Through history, human beings have identified themselves with their caste, cultural heritage, family background, etc. which were all characteristics they were born with. If you belonged to certain state or region, you spoke your regional language celebrated festivals with longstanding traditions, ate your traditional cuisine for most meals and most closely identified yourself with people similar to you, your parents, relatives, and neighbors.
Today, however, more and more people over the world re-define themselves and their identities through ideologies and beliefs that are shared with people from anywhere and everywhere across the world. Anyone from any part of the world can today describe themselves as a vegetarian, or as practicing Buddhism even if no one in their family is a Buddhist or a football fan of a club in a different continent they've never even set foot in, but follow with religious fervor. As geographical boundaries blur, cultures meld and the world becomes smaller, more and more of us can choose to belong to various tribes whose values, behavior norms and cultural cues we most identify with.
"The world of media, brand communication, and content is an exciting and future-facing industry for any young person contemplating the plethora of career choices"
While much of this sharing, knowledge, and connections are possible because of technology, the face of these is the world created and fueled by media the TV programs watched, articles read, sharing and followership on social media, content consumed on websites, apps and entertainment platforms and points of view debated on WhatsApp. Which makes a career in these and allied fields one of the most exciting and rewarding fields possible.
As one of the world's fastest-growing economies, ranked 7th in the world and the 3rd largest after China and the US in purchasing power parity, India is the second most populous country in the world. We have an underserved ad market with ad spends per capita as low as $8 in 2018 compared to $50 in China. Which means that ad spends and media consumption is set to grow even faster in the coming years. Being the tenth largest advertising market in the world, India was one of the fastest growing at 14 percent in 2018, and this is expected to grow further in the next five years.
The world of media, brand communication, and content is, therefore, an exciting and future-facing industry for any young person contemplating the plethora of career choices available today. The challenges of entering and thriving in this dynamic and exciting world, however, are many. Anyone contemplating a career here must have some inherent characteristics if they are going to succeed. Curiosity and a hunger to learn is one of the most significant. This business is not for anyone who plans to park their textbooks after their last examination is done, thinking their learning and tests are behind them. The challenges of sourcing and reading data, keeping oneself up to date in their category and allied areas, staying informed of trends and keeping abreast of challenges posed by changing consumers requires as much study as a subject in any curriculum.
The images we see, words we read, the videos we watch, stories we follow are all the content we consume. And this has the power to shape our thoughts, influence our behavior and impact our values. Which makes the jobs of those who create such content that much more accountable to the brands they represent, the consumers they serve and the society we live in? Because the power media has is ubiquitous, anyone seeking to be a part of this industry must accept that they carry the responsibility to wield that power with great care.
All of this does not mean that there will never be days which are downers Days you wonder why you put yourself through all these emotional highs and lows. Grit and resilience are what will see you through the odd day like this. It is said that inspiration often gets the credit for the work done through perspiration! And that is what it takes emotional resilience to stay the course and put your best foot forward, even when the end seems far and the road ahead uncertain. Because at the end of the day, seeing the work you brought to life out there, watching consumers react to it and knowing that your work has been seen by millions is an inimitable high.
If all this sounds like a lot of hard work and a life where you can rarely ever dial down, rest assured it is! But for those whose interest and passion lies in staying in-step with the world, keeping up with the latest happenings, working with some of the brightest and most creative minds around and being challenged each day to outdo yourself, there is no better way to be. Because this industry is a passion-business. It demands disproportionate amounts of mind and heart space from anyone who wishes to succeed here. But then again, the most worthwhile things in life always do.
Michelle Suradkar, Group Chief Human Resource Officer
An alumnus of Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Michelle Suradkar did her Masters in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies. An experienced Group Chief Human Resources Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing communications and advertising industry, Suradkar is skilled in Talent Management, HR Transformation, Culture Change, Team Management, and HR Policies. She worked as an Assistant Manager in Coca-Cola India before heading the post of Group Chief Human Resources Officer at MullenLowe Lintas Group.