Ad land’s Young Guns: Sanjeeda Khan, iCubesWire

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Sanjeeda Khan, 29, works as the Chief Delivery Officer at iCubesWire, where she is responsible for media buying, planning and making strategic alliances with immense expertise in performance marketing, email marketing, CPL, CPI, CPM, CPI, native & programmatic advertising. She started her career in 2010 and is an integral part of the organisation.

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Sanjeeda Khan in her own words…

How did you get into the role you are serving?
Entering the digital domain was a lucky incident for me. In 2010, when digital was in its nascent stage, I wasn’t well-aware of the opportunities that it offered. Post my campus placement when I got acquainted with the corporate world, I realised my aptitude for building strategies, thinking creative ideas, generating sales through advertisements, etc., and tapped into them as my career option. With a knack to explore the path that lay ahead, I tumbled upon the digital domain and today when I look back, I am glad to have made the right choice, a decision that has been a life changing one.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
I believe the propositions of the digital world are not just limited to a table; in fact, there is a plethora of wider spaces which should be delved into. In this new age domain, nothing works the traditional way. Each day dawns with new challenges, which demand unique and prompt solutions. One cannot simply focus on enhancing a particular skill set, rather one has to work towards their overall proficiency and grab a bite of everything served on the platter. However, the basic ingredients required for a perfect meal are technical expertise and grassroot values. To excel in a certain field, a right concoction of both proves beneficial. I rely on my technical knowledge, and at the same time the ability to cling onto the values imbibed from experiences and learnings. As for me, a positive attitude, strong analytics aptitude, listening and a confident start are the qualities that shape the best out of me.

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
In my career span of 8+ years, I have been fortunate enough to work with more than 300 industry giants ranging from various verticals. Each brand demands a distinct requirement and working with each one of them has been an unparalleled experience for me. Central Park, Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm, MakeMyTrip, and Kotak Mahindra Bank are some of the few brands, working with whom has enhanced my career growth and pushed my abilities further.

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?While working on the creatives, contemplating from an end-user’s perspective is imperative. One should be able to comprehend the end user’s viewpoint towards a creative, appreciating of which is the end objective of any brand. A creative might seem likeable by you, but if doesn’t strike the right chords with the audience, it stands wasted. Thus, I try to get into the latter’s shoes and design creatives accordingly.

Icons in advertising you look up to, and how they have influenced you and your work?
There have been copious influential people who have been instrumental in my growth and learning and have had a lasting impression on me. However, I would want to mention one such mentor who has been a constant source of inspiration – Mr Sahil Chopra, Founder & CEO of iCubesWire. His brilliance in the field of digital, farsighted approach, extracting solutions in strenuous situations have taught me a great deal. His potential to motivate the employees and appreciating the little achievements has encouraged me to walk on the right path with the team in confidence and unison.

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
Work-life balance is the most important aspect of one’s life. No matter how difficult and chaotic the situation seems to be, one must strive to maintain work-life balance. Here are the five things that are part of my routine that elevate productivity of work:

  • I am an early bird and prefer to begin my day early with a morning prayer followed by conducting daily chores. This practice reinforces positivity and boosts a great start to the day.
  • Second productive thing I follow is prioritising my work. No one is omnipresent and thus, one has to evaluate tasks based on the urgency it demands. I try to delegate tasks to the assigned team members which helps them learn and grow, while at the same time, I can diligently focus on others tasks.
  • Maintaining a calendar/ to-do-list and adhering to it definitely brings about a remarkable difference in the quality of work and efforts implied by an individual. A predefined schedule keeps your mind aware of the ongoing tasks with less scope of end moment hassle or omission of an important task. Not to mention the work gets duly assigned and becomes easier for me to plan my day well.
  • Communication with the team is an imperative part of building an organisation as I believe it enhances individual efficiency as well as productivity at a team level. I make it a point to interact with my team on regular basis which has helped me strengthen my relations with them.
  • Refreshing mind with short breaks is another aspect that elevates productivity. To state from my own experiences, the day I skip taking breaks, my mind works slowly, my body becomes lethargic and I feel tired by the end of the day. Whereas, a little coffee break or a stroll does wonders and rekindles the mind to think, analyse and brings the best out in me.

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Advertising is the packaging rendered upon the image of a product/ service. Irrespective of what the product is, if it is presented well, it does wonders for the brand. As per the statistics, the global advertising spends are accelerating at an annual growth rate of 4.3 per cent, which speculates the vast rate of growth the world will experience in the years to come. Thus, a career in the advertising industry is enticing and has immense scope associated with it.

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
The ability to think and visualise is paramount. One has to have a knack for building strategies that lead to imparting higher ROI, thereby meeting the client’s expectations. Thus, farsighted vision, clubbed with creative outlook is the key to success in advertising. As icing on the cake, a creative thinker can grow and flourish multiple folds in this industry.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
I only have one advice for the youngsters – be a part of the industry for passion and not for money. It requires passion and zeal to be able to fit into the shoes of your client, be in-sync with his thought-process and in-turn comprehend the expectations of the million viewers. It is indeed a career of risk takers. Join the advertising industry with the earnestness of learning.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I am a curious cat and would like to continue learning and grasping knowledge throughout my life. Irrespective of the career stage of my life, I want to stand true to my name, meaning seriousness, to work earnestly and effectively. I hope to represent my knowledge and talent through work, under the able guidance of my seniors and industry veterans. I see myself working vigorously towards advertising the brands to the best of my abilities.

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I believe in loving the place you are working at, as the possibilities it offers could well be the turning point of life. Each day is a new learning experience and one must grasp maximum knowledge out of it. Future is uncertain, and the present defines the way to the future. My priority is iCubesWire and there is still expansive growth waiting for me here, which I am more than keen to explore. Being on my toes at my favourite place, and iCubesWire gives me the determination to work harder with each passing day.

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