Poonam Kaul

Founder, House Of Omkar

Poonam is a passionate brand evangelist with over two decades of leadership experience of driving integrated communications to build brands, influence policy, shape perceptions.

A storyteller at heart and mind, Poonam has set up CMO-on-Demand consultancy working with organizations, early stage/ mid stage start-ups, across industries to help build the brand story and shape their marketing and communication practice. She enables and empowers them with Go-To-Market strategies as well building inhouse capabilities.

Poonam has also recently joined Digital India as Advisor Brand and Awareness to help them in their brand and communications outreach across the country.

In her last formal role as the Head Marketing at Apple India, she was responsible for building the Apple brand in India which included Product marketing, Marketing and Channel communication, Public Relations for all business lines - iPhone, Mac, iPad and Watch. She helped set up Apple in Education across K-12 and Higher Education as well as reframed their Channel presence across Mono brand, General Trade as well as Ecommerce. In addition, she helped build the Apple presence across developer, music and content ecosystem.

Previously, as Vice President Communications, Corporate Brand and CSR, Poonam was responsible for the image and reputation of all PepsiCo entities in India, across 22 brands spanning from Pepsi, Mt Dew, Lays and Doritos at one end and strong nutrition brands like Quaker, Tropicana at another end. She lead 360 degree consumer connect and engagement across brands through digital, influencer relations and ORM. She was also responsible for driving flagship initiatives focused on providing sustainable models for malnutrition amongst adolescent girls, enhancing PepsiCo’s reputation around positive water balance, 2nd crop program as well as building purpose for key millennial brands – QuakerFeedAChild, highly awarded #ReleaseThePressure for Mirinda.

Prior to her appointment at PepsiCo India, Poonam was the Director Communications and Corporate Marketing at Nokia and was responsible for India, Middle East and Africa, spanning 90 plus countries where she managed the business and brand perception for Nokia in a cross section of emerging, developing and developed markets. Led several smart devices campaigns with multiple, disruptive activities across the Region to rebuild Nokia’s perception in the high-end devices space as well as a lead player in the affordable, yet smart devices space. Pioneered Nokia’s digital presence to become the buzziest brand in the digital arena through extensive blogger engagement as well as cool, out of the box initiatives/ programs. She played a key role in managing the battery crisis for Nokia which later went onto make Nokia the #1 Most Trusted Brand in India. She was also responsible for sponsorships – KKR and IPL, Champions League, film integrations, millennial marketing and engagement as well as building Nokia mindshare in Apps space with “Your Wish Is My App”, world’s first ever App reality show . Poonam was with Nokia for eight years and was a Nokia India Board Member.

Poonam worked with Microsoft India for six and half years where she was heading advertising and public relations for all 6 business units of Microsoft in India. She created the first ever locally developed corporate campaign by Microsoft “Stay Ahead”, a leadership series in 2001 as well as first ever TV campaign for Microsoft India in 2001 on Office XP.

She managed the entire communication strategy (Public Relations, events, alliances and advertising) for senior executive visits such as Bill Gates visit in 2000 and 2002 and Steve Ballmer in 2004, setting benchmarks for the industry. Conceptualized and rolled out “Imagine Cup”, a student developer competition to build solutions for societal challenges which is today a flagship global platform for student developer engagement.

Following her creative pursuits around storytelling, Poonam is also a Film Producer and has set up House of Omkar, a production house that is focussed on creating platforms and telling content rich stories to drive grassroot change through cinema. She debuted as a film producer with her film The Last Color which was in the final eligibility list for the Oscars 2020 and had a theatrical release in Dec 2020 in India. Her second venture, Barefoot Empress, a short documentary is currently winning accolades across film festivals, globally. Currently, she is wrapping up Imaginary Rain with Shabana Azmi, a story of failure, resilience, perseverance, self-discovery and most importantly about hope.

During COVID, she set up EkDesh, a communication platform to help the country battle COVID through robust behaviour change initiatives focussed on mask awareness and compliance, vaccination. The platform is now focussed on girl child education initiatives. For the last few years, she has been working with multiple NGOs to create platforms and sustainable models for bringing girls back to school by providing nutrition and the right tools. She is also a lead Volunteer and Board Member/ Trustee with Project StepOne, a telemedicine start-up focussed on health emergencies.

Poonam is on the board of Bombay Hemp Company and a Mentor to various early to mid stage start ups.

Poonam is an MBA with specialization in Marketing. A dreamer and explorer at heart, she thrives on challenges and loves doing the impossible.