For this segment of Women In Marketing we have a chat with Chahat who is the founder of Indian-based business consultancy, Impact Study Biz. With a passion for storytelling, it was only natural that she found her calling in marketing and communications. She shares with us how the pandemic fuelled her business forward and why she expects things to get better soon. Let’s learn more.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, CHAHAT. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in India. I had a fun, adventurous and pampered childhood. Being the 1st child in a big family, I was always around people. I used to be treated like royalty. I was always in the spotlight and there was always a party or a celebration for anything I did. Even just me being able to stand or walk was a big reason for celebration. Because of this, I believe that everything we do no matter how small an action matters and one may always celebrate every win!
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I was a very creative kid in school. I participated in every competition I could get my hands on. I loved literature, coding, painting, dancing, writing, and this stayed the same when I moved to Sydney. In college, I won multiple competitions and was the student of the year and the highest scorer twice in a row.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Chicken tikka masala with butter garlic naan! It’s just sooooo good that I eat it anytime, anywhere and it feels like a massive warm hug.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I would like to invest that money in Artificial intelligence, healthcare and Generation equality.
- We need innovative solutions to our current problems. AI can help us in achieving this.
- Healthcare, because with lifestyle changes and a more stressful environment, we need to move towards preventative care to keep ourselves fit and healthy to be able to enjoy our lives to the fullest.
- Generation equality because having an efficient world and healthy body wouldn’t matter without having a “healthy” society to live in. Social change is as important as physical or environmental change.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, ANASTASIA HAMEL SAYS THAT SHE CAN BREATHE FIRE!
I am an amazing cook. I don’t follow any traditional recipes. I love to experiment with food and different taste pallets.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I’ve always loved stories from a young age. I loved reading and listening to them. And each story told me more about people. I admire people, my curiosity towards how we behave, and think. Historic events made me question a lot “why do we do what we do?”
I don’t consider myself a marketer. I am a storyteller. Because stories are how we connect, it could be through a movie, a personal saga or simply a brand story. Understanding what makes us act and how our subconscious mind makes more decisions for us than we think is just fascinating! It took me a while to find my path – I was a designer, short film director, management consultant. My curiosity of understanding people’s psychology and linguistics is what lured me into marketing.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
My day starts with either a green tea or a black coffee! I want the best of both worlds lol!
I spend the 1st half of my day planning and meeting with my team, making sure everything is assigned, and we are on track or answer any queries they may have so that I have the 2nd half of the day to focus on getting the work done. My pop music and my candles are my perfect companion to boost my productivity and keep me sane on a busy day!
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It’s hard to distinguish your personal and professional space and time when it overlaps. I have put multiple alarms on my phone to remind me to just STOP working and focus on myself and have ME time. The virtual setup does make us productive but it affects our mental health. So as I make sure we have non-work virtual catchups, I have one day a week to myself where I try not to look at my emails or work. It’s work-in-progress 🙂
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
I have made sure to incorporate the Hybrid model for my company!
It provides people with the freedom to do things the way they are comfortable with. It not only boosts productivity but also helps them manage their personal life better. As an organisation, it has allowed me to hire the best talent without any geographical restrictions and get the best minds working together building innovations and creativity.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT COMPILED BY MCKINSEY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. THE REPORT FURTHER ILLUSTRATES THAT WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE EXHAUSTED AND SUFFER FROM BURNOUT AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
My company comprises 90% women. Our female staff have the proper support and tools; they are not forced to choose home or work life.
We should be able to do it all! Everyone was given flexible hours to work, indefinite paid holidays, covid assistance and mental health support and tools. I made sure that we all are in this together, and true leaders support others in times of crisis and that’s what I did during the pandemic.
2021 AND BEYOND
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC? ANY PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LIFE YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
The interesting thing is that despite the pandemic, my company has only grown more each day in terms of achievements, revenue, client base, and even continuous hiring of talent.
In 2020 my company’s growth was 5x. Our model is based on the notion that equips us and our clients to thrive despite any adversity. We forecast and identify the market patterns and adapt. I always say data is power! And I make sure we have data-driven forecasting ready for us and consumer behaviour insights to keep us a step ahead. It has therefore provided me with a clear plan of action for crisis management.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
It is okay to make mistakes; that’s how we learn. The fear of failure keeps us from achieving our true potential. That should scare us more than failing in a particular task. Perfection is a myth, the sooner we know this, the better.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
- Join the unicorn club – 1 Billion. Live in Paris for a year and paint.
- Build a fair market.
- Bring a product to the market that changes lives for the better.
- Meet the uno target of 50:50 by 2030 in my company.
- Mentored 1000 women to start their businesses.
- Learn a European language.
- Start a creative and innovative foundation that encourages freedom of thought and skills.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, Radhika Jones, Whitney Wolfe Herd and Melanie Perkins
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
‘The Moral Arc‘ by Michael Shermer.
I love reading paperbacks. I don’t understand the concept of ebooks at all. I know that people buy books written by me as E-BOOK too. But, I always encourage everyone to read a paperback because reading is an experience meant to take you on a journey and having this book accompany you becomes a part of your experience …enhancing it further.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, Schitt’s Creek, The Good Place, YOU, Money Heist, Lupin and….. so many more!
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I think in the next lifetime I can become a president because I think having a person who can accept their mistakes and is actively working on making themselves better is the kind of person we need to run a country. Someone with an open mind, good communication skills, with the core of liberty and justice without prejudice.
Action, Equality, freedom and justice – and most of all intellectual humility is what I think I have which is important to run a country fairly and productively.
WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW FORBES CURATES THEIR MARKETING-CENTRIC CONTENT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO READ THROUGH THEIR CMO NEXT 2021 FEATURE? WHILST ON THE TOPIC OF GREAT MARKETEERS, WHEN YOU RETIRE ONE DAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS A PROFESSIONAL?
I would like to be known as a person who makes consumers’ lives better. Who provided a bridge between business and community. Bringing innovative brands and products/services to the people and at the same time bringing brand value to the company by finding their perfect market fit! Think of me like DISNEY but for Brands!
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I make sure to keep in touch with everyone I care about 🙂
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Don’t be afraid to be who you are. There is strength in diverse opinions. Your individuality makes you unique and adds a different perspective to the world. When in doubt ask yourself “why”.
Why are you doing this? And that answer will give you the drive to meet your goal. Marketing isn’t just about numbers; it’s about people, it’s about how well you understand their similarities and their uniqueness. You can do that successfully once you are aware of yourself 🙂
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME CHAHAT. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
You can follow me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chahataggarwal-ceo/
and on Instagram: @Chahataggarwal