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Brands need to take a firm stand to stand out: Subramanyeswar S of MullenLowe Group

At the back of the launch of the book, ‘Brands to Stands’ – which encapsulates MullenLowe Lintas Group's brand philosophy, Subramanyeswar S, Chief Strategy Officer - APAC, Mullen Lowe Group, speaks about the purpose of the book and the idea behind it

Subramanyeswar S

The MullenLowe Group recently unveiled its brand-building philosophy through the book, ‘Brands to Stands’ which talks about 2021’s Most Purposeful Brands in India where seven out of fifteen brands featured were steered by it. reached out to Subramanyeswar S, also known as Subbu, Chief Strategy Officer - APAC, Mullen Lowe Group and the author of the book, about the importance of having a brand purpose and how brands can navigate it. 

Speaking about what pushed them to publish the book, Subbu said he is very passionate about the subject of brands taking a higher-order purpose.

“The biggest motivation for me is to spread this thinking and make it reach as many people as possible. Brands can't be just another economic unit of the transaction; they can’t be what they were 60-70 years ago. I want to spread this thinking and get them inspired by this and start practising it for building their brands.” 

According to Subbu, the key differences between brands are fading and brands cannot rely on ‘propositions’ anymore. He said most brands today have an equal amount of exposure to technology and are raising resources. “The only way you can differentiate is by having a distinct point of view. This point of view is what we are terming as ‘Brands to Stands’ which means brands need to take a stand. You need to stand firmly for something to stand out,” he explained. 

He also added that unlike a few decades ago, there is no cutthroat competition between brands in this shared economy. However, he cautioned that brands must not find a purpose just for the sake of it. 

“If it does not happen naturally, don’t force it. The young are very smart and intelligent and can make out when something is forced. Purpose can be based on many fundamental human values. It can be something to directly impact society, evoke happiness, enable connections, pride, they can all be purposes too.” 

The book features stories behind a few leading brands in India and how Mullen Lowe’s efforts have successfully helped the brands market themselves through their brand purpose. Asked about his favourite case studies featured in the book, Subbu mentioned - Tata Tea, Surf Excel, Tanishq and Lifebuoy. 

The book is also set to be introduced in some business institutions in the country to help young minds. It will also be introduced in an audio format soon for Gen Z audiences. 

Subbu believes that the young and upcoming professionals in the advertising business must believe in their profession. “It's a blessing to be in this profession (advertising) because you have the opportunity to influence people’s thinking. Very few jobs give you that.  If you believe that it's a gift, you must respect that and do it positively not in a manipulative way,” he concluded.

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