Driving business goals and purpose-driven marketing are not mutually exclusive: Amitesh Rao

In his first interview since becoming CEO of Leo Burnett South Asia, Publicis Health, and Publicis Business, Rao discussed harnessing the human power of creativity to help the world navigate an unprecedented transformational phase

Akansha Srivastava
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New Delhi: Driving business goals and purpose-driven marketing are not mutually exclusive, said Amitesh Rao in his first interview with BestMediaInfo after six months of taking up the role of CEO of Leo Burnett South Asia, Publicis Health, and Publicis Business. 

Rao emphasised that when brands infuse purpose with creativity, it automatically leads to business outcomes. 

“Society is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. In navigating such phases, one of the most powerful tools humans have is creativity. Brands have increasingly become entities that help humanity navigate the world. When creativity and brands come together, their role goes beyond just selling a product. By helping consumers navigate the challenges of today's world, brands ultimately sell more products,” he said.  

“Creative thinking is going through a very big transformation era, and Leo Burnett is the only agency in our market that is pushing the envelope of creative thinking in an extremely dramatic and transformational way,” he added.  

Having said that, as an industry, we aren’t doing enough transformational work that makes a difference in the world, asserted Rao.  

“We need to understand the human power of creativity and harness that enough,” he commented.  

Rao went on to share with that when he took up the role as the agency chief in South Asia, he didn’t have to mend something that was broken. “The heart and soul of the agency, in terms of the core talent, are already there. My job is to augment Leo Burnett’s strength,” he said.  

In the interview, Rao also discussed how Leo Burnett is leveraging technology, particularly data, in highly creative ways, powered by Publicis Groupe’s technological strength. 

He also emphasised the need for the industry to unite in demanding better pricing that reflects the true value of services offered by creative agencies. 

Throughout his career, Rao has moved in and out of the creative business. He began in marketing, joined the agency business, and left when he felt it had lost its influence. He then became the marketing head of a telecom company, later donned the entrepreneurial hat to run a gaming company, and eventually returned to the agency world. 

He said, “It’s only human nature to value something when you don’t have it. I missed being part of the creative process, and my love for creativity brought me back to the agency business.” 

Watch the full interview here:  

creativity purpose-driven marketing Amitesh Rao brands Leo Burnett Publicis Groupe