Ishan Agarwal is a media and marketing maverick known for his disruptive strategies. From juggling sales and creative solutions at Circus Entertainment to suiting up for public relations at Fleishman Hillard, he’s always been a trendsetter. At Clear Channel Mudra, he crafted groundbreaking out-of-home (OOH) campaigns, embodying the spirit of the legendary Don Draper from Mad Men. His journey continued at Madison World, Capital Marketing FZ LLC in Dubai, DDB Mudra Group, Da milano, heads up for tails, and Hindustan Times, where he is presently the Brand Lead. Ishan’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to found Bandstand BBQ, where he grilled up mouthwatering kebabs off his trusty Royal Enfield motorcycle. With his knack for turning heads and breaking molds, Ishan creates campaigns that make a lasting impression. He’s a risk-taker and culinary connoisseur, spicing up the world of media and marketing.

Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in the media/marketing industry?

A: I have a diverse background in the media and marketing industry. My journey began in 2010 when I joined Circus Entertainment. That was my moment of mediagasm, a startup event agency dealing with massive government & private sector clients. At 19 yrs of age I was front ending sales, creative solutions, onground event operations & living my dream. I was doing concerts, hardcore T2 & T3 activations & building intellectual properties for the organisation. That’s where I began, 7 Am to 1 Pm I was attending my college and post 1pm to Midnight I was enjoying the media world. I knew one thing that if I have to make it big I should know how the mud tastes. After Circus I got opportunity to explore the other facets of media, I joined Fleishman Hillard, an Omnicom company where I went from wearing jeans & round collared Tshirts to Suit & boot. This was a completely new experience in the Public Relations sector. I remember the first thing I did in the morning- was to reach work and cut newspaper articles of Phillips, this was totally opposite to the fast paced, high adrenaline event industry. Eventually I got an offer to join Clear Channel Mudra which was a JV between Clear Channel USA & Mudra India. I was back, I was building brands, I was doing events, I was cracking innovative OOH campaigns, I was again with my consumers & his felt like walking the Madison Avenue, I felt like Don Draper from Mad Men. I eventually moved to Madison World to push my quest in the media industry & then came Capital Marketing FZ LLC in Dubai, UAE I was roped in as a Group Manager for Marketing and Corporate Communications. Building Jamaica Blue, Kulcha King & other Media businesses in the vibrant city of Dubai. Dubai provided me with valuable insights into the international marketing landscape.

After Dubai, I worked as a Business Manager at Madison World, then as a Senior Account Manager at DDB Mudra Group. I was Head of Marketing at DA MILANO Leathers and Senior Marketing Lead at Heads Up For Tails. I am now Brand Lead at HT Media Ltd.

Alongside my professional roles, I have also ventured into entrepreneurship as the Founder of Bandstand BBQ, Idika Earths Finest & Getlost with a focus on modern experiences in eating, traveling, living, and rejuvenating, I am passionate about creating unique and memorable experiences for individuals.

Throughout my career, I have cultivated skills in marketing, marketing & branding strategy, creative solutions & strategy, events and public relations. These skills, combined with my diverse experiences, have contributed to my success in the media and marketing industry. I am constantly learning and evolving to stay at the forefront of industry trends and deliver innovative solutions for brands and businesses.

What are your main areas of expertise or interests within your field?

My main areas of expertise and interests within the field of media and marketing encompass several key areas. I have a particular passion for creating disruptive marketing campaigns that challenge traditional approaches and leave a lasting impact in the market. Some notable projects where I have implemented unique and attention-grabbing strategies include Zomato and Jamaica Blue.

One of my strengths lies in developing creative marketing strategies that effectively engage target audiences and set brands apart from their competitors. I thrive on finding innovative ways to capture attention and create meaningful connections with consumers.

Brand building and management are areas where I excel. As a Brand Lead at HT Media Ltd, I focus on building digital-first brands under the HT universe. This role allows me to utilize my skills in crafting compelling brand stories, shaping brand identities, and ensuring consistent brand experiences across various touchpoints.

In today’s digital age, I am well-versed in leveraging online platforms and digital channels for effective marketing. I understand the importance of utilizing digital tools to reach and engage audiences in a meaningful way. My expertise in digital marketing enables me to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape and optimize strategies for maximum impact.

Effective marketing communication is another area of expertise I possess. I have a knack for crafting compelling messages that resonate with audiences and effectively communicate brand values. Building credibility and fostering loyalty through effective communication is a crucial aspect of successful marketing.

Commotion, Disruption & Consumerism is my way forward & my expertise and interests lie in disruptive marketing campaigns, creative marketing strategies, brand building and management, digital marketing, and marketing communication. I pride myself on thinking innovatively and making a significant impact in the media and marketing industry. One quote hit me hard when I was in school, “’The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do’ – Steve Jobs. Steve was a disruptor & a serial disruptor, he made products & brands that are still disrupting the market. He is one person who impacted me deeply.

What motivates and inspires you in your work?

What motivates and inspires me in my work is the constant change in the demographic and psychographic landscape of India. It’s fascinating to witness how the preferences, behaviors, and aspirations of Indian consumers are evolving over time. This dynamic environment serves as a driving force for me to think differently and build unique campaigns. I find inspiration in the challenge of understanding and connecting with the diverse audience we cater to.

The ever-changing Indian market presents exciting opportunities to create innovative marketing strategies that resonate with the evolving needs of consumers. It pushes me to push boundaries, explore new ideas, and stay ahead in this rapidly transforming landscape. The thought of crafting campaigns that capture the essence of this evolving demographic and psychographic profile truly excites me.

I believe that in order to succeed in this dynamic market, it’s essential to constantly adapt and be responsive to the changing consumer preferences. This motivates me to think creatively and develop strategies that not only engage but also surprise and delight the target audience. Every morning is a new challenge, a new demand, a new attitude, a new consumer mindset, a new trend & a new need to think differently & this chance to make a meaningful impact by connecting brands with the shifting aspirations of Indian consumers is what keeps me passionate about my work.

It challenges me to think differently, embrace change, and create unique campaigns that resonate with the evolving preferences of our diverse audience.

Are there any particular challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

One of the major challenges I faced in my career was getting laid off during the lockdown. It was a difficult period as the job market was uncertain, and many industries were heavily impacted. However, I saw this as an opportunity to start from scratch and explore my entrepreneurial side.

I overcame this challenge by taking a leap of faith and starting my own venture called Bandstand BBQ. It began as a humble setup running off my Royal Enfield motorcycle, and I focused on offering delicious barbecue kebabs. The highlight was when my BBQ venture received a mention in a tweet by Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon, which brought attention to my business.

In addition to BBQ Bandstand, I also ventured into other start-ups like Get Lost, a travel recommendation platform & Idika Earths Finest, a handmade & naturally grown product company. These experiences allowed me to tap into my creativity and passion for creating unique and innovative ventures.

Overcoming this challenge required determination, resilience, and a willingness to take risks. It was not an easy journey, but the setbacks I faced ultimately became opportunities for personal and professional growth. By starting from scratch and pursuing my entrepreneurial ventures, I was able to navigate the uncertain times and carve out a path that aligned with my passions and interests.

Through these experiences, I learned the importance of adaptability, perseverance, and seizing opportunities in the face of adversity. I embraced the challenges as learning experiences and used them as fuel to drive my entrepreneurial spirit forward. It taught me the value of resilience and reinforced my belief in taking calculated risks to pursue my dreams.

What are your hobbies and what is your passion?

I don’t have hobbies, I have passions. I have a strong passion & fondness for cooking, it is something I thoroughly enjoy, Its therapeutic. Spending time in the kitchen allows me to unleash my creativity, experiment with flavors, and create delicious dishes. It’s a passion that brings me joy and allows me to relax and express myself.

When it comes to work, my true passion lies in creating disruption. Not a dispurptive work environment but yes disruptive brand building. I am driven by the opportunity to think differently, take up traditional approaches add a pinch of new age salts mix it with my creative sauce and make a strong impactful recipe for the brand. Crafting innovative strategies that capture attention, engage audiences, and leave a lasting impression is what excites me the most. I thrive on the process of developing unique campaigns that break the mold and stand out from the crowd. The ability to push boundaries, surprise people, and make a meaningful impact in the world of marketing and advertising is what fuels my passion and drives me to excel in my career.

What do you hope to achieve or contribute through your work?

I hope to achieve significant impact and make meaningful contributions through my work. My ultimate aspiration is to build a brand that becomes a household name, widely recognized and trusted by people from all walks of life. I aim to create a brand that stands out for its exceptional quality, innovative solutions, and strong reputation.

By building a brand that resonates with people, I want to establish a sense of familiarity and trust. I hope that when I shout out the name of the brand I’ve built from my balcony, it becomes a name that instantly connects with individuals, and they recognize it as a symbol of excellence.

Contributing to the success and recognition of a brand at such a scale means that I have made a positive impact on people’s lives. I want to provide products or services that enhance their daily experiences, bring convenience, and add value. By delivering exceptional quality and meeting customer expectations consistently, I hope to earn the trust and loyalty of consumers.

Furthermore, I aspire to contribute to the broader community and society through my work. Building a successful brand can create job opportunities, support local economies, and have a positive ripple effect. I aim to foster a culture of innovation and excellence within my team and inspire others in the industry to strive for greatness.

Ultimately, my goal is to leave a lasting legacy and be remembered for the positive impact I made through the brand I built. I want to create a brand that is not just known by all but also trusted and valued by all, with its presence felt in households across the globe.