Ranjan Kapur
India
Ranjan Kapur
  • Country Manager, WPP (Advertising)
Born Lahore, India, 1942; died Mumbai, India, 2018. MA English, St. Stephens College, Delhi University (1964).
“I think the uniqueness of India lies in its diversity … But then we don’t look at it [this diversity] as a barrier. We see that as an opportunity…”

Summary

How does a brand become an icon and who are the people behind this magic? This interview concerns one of these magicians – Ranjan Kapur, the man who spent fifty years in the advertising industry and led one of the largest advertising agencies, Ogilvy and Mather, in India. Kapur describes his personal journey over these decades and highlights the dramatic changes in the advertising industry with the opening of Indian economy in the 1990s and the rise of digital technology. Kapur shares his personal experiences of working in three different countries - India, Singapore and the United States, his successes and failures, his experience of turning around a company, his views on global branding, and his reflection on work-life balance.

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How does a brand become an icon and who are the people behind this magic? This interview concerns one of these magicians – Ranjan Kapur, the man who spent fifty years in the advertising industry and led one of the largest advertising agencies, Ogilvy and Mather, in India. Kapur describes his personal journey over these decades and highlights the dramatic changes in the advertising industry with the opening of Indian economy in the 1990s and the rise of digital technology. Kapur shares his personal experiences of working in three different countries - India, Singapore and the United States, his successes and failures, his experience of turning around a company, his views on global branding, and his reflection on work-life balance.
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Video Clips by Topic

Kapur 1

Ranjan Kapur, the former India country manager of the WPP advertising agency, describes the dramatic growth in the advertising industry in India after deregulation, and how his previous experience in Singapore before his returned to India in 1997 shaped his perspective on the industry.



Kapur 2

Ranjan Kapur, the India country manager of the WPP advertising agency, describes his human resources philosophy: empowering employees (which he describes as "letting the tiger out of the cage"), using a lean staff to produce more, and giving workers a clear goal and road map to get there.


Kapur 5

Ranjan Kapur challenges the suggestion that only small agencies can be creative, and encourages big businesses to promote creativity.
Keywords: India, Innovation


Full Length Video (login required)

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

  • WPP--Integrating Icons to Leverage Knowledge [HBS case]
  • "The High-Growth Areas Are in Non-advertising: Ranjan Kapur” (Interview with Country Manager, WPP and Chairman, Bates India), Business Standard, April 2, 2012
  • "Will Bates India be Ranjan Kapur's Elusive Perfect Snowball?” The Economic Times, March 28, 2012
  • “'Advertisement Agencies Should Stop Devaluing Their Services,' Q&A: RANJAN KAPUR, country manager (India), WPP," Business Standard, July 30, 2008
  • "Kapur Assigned to Country Manager Role for WPP India,” Media, March 26, 2004
  • "O&M India Unveils Strategy Post-Kapur Retirement,” Media, July 11, 2003
  • "Ranjan Kapur: Life after Ogilvy,” Economic Times, November 19, 2003
  • “Ranjan Kapur Striving to Make O&M India a Worldwide Player,” Advertising Age, February 21, 1994
  • Video file of this interview available at Baker Library Historical Collections, histcollref+hbs.edu. Harvard ID holders can access the full-length video above.
  • "A visionary and a gentleman who transformed Indian advertising industry,"Economic Times, January 29, 2018.

Interview Citation Format

"Interview with Ranjan Kapur, interviewed by Sunil Gupta, August 5, 2015, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."