Poppy Hasselblad

ON A COLD DECEMBER MORNING IN 1996

I walked into the corridors of J Walter Thompson, Kolkata India. The agency was called HTA. And the city had not yet changed its name from Calcutta.
20 years in the agency and advertising in India have enriched me with insights into brands and consumers, lives of people from all walks of life, their dreams, their fears and their motivations. I have worked across categories from FMCG to Finance, in three India offices and have been a part of the Bangkok office team in a regional role on Unilever brands.

 

Currently I am heading an independent business unit for PepsiCo brands.

 

My vision is to be India’s top woman leader, impact lives and drive optimism through the work we create.

AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL, 2016

India Matters: Making sense of a billion minds, needs and wallets

 

Is India one nation that’s truly united by our love for cricket, food, fairness creams, arguments and Bollywood? Or is it two or more Indias that defy universal truths?
Regardless of what one believes is going on in India, most people agree that it’s complex and not always easy to peg accurately . So what does all of this mean in 2016 and beyond? What do poverty, prosperity, tradition and modernity look like today? How can we get past the numbing clichés and zero in on what marketers on the ground truly see?

 

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WORK

Magic Before Logic.
Power of Stories.
Idea Before Screen.
Make it matter.
These are what drive me in my work every day.
To make creativity impact commerce.

 

Some of the work in recent years that I have been part of have been on the PepsiCo business, Nestle Confectionery, Unilever’s Sunsilk and Knorr and Nokia in India.

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PASSION

I started writing to express myself. This led me to creating a series of personal blogs.  Today I officially write for industry publications like Campaign India, Kulzy.com, MarketingBuzzar, Business Standard and Hindustan Times.

 

My writings are mostly about Life, learnings and how it influences the work we do on brands.  The industry blogs and articles are on advertising, the relationships and creativity.

 

I am told that some of my Campaign India blogs and blogs on MarketingBuzzar.com have been the most read and liked.

 

My passion for travel and expression was covered in the Brand Equity, of Economic Times, as a feature.

Teaching

Students and their fresh thinking inspire me. Gives me new perspectives. I am invited by institutes like IIM, Indian School of Business, SP Jain, ISB&M, IIFT, MDI as Guest Speaker on advertising and brand building. These sessions keep me in touch with the pulse of youth.

 

Some of my topics:
Scratch for Insights
Unbehave: On Attitude and Behaviour Change
The Power of Differentiation
The Art of Brand Building
Integrated Marketing
Advertising and Social Good
I have co-authored a paper with Prof J Chatterjee. “Effectiveness of Brand Advertising as Influencers of Socio Cultural Trends in India.”
This was published in the Asia Marketing Conference organised by Symbiosis Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai.

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Women and Leadership

I am actively involved in encouraging women at work. This was sparked off in the summer of 2004. I was one of 12 Indian women to receive the prestigious British Chevening Scholarship for a Women and Leadership Management Programme in the U.K.A life changing achievement for me and my strive towards being a leader and impacting lives.

 

It sensitised me to the role of women leaders, the challenges and how to overcome them.

 

I feel privileged to be a Campaign India “A” Lister as one of the top influential marketing professionals in India since 2010.

 

I write and share my views on women at the workplace in my blogs. My piece on Gutsy Mums at Work and its sequel, have been received very well, prompting one of the creative directors in India, Hetal Ajmera, to create a series of posters. I have just started a Facebook Page on Gutsy Mums at Work.

My Perspectives

I am passionate about the advertising fraternity in India, our work, our relationships and our creativity.

 

I have spoken about the changes impacting advertising at forums organised by bodies like All India Management Association, Panel Discussions at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and Management Development Institute, besides forums like the Economic Times Masterclass.

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Personal

I am from the beautiful state of Assam, in the north east of India. One of the few states where women are liberated and carve their own identities. I am an Economics graduate and an MBA.

 

I love reading, I love adventure. My life with my partner, Pranab Dutta, an artist, graphic designer and biker, and my ten year old daughter Zoya are what matter most to me.

Phone

+91 9958 008130

Email

babita.baruah@jwt.com

babitabaruah70@gmail.com