Nandini Dias - A 'Can do' person!
She is often described as the most strategic and imaginative media professional, who has led Lodestar Universal into getting the coveted Media Agency of the Year Award many times in a row. She has won many accolades and ranks consistently amongst the leading media heads in all the prestigious industry rankings. Recently Nandini Dias, CEO of LodestarUM, shared her journey of success with us:
1.How would you describe the "woman" Nandini Dias in a sentence?
I would best describe myself as a “Can do” person.
2.Tell us something about your journey as an entrepreneur and media professional. How did it all start?
Well , I was quite fascinated with the idea of being in advertising. Coincidentally after giving my final year exam I was going to meet my father who was then posted in Gujarat. My sister and I were travelling by train. My father had booked a coupe for us. In the middle of the night a lady knocked at our door and said that she is the editor of a leading Gujarati magazine and that she had to go urgently to cover a story but didn’t have any reservation. The Ticket collector also urged us to accept her request. Many people from the train seemed to recognize her too so we allowed her in. By the end of that night we had spoken so much that she knew I was interested in advertising and she offered me a job in the magazine. During my stint with Abhiyaan I did my post graduation and developed contacts in advertising agencies. Post that I was all set.
3.You've worked with various national and multinational brands such as Samsung, L'Oreal, Mahindra, Cadbury, The Times of India, TATA Group, Amul , Microsoft and so on. What has been your most memorable experience in the last couple of decades in this field?
I have thoroughly enjoyed working on these brands and many more. Each brand is different at a different life-stage, fighting different circumstances and competitors. So developing solutions for each of them is quite a challenge. And every year one needs to do something new and innovative to keep the brand ahead. What is memorable is the evolving media landscape and the changing role that each media plays. Currently we map 76 touch-points through our unique and proprietary study call CAT. With more and more touch-points being created the complexity of mapping the best utilization of brand and company budgets and designing the best media multiplier effect is quite a fulfilling experience.
4.What is the most important mantra that you keep in mind while dealing with clients?
The client has trusted me (organization) with their money. We must look after the money like its your own. And as the head I am accountable for every money spent.
5.In the advertising industry creativity is very crucial, how does one measure creativity since it is subjective?
While it is subjective the industry has created several forums and award functions which are judged by a large no of people to award the best work. Lodestar UM as an agency has always done extremely well in these forums. We have won media agency of the year or runner up agency several times over. We have won on the global stage too including Cannes Lions. But in media in addition to creating innovative solutions it is important to be able to have insights about people's mind, mood and media behavior.
6.Ten years down the line, where do you see yourself?
My next work maybe will be connected in social and medical area. I have been contemplating doing some work in medical rehabilitation area.
7.If you had to change one thing about the media industry, what would it be?
Easy availability of trained strategic talent.
8.What would be your word of advice be to women who want to make it big in the media industry?
There is no option but to put shoulder to the wheel. Work hard and sincerely with best intention in mind. Rest will follow.
9. What does women empowerment mean to you?
Women empowerment to me is not being forced into doing anything which is against my belief system or out of being helpless. Often women are not able to stand up against injustice done because they do not have the wherewithal. Empowerment means to give her enough means for her to be independent.
10. Are you glad to be a woman? Why?
Frankly I would have been happy to be either. Men and women in my books are equal. While they maybe differently abled at a physical level, at any other level it is their attitude and mental make up which counts. Needless to say I would have been happy with my lot irrespective of the gender.