With the world so completely cluttered with brands, it takes a special effort to ensure that yours is the one which stands out. It is here that  marketing professional Deepti Dadlani steps in. Currently VP Marketing, Bellona Hospitality Services Limited & Fountainhead and the force behind many successful stories in the hospitality sector, her mantra is “Don’t be afraid to do the work, and stop playing cute to get it done”. Her love for food comes after her unrequited love for coffee and in her spare time, she is a dedicated saxophonist! Deepti talks to us about the tricks of her trade, and being a tough successful woman in a man’s world.

The entry into the branding and communication universe.

” I have a Master’s in Psychology and pursued it for many years (and still do) before making that shift to being Editor and then Senior Account Executive in Advertising. I have always followed my curiosity and inane passion – I think that has to do with the fact that there was never any preconceived expectations from my parents, all the pressure in my life has been self-inflicted . After spending the initial years of my work life as a Psychologist, Editor and Advertising professional, I finally pursued my passion for food. It’s been a decade and I haven’t regretted it a second. I was fortunate enough to be given stellar opportunities by the Akerkars (Rahul and Malini) and the Ruias to prove my worth. I take great pride in saying, “No one gets people better than me.” and that I believe is what keeps me going. For me it’s never been about the contacts I have made, it is simply about if I am able to offer them a skill set to set the brand apart from the clutter.”

Woman not being able to breakthrough to top positions

“I have been fortunate enough to have never faced the Glass Ceiling Effect, but I’ve known friends who have. I have few sage words to offer in this respect: play to your strengths; keep your chin down, your shoulders upright and focus on the bigger picture. Very rarely will one not be recognized for doing pathbreaking work. If after giving it your best, including open communication, doesn’t work – they don’t deserve you. Be smart, look out for other options – speak to people in the organisation about the company’s work culture.”

"Don't ever be afraid to do the work"- Deepti Dadlani
“Don’t ever be afraid to do the work”- Deepti Dadlani

 Quick branding strategies!

5 Steps to a Strong Brand Strategy Accroding to DD (that’s what my friends call me):

1)      Understand the product. I mean really understand the product. Strengths, weaknesses, personify it

2)      Create a mood board of all the things that are symbolic of the product. Colours, popular global figures, textures, etc.

3)      Create a list of short term goals and long term goals. This is important. Most of us work from day-to-day or in today’s fast paced world, even minute-to-minute. But the winning horse is always the one that builds strength and has a long term goal.

4)      Get a ‘Buy In’ from key people in the organization that represent different societies / demographics – this is important to get an all around perspective. Warning: don’t get lost in opinions of others – always go by the facts.

5)      Read & Travel: The real education starts after college, the real education is all about seeing, travelling, speaking to people, learning from them like a sponge.”

Women are very efficient workers 

“Hell yeah! Call me biased, but my most successful stints / projects have been the ones where I have led a team of women. In my stream of work the most successful ones are those with high level of empathy, ability to multitask, sensitized, understanding nuances of creativity… And I believe it’s scientifically proven that women are much better at all these aspects. Over the years I have seen the age category of women joining the work force getting younger, they are showcasing a lot more confidence, assertion and self-worth. Things are just going to get better in the world of Branding & Communication.”

"I have never experienced the Glass Ceiling Effect"- Deepti Dadlani
“I have never experienced the Glass Ceiling Effect”- Deepti Dadlani

Freelancer Vs Full Timer

“I suspect most people still seek the comforts and stability of a full time job, however, there is a significant increase in the number of freelancers as well. I have always been part of structure organization, and till a few years ago there was a sense of hesitation in working with freelancers but not anymore. With the importance of design, social media and other “younger / technology-led avenues” the scope of working with freelancers has increased. While large organizations have the financial bandwidth to garner the services of large companies, social media is not limited to Fortune 500 companies only. Social media and design have become important to the multibillion dollar company as well as to your neighborhood patisserie – hence the influx of freelancers. Another reason for the rise has to do with the personality makeup of the creatively-inclined lot – they desire freedom and believe that creativity is fuelled by freedom.” 

The combined love for coffee and the saxophone!

“It’s innate, and surprisingly they both came to me much later in life. I think I was 17 when I had my first cup of coffee – growing up in Kuala Lumpur, I was a ‘Tea Tarik’ girl when I was allowed to drink like “an adult”. My first cup of coffee was a means to an end – to be able to get through the night during exam time. Over the course of time however plenty changed, including moving from Kuala Lumpur to Bombay, but coffee stuck around. Unlike many a saxophonist, I don’t have stories of growing up listening to Jazz or dreaming or New Orleans, but in my early 20s, when I was doing my Bachelors in Sophia College, I was learning all about the fine poets of America and as part of background reading I picked up a book dedicated to Harlem and it’s Arts. I was taken in by the sheer power of Art – its ability to change societies, to lead the way, to create large ripples of change without the use of violence. I spent many years on that thought. Finally one day, I felt that I needed a hobby – I needed to get away from being expressing myself in words, in thoughts, in strategies, in the conventional ways of the world – so I started listening to “powerful music”. Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald… and the one tune that always gave me goosebumps was the saxophone. Then I read a line “Follow Your Curiosity”… and now hear I am, playing the saxophone for love.”