The new DDB Mudra Delhi chief believes in the popular saying of John Maxwell, “A Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”. With dynamic leadership capabilities, boundless energy and lively people skills, Vandana Das, President, DDB Mudra Group, Delhi brings with her more than two decades of experience, including more than 15 years at Ogilvy. “I want to bring in a culture of hunger and rekindle people’s passion through constant motivation,” Das said.
She believes that her role is quiet similar to Sandra Bullock in the movie ‘Speed’, where Das is driving the bus that has no breaks, with only the accelerator functioning. “A person can only get on the bus if he/she wants to enjoy the ride and be a part of the thrill,” she said.
“I knew that I was coming to a challenging assignment. My task was to create buzz around DDB Mudra Delhi by taking right steps towards acceptability among existing people. The clients were a little disgruntled, so I had to make them comfortable. It was quite a task to gain stability on to the existing businesses, and then I changed gears to accelerate on the path,” she added.
Being with Ogilvy for 17 years, her transition, she believes, was quiet smooth because of the fact that she hit the ground running. “There was so much to do that I had no time to look back and cry over things. I won’t even call it a break-up with a boyfriend. My bridges are not burnt and I am still in touch with people over there. But once you break-up, you have to look forward to your new boyfriend,” she added.
Building a new team
Each day was a different challenge for Das as the Delhi office saw troubled times with a lot of exits including the business heads, ECD, CD and the planner. “People who were uncomfortable with the speed or too laid back, left the agency. There could be many reasons for quitting like better opportunities or opening something for their own. For some we felt bad, but we never regretted for people who did not want to live up to the speed. It was unfortunate to see that the people who had quit also took some businesses with them. From the time I joined, less than 10 per cent of the people are still there, rest everybody is new. I quickly got a team that was comfortable with speed, including the two ECDs Talha Mohsin and Mahesh Parab, Xavi Bech as head of planning and two business heads in account management Radhika Das and Ashwini Dhingra,” she stated.
In a quick span of one year, the agency has won businesses of Yamaha Ray, Carrier Midea, Livon and Bata. However, she believes that it’s time to shift gears. “The foot on the accelerator is not yet gone but I would want to reinstate the brake a bit. It’s about consolidation of existing businesses and growing with them,” she pointed.
Cross unit learnings will be a key focus for the agency in the coming year. Creating buzz through people, product and performance, Das wants to improve the standards of the product and establish better connect with the consumers. “I believe in the art of self-selection during the pitch process. Now that we have brought in businesses, we would like to slowdown and become selective. My focus is on thinking and dreaming big and it’s time to pause, change equations and start going for big ones,” she concluded.