There are some markets converting to Mullen Lowe immediately. Mullen Lowe, NY, Boston, Brazil already converted. However there are some markets where the brand has been so strong for so many years, like Lowe Lintas in India. It is a household brand. I don’t think we should paint the whole world with one Mullen Lowe brush. In some markets where the brand is so strong like Lowe Lintas in India, maybe we don’t rebrand it. I am not going to go and push all markets and rebrand everything. There is a case to be made in certain markets where the brand is extraordinarily strong.
Alex Leikikh, Global CEO, Mullen Lowe, who took over in May this year, speaks about his reason for being cautious and not rushing to rebrand Lowe India which is household name in his view"I don't think we should paint the whole world with one Mullen Lowe brush. In some markets where the brand is so strong like Lowe Lintas in India, maybe we don't rebrand it,” says Leikikh.
However he also speaks about a possibility of Brand Mullen entering in the Indian market soon a conversation which is underway between him and Joe (Joseph George, CEO of Lowe Lintas + Partners, India).
Speaking on the reasons for the merger of Lowe and Mullen, which was announced in May this year, Leikikh said, "We had two key reasons; firstly we had a number of clients looking for representation overseas, and as we've added clients with global ambitions, we needed reach into international markets. Secondly, we're only as good as people who work for us. It’s a talent business at the heart of it and we are on a global hunt for talent constantly. We were looking for other ways to attract talent into our company. International markets obviously represent that. Look at the talent in India, Spain, Columbia, it's really amazing."
“If you look at Lowe’s perspective, it’s a strong international company, with no significant global presence. It was kind of the only global network that I could determine didn’t have a strong US presence. The reality is if you’re going to be a global network, you have to have presence in the biggest ad market in the world which is the US,” adds Leikikh.
Leikikh also explains that the driving force behind the merger of Mullen and Lowe was not cost efficiencies, so unlike other mergers there were no casualties where human resources are concerned. “This was about Lowe entering the US and Mullen into international markets. And liquid talent across the network. Both the companies are doing fine financially and we are going to continue to pitch business together and add global revenues but what we really want to do is to focus on adding another one or two multi-national clients to the roster. There is this idea of hyper bundling in US which is why Mullen has been so successful. We take our best practice areas and we smash them together to get to the best idea, whether that’s media or creative. If you look at our work for Jet Blue or American Greetings or most recently Royal Caribbean( Cruise Lines) , those are all bundled accounts. By that I mean creative and media working together,” shares Leikikh.
Q. What has your experience been like, taking over as CEO of the Mullen Lowe Group, a whirlwind of 8 weeks?
It's been a market study as you’d expect. I spent time with the guys in our Latam markets, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and I did a world trip and spent some time with our folks in London, Hamburg, Barcelona, Singapore and South East Asian leaders and then Shanghai too. I am going to make a separate week-long trip to Mumbai probably after November. We have wonderful, talented, nice, normal people in the business. You get a lot of egos, you get people who are full of a lot of sizzle and not a lot of stake, I haven’t found that in our network, I have found normal, nice, talented normal people. I have found people who are really excited about the model we’ve built in the US. On my watch, I would like to take that bundled idea and export it. We have room in a lot of markets to bring our media hub which is our standalone internal media company there is an appetite for that brand to enter markets like India and Australia.There is a lot of appetite for the idea of creating a model global network around a bundled model.