Dheeraj Sinha and Jitender Dabas win the WPP Atticus awards

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | June 24, 2008
Sinha has won the award in the Market Research and Insights category, while Dabas has won it in the Branding and Identity category

Dheeraj & #BANNER1 & # Sinha, vice-president, strategic planning, Bates 141 India, and Jitender Dabas, vice-president and director, strategic planning, JWT Delhi, have won the WPP Atticus Awards.

While Sinha has won the award in the Market Research and Insights category for his paper, 'The Changing Mindset of a Billion Minds', Dabas has won it in the Branding and Identity category for his paper, 'Why the Consumer Should Not Be King in India'.

The WPP Atticus awards are open exclusively to professionals working in WPP companies. Each year, the awards honour original, published thinking in communication services (not commercial work done for clients).

Dheeraj Sinha
An international panel of independent professionals, who have a keen understanding of the marketing services industry, judges the entries. This year, the awards were decided by Jim Stengel (global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble), David Kirkpatrick (senior editor, Fortune magazine) and Judie Lannon (editor, Market Leader).

Sinha presented his award winning paper at the Esomar Asia Pacific Conference 2007 in Kuala Lumpur. His paper maps the emerging mindset of India. Sinha says India changing is not as important as understanding how it is changing. This understanding will fuel better brand and business thinking. He termed the change in the Indian mindset as moving from "the priestly to the kshatriya (warrior) attitude". The Indian successes in tennis and Twenty20 cricket, he says, are reflective of this change. Indians are now more comfortable chasing difficult targets. In mapping this emerging mindset, the paper demonstrates, through application, the need to understand people and their motivations at a collective level, so that brands and businesses can be a part of the larger cultural discourse of the country.

Sinha leads the strategic planning function for the Mumbai and Kolkata offices of Bates 141. He is the regional strategic council head, India and West Asia, Bates 141. He is responsible for brand strategy and thinking on key businesses in these offices. He is also responsible for leading insight development in various consumer constituencies and product categories. A graduate from MICA, Ahmedabad, Sinha has worked in the strategic planning function with advertising agencies McCann Erickson and Euro RSCG in India.

Jitender Dabas
Dabas' award winning paper challenges the existing notion that the consumer is king. It explains why the adoption of the Western 'consumer is king' brand relationship model by service brands in India is all wrong. India, he explains, is a hierarchical society, where people are uncomfortable dealing with classes lower or above them. In such a society, service brands will damage their equity if they are too subservient in their efforts to delight consumers. Citing the example of Kingfisher, he explains that services in India will be effective only when they become king. They then hold the influence to give this power to the consumer.

Dabas is currently vice-president and strategic planning director, JWT. An engineering graduate from IIT Delhi, he has worked with Grey Worldwide and DraftFCB Ulka.

Dabas has worked extensively on a gamut of service brands in the last few years, including financial services, credit cards, telecom, insurance and retail. He is currently working on brands such as Nokia, Hero Honda and GE Money at JWT Delhi.

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