Abhinay Bhasin, Associate Director Data Sciences at Dentsu Aegis Network gets candid on his favourite campaigns, perception of the industry and a peek in his #AgencyLife.
Devotion to Duty Determines your Destiny – mantra that not only Abhinay Bhasin believes in but also keeps him going. From an internship at Deloitte to Associate Director Data Sciences at Dentsu Aegis Network, Abhinay Bhasin tells Social Samosa what helped him make it to the #30Under30 list.
In his opinion, reading voraciously, keeping up with different lines of the business through personal interaction, and daily physical activity can help one go a long way. Excerpts below.
What led to your entry in the dynamic world of digital marketing?
As a postgraduate in Economics, understanding consumer behavior is an innate passion for me. With the volume of consumer data available in the digital marketing domain, owing to its real-time behavior driven nature, I was naturally inclined towards understanding the depths of this ecosystem and to make sense of the vast array of data available from a plethora of intent-driven platforms, to feel the pulse of the modern consumer.
Looking back, how would you describe the journey? What is the one instance that made it all worthwhile?
Having been entrusted with the responsibility of developing in-house data-driven capabilities within the Dentsu Aegis Network in the South Asia region, the journey so far has been extremely rewarding. In the short span of 18 months, my team and I have been able to create Dentsu Aegis proprietary insights, planning and optimization tools on digital that has been globally recognized through the efficiency in campaign optimization in 14 large markets of the network and has won several awards with unmatched capabilities.
One of the greatest rewards of being one of the founding employees, and now risen to be Associate Director, of the Dentsu Aegis Network Data Sciences Division in India, is the fact that for the first time in the history of the industry, we have been able to establish India as an exporter of tools, technology, and marketing sophistication. Through our deep integration with Facebook and Google, we have partnered with their teams in San Francisco to have beta tests of unique products built in India first and then exported to the rest of the world. The use of the DAN (Dentsu Aegis Network) India proprietary tools, built completely in-house by the data sciences team, in 35 large markets, with 14 of them (including Japan, Australia, Germany to name a few) having integrated them as a part of their daily workflows, has been one of the greatest rewards thus far.
- Other Accolades:
- 2018 DataIQ New Talent Award (sole APAC nominee)
- Selected as a Part of the Route 500 Global Career Acceleration Programme at Dentsu Aegis Network
- Featured in Adgully as Ad Land’s Young Guns (May 2017)
- IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 2016-2017
- Delivered a Lecture on “How is the Science of Machine Learning Changing the Art Of Media” at the Meghnad Desai Academy Of Economics (Jan 2018)
Your idea of an ideal campaign?
One of the tenets of marketing is to deliver the right message to the right person in the right moment on the right platform. An ideal campaign, in my mind, is one that has a simple message and is able to strike the right chords in the heart of the consumer. It’s not always about thumping one’s chest with boastful brand SOVs, but about delivering that message in the right manner to inspire change, solve a problem for the consumer and as a byproduct – result in sales. A classic example of this is the approach Nestle took in India when its beloved product “Maggi” was taken off shelves in June of 2015. While consumers launched a “We Miss Maggi” social media campaign of their own accord, in response to their beloved product removed from shelves overnight due to tests that proved a high quantity of lead in the product, the brand decided to run a “#WeMissYouToo” campaign featuring monologues by young citizens who are addressing their beloved brand, rife with affectionate endearments to an old buddy. The brand did well to quickly receive 10 million hits on its campaign, validating the fact that consumers remained solidly behind the brand after its touching messaging. Today, 2 years on, brand trust levels are back to 90% and for good reason.
One memorable campaign that you worked on. Any behind the scenes dope?
A memorable campaign I worked on in my erstwhile role, as Media Manager – Carat on the Mondelez business, was on the integration of 5 Star with the Rajinikanth blockbuster “Kabali”. The campaign helped the brand strengthen its stronghold in the south while boosting brand sales in the same month.
My family motto, instilled in my sister Abhilasha and me from birth – “Devotion to Duty Determines your Destiny” is something that keeps us going.
One day in your work life…
Begins with an early morning run on Marine Drive. This is followed by a good breakfast while I read the morning news, 5-6 articles of interest and clear my emails from the previous night (given my involvement in projects that lie in different time zones). I then head out to work where the grind begins with a team huddle to align our efforts for the day. Whilst catching up on the normal work routine of ongoing projects that involve some research and a few calls with international markets on current projects, I ensure I spend at least 15-20 minutes in the day having a conversation with a colleague in a different line of business, to understand his/her role, challenges and explore a data-driven solution. Once the day is done, I look forward to reaching home and spend a good half hour with my two-year-old pet Cocker spaniel – Simba – which I’d say is my best moment before a nice family dinner to seal the day.
One upcoming trend you want to latch on
BioT (Blockchain Internet of Things)
One trait that helped you win 30Under30; any tips for upcoming participants?
One thing which I feel helps me stand out, which I encourage upcoming participants to adopt, is to always look out for trends on the rise. Look at how you can solve your client’s problem by adopting innovation. Then be bold enough to venture into an unchartered territory and conquer it.
One moment or instance from your journey that aptly describes #AgencyLife
Being the only specialist unit in data in the organization, often briefs come late in the evenings for a client meeting the following morning. Of course – being a Math Man in a world of Mad Men – there is no better joy in using some fancy tools to provide a quick hack for those last minute insights requests. #NeverSayNo
3 things you do daily that have helped you excel professionally
- Read voraciously/ Listen to a talk on one new topic every day.
- Spending 15 minutes with a colleague from a different line of business: this enables me to gain a better insight into a different line of work. Not only do I improve my understanding of their offerings, but also work on providing unique and scalable solutions for the same.
- Early Morning Run: I’d say THE most important part of my day is my 6 am run on Marine Drive that really gets the juices flowing. Nothing like the cool morning sea breeze on your face to charge your batteries for the day.
Digital marketing gurus you look up to
Gautam Mehra- Chief Data Officer (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network
Vivek Bhargava – Chief Executive Officer, DAN Performance Group
Anubhav Sonthalia- Chief Executive Officer, Merkle Sokrati
Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
Definitely in a senior management position of a large Advertising Organisation
Marketing and Advertising Icons/Leaders you follow and look up to for inspiration
Ashish Bhasin – Chairman & CEO (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network
- Your favourite campaign
Cadburys TV Commercial – Dancing girl on Cricket Field (1993)
- Most irritating word in a brief
- Most overused digital marketing buzzword
- One brand you love on social media
- Rank in order of fondness: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn
Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat
One stereotype about working in the digital media sector that is thrown at you every time….
Everything seems to be AI driven :p
One campaign you wished you had been a part of and why?
Maybe a geography issue here; But I’d have loved to have been a part of “It’s a Tide Ad”