What led you to start a secret supper club in Delhi?
The one-word response to that is, is boredom. I moved back to Delhi at a point where the city had evolved, and it transformed from a cultural point of view. It was bursting at the seams, we'd never seen this city have access to so many cultural mediums and formats, as it did back then. However, what I thought was painfully missing, was just that quality of conversation. I think it was quiet, pocketed and it was residing in specific corners, sometimes even under the same roof. And, I think the complaint that I ended up hearing was, “Where are those like-minded and interesting people?”. The common thing I would hear was, “You'll have to go to Bombay for that.” I understood that interesting like-minded people existed, they just needed a safe screen, a legitimate platform to connect, and then see if the magic unfolds.Some brands have a digital-first and digital-only approach, while some are looking to get started and explore the vast digital horizon. How has the transition been like for DSSC?
Today is a weirder & funkier time, where there's heightened consumption of information content and connection via online platforms and mediums. So, a lot of our solutions will naturally have to incorporate that. I don't think we'll ever be an online first kind of business. We are an omnichannel agency. Our strategy will always involve multiple branches online and offline, similar to tango. Because I feel that there are great impact and power in brands to connect with the target audience in an offline fashion. So, I guess you'll have to do that dual Tango.Any tips for brands to improve their art of communication in this unprecedented scenario of a pandemic?
I think it's important to see your brand as a person. That person will have a very unique and definitive personality. So, your likes and your dislikes will also evolve. I think it's good to be cognizant of the fact that your personal voice, which is your brand's personal voice, should never stay static. It is a human personality, which is allowed to be flexible, which is allowed to have multiple edits and tweaks over time. What you should be kind of like very firm about is kind of holding on to certain core values, and which should never exceed more than three to five.
Do you think brands should experiment with a longer form of narrative?
Building a longer-form narrative is extremely important and has an important role to play in brand building. I think what happens is that via long-form narrative, you present an opportunity for a slightly more holistic brand story to be presented to its target. But, I think what's happening is that the quality, in-depth communication is being eroded by this rise of super clickbaity content. It's almost like a digital media traffic race today. So, if you are a brand that has the inbuilt knack and comfort for research, punchy language, and can retain the interest of the reader, then yes, that long-form content and that form of communication are going to work for you. But again, it’s super subjective. For certain brands, it might be better to be punchy and concise.
Do you see creative block as a barrier?
I have a really strange take on the creative block. I think it's completely okay! And I find it sometimes helpful. When you have that creative block, I think there's this almost self-imposed, weird, and crushing pressure on everyone to be like this limitless endless, bottomless well of creativity or solutions. I think it's humanly impossible, right? I think the minute I'm slightly more cognizant and mindful that it is happening, that kind of awareness makes me clench not too tightly. My trick is just to step away from the problem if it isn't time-sensitive, or if there is a way for you to kind of clearly communicate within your team, to your client, even to yourself, do it. I think what happens is that when you're constantly grinding and hustling, and you're conjuring these gems and nuggets of creativity, that pressure to deliver the next thing is counterproductive. I want to clarify that stepping away to fix it is not like a run, or that one night’s sleep, or, a one night Netflix binge. It could take days. I think my longest creative block has been, you know, a double-digit set of days.
What secret motivational mantras are working for your team right now?
COVID became a universal and extremely important challenge that we need to address. But, even like in every other significant dip, hurdle, or some kind of a roadblock, personally and professionally, I just feel that defining the objective is important. I think pre-covid the dual objective for DSSC was one, you’ve got to keep seeing and sharing that good story. And secondly, was to kind of innovate on behalf of your clients, it should not change because of a pandemic. Should that change during a pandemic? Should that change during a recession? Should that change because you're lacking motivation? Should that change because of your creative block? Personally, I don't think so. I think, as a team, the days where you notice that person A is dipping just have open and honest communication. So that person B, C, D, E, F can pick it up. And as and when A is back on the roster, the constant exchange of energy towards working towards that big, common objective and goal. I think that's what kept us going.
If you could host one DSSC on-ground experience tomorrow which one would it be?
The Thali tradition. It's so dear to all our hearts. People who've been our loyal guests, and anyone who's worked on this project in the last two years.If you were to star in one Netflix series right now, which one would it be?
Anything that has a really dark, morbid, edgy vibe to it. It needs to have a couple of murders. Now, I'm 100% going to be on like the detective kind of team of that show. To try to crack the case. The general tone of the show should be super grey, dark, edgy, and needs to mess your mind. So I want to say like those kinds of shows. What are your top three takeaways from spending so much time at home?
One, I didn't know that we have so many comfortable couches and chairs at home. This is the first time I think since the age of 18, that I've spent this much time at home. So that's been insanely amazing. The second thing, I think that has been a helpful realization is for me to learn. I never even had that kind of realization or fill in me. But for me to learn and practice and start employing the polls. Personally or even professionally. So, that's been great. The third has been kind of like really being very tangibly and explicitly aware of how grateful I am for certain people and certain things in my life, and I think those have been like the three vivid realizations for me in the last five months. I think there's been a heightened realization of these three things this year.What's your top work mantra? Or is there a number one business principle that you operate with?
Yes! It is the 80-20 principle. I think I have a little bit of a niggle of trying to get things right to the very last detail. And then, I've started employing over the last kind of 10,15 years, I've started employing the 80-20 technique, which is “aim for 100%, but allow for 20% flexibility that it's not going to happen and derive great joy with even 80% of the realization and the execution of a plan.What are the 3 accounts on Instagram that you've been surfing through in the last month?
Dogs of Instagram, Cute dog videos, and DSSC.To catch the full candid podcast tune into Uninterrupted by clicking here!