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Muralidharan Pakath Chandrasekhar: Inspiring & Inducing The Spark Of Creative Thinking

Muralidharan Pakath Chandrasekhar: Inspiring & Inducing The Spark Of Creative Thinking

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There are many ways to build, nurture, and extend a brand, but creativity is at the heart of all of these processes. Technology has fundamentally altered consumer behavior, which means that the way brands successfully communicate must be more nuanced and personal. It has to make a connection, ideally an emotional one, which is no small feat. The presence of a Chief Creative Officer (CCO) is felt best at this point. They say creative people go where creative people are, and that's why we need more CCOs that can think out of the box. Muralidharan Pakath Chandrasekhar, the CCO of Nicheminds, is one such thinker who has set benchmarks and redefined branding. His journey in his own words as below:

Enlighten us about your educational and professional journey.
I am a Post Graduate in Humanities with a specialization in media. I started work in the late 90s in advertising, when the business in itself was vastly different. My stints in some of India's top agencies like DDB Mudra, Contract, Euro RSCG and Leo Burnett Orchard helped shape my career. This exposure, plus working with some bright talent to produce interesting work did help me get to my current role.

The CCO of a company mentors and encourages team members to foster positive work environment and brainstorm creative sessions. What has been your experience in this cloak?
At a Creative Head's level, the work automatically gets split to the work that you get to oversee and sign-off, and the work you do yourself. Apart from these, there is also emphasis on keeping the motivation of the team high, distilling the brief for them, applying the right judgment on the work that needs to go out. The biggest kick for the team, which is indeed their motivation, comes from client or industry recognition that a piece of work has been outstanding.
You carry 8+ years of experience as a CCO in different verticals. How does your experience help you chalk-out strategic business measures for the company? Advertising is a people business. So, the business operation at my level would be to engage and nurture a solid client-agency relationship. Experience comes-in handy here, as clients tend to listen to perspectives when it comes from someone senior. Apart from that, I also work with my business partner in the way we choose to work with our clients. Newer models of client-agency relationships are things we take pride in at Nicheminds.

Understanding the client requirement well and doing an in-depth analysis of the kind of consumers you are targeting solves the problem in how we create our communication and campaigns


Tell us about the major achievements at Nicheminds that makes you really proud.
At Nicheminds, we are super proud of our relationships with Wipro Technologies and Bajaj Auto ­ two brands that have been with for long in a relationship that has stood the test of time. We are proud of the work we did for Wipro Technologies. We did win big with the work we did for them in the very first edition of Kyoorius Awards. Many more awards came in for other work we did for them in other shows. With Bajaj Auto, we started small, but today, we are happy to say that we handle about 70 percent of their international business - that's work in about 40 countries. We are
delighted that they have reposed their trust on us, especially when the other couple of agencies in Bajaj's roster are huge holding companies. Like we say in our manifesto, `we are small, but big with ideas'!

What is your approach to understand the customers' requirement? How do you ensure the customers' demands are met with optimum precision?
Technically, an advertising agency has two levels of customers. At the first level, there is the client; and at the next level, the consumer. Understanding the client requirement well and doing an in-depth analysis of the kind of consumers you are targeting solves the problem in how we create our communication and campaigns.

Who do you look-up to for inspiration or mentorship? How do you continue to grow and develop as a CCO?
Inspiration comes from both within and outside the industry. For instance, if it's a design project, I would like to tell my team to place themselves in the shoes of Johny Ive (Apple's ex-designer who designed most of their iconic products) and think what he would have done if he were in his place. Likewise, for other projects, sometimes when you hit a dead end, it's good to use such gurus as a reference marker. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.

What are the most important attributes of a successful CCO today, and what are some of the successful mantras that can you recommend?
Primarily, a successful CCO has an external job that he learns from experience - managing client relationships. The person also has an internal job that he learns to master over time - managing the creative department to produce work that shines and works well for the brand. It's a bit of balancing act. The successful ones do it best.

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