Campaign India Team
Dec 05, 2019

'I want to focus on and understand Indian families and mobility': GTB's Babita Baruah

A series to end the decade - part seven

Babita Baruah, managing partner, GTB India
Babita Baruah, managing partner, GTB India
Campaign India's countdown to the end of the decade will feature leading names from the marketing and communications fraternity. We ask senior executives from the advertising, marketing and media fraternity about the last 10 years and the year to come.
Here's what Babita Baruah, managing partner, GTB India, had to say. 
One piece of work in the last decade that you wish you had created/worked on. Why?
The Lead India initiative in 2008. It was created by Wunderman Thompson, India, then JWT. For the Times of India Group.
Conceived and developed well before terms like act, purpose and experiential have firmly implanted themselves in communication lexicon, and bereft of social media to hype and viral, the Lead India campaign created a movement of sorts. I still remember  the pride we felt when we saw the impact of the creative work, the comments, participation and feedback. I watched from the side lines as the team spent days at work, with a passion that was evident in everything they created. I also remember watching the agency and client partners on video later, holding the Indian tricolour on stage at Cannes.
While it was a Wunderman Thompson, then JWT, campaign, I was not part of the team that worked on this.
Till today, I wish I had.
As part of our work on brands, we explore opportunities to connect. Data and technology powers our insights, creative solutions and omni channels plans.
But finally, the work that leaves a mark is when it is embraced and engaged with, by an audience far larger than the intended consumer.
Lead India, in my mind, was one such creative work.
If hindsight is 20/20, what is the one thing that you could have done differently in the last decade?
As the market lead of WPP’s GTB office in India for almost three years now, I have had the exposure and first hand experience of the importance of data rich, people centric customer journeys, meaningful messaging and the importance of collaboration and partnerships.
If I could turn the clock back five years, I would have liked to initiate this kind of a partnership on some of the businesses I led at that time.
I took pride in a creative idea that could translate into a film.
Today I take more pride in a creative solution that sits on a mobile platform and connects consumers as communities.
I have realised that what matters today is when brands intervene (yes, it’s still intervention for most) to make it worthwhile for people.
Everything else just makes some of us happy as creators.
One skill that you would want to pick up in 2020 and why?
It is something I am actively engaged in building my personal competency. Behavioural Economics.
I follow Rory Sutherland on social media, and have also completed a short learning course run by him, online. Understanding people is extremely vital, has always been. With so much of mindspace, cloudspace  and media real estate devoted to data, tech, smart intelligence, we need to have a pulse on people, why and how we behave the way we do. What keeps us awake at night. What we fear. What thrills us. Values. Biases. Our points of view. What drives us not just to shelves and online platforms, but in life itself.
In the category I work on now, my focus, along with the team, is to understand Indian families and mobility. How mobility plays a role in every day life, in a better future. It is never just a car. It is a solution. We have to understand why.
Creative solution specialists who have this first hand feel will always have an advantage over the rest.


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