Sonal Dabral is back in India to take charge of Bates David Enterprise’s India operations. He will have a dual role as Regional Executive Creative Director Asia Pacific and India Chairman, Bates David Enterprise. Dabral said that India was always there in his wish list, and it was just a matter of time for him to take a decision.
Commenting on his return, he said, “All the years that I have been working in Malaysia and Singapore, there was always this strong connection that I had with India. I was pretty sure that at some point of time this would happen, and I am glad that with Bates, I got this opportunity to be associated with the Indian advertising industry. There is a lot more excitement in India, and I can really back my instincts here as I know the people and understand them better than the citizens of other countries.”
Having spent almost a decade at O&M, Dabral informed that his option to join O&M India office was always open. “I thought about Ogilvy too, and it was given that I would come back and join Ogilvy India. But I thought working with Bates would be a bigger challenge simply because there is a lot more to do. I have always found affinity with challenges, and to shape up Bates into an international firepower is indeed a challenge. Ogilvy for me would have been too comfortable given the fact that Piyush Pandey would always be there spearheading the operations.”
On his immediate agenda, Dabral informed that he was looking to interact with his team closely. “I am not looking to change anything here immediately. There are a bunch of young creative guys here, and I am looking forward to understand them closely,” he said.
Dabral will lead the Bates India and APAC operations in his own way. “I would do what I know the best – to interact closely with team members, to give them a free hand, instill creativity in all departments, create laughter and motivate young team members. More importantly, I would like to ensure our work is not hampered by small factors such as geographic locations and size of the agency,” he explained.
Summing up his agenda for Bates India and Asia Pacific, Dabral said that he not only wanted to raise the creative bar, but also create individuals of intellect within the organisation. “Ideation has its own importance; but one should not forget the importance of craft, as it is the only thing that can turn a brilliant idea into a world beater,” Dabral pointed out.