24 Hours With… IPG Mediabrands’ Abhishek Bhattacharjee

24 Hours With... spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Asia’s marketing and media landscape. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Abhishek Bhattacharjee, chief digital officer of IPG Mediabrands Malaysia

6:45am: Trying to snooze the alarm for another 15 mins, but forced to get out of bed because Pablo, my black pug, started barking like it’s the end of days.

7:00am: Perched at my breakfast counter with coffee. Checking the day’s meetings, planning my day, clearing emails, and reading up on my daily dose of digital on Flipboard. Chanced upon a snapshot of the latest Mary Meeker Digital Trends Report and instantly share it with across Mediabrands leaders through our WhatsApp group.

7:45am: Awake and caffeine energised, it is time to get ready for work. An intensive day ahead with a couple of client updates and a revenue meeting lined up with the CEO. Stop to give Pablo a tummy rub before heading out the door.

9am: Step into the office and the meetings begin. First up, a video briefing and review for digital cases to submit for the Malaysian Media Awards. Huddle with client teams and the video editor to brainstorm on the best possible rendition of the campaigns – as defending champions this step is make or break. Creative meetings start the day on a high and the mind is left active and jogging rapidly.

10:30am: Time to catch the digital team for an update on innovations proposed to clients. A weekly meet-up, where we discuss the ideas that have been proposed and how we can better them. Innovation a core priority, and we need to ensure we are pushing the envelope, every single time.

12 noon: A heavy ideation and innovation-led first half of the day leaves the brain and body craving nourishment. I decide to grab a quick bite from the restaurant downstairs, it’s too hot to venture out.

1:30pm: With an hour’s window before the next meeting I clear emails and weigh-in on a couple of strategic partnership discussions we are pursuing with digital partners.

2:30pm: Another huddle, this time with the heads of Reprise, our digital performance arm, and Cadreon our ad Tech unit. Need to get in alignment before we head to our CEO’s den for a product and revenue meeting.

3pm: Monthly meeting with the CEO, CFO and heads of Reprise and Cadreon, on how we have advanced from a client & product perspective in the last 30 days and how we are tracking in terms of revenue & pipelines. The monthly meeting is perfectly designed to get a pulse on the business, both the opportunities, and the challenges. The future looks promising, but we need to stay aligned and focused on creating value.

5pm: The emails have piled up again. The meeting requests for next week are flowing in… I spend the next 45 mins slotting in meetings and responding to emails.

5:45pm: Time to start driving, but the traffic is unusually bad. It’s Ramadan.

6:30pm: Pablo’s waiting at the door, excited to see me back. Cheryl, my partner, is home too. She spends the days with Pablo when I am away at work. Honestly, I think Pablo loves her more than he loves me – but I will never admit this to Cheryl. We have a tussle and play with Pablo, and this is where I fully disconnect, one of the few occasions my phone is out of reach. 30 mins in and Pablo’s tired out (us too!)… this is my cue to get ready for the evening’s activities; a go-kart session with some of Mediabrands’ go-kart enthusiasts! But first, let me check my emails – OK, no fires.

7pm: Pablo is fed and watered, Cheryl’s watching Orange is the New Black, and now I’m on the way to the go-kart track. Looking forward to the session, a great opportunity to meet and spend time with those I don’t interact much with in office. A spirited monthly bonding exercise.

8pm: At the track and ready to speed off. We end up doing 4 races – physically exhausting, yet exhilarating! Helps to keep the mind in balance. A quick snack replaces dinner for us tonight. We can’t be racing with a full stomach.

10:30pm: Back home, I sit down with my green tea to surf the web hoping to stumble across inspiring thoughts, ideas and perspectives. Without fail, this diverse source of creative pieces, economic analyses and political commentaries always seem to give me new found inspiration for my day ahead.

11:30pm: A final round of attending to emails and I retire with my book (yes an old school book), calling it a night. Have the habit of reading before bed every night, and am thankful to be able to switch off digitally. Right now I’m reading the Asian Godfathers, a book by Joe Studwell. It beautifully narrates a socio-politico-economic perspective of how the richest Asians made their wealth – fascinating insights into the world of the rich and famous, and a learning for my future, perhaps? Signing off for the night, and hoping Pablo doesn’t wake me up tomorrow, the way he did today.


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