Women In Marketing ft. Ananya Chand from SOLV
Ananya is SOLV’s Brand and Marketing Manager. Growing up in a small town, she had big enough dreams which continue to motivate her. Trust us when we say that this is only the beginning of her journey. Let’s learn more about Ananya for this segment of Women In Marketing. 🇮🇳
Today, it is the speed of access to knowledge from the Internet which has become the biggest level playing field for people of our generation and going forward. Knowledge to upskill is hence, just a click away.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in the temple town of Puri, in India which hosts one of the world’s oldest and biggest religious festivals every year since the last 1000+ years. One of my cherished memories was taking part in this festival (called the Car Festival/ Rath Yatra) and enjoying the pomp & show as a child.
I have spent most of my childhood in the small towns of India and completed my education there. I have always been surrounded by nature, big parks and gardens because there was no dearth of space during those days in India’s small towns.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I love tending to plants and experimenting with growing different plant species from vegetables to flowering plants to succulents.
As a small-town girl, I have always had the opportunity of spending time and playing in huge gardens. I have continued my passion for gardening & having green around me, with the space available in the balcony of my apartment in the city now. Due to the increasing lack of space and nutritious soil, I now experiment with hydroponics and growing everyday one-pot veggies like tomatoes and cabbages. The city where I live now, Bangalore, the weather conditions make it a heaven for gardeners — the city lives up to its moniker “Garden city”.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I would like to fulfil two of my long-term goals, faster — starting-up to help the ageing population in India use technology to their benefit, and house 10 underprivileged kids, educate and feed them like my own.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Rice and Bengali fish curry
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
Haha, this is so true, I too like so many other children, wanted to become a doctor.
But destiny had other things planned for me. I was a science student so my first experience with commerce subjects wasn’t palatable in the beginning. At times I felt like running away from my accounting and economics classes during my first 2 years of my undergraduate in management studies.
In the third year of my undergraduate though, marketing was introduced as a subject. And that changed everything. It aligned with my thoughts of looking at a consumer as a human being and not another number. There was a lot of science involved in measuring and applying concepts of consumer behaviour to business cases. I feel marketing also changed my perspective towards the other subjects and then I went on to graduate as one of the top students of my class and bag a Marcom job at a leading corporate in India’s financial capital, miles away from the small city I studied in.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would like to be a Yali (also called Griffin — part lion, part eagle). It’s a mythical yet aspirational to be as strong & determined with immediate goals as a lion on the ground, and as nimble & free-spirited as an eagle which has a bird’s eye view of everything yet can sweep its target off the ground in one swoosh.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I am a voracious reader and I love to write short stories, poems & haikus.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
That’s a great question, I love to start the day meeting everyone in the team, greeting them, catching up on emails and then quickly catching up on tea/ coffee — I love both.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I ensure that I start my day with a to-do, bucket my day into time that I spend on work and then on leisure. I find the process of spending time on developing skills for professional and personal advancement imperative to a good work-life balance in addition to having a dedicated time for family time catch-ups and towards health pursuits.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR MBA IN MARKETING, STRATEGY AND PUBLIC POLICY FROM THE INDIAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
It’s often said Knowledge is the biggest leveller ever known.
Today, it is the speed of access to knowledge from the Internet which has become the biggest level playing field for people of our generation and going forward. Knowledge to upskill is hence, just a click away. To upskill, it is important to first assess where one is in their lives and where they want to go and here I would say, dare to dream big!
Say you want to build a technology product and you have no coding skills, seek out resources to learn to code (you’ll be surprised that most of them are free) and then also leverage open source codes available to build that product you always dreamt of. When seeking out resources, read as many reviews from peers and connect with them to collaborate and share your knowledge so you end up only enriching your current knowledge-base.
Importantly, irrespective of the mode of education, formal or informal, ensure that you put in the required number of hours to master the skill so there’s a value that both you and your employer can derive from. It’s not difficult to get started with upskilling projects nowadays, but the key to success is in persistence, reaching out to the right guides, mentors & peers and ensuring that you apply your knowledge and learn more from your mistakes.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
Well, when it comes to job-hopping, I don’t believe that a rolling stone gathers no moss. In the fast-paced job sector today, there are two scenarios: your learning either peaks in 12–18 months and you’re looking for more excitement in your job so you do not go on the hamster wheel, the second scenario is where you’re stuck in the rut and desperately want to get some excitement in your job or do something impactful. In both cases, one ends up changing jobs if they don’t get what they want.
If you know that your next move is filling a gap that your current job was not providing you in terms of upskilling or solving impactful problems or making decisions that matter, then it makes sense to move on. Otherwise, if the frequent change is a function of only monetary decisions then it doesn’t make sense, one becomes a rolling stone that ends up gathering no moss.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
Irrespective of gender, it is good to have a CMO who understands the latest changes that technology has brought in their function and how it changes their role, their teams’ as well the organization’s competitive advantage as a result, in the market. Since more women are entering the job market, it is only a matter of time before many start occupying positions of responsibility and if a certain segment of women in society are honing themselves to occupy those positions by taking prudent budgetary and strategy decisions, then it’s a great sign… we are all working towards hammering away the glass ceiling, one woman at a time.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
NJack Nilles coined the term “telecommuting” or the use of electronics to work remotely in 1973.
He was an engineer for NASA and estimated this style of work/ work-from-home to be in vogue in around 20 years’ time. It did pick up in many parts of the world in recent decades, but in many parts the acceptance was limited.
I believe in some industries where it was possible, like technology, it was being implemented partially because a 100% work-from-home model would mean lesser team bonding, 100% efficiency demanded at all times and no difference between work and home. You cannot treat humans like robots, can you?
On the other hand, Manufacturing and floor operations heavy companies and high-touch service industries still can not facilitate work-from-home even if they wanted to. Imagine a steel plant running without people (you would have to get an army of robots to do their job and render them jobless).
I believe 100% work from home hasn’t been hence adopted by many organizations across the world.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
I believe going forward, talent management strategies will evolve to accommodate flexible working hours and in-office hours equitable and it cannot be a cookie-cutter solution, every industry will progress differently.
SHERYL SANDBERG MADE AN INTERESTING REMARK IN HER KICK-ASS BIOGRAPHY ‘LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD’ THAT “SEARCHING FOR A MENTOR HAS BECOME THE PROFESSIONAL EQUIVALENT OF WAITING FOR PRINCE CHARMING”. SHE IS ILLUSTRATING THE NOTION OF WOMEN HAVING TO SEEK APPROVAL OR VALIDATION, ESPECIALLY FROM MEN WHO ARE AT MOST TIMES THE MENTORS. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON MENTORSHIP?
Let’s make this a gender-neutral conversation, to begin with. Having a good mentor in one’s career is surprisingly an oft-neglected key to success. A good way to look at finding a mentor is assessing yourself as a mentee — that way you don’t have to look for validation or approval from anyone. You know what your goal is and why you would like a mentor in that particular stage of your professional life.
Secondly, once you determine your goals, figure what skill-sets of the mentor you want to tap into and understand him/ her, their priorities and mode of engagement. You need to shadow your mentor once a month, if you get the opportunity to see how they conduct their day. As you begin to understand your mentor, help them in ways you deem fit, that will advance their professional careers too. Remember that the benefits of mentorship cannot be a one-way street.
Once you start looking at mentorship as an objective-driven association which you would like to develop into a long-term fruitful relationship, it will become easier to find one and help them make you successful.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT SOLV?
At SOLV, we believe in co-creation that drives us to be innovative and productive for our customers. We keep our ears close to the ground and listen to our customers — the MSME segment and offer a holistic platform to them which helps them grow their business in a more efficient manner.
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
It is very relevant even today if the influencer is picked prudently for the brand.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE MAJOR TRENDS IN DIGITAL IN THE NEXT 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
The biggest trend in digital is going to be the introduction of digital media for communication and commerce to the B2B segment — a $20 trillion industry, far bigger than the B2C industry which is the mainstay of e-commerce today.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Using a standing desk. It helps me keep focus, get information with a shout-out from across the floor and of course in calf-strengthening.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
I read mostly paper-back, currently reading Carl Sagan’s ‘The Dragon of Eden’.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
The Founder (2016)
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
We have always greeted in India with a Namaste (folded hands). I would continue with the namaste! 🙏
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I hope my cook who had long shifted to his hometown is doing well and staying safe during this difficult period.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Be original in your thought process and do not be afraid to ask questions.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
To wake up early; leaves you with a lot of time to appreciate small things in life and not mindlessly rush past it,
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
I am largely an extrovert who likes meeting and interacting with people in person. The COVID situation has paused that and left me with a lot of energy that sometimes makes me restless. I am now trying to channelize that energy towards my health goals.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
Ipsita Roy. She has her own startup- Candid Stories
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Personal: Take a 3-month sabbatical and explore India’s small towns
Professional: Meet Michelle Obama
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
Savitri Bai Phule, Malavath Purna, My mother
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Website : https://www.solvezy.com/