Note to readers: Storyboard18's Share The Spotlight aims to highlight inspirational stories of women who continue breaking barriers and setting the precedent for other women marketers, entrepreneurs and communication specialists.
The initiative aims to kick off a movement where people from across these communities step up and share their spotlight with other women. They could be women in their team or any other team, a new group or previous one, from a past workplace or the current one.
Share The Spotlight calls on us all to come out and share words of praise and encouragement for each other, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions of so many people who make businesses, brands and workplaces better. Learn and understand how to face challenges and seize opportunities while bringing along others on the path to progress.
This is just the beginning of a long journey to spotlight individuals who are empowering others and bringing change and growth for all. Together we rise.
Lulu Raghavan set up Landor in India and then twelve years later took over as the Managing Director of Landor & Fitch India after the integration of the two agencies globally. "From being the first employee on the ground to leading the largest branding and design consultancy in India today, it has been an incredibly rewarding professional journey full of memories, learnings and opportunities for further growth,” says Raghavan
Having already worked in the San Francisco, New York and London offices of Landor across naming, brand strategy and client services prior to setting up in India, Raghavan knew what processes had to be established and what kind of culture had to be nurtured. “The challenge was new business as we didn’t have a huge body of work to show in India. We relied heavily on other offices supporting us and here my relationships from working abroad in the various Landor offices helped hugely. Everyone was eager to help us succeed in India,” shares Raghavan.
Once the office was established and there were a few successful projects (the rebranding of Café Coffee Day, the brand architecture of the Taj Group, design of T3 in Delhi, to name a few), the emphasis was on going beyond a small scale and niche operation. Raghavan had to learn to manage a larger team, adapt processes, hunt more vigorously for new business and continue to build the reputation through marketing and PR. Spotting an opportunity in Sri Lanka and through a successful partnership with Brand Finance Lanka, Raghavan and her team served a wide variety of clients and expanded the scope of the company's influence.
The most exciting phase of Raghavan’s career at Landor & Fitch began after the integration. In the past two years, her focus in India has been on leading the integration of two very different cultures to create a unified one in line with the global strategy, curating and empowering a leadership team, setting a clear ambition, broadening and deepening relationships with key clients through enhanced offerings, partnering more closely with the sister WPP companies and relentlessly focusing on being the best place to work.
Leading a creative consultancy comes with numerous people challenges. “The hardest part of my job is finding, hiring and retaining the best talent. You need to create the right culture that allows highly creative people to do their best work every day and to also work effectively in teams," says Raghavan.
Raghavan is a big fan of Simon Sinek’s work. Sinek who is an author and inspirational speaker taught Raghavan that leadership is about truly caring for every single person in the organization. When people feel included, valued, trusted and secure, they develop a sense of belonging which will intrinsically motivate them to advance the interests of the organization and give their 100 percent every day. “Letting someone into the organization is like adopting a child and welcoming them to your house,” is what Simon says and she wholeheartedly agrees.
“We fail every time an employee does not succeed. We fail every time we don’t manage the growth ambitions and aspirations of an employee. We fail every time an employee is unhappy or unmotivated. We fail every time a team falls apart.,” says Raghavan, adding, “We’ve lost many highly talented employees over the years for one of these reasons or the other. It still pains me every single time it happens because I view it as a personal failing.”
You need to create the right culture that allows highly creative people to do their best work every day and to also work effectively in teams," Lulu Raghavan, MD, Landor & Fitch
Raghavan’s biggest learning has been the importance of getting the culture right. According to her, a great culture breeds exceptional creativity which attracts the right clients. Along with her leadership team, she has been doubling down on culture which is especially important as the business scales even further.
Raghavan is very inspired by the professional journeys of two highly respected women leaders at WPP – Kyoko Matsushita (CEO, WPP Japan) and Rose Herceg (President, WPP Australia and New Zealand). Matsushita was the Global CEO of Essence before taking over her current role as CEO of WPP in Japan. She is known to be a leader who places a huge emphasis on culture and collaboration. “I hugely admire her journey from client side (Sony, EA, Mobile Game Studio) to agency side. She’s breaking all sorts of glass ceilings being a female CEO of Japanese origin in a traditionally male dominated industry and country. I had the opportunity to meet her in person in Cannes last year and was wowed by her simplicity, humility and warmth,” shares Raghavan
Herceg is the President of Australia and New Zealand. She is a strategist at heart but also an entrepreneur and author who has published three books on business leadership and innovation. She is one of Australia’s leading social forecasters and futurists who is now the top boss. “I’m so inspired by how she can wear so many hats as a leader," says Raghavan, adding "While I’ve not had the opportunity to meet Rose in person, I’ve heard her at various online forums and have been energized by her intellect, passion and leadership."
Know anyone you’d like to share the spotlight with? Join the movement, give them a shout-out on LinkedIn and tag Storyboard18 so we can take it forward.