Lowe Lintas & Partners India has appointed Vikas Mehta as chief marketing officer (CMO). He will be based in Lowe's corporate office in Mumbai. The scope of his role includes all of the agency's offices across cities, nationwide.
At Lowe India, he will report to Joseph George, chief executive officer, Lowe Lintas & Partners.
On this appointment, George says, "Our growth ambition needs to be pursued in conjunction with further enhancing the thought leadership and agency reputation in the market. It is towards delivering on this objective that Vikas joins us."
Marketing, afaqs! learns, is a new function at Lowe Lintas. Advertising agencies don't typically have CMOs or a marketing function, for that matter. Why the need for this discipline? "The business of advertising agencies," Mehta explains, "is going through a transformation and we believe it will be a significantly different ball game soon. The mandate is to help our business capitalise on these changes. The purpose behind creating the marketing function at Lowe is to drive our corporate strategy at a group level."
His role includes driving group strategy for organic and inorganic growth, strengthening Lowe's brand equity in the market place among marketers and practitioners and building the company's innovation funnel of new offerings. In the days ahead, Mehta will interact closely with select clients across geographies and disciplines. Additionally, the role includes working with prospective clients by aggregating group offerings.
What is the most challenging part of being the CMO of an ad agency? "The hardest bit is to try and explain what a CMO is doing in an ad agency," he smiles, adding, "It's a phenomenon I call 'too many services and too few solutions'. Every discipline in the marketing spectrum today is being sold as a specialist vertical. As a result, a typical client has a specialist partner each for advertising, digital, search, social, CRM, PR, activation and so on. The biggest challenge is to create a solution that drives medium-agnostic brand strategy, and goes on to build a brand-narrative that straddles all areas of consumer engagement."
Being the CMO at an ad agency combines the best of both words, for Mehta. "It's hard to expect a brand marketing role where you can have the kind of inspiring corridor conversations that one is used to in an agency environment practically every day," he says.
An alumnus of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) Mumbai, Mehta brings with him experience across international markets. Before joining Lowe Singapore, he was managing director of Lowe Vietnam, heading the agency's country operations. Before joining the Lowe network in 2006, Mehta worked for advertising agencies such as Publicis and Leo Burnett.
Over the years, he has handled brand portfolios for companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Vinamilk, Total Lubricants, PernodRicard, Vietnamobile, Intel, Cathay-Pacific, P&G, Beiersdorf, Raymond, Coca-Cola, Heinz, Diageo and Indian Oil.
For the record, in India, Lowe Lintas & Partners has agency brands operating in disciplines including advertising, activation (urban and rural), design, digital (web, mobile and social), healthcare, PR and production.