What are the three apps on your mobile you couldn’t live without?
Very basic: Apple Music for my music & podcasts, Gmail for emails, and Google Calendar for my schedules.
What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
‘MindHunter’ by Joe Penhall. Being a marketer with a penchant for defining and detailing the target audience, this series does that beautifully in reading into the minds of criminals (individuals) and their psychographics. In this, the FBI uses learnings from interviewing serial killers and using that knowledge to solve ongoing cases. Apart from this, for a regular dose of entertainment I watch short webisodes of Filter Copy.
Which two organisations outside of your own do you know the most people at and why?
It would be my teams at Bajaj Finserv and Google, one of the oldest industry relationships I have had an opportunity to garner.
Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
It is not only about digital, but marketing as a whole. Even on larger platforms which have the capability of having one to many conversations, we always focus on the product and brand propaganda, whereas it can be done beautifully through real-time marketing. The classic example is Bajaj Finserv, which has done some beautiful campaigns around Doctor’s Day and IPL as well.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I am very much an Indian at heart and I love the hustle of the day here. But if I had to choose from anywhere in the world, I’d choose Sweden for my second home.