Jaldi 5 with Shripad Kulkarni: Entrepeneurial spirit of Percept promoters gives a different kind of high

08 Jul,2015

He’s always understated. So rather than get that exclusive from Economic Times on his quitting, he let the news that he was moving from Percept be tucked in somewhere in a press release from the Mumbai-based media conglomerate. But with the belief that it should be the work that must do the talking, Shripad Kulkarni has now taken the plunge out of Allied Media, the company he set up and sold to Percept in 2006. His new port of call will be disclosed soon, we were told.


An MBA from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Kulkarni has been in media from way back in 1985 when he joined Contract and later Ogilvy. Before his MBA he worked in a slew of research firms after a Master’s in statistics and a course in operations research. He has also worked with Carat as Chief Operating Officer. Excerpts from a quick chat with Shripad Kulkarni…


01. Nine years at Percept is a long, looooong time. Leaving it must’ve been quite a decision. Moving out from one’s comfort zone isn’t easy…

Yes, comfort zone is the right phrase. Actually it’s 12 years of association. And, if you are the first person moving in as the head, it has another dimension of ownership and passion which makes it difficult to leave.


02. These few days before you move to your new workplace must be quite weird, especially since you’ve spent so much time at Percept. Right?

Yes, it is a funny emptiness in the routine. A little like withdrawal symptoms when smokers quit! But spending more time at home is really good!


03. Tell me, how are the Singh brothers to work with? There are some who say they are tough and crafty. But, then, there are people like you who have been with them for so long, and you aren’t the only one who has done that?

Percept is  a one-of-its-kind institution in 360-degrees marcom. And this nobody will deny. What is unsaid is about the entrepreneural spirit the promoters infuse. This spirit is unparalleled! This is what gives a lot of people like me who have stayed long a different kind of high. And, entrepreneurial environment isn’t what all can relish or handle is what I would say in this context!


04. As you look back at your last nine years at Percept Allied Media, what would be that one thing that you are very proud of having achieved?

It is undoubtably building a team which was ranked in Top 5 in Brand Equity Reckoner within a couple of years


05. Next is what? Where do you go from here?

There are two things I will do:

One is to take this opportunity to hit the REFRESH Button. My next assignment will be a fresh look at Marcom. We tend to look for a ‘continuous change’ which is actually finetuning of the old. Digital has ushered in a new set of Customers, whole new Customer Decision Journey and a Paradigm Shift of the Marketplace. This calls for a discontinuity in our approach to Marcom. A Rethink and Reinvention of Marcom principles as we have known so far is what this REFRESH Button is about!


Second, is to do my bit on the impending talent crunch the Marcom industry is facing. I will soon start an Online MasterClass in Marcom. I am putting together a Plan of Action!


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