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Brand Building with Lowe Lintas’ CEO
Advertising Agency
Mumbai, India
Kedar Teny tells LBB’s Natasha Patel about carrying on the agency’s heritage and returning to the place where he began his career 20 years before

Towards the end of last year Kedar Teny was appointed CEO ofLowe Lintas, a place where he began his career in 1999 and stayed for a decade. Returning to the agency he calls his ‘alma mater’, Kedar came with a wealth of experience across marketing. His previous roles include being CMO of McDonald’s as well as stints at Unilever, Sony Pictures and more.

He explains how going from agency to brand and back to agency taught him a lot: “When I was in advertising and on the agency side first, I realised that there is so much more to marketing than just advertising.” A secondment to Unilever exposed him to the product side of marketing and spurred him to explore different industries on brand side for a while, though he says: “My first love was always advertising and will continue to be communication and that's why it made me want to come back.”

Having been in the world of brands and marketing for over 20 years, Kedar has seen the rise and growth of the digital industry in India. He explains that while the Metaverse and AR are rising, mediums will have to adapt for consumer wants. “We'll have to stay a little behind on that curve to be able to figure out what kind of solutions we can offer brands to stay relevant and stay engaged in places where their cohorts are hanging out.”

While virtual words are something that takes a lot to get to grips with, Kedar believes the biggest changes to come are from data, connectivity and the smartphone. He explains how increased mobile phone usage is impacting how and where marketers promote brands. “I think mobile first is something that we will have to have to start building for and that landscape is changing so much. So how are we going to adapt to that change? How are we going to bring brands into that space, something that's really the next frontier?

“But the wall painting is equally important. There is a whole bunch of India out there, which is still in rural pockets of India, [for them] a wall painting is as relevant as radio.” 

While Kedar acknowledges that rural India should be marketed to differently, he explains how the relationship between data and creativity in more developed areas is one to keep abreast of. “Today, we are all leaving so many digital signatures everywhere so your behaviour is being tracked, observed and monitored. We are actually at a very interesting cusp of being able to optimise and you can create so many more markets for a brand.”

He adds that Byron Sharp’s book How Brands Grow have given him an insight into the difference between differentiation and distinctiveness. “Differentiation may not always be necessarily available to you, but distinctiveness is what communications brings to the party. And that to me is the most important thing to focus on.”

Joining Lowe Lintas as CEO with a wealth of experiences means Kedar comes in with a whole array of skills, though for him not being a one trick pony is key. “That was something that I didn't want to be ever in my life and I have pretty much stayed the course on that script. Experiences are everything. Everything teaches you something new, and you should be able to bring it back to apply it to whatever you're about to get into.”

As Kedar moves towards the six month mark in his role he admits to not having plans for the short or long term. Instead, he is focusing on Lintas’ strengths, which are brand building. “Traditionally we are a brand and deep brand thinking agency. There's a rich tradition of creative leadership that has led this place. We take great pride in the brands that have stayed with us because we've been able to give the brands a right to win in different parts of time that are passed by.”

He adds: "What’s good for the short term is good for the long term. We are an agency that is a deep brand thinking agency and that’s what builds sustainable brands and our legacy is a proof of that. Tech, gizmo, gimmicks will come and go but a brand requires deep long term thinking.”

Work from MullenLowe Lintas Group
Painting with Sound
Nippon Paint
Masti Ki Lehar
Dollar Lehar
Gift of the Ganga