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Youth Quotient: "Good talent in social media marketing is hard to come by"

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Youth Quotient: "Good talent in social media marketing is hard to come by"

Equipped with a Masters Degree in Commerce from Mumbai University, Akshay Gurnani has always been involved in various entrepreneurial and leadership projects, which also include an exchange programme at the New York University Stern, where he successfully completed a course on International Business Strategies.

Gurnani began his professional career as a Financial Analyst, but soon realised the calling of a social media career, just by chance. He’s been with FoxyMoron since November 2010, when the organisation comprised of a bunch of youngsters working out of a small room. In the last three years, he has climbed the ladder of success from a Team Leader to a Group Account Manager and currently is the Business Head – North, FoxyMoron.

Currently, his role and responsibilities at FoxyMoron include setting up the North region corporate office of FoxyMoron as well as social media ideation, creative execution of brand campaigns. When not busy being the man of the hour, Gurnani enjoys the outdoors – travelling and photography being his passions. He usually spends his weekend doing photo shoots as a freelance photographer.

In conversation with exchange4media, Gurnani speaks at length about what he loves about his job, what he thinks the industry needs to focus on in the coming days, his future goals and much more...

How does your typical work day look like?
I generally start my day by preparing my task list, and then brief the Team Leaders on what needs to be done. After discussing their tasks, reply to pending mails, I take on important brainstorming work in the first half so that we have time to make the presentations all through the day. The remaining time during the day, I focus on client servicing, interfacing with the designers, approving work by teams before it is sent out, and working on pitch presentations to build more business.

What do you love about your work? And what do you dislike?
I love the fact that it is dynamic, because I get to meet new people, work on brands that are out of my comfort zone. Ideating for various strategies; having the sense of responsibility and accountability gives me great confidence.

What I think is a challenge for this industry is that good talent is hard to come by. Everyone wants to get into social media, but have very little or no knowledge about it, and most of them come into the industry with pre-conceived notions. If institutions and organisations could give a little more emphasis on honing these skills, it would help aspirants get placed a lot faster in this growing industry.

Which is that one project you are proud to have been associated with?
‘PowerLight A Village campaign’ – for the simple reason that the brand Garnier Men and the cause, solar electrification of lightless Indian villages, are close to me.

This campaign, in collaboration with Project Chirag, aims at creating awareness among consumers to contribute through their pledges on social media and be part of a movement that will help Garnier Men in the identification and electrification of lightless villages across India using solar power.

Who is that one digital industry leader whom you look up to?
Without a doubt, the four Co-founders of FoxyMoron, they have collectively been the driving force for my journey at FoxyMoron as well as the industry at large. With their support, I have pushed myself to grow as a person, because their achievements have always made me feel that if they have such high achievement this young, why can’t I?

Each of them has different facets to their personality that makes me admire them with each passing day. From coming up with the most ridiculously successful ideas, to being calm even during a storm, to the tech knowledge that they possess and of course, the mastery over the art of negotiations.

Five brands you would want to work with….
In no particular order – Starbucks, Coca-Cola, National Geographic, Nike, BMW.

Five things social media marketing has taught you…
• Patience
• Be organised in the midst of unorganised chaos
• Being social is as important as creativity
• Pay attention to detail, especially grammar
• I do not apply the rule of ‘think out of the box.’ This industry has taught me that there is no box!

If you hadn’t been in digital marketing what would you have been doing?
Probably continued as a Financial Analyst, if I had managed to stay on long enough.

Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
Five years from now, I see myself at the helm of a big team at FoxyMoron Gurgaon, executing some of the biggest and best digital marketing strategies ever undertaken by brands.

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