A balanced lifestyle between work and social life has become an important principle in Samuel Shekhar’s life. For him, as a creative worker, his social life helps him a lot to cultivate new ideas and to learn what is becoming a trend. Come early go home early policy is being applied in Navya in order to foster a balanced life with good time management as the key. In the midst of a busy time at work and as a father of two children, Samuel Shekhar has a hobby and love of local coffee and actively participates in several communities. Here’s a bit of his story:
Would you tell about your career in the advertising industry?
I began my career in advertising in the media. I used to be a junior AE in Popular magazine. From then on, I started to change careers in several agencies, ranging from local agencies Socrates, Avicom, Ogilvy, Publicis, Hotline, DDB, J & K, N3O to Grey as Account Director. In Grey, it was the first time for me to engage in digital advertising because, prior to that, I used to focus on handling the Above The Line campaign (ATL) only. In Grey, I was challenged to run two tasks; ATL and digital. I was posted in their digital division, i.e. York which was based in Singapore. So, we only met on video conference and bimonthly meeting that required me to go to Singapore or the other way around. Since then, I have become interested in digital advertising because it is being hot nowadays. After a while in Grey, I moved to Narrada as Group Account Director. In Narrada, I focused fully on digital advertising and delved deeper into digital advertising. There, I was entrusted to lead all the teams, so all business units in Narrada were under my supervision. After that, I decided to join Fortune Indonesia and team up with Navya.
Why were you interested in joining Fortune?
Fortune Indonesia is one of the local agencies that has been operating for decades and still survives in Indonesia. In the current era of globalization, I think Indonesian people should be bold enough to stand up, keep growing, and think of our contribution to developing the country. This is where I want to work, in Navya I have to run my role to help the team, and I have a big dream to bring Navya aligned with the multinational digital agencies so my colleagues will have pride in joining Navya. And I want this local agency to survive so that it can be a place for Indonesian next generation to work and compete with other countries. Fortune is indeed a local agency, but it is already integrated. There are PR, ATL, Activation, and also media that serve as additional services that we can offer to clients. If all divisions in Fortune can synergize, it’s gonna be great and it’s gonna be unstoppable. I think there is no local agency as integrated as Fortune.
What makes you eventually more interested in delving into digital advertising?
Digital advertising is growing very dynamically and I love the challenges it presents. Following the trend, consumer journey is now changing to the digital. Every time they need something, what they will do is googling, looking for information on the internet. What is trending in social media also greatly affects their behavior. Unlike ATL, the digital campaign offers two-way communication between brands and consumers. They become more engaged, interact better, ask questions and answer until they decide to buy the products. The beauty of the digital is that it is accessible by everyone. Now, everything has been digitalized. So, if communications industry is not going that direction, they are facing the choice between life and death.
What vision and mission do you want to accomplish with Navya team?
In the short term, I want Navya to be the second-best digital agency in Indonesia. For the long term, I want Navya to be the number 1, at the same level as the multinational agencies.
What kind of work culture do you apply in Navya?
I am a morning person and I do not like to work overtime. What I want to apply here is to come early go home early. I believe if we come early and manage the time well, we can go home sooner, at least earlier than those from other agencies. Why is that important? Life should be balanced between work and social life. Moreover, we work in the creative industry that requires a lot of ideas that we cannot get from the office alone. If we spend time in the office only, we cannot develop our ideas. In addition, since Navya consists of a majority of the millennial generation, I have to be a little bit strict because sometimes the millennials still lack trust with the system and sometimes they prefer to follow their own rules while, in the world of work, the awareness of responsibility and duty must be completely embedded. So, in Navya, it begins to be slowly applied. Change doesn’t happen overnight, everything needs process, and I believe in the process. With the team members who are mostly new, one can say that this is a fresh out program. We work together rearranging everything. At one time we need to mix & match, at another time we encounter trial and error, whatever the case, we keep trying to build a strong teamwork.
How do you see the current development of digital advertising?
Today’s digital development is going crazy. Having been engaged in the digital field for 6 years, I learn that the development is moving so rapidly that many new platforms can now be used as vehicle in term of digital communication. The challenge is that it is not enough anymore to only build impression the way we used to do because now we also have to build engagement. So, content creation is the one thing that digital people must embrace. It’s all about content, an engaging one, about how to make consumers more engaged with the brand.
So, what strategy do you develop in Fortune to overcome those challenges?
Our strategy is that we must keep up to date and never stop learning. Although I’ve been in this industry for 6 years, I keep learning because the development of the digital world is crazy. Every minute and every second, there are new things and new trends. We must always initiate something new, create a breakthrough, keep up to date and keep learning, and all those things that won’t happen if we just stay at the office. To build a balanced-life culture, I sometimes walk around to check on my team at half past six asking them, ‘Why haven’t you left the office? What are you doing now? Why haven’t you finished?’ I always endorse them every day so as to cultivate in them the habit of completing tasks on time. My goal is for my friends to have a balanced life between work and their lives, so they can spark more ideas and keep on learning every day.
What dream would you like to achieve with the team in 2018?
I want Navya to win awards in 2018. We are taking this into consideration and set it as a goal. Yes, it’s not a dream but it’s our goal. For those working in the creative industry, being recognized is a good thing. We don’t mean to boast, but brands will see our achievements. The award is a proof that we have what it takes.
Your hobbies and activities aside from work?
I’m a coffee addict. I’ve been a coffee enthusiast for almost 4 years. I used to go to Starbucks because it was the only coffee shop then. But once local coffee shops started to open, I have more references. I like to hang out, exploring coffee shops especially local coffee shops. Usually, if I go out of town with my wife and children, we always look for a hotel near a coffee shop. Both my wife and I happen to be coffee enthusiasts. I was so addicted to coffee that I once made an impromptu trip with a friend from the office who is also a coffee enthusiast. We went to Ternate right after work on Friday. It began with a chit chat at 4 pm, then unintentionally checked out the plane tickets and directly booked a flight at 8 pm. With whatever stuff and outfits we have available, we went off. So, we changed clothes and shopped for stuff after we got to Ternate. I was so curious about the green beans of Ternate, and not everyone has a chance to taste them at the place of origin. I bought 5kg at that time. I also join some communities. My friends and I have a car club named Honda Freed Owners Society and vape club. I normally meet friends from the community once a week every Friday at McD ITC Senayan. With friends from vape community, I also still hang out together.
Favorite activity with family? And how do you manage the time?
My favorite activity with my family is enjoying coffee. I happen to have two sons and I am a Javanese. We believe that if we get used to giving our children a teaspoon of coffee since they were babies, they will not suffer from seizures when they have a high fever. As a doctor, my sister has confirmed that it is scientifically true. So my two children have loved coffee since they were little, although not as strong coffee as what their mother and father like. Usually, during the weekend, my family and I take time to hang out at coffee shops and hunt for coffee shops both inside and outside the city. If we don’t have time to go out of town, we just go around Jakarta because lots of coffee shops have sprung up all over Jakarta.
Your personal Goals in 2018?
I want to be healthier and more disciplined to exercise. I used to work out four times a week but had to stop exercising due to a tendon injury. Now, I’m still in the recovery phase though I really want to start running again because it has become one of my favorite sports.