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Landor's Mumbai office will disproportionately impact the network: Jane Geraghty, CEO, Landor

07-March-2018
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Landor's Mumbai office will disproportionately impact the network: Jane Geraghty, CEO, Landor

Helping clients create agile brands that thrive in a dynamic and disruptive marketplace, WPP branding firm Landor has paved a gem-laden path for itself as one of the global leaders in brand consulting and design. With a client list ranging from the likes of BMW, Nike, Etihad Airways, Australian Open, among others, Landor has helped several well-known brands navigate the rapidly evolving marketing landscape in the region.

Having taken over as the CEO of the company recently, Jane Geraghty has been President of Landor EMEA and a member of the global executive team since 2012. exchange4media chatted with the new CEO on the same. "The joy of working at Landor is the breadth of work that we do. At a time where cross-category innovation is changing markets dramatically, having a breadth of expertise is what makes us different," says an excited Geraghty who opens up on the brand's long-term goals, agility approach and more.

Excerpts:

Landor has been working with many big brands in rebranding strategy planning. In dealing with the rebranding planning for the same brand at different stages, how do you maintain the coherence of the brand while creating something new?

I think that at the heart of what we do, we try to create fascinating brand stories for our clients that they can tell across multiple platforms inside and outside their company. The trick to coherence is to have a really powerful brand story. We have a couple of ways of doing that. We have a very simple brand framework that is the distillation of all of this strategic work that we do which identifies the purpose of the brand, the distinguishing beliefs that the brand has and the idea that empowers the brand. We also work on developing expansive brand narratives. If you put all the work in those three pieces right, then telling the story successfully over time across channels and borders is easy.

Having taken over as the CEO of the company recently, what are the long-term goals that you have set for Landor. Also, what is the direction that you see the company going towards?

I do think we were the original and only brand consultancy when we started off 76 years ago. We're the brand natives. So what we do today is something we've always done, like telling powerful stories inside and outside the company to affect positive business outcomes. I think the shift for us is the means by which we tell the story. All of our clients are going through a period of digital transformation and they're embracing technology in different ways. Our job is to make sure that every tech innovation and application of technology is designed to make the customer experience frictionless, easier and cheaper. Our job is also to make sure that all these interactions are differentiated and through the lens of a brand, how do we make that movement differentiated? The core of what we do is mostly similar to what it has been but the methods that we're going to be using and the channels we tell our stories in are vastly different.

The big shift for us is that it's less about top-down education and more about bottom-up action and participation. We're focusing on helping clients use the brand to differentiate their digital transformation efforts.

What are the plans for Landor's India business and how do you see India developing as a market?

I love the India market. I've been with Landor for seven years and we're here today to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai office. They've just had great business results. It's always been an important office for us. I think as we more emphatically embrace the tech agenda, this market is fascinating. We see so much of tech innovation coming out of this market. I think the Mumbai office will have a disproportionate impact on the work that we're doing around the network.

Tell us about your new Brand Community Model for brand management?

The objective for brands today is to be coherent, not consistent. Not long ago, brand management was effectively policing a brand to be consistent globally, across markets and channels and we put in some guidelines that needed to be slavishly followed. Those days are gone because you know the impact that social media has had. The fact that we have the millennial who is able to hack channels and logos of all manners, we need to embrace a different way of thinking. The reality is that there are multiple communities that have an influence on a brand and those communities extend the omni-insight of a co-creation. There are communities that have a disproportionate impact on a brand. To successfully manage brands and help them be agile in a modern world, we have to look at the brand differently.

In a multi-channel world, every brand has a core set of what we call 'sacred assets' that really telegraph the brand. These form the core of the brand and shouldn't be messed with. Then there are assets that should be interpreted and should have input from different communities. These should be adapted to suit particular needs. And then there are completely free, new assets that are yet to be created. So we built a model that embraces different communities of interests and also celebrates effectively, the fixed, flexible and free elements of the brand.

Landor as a brand embraces The Agility Paradox. How do you carry out your idea of "creating agile brands" in your projects? Any feedback from your clients?

I think the notion of agility has been very well-received by our clients. Brands need to evolve and change but remain recognizably true to who they are and I think our ambitious and progressive clients really understand that. There are a lot of them that are excited by the opportunities that we now have to tell stories, invite participation from customers which ultimately results in loyalty from customers and better business outcomes. We've had a very warm reception and a lot of interest towards how our clients can make their brands more plastic, agile and better able to create fans around the world.

A lot of brands today are going beyond mainstream marketing and creating larger social movements to create an immersive brand experience. What is the way to ace this and create the right brand messaging?

I think that there is an obligation now for brands to do good, reward their consumers, to innovate and stay interesting in order to maintain cultural currency. As I mentioned, there are so many opportunities now to tell stories in fascinating ways. We do a lot of work with Nike and so we create a lot of moving image assets they have been used in the retail environment. I think the collision of physical and digital in one space to enhance an experience is going to be an interesting development as we go forward.

Would you like to discuss some general trends you notice in the market?

We're in a socially-connected world. 140 characters have to tell a brand story. So really articulating a brand verbally is important and as voice-activated technology becomes more commonplace, in the next three years, it is predicted to increase by 700 per cent. Really being able to get the voice of a brand right is going to help brands differentiate in the market.

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