VMLY&R Indonesia MD Mudit Trivedi (pictured) was appointed not long after the merger of VML and Y&R in September. A year after the change, said the transition has not been easy for the company. While the two entities had been partners for many years before the merger, the company still faced its share of challenges unifying capabilities and operations.
Now, having joined forces and enhanced capabilities manifold, Trivedi said the agency is poised to deliver greater value to its clients than ever before. Such changes in the agency structures and capabilities, according to him, are driven by the ever-changing consumer behaviour. “The consumer is evolving faster than us and in order to keep pace with them, I think it’s about time that we unify capabilities across networks so that we can truly drive a connected brand experience,” he added.
Trivedi is no stranger to the seasons of change in the agency scene, having spent time at several big names such as Wunderman Thompson, TBWA India, Ogilvy and McCann in the past. He shares more of his learnings in a conversation with Marketing Interactive below.
Marketing Interactive: How do you describe your management style?
I like my space and I believe everyone does, so I don’t get into micro-management. This not only gives people their space but also makes them feel more responsible and allows them to grow. However, I am a collaborator so I work closely with my key team members to drive the bigger goals of the agency. As a person, I am fun-loving and light-hearted, so I like to interact casually with everyone in office and share a laugh (or two) whenever I can!
Marketing Interactive: Who was the mentor who influenced you the most and how?
There have been many people who have contributed to my learning throughout my career, be it my bosses, colleagues or even clients. I have worked with many great minds and industry stalwarts and everyone has taught me something or the other.
I believe with the right people around, you not only learn what to do but also what not to do, what to be and what not to be.
You can learn from everybody but what is more important is how you apply that learning in your own way. The one thing that they all have taught me is to be brave everyday and go all in.
Marketing Interactive: What has been the proudest moment in your career?
When you enjoy the work you do, you’re proud of everything you achieve and experience – big or small. I was extremely proud of myself when I got through Ogilvy Mumbai as an account executive thirteen years ago. It was a big break for me then. I was equally ecstatic and proud when I helped build TBWA’s Delhi office with my then boss, Subho Sengupta.
And now I’m experiencing a new high, in this current role as the managing director of VMLY&R Indonesia. It has been a journey that I am overall, very happy about and proud of. If nothing else, at least one thing that advertising promises is the thrill of a new challenge everyday.
Marketing Interactive: What inspires you the most?
That everyday is a new day. And it brings new challenges, new learning, new energy and new hope with it. It may sound cliché, but it’s true.
With the recent unification of VML and Y&R, there are many capabilities that our organisation has gained that I have to harness and champion – something that I hadn’t done before but am learning to do with each passing day. This constant opportunity for growth is very inspiring for me, personally.
Marketing Interactive: What’s the toughest part of your job?
I think if you are invested in your job with all your heart, you don’t see things as easy or tough – you just focus on doing them well. But yes, if I were to answer that, I’d say the toughest part of my job is the realisation that my job is no longer about myself. It’s beyond that.
I am directly responsible for over 70 people in office and I must always do my best to address their expectations, their hopes and their challenges at work. So, knowing that and still keeping a calm head on my shoulders can get a little challenging sometimes.
Marketing Interactive: What do you do in your free time?
I don’t get a lot of it now, but I love to spend some quality time with my wife. I also play badminton over weekends and sometimes I indulge in creative projects such as making lamps with recycled materials.
Marketing Interactive: How do you ensure a proper work life balance?
I think this whole work-life balance concept is a myth. There is no way that one can separate the two from each other. At least I can’t. There are times when I am working at home day in and day out, and there are times when I am taking care of family matters during office hours. Both aspects of my life are important to me and I give attention to both as and when it’s required.
Marketing Interactive: Favourite vacation spot?
Anywhere with my family and loved ones. Both my wife and I love to explore new places, and I think we have loved every place we have been to so far. There is so much left to see and explore.
Marketing Interactive: What issue would you like to see the industry change in 2019?
With the ever increasing pressure of achieving numbers, agencies are undercutting each other and I believe that takes away from the real value of our service.
I think we need to bring back the good old values in our work and business approach. Also, we need to change the way we nurture our talent. In our business, people are our biggest asset and we have lost the art of keeping them motivated and passionate about this profession.
Marketing Interactive: What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?
Advertising is not just a job, it’s a passion. So stay curious, stay passionate, and as they say, you won’t have to “work” for a single day in your career.