Many in the M&E industry are here by accident and an even bigger number because they did not want to get stuck in the drudgery of a 9 to 5 job or because engineering simply wasn’t what they wanted to do in life. But Rima Mehta, Director, Media Planning, OMD India, is among the few who were led to where they are today by their education.
“People always say that you study something and land up somewhere else but with me it happened so that my education guided me to where I want to be. My journey started when I topped my class in Media Planning. It is one of the subjects that we were required to study when I was doing my Bachelors in Mass Media. When I topped my class, I realised my interest in the subject and thought that I should explore a career in Media Planning.”
After completing her Bachelors degree, Mehta joined Starcom. She was with Starcom with a couple of years before she left the media planning world to find her feet in research.
“I have also dabbled a little in research and worked with a start-up too. But my passion has always been media so I came back to media. I have completed four and a half years with OMD now.”
According to Mehta, what she really likes about OMD is their open-door policy.
“When I decided to come back to media, I looked at a lot of media agencies and what I really liked about OMD is their open-door policy. Here everyone from the top management is extremely approachable. If there is a project, everyone sits together to brainstorm, right from the top management to an intern. The style of leadership here is very inclusive and therefore everyone’s ideas are encouraged at OMD".
Over her time at OMD, Mehta has worked on brands across categories like FMCG, Entertainment and BFSI. She has also been a key member in new business wins like Wipro, Sony Yay and CIBIL.
For Mehta, the most challenging project that she had worked on so far is the work that they did for IPL.
“While cricket as a sport is extremely popular and it engages with the audience, what was happening with IPL was that it was reaching a saturation point and there was a stagnation seen in terms of reach. So, we had to increase the number of people coming to the channel and also increase the time spent. It was a really challenging project because we had to deploy a very smart media mix while cutting the budget because IPL was an already established property.”
The team managed to cut spends by 40% without compromising on the visibility and the reach.
Speaking about the project that she had the most fun working for, Mehta said, “The project that is very close to my heart is the one that we did for Dalda. The brand needed to be seen as progressive and relevant. So, after doing a lot of research we came to this insight that in most households the women of the family eat only after they have served food to the entire family. The idea that emerged out of this was ‘Pehle Tum’.”
The campaign, which released on International Women’s Day, basically advocated that the first bite of food be offered to the woman herself.
“The campaign is really close to my heart because I had seen the same happening in my own house and now we have made a change where we tell our mother that she must sit down with us for meals.”
Mehta believes that her biggest strength is the ability to build relationships and maintaining them.
“I share a great rapport with all my colleagues and clients, they really are my friends. Right from my first job to date, I have remained in touch with a lot of people and built strong bonds. In media you meet new people all the time and it is very easy to just not make the effort to keep in touch but today I know that if I need help with anything I can pick up phone and call my ex-colleagues or the clients I have worked with before and vice versa.”
Mehta believes that the one aspect of her personality that she would like to work upon is the listening part.
“I am a very enthusiastic person. I am full of ideas and I am always rearing to put my views and points across. Since I get so excited about things, I feel that sometimes I don’t pay enough attention on listening. This is something I really want to work upon, especially since I am about to get married soon and I believe being a good listener will come in handy once I am married,” laughs Mehta.
The fact-paced nature of the field and its ever-changing dynamics is what Mehta really likes about Media Planning.
“The opportunity to work on brands across categories, the need to stay abreast of all the changes happening in the field and adapting oneself to those changes and meeting new people are the three things that I really like about what I do.”
A food blogger and an avid traveller, Mehta's answer to the question “What would you have been doing if not media planning?” is an enthusiastic “A travel show host”.
“I have always dreamt of being a travel show host. When I was in school and college and people asked me what I wanted to be, I would always say travel show host because they got paid to travel and to talk. It is a win-win really,” laughs Mehta.