Worked in: Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Singapore. However
her scope of work has stretched across all of APAC.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you
are most proud. There are many that could be cited on Deepika’s behalf, but the most compelling was for an international bank. The client wanted to commission research to help understand how Gen Y viewed the bank, and then challenged Mindshare to, “make them the iPhone of banks.” Deepika determined that this was a larger business challenge which didn’t require research, but rather a full ‘blue ocean’ strategy—(a strategy for generating high growth and profits for an organization by creating new demand in an uncontested market space, or “Blue Ocean”).
She scrapped the brief, and instead took a three-part approach to solving the larger
- 1. Activate local Mindshare teams to identify best practices from a number of competitors and non-banking industries from across all the markets
- Conduct in-depth qualitative research in all the markets with specifically tailored questions that get at the heart of consumer’s life and money needs and not just their perception of the bank right now
- By tapping into Mindshare’s 12 market network of Gen Y trend setters (the Asia Scout Network) to develop micro and macro trends and understand what the “iPhone of banking” should look like.
Deepika then conducted a workshop with all of the marketing team leaders from the client side to discuss the trends that were identified. Then in a radical move, Deepika hired another agency, the Ideas Factory, to conduct the facilitation so Deepika and her team were free to think about the business problem alongside the client.
In the end Deepika and the clients came out of that meeting with 48 identified services and benefits that the bank can develop and serve to the Gen Y audience. A customer values proposition was evolved. This customer proposition was then presented to the board of directors and Global CEO and the results and outcomes were so powerful that the bank committed to an inside out change to serve this new value proposition.
Note that Mindshare was not this bank’s media agency nor did we work with them in any way before they sent out a brief to several research companies. Deepika happened upon the brief and realized that it was asking the wrong questions then threw her hat into the ring. She was unafraid to take on leading research companies or challenge the client’s brief in a way that made them think differently about the company and its future.
Overall, Deepika turned what was supposed to be a small project into a new business segment and culture shift in the organization. The client said it best, “Mindshare’s proposition was innovative in that they thought about our challenges, so not only were they asking the right questions they were helping us to think about them and answer them.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Deepika starts fresh with every proposal. “It is hygiene. It is everything. The market is so competitive that you need to be innovative to stand out.” Her team does not follow a template. They do have a process in the way they work, but they refuse to standardize a way of solving problems. Deepika is a rule breaker, and her
department is a reflection of the standards she sets for herself (not the industry’s). It is because of this extra effort, thought and dedication that clients continue to come back to her and her team project after project.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? “The resistance from risk averse people, and there are a lot in Asia . There are very few mavericks on
both the agency, client and partners sides. The way to overcome this is to have conviction in your ideas. If you waver, then your vision will crumble and the work will suffer.”
Any internationalist trivia about yourself? In addition to all of this, Deepika is an Indian Classical Dancer and a diehard Harry Potter and Obama fan.