Impacting lives is the way to lead fulfilling life

Returning to India after completing her undergraduate studies in the US, she was torn between choosing investment banking and management consulting as she had studied Economics and Applied Mathematics in college.

A friendly advise ruled against both these options and instead introduced her to the world of brand consulting – a very niche but super interesting field – and helped get her first job at Ogilvy & Mather in Mumbai. Ever since she never looked back. After a year at Ogilvy, she went to business school and specialised in international business and marketing.

Landing a job at Landor right after business school, she has been with the company since then completing 20 years in January 2021. In these two decades she has worked in San Francisco, New York, London and Mumbai offices and has grown with the company. Hugely passionate about the power of brands and design to create business and social impact, she likes to think of herself as an evangelist for brand and design in India.

Based in Mumbai, India, Lulu Raghavan is the Managing Director of Landor and shared her professional journey with AsiaBizToday in this exclusive interview.

Can you tell us briefly about the activities that you undertake?

Landor is in the business of brand consulting and design. As the Managing Director of Landor Mumbai I run our operations and am responsible for driving growth and profit for the office while ensuring a motivated and engaged team, a thriving creative culture, breakthrough strategy and design and happy clients. I have a talented Senior Leadership Team that I work closely with. Clients come to us when they are ready for brand transformation. Their brand might have lost relevance to a large segment of their customers. They might be entering a new market and want to create a new brand. Two companies may have merged and they want to know which brand to keep and which to retire. Their customer experience may be impeding growth. They may be losing market share to an aggressive competitor. They might not be telling their story well to their audiences. Or they might simply be ready to refresh their tired brands. Our ambition is to offer solutions that are extraordinary be design.

What have been your experiences in this leadership position?

Being a leader comes with great responsibility. It is no longer about you as an individual contributor. It is about growing and developing your team. Helping them to shine. Enabling them to push beyond their comfort zones. Believing in their potential. Being their biggest cheerleader. I’ve greatly enjoyed the process of culture building as I believe that the culture of an organisation has a huge impact on financial performance. Being the MD of Landor in India has also given me wonderful opportunities to meet and connect with CEOs and CMOs from a broad range of industries. I very much value these interactions and relationships as they are fantastic ways to learn from extremely knowledgeable and experienced individuals. I have greatly enjoyed mentoring young women outside of Landor. I am also grateful for opportunities to be on various councils including the CII National Design Committee, CII-Indian Women Network Maharashtra Chapter Steering Committee and the Sanjeevini Cancer Care Advisory Board.

Which are the important factors that keep you going?

My biggest motivation is to live a fully productive life for as long as I possibly can. I love to keep my mind, body, heart, spirit and soul fully engaged at all times. I want to be the biggest inspiration for my two daughters who are 12 and 11 right now. I want them to become amazing women of substance and style who are happy inside-out and will go on to help and inspire as many as they can no matter what life choices they end up making.

Any obstacles or challenges that you have faced?

We all face so many obstacles every day. The key is mindset: stay positive, stay focused on stay on path to your big goals. I have not faced specific challenges because of being a woman. My weapons are charisma, credibility and warmth.

Where do you usually find inspiration from?

I like to soak in a lot from various stimuli including books, blogs, podcasts, TV shows, magazines, conversations and even social media! Inspiration usually strikes when I am out on a long walk or getting a massage. It is usually when I a far away from all the stimuli and in a relaxed state.

What’s your proudest moment so far?

Being a working mum and raising two young women who I love with all my heart and soul. Managing this while also being equally passionate and fully invested in my career – I helped to start the Landor Mumbai office and have nurtured it for over 12 years now.

How would you define success?

Let’s imagine I could find out what people (my family, my friends, my colleagues, basically anybody who has interacted with me!) would say about me after I die. If they talk about the impact I’ve had on them in whatever small, big or transformational way then I would know that I had lived a successful life. Success to me is about helping and inspiring others.

What Advice do you have for other aspiring Entrepreneurs, especially women?

Identify a product or service that the world really needs. Make sure you are creating something that is not only relevant but also very different. Pour your heart and soul into it. Create a superb customer experience and become the biggest evangelist of your brand. Work on your self-limiting beliefs and eliminate them. Believe in yourself one hundred percent. Recruit a passionate team and collaborate closely with them to bring your vision to life. Let go of your ego – it’s not about you but the customers you will create and the brand you will build. Don’t neglect your family and friends. All the best – creating a brand from scratch will be an incredibly rewarding journey.

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