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Breakthrough with Kishan Unarket - Comprehend. Connect. Create.

In this new series, we ask our people to define what 'Breakthrough' means to them, both from a career standpoint and a personal note.

This issue features Kishan Unarket, EVP, Global Client Service at EssenceMediacom.

What does ‘breakthrough’ mean to you?

That someone saw something and it resonated and evoked a response. Whether it invoked a feeling, a thought, a reaction. Any type of response to me means that there has been ‘breakthrough’. This can apply to all forms of communication.

What’s been the most inspiring personal breakthrough in your life?

A clearer understanding of the kinds of environments I do and don’t thrive in and why. Having lived in London, Singapore and the Bay Area, and realising I was significantly happier in some places vs others, it was a great breakthrough to understand “why” and what that means for the choices I want to make about where me and my family want to be in the future. Your environment can play such a large part in overall happiness and that was certainly incredibly true for me. London was not my place. It might be at some point, my family still lives there, but for now, I love where we live. I’m happy looking outside every morning. I’m happy with the people I interact with. I’m happy with the environment my kids are able to be in. A wonderful breakthrough.

What was the breakthrough moment in your career?

Understanding my superpower and how best to harness it. Relationship building and in particular active listening always came naturally to me, but after working with some wonderful mentors and coaches, it was clear to me that this was my superpower and it really helped me figure out how to use that to help produce better work for my clients and manage people. Prior to understanding this, success and failure felt like a surprise and unintentional. Now it feels like I have a much better handle on how to be successful and when something may be a failure (not a bad thing!) and how to react to that. Understanding that really helped me cement the feeling that Client Leadership was where I was meant to be. Understanding your purpose in your career and the kind of role you enjoy the most and can be successful in is a wonderful breakthrough.

Tell us about a piece of work you were involved with that you would define as a breakthrough.

Airbnb’s first brand campaign. After years of being a performance first marketer, pivoting their approach to a brand first approach with creative and looked and felt completely different from anything they had done before was big news. Planning that campaign to effectively breakthrough for Airbnb’s definition of that was a huge challenge. They wanted people to talk about the campaign. They wanted to see the media out in the world and not just numbers on a page. The campaign launched in late January 2021 and our plans came to life beautifully. The breakthrough was that Twitter (as it was called back then!) buzz was a major uptick that the brand hadn’t seen from their advertising before, whilst a video of Brian Chesky and Hiroki Asai (CMO) celebrating the ads first airing o the Bachelor is considered a major breakthrough for us as an agency. We made that happen.

What breakthrough in this industry - achieved by someone else - do you really admire? What do you admire about it?

Nike. Whilst their media approach has evolved to be much more commerce focused in recent years, the breakthrough they achieve via their athletes is amazing. Namely during athlete milestones - you just know they’ll have something awesome planned. Planting that seed in the consumer alone is breakthrough enough, let alone the breakthrough of the communications itself. Whether that’s the TV ad after Serena’s final match, the social posts after LeBron became the top NBA scorer or the OOH placements around Iowa when Caitlin Clark broke the NCAA 3point record from Steph Curry. You might never know the medium they will use, but you know it will be effective with an element of surprise and delight. Greatness.