DAN Interviews

Ad land’s Young Guns: Sabiha Khan, WATConsult

Featured in this edition of Ad land’s Young Guns is Sabiha Khan, Group Account Manager - Strategy, WATConsult. Khan has been with WATConsult since May 2011, when she joined the agency as an Account Manager B2B. Prior to that she had worked with Datamonitor, Avance Group, SMP Recruitment and Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

As a child, Khan wanted to first be a bus conductor, then dreamt of being a neurologist, then the plan changed to becoming a marketing professional. She found her true calling when she was working with Datamonitor in the UK in a digital marketing role and then continued in the same industry with WATConsult.

From FMCG, to Consumer Electronics, to Fashion and Lifestyle and even Finance, Khan has worked on a plethora of brands, including Godrej, Tata and L&T, and has been involved in several award winning campaigns as well.

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

How did you get into the role you are serving?
I joined WATConsult as an Account Manager five years back. Having always worked on the client side, this was a first for me (agency side).

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
Strong analytical skills, ability to join the dots no matter how far, team building and, if I may say – I am brilliant at time management.

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
Every campaign has a different objective and hence a new learning. That’s the beauty of the job – it has the perfect blend of excitement, edginess and satisfaction to keep me hooked.

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
I am known to be the logical keeda in my team – by default, I tend to critique things from the perspective of whether it will follow a logical course and does it arrive naturally to the point at hand. As long as the answer satisfies me, I am confident the creatives will work.

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
I like to learn from the experiences of people – not all of them are icons, but they all have taught me valuable lessons. And that’s what I apply to my work on a daily basis.

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
    1) Plan – my day while I travel
    2) Read what the world is talking about
    3) Brainstorm in my head, while talking aloud (helps me really streamline my thoughts)
    4) Eat – I never like to miss my meals
    5) Touch base with my team – helps me stay tuned to all the action (obvious as well as not so obvious)

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Of course, because as long as brands exist, advertising will exist and that in itself ensures its longevity and viability.

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
Advertising is not just about creativity, it’s about objectivity, being observant and keeping your mind open. To succeed, stay put for the long haul, and for the love of learning and understanding people as well as brands. Often people get into advertising for the glitz and glamour of the industry, which misguides and often burns them out.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Advertising is the best industry, where one gets to understand people in the true sense. Be like a sponge and absorb all you can. Stay alert and stay nimble. And honestly, be like a fly on the wall – you never know what you pick up and how that will help you in a particular situation.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I like to live in the moment – and for now, I am really proud that I fall asleep every night knowing that I did do and will be doing the best job in the world for me. Five years down the line, I’d like to continue falling asleep every night with the knowledge that I am still doing what’s best for me.

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I really look up to the Pixar guys.

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