YOU & IED: your Name, the IED School you attended, the Year, and the Course you graduated in.
Ankita Nandkeolyar, IED Milano, 2011-12, Brand management and communications.
YOU NOW: your job description, where you work, projects you are working on etc.
Designation: Founder & Chief Brand Strategist - Firebrand.
Firebrand is a strategic branding and marketing studio based in India with clients across India, North America & Europe. We follow a very detailed research-driven process and help new businesses, start-ups and established businesses - create, re-structure, re-asses and market their brands. We believe brands lie at the intersection of purpose and meaning. We offer an honest, simple & human approach to branding. We have worked with clients across Fashion, Retail, Automotive, F&B, FMCG, Pet Supplies, Technology, Manufacturing, Hospitality and Education etc. - which makes us truly sector-agnostic.
ITALIAN CREATIVITY: IED is 100% Italian and 100% creative, let us know how both these aspects led you to choose IED and how they helped or influenced your career.
I was fascinated by Italy while choosing my course as Italy has historically been responsible for bringing into the world some authentic, original and successful brands. Plus as a country, it has something for everyone right from history, to art, to culture, to sport to fashion. It was truly an immersive experience for me - hence Italy was a huge influence. I've always had a creative mindset. Logical and textbook thinking can easily be taught but creativity I believe is something that's more experiential. And being in IED, in Italy, gave me that exposure to brands and cultures.
IED LOCATIONS: all our schools are found in some of the most creative and vibrant cities around the globe. Let us know why you choose the city you went to and what role it played in your student and future life.
I chose Milan, as the course I shortlisted was in Milan. Milan is a wonderful city which I was proud to call home for close to two years. I love how the city is a mix of local and cosmopolitan crowd. It's buzzing with opportunities and vibrancy. Also, the location is very conducive to travel to other countries in Europe too. As a student, I loved the experience - the nightlife was fantastic and there were always activities to do outside - cultural & social. And the student vibe made it very easy for me to adapt to a non-English speaking country.
CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES: how have the challenging times we’re living affected your professional life?
Since our business is about people, about interactions, it has slowed down in times of Social Distancing. We are getting used to working remotely or with less frequent meetings. So that does come as a challenge - as while developing brands, working together has always been the norm. Another challenge has come about on the business front - client budgets and spends have been hit and reduced due to the current situation. The market is looking up, and slowly in a few months it should be up and running again (hopefully back to pre-covid days).
SUSTAINABILITY: IED is particularly involved in this argument, you may want to share with us how you or your company are facing up to today’s environmental challenges.
We are making small changes like using glass bottles and paper cups instead of plastic ones. Apart from that our business doesn't directly impact the environment. Some of the clients we work with are focused on Sustainability in a big way.
ADVICE: your recommendations to future graduates for a bright and creative future in your field.
Be unstoppable. Be Brave. Be Authentic.
Just believe in your inner voice and remain fearless in achieving your goals.
What was the activity (except for the thesis) that you found most valuable to your personal growth? Also, can you tell us about your Thesis Project?
Travelling across Europe really helped me get exposure to various cultures and people. I got a chance to interact with so many people - understand their life and talk about their background. It helped me understand various perspectives and contributed towards my personal growth.
My thesis project was with the MaxMara group - how to build, strategize and market their sub brand - "Sport Max"