Remembering Nabankur ‘Nobby’ Gupta

10 Dec,2018

 

Not many in the current crop of marketing services and media professionals may know much about Nabunkur Gupta or Nobby, as he was popularly known. But ask the shining stars of the 1980s, 90s and the 2000s, and they’ll tell you without any hesitation that Nabunkar Gupta was indeed the Marketing Superstar, as AdAge, billed him in 1996.

 

By Paulomi Dhawan

 

A humble man, a gentle soul, a fabulous human being!

I first met Nabankur Gupta when he was at Videocon and I was representing his advertising agency.  He guided Videocon through its fastest pace of growth. It was when there was a major battle among television brands with schemes developed and announced overnight, which is a norm today. He developed strategies for sub-branding and multibranding in the consumer durables business for the first time in India winning him international accolades. Advertising Age, New York recognised him for this successful initiative by awarding him with the title of ‘Marketing Superstar’ in 1996, one of the 20 recipients of this title globally.

He thought of  the creative/ media agency format, the fee system in the late 90s. He was calmly involved on all aspects of the business including advertising and media details. In fact, he supported me on many an interesting new media concept. Television and sponsored programmes conceived with brand values were a novelty then. The popular show Videocon Flashback, innovations in print, outdoor were all cleared instantly and released. He was methodical, organised and disciplined. All plans and estimates needed him to sign off. There was a fixed time every morning… if you missed that slot, it would shift to the next day.

Mr Gupta was a client first, then my boss and, above all, a mentor who I owe a lot to. He was always there to guide, support me. He initiated my move to Raymond.

Mr Gupta joined the Raymond Group (from Videocon) as Group President and Board member in 2000. During his tenure, he acquired some highly synergistic companies (like Color Plus) to support Raymond’s strategic growth plans.

Mr Gupta strongly enhanced the nuances of consumer marketing at Raymond especially with the introduction of aggressive branding, trade promotion activities which ensured enhancement of market shares. He played a lead role in expanding the Raymond retail network as well as conceptualising novel retail formats, much in advance of competition, like  Be: for affordable designer wear. Customer orientation, ROI focus and ability to remember details of marketing were some of his impeccable qualities.

He relaunched the brands in the textile and apparel space and further reinforced Raymond’s leadership position. Brand-building was his forte. It was under his leadership we did the Raymond commercials – “Feels like heaven, Feels like Raymond” series. The ‘Baby’ commercial was launched among trade –over 1500 –with an applause and on the cricket platform ‘Champions Trophy’. He had an eye for guiding the work with a great sense of the brand core. He brought back the ‘Teacher’. He did the Father and Son, Man and Puppies and many more ads. “The Complete Man” was contemporised, made more sensitive, younger. The Style Guides set the brand apart. He indeed personified the Raymond credo: The Complete Man, The Complete Professional, The Complete Marketer

Media consolidation at Raymond and introducing the Corporate Communication cell was his vision. We did some amazing work together – he was always supportive on any pathbreaking idea. Dressing TV anchors, owning news segments, print innovations, style guides, the much prized Haji Ali hoardings were in his time. It was 360-degree marketing solutions,  including the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence initiated by him to synergise with Raymond’s core values of Excellence, Leadership, Innovation.

Mr Gupta interacted with media – both the editorial with interesting insights and their marketing teams, ever ready to hear a new idea at a cost-effective solution. As an advertising friend said: “The two of you were a formidable and good team.” Extremely soft-spoken and well-mannered in his handling of difficult situations and he was truly a marketing genius. He represented Raymond on many industry bodies like MRUC, ABC delivering wisdom and experience.

He was truly an industry leader. He was a master in adding a high level of professionalism wherever he went. His leadership as Group President was eventful and noted for all this and more.

At 70, he leaves behind his wife Nita, son Kaustabh and daughter Timira, and a very large family of indebted souls whose lives he touched. RIP. May God bless his soul for his onward journey.

In 2005, he relinquished the post to start his own management consultancy “Nobby  Brand Architects & Strategic Marketing Consultants”. He was on the Board of many companies, including Raymond. Besides brand architecture, he was professionalising family businesses and mentoring their next gen.

A warm, good human being with an infectious smile who was highly respected by all. A gentle leader, a man of principles, a guide and mentor to many. Humble, a great professional and a thorough gentleman. His warmth, his quiet demeanour was like none other.

Thank you, Mr Gupta, for being there!

 

Paulomi Dhawan is a senior marketer, and currently a Strategic Advisor – Media and Corporate Communications with Raymond. She also consults at Paulomi Dhawan Advisory. She was earlier Vice President Media and Corporate Communications at Raymond. When she met Nabankur Gupta, she was with iB&W Communications as VP – Media and President – Media Supermarket of the media agency.

 

Now Strategic Advisor Media & Corp Comm Raymond.

And Paulomi Dhawan Advisory

 

 

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