Ad land’s Young Guns: Kartikeya Tiwari, Social Kinnect

Featured in this edition of Ad land’s Young Guns is Kartikeya Tiwari, Head of Business Development, Social Kinnect. Tiwari joined the digital agency in August last year, where he and the team help brands plan strategies and
campaigns for specific objectives. In his own words, “We’re a creatively driven bunch of young digital marketers. Our experience ranges from creative brand campaigns, web development, media buying and planning, SEO, campaign planning to analytics.”

Tiwari has also been the co-owner of Whackk, an online platform for fresh views to stand up and get noticed, since June 2010. Meant for the youth of India, Whackk has been catering to a very niche audience about things that
matter to them in the areas of Entertainment, Literature, Technology, Lifestyle,Politics and more.

He has also worked with WATConsult, where he was Senior Business Development Manager, as well as was part of a four-member Special Projects Team, whose objective was to work on high budget campaigns and derive the
best results out of them.

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Kartikeya Tiwari in his own words...

How did you get into the role you are serving?

This story has a lot of twists and turns. From being a typical ‘science and engineering’ student to being in the centre of a digital advertising revolution – a lot has transpired in the last eight years. It’s been tasting a lot of waters, trying out a lot of things and being open minded for the most part that landed me here.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

I think communication is my game and I win at it quite often. It only helps that I’m in the communications industry (marketing/ advertising). I’ve grown up in several cities, understanding different cultures and languages of India. This helps me tremendously today. We, as communicators, have to live multiple lives everyday. My upbringing helps me understand people from all regions, religions and economic strata, better. Therefore, I understand how to speak to them.

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.

This is like asking a mother which one of her babies is her favourite! I can’t pick an absolute favourite, but I can mention one campaign which I remember very fondly. Mostly because of the chaos and last minute panic.

It was when we made the entire Twitter timeline of Zee TV go blank (it was a sly design hack) last year for promotions of a show called ‘I Can Do That’. I remember how all of us were trying different colour code combinations with our visualisers to get that perfect overlapping shade of white. White! We had to struggle to get a shade of white right. All the chaos a few seconds before the creatives were supposed to go live!

In hindsight, it was so worth it. We pulled off a coup of sorts, a first in the country. Made the clients happy, surprised the audiences and won a couple of awards in the process.

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a natural preparation method. It involves a heavy dose of research (I call that mind-fuel). Some open minded conversations and brainstorms (easier said than done). Finally, it’s very easy to get carried away in the whole creative process, hence some self reminders to get the job done and not chase the perfect.

During this process, my mind is usually impersonating someone else. The target profile. You can connect best with someone when you step into their shoes and see their world. Their problems, their joys. That’s when honest and effective work happens. I think many people in our field of work speak on behalf of the TG, but very few actually understand them. Another – easier said than done.

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?

I’m glad to be in an industry where you don’t necessarily have to look too far for inspiration. I’ve always been in awe of Piyush Pandey and Prasoon Joshi’s work.

Internationally, I’ve been influenced by David Droga early on. Of late, I’m consuming a lot of content from Gary Vaynerchuck. Look him up!

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  • The most productive thing I do in a day is to spend some time doing absolutely nothing. It keeps me sane.
  • I consume a lot of content to learn about things in general. Pick a subject of interest and dig deep into it.
  • A morning ritual that involves ignoring e-mails and spending an hour just catching up with the digital ad world.
  • Power naps – I’m infamous for these. A 20-30 minute power nap is essential to increase productivity during the day.
  • Talk. Talk to people who I know. Talk to people who I don’t know.

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?

Yes! Look at the careers of all the greats I’ve mentioned earlier. It is indeed not a piece of cake. But that’s what makes it special!

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?

The same thing it takes to succeed in any other career. A never-give- up attitude that stays intact for years.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

Don’t beat yourself up over early failures or slow starts. Try and master your craft as early as you can. Which means, you should be certain of what’s your prime craft in the first place. I see a lot of indecisiveness amidst youngsters in advertising. Experimentation is good, but you must learn to master something. Aspire to be the best in your craft.

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?

I’ve probably lusted after the thought of working with certain people in the future, but never an agency or an organisation really. I’ve always wanted to ply my trade in Europe though. A few European countries inspire me a lot through their design and aesthetic sensibilities.


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