'Positive Provocation' guiding the road for Premjeet Sodhi as chief strategy officer at Wavemaker India

He takes the new role just within six months of joining as the chief growth officer

NEW DELHI: Things have changed significantly since Premjeet Sodhi first ventured into the media planning and marketing industry. Strategy has undergone a sea change – from sitting on the periphery of television planning to becoming integral to defining what the media tasks would be – pushing creativity into action rather than the other way around. Being a part of the process on behalf of many brands and agencies, Sodhi has witnessed this shift first-hand.

Now, as he takes on the mantle of chief strategy officer at Wavemaker India, just six months after being made the chief growth officer, he is all set to further the role of strategy in the brand’s creative process. In an exclusive conversation with, Sodhi talks all about his new position, his plans for the agency, and his journey within the industry. 

It was within only a few months of him joining the agency as chief growth officer that Sodhi was handed over the responsibilities of the chief strategy officer at Wavemaker India. “Things are changing rapidly these days. We are now working more closely to the media product and this role allows me to engage closely with the teams and build outputs for clients. So, the transition was made keeping that in mind,” he said, adding that he’s very much enjoying his new, engaging duties.

Congratulating his successor to the position of chief growth officer, he said: “Kishan (Kumar MS) has taken over the role and that comes so naturally to him. He is already doing a fabulous job.” 

For Sodhi, his initial focus is on promoting the Wavemaker operating system and deploying their approach of ‘Positive Provocation’ deep within the market.

“Positive provocation is a recently rolled out proposition for us at Wavemaker India, consisting of various tools, frameworks, and an operating system behind it. The idea is not of disruption, as many agencies claim to do today to rebuild a brand. In fact, it is about provoking a brand to move positively in a productive fashion towards adding additional value to the system. So, it is all about asking the right questions, seeking out various aspects for growth, and arriving at the right strategy,” he elaborated. 

Read more news on Wavemaker India 

Positive provocation is the proprietary Wavemaker tool made up of three core aspects: Unlock, Transform, and Maximise. ‘Unlock’ caters to tools that offer complete precision in digital media audit across the full gamut of platforms the client is present on – be it e-commerce, or search, or social. The tools unlock areas for immediate growth of clients and are already doing pretty well for the agency. 

With ‘transform,’ the agency helps clients in their classic strategy and comms planning using elements of measurement and analytics to chart out the best ways to use storytelling and related techniques. 

‘Maximise’ aims to provide cutting-edge tools on how to deliver media plans that are integrated across platforms. It builds attribution as a key factor in the whole media planning and strategizing process. 

To implement these plans, Sodhi is working on a leadership style that allows the people to lead. “I work on a reverse pyramid formula; the team leads and I am there to support them at the backend and take the flak when something goes wrong. The job that I do is of an enabler in the team. I have a very open-door and casual style of working.”

His motivation comes from the likes of Roda Mehta, Lynn de Souza, and Shashi Sinha, under whom he has worked for several years. 

“I learned a lot under Roda Mehta. She was a perfectionist, very hard working lady and inspired me a lot. Lynn de Souza’s working style was where she got everyone together, encouraging people to deliver their best; and then there was Shashi Sinha, I was his subordinate before joining Mindshare Fulcrum. His leadership style was very casual and friendly. He drove everybody to raise the quality of the product. So, these are the people who have really shaped who I am today,” he shared. 

Sodhi also gave a nod to his former colleagues at Mindshare, and credited friend and guru Suresh Balakrishna for teaching him how to manage day-to-day business during his stint at Lintas Media Group.

“Amin Lakhani, Prasanth Kumar, and Parthasarathy Mandayam; though I worked with them for just two years, they inspired me a lot,” he said. 

Sodhi had anticipated that taking up a new role in the middle of lockdown would be quite challenging. But luckily for him, the transition was eased by a warm and cooperative staff. “It was quite an experience for me. I have always been a people’s person and have realised that personal interaction within the team yields the best results. Right now, one needs to make an extra effort for that personal interaction but I am blessed with a team that is really supportive and welcoming. So, it has been a smooth landing for me,” he signed off. 

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