Little Yellow Book: Sanjana Mathur on combining storytelling & design

April 5, 2019
Little Yellow Book, Sanjana Mathur

The Little Yellow Book is a series of short interviews with different members of the Landor team. You can find out more about who they are, what they do and what inspires and motivates them to do what they do.

Sanjana Mathur, Senior Client Manager & Strategist

Sanjana is a Senior Strategist at Landor Mumbai. She works with clients across diverse categories to deliver value through consumer insights and brand strategy. Over time she has built her strength with consumer brands. Driven by a human centric-centric approach to problem-solving, she is fascinated by the interaction between consumers and brands.

Sanjana studied Product Design at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design in London. Her background in design grounds all her strategic thinking in a creative outlook (and makes her an honorary member of the design team). Her time as a designer also drives her to find alternatives to the convention. She finds inspiration in travel, books, and art.

She channels her musings on the nature of things and the ‘whys’ of the world around into articles or into the Notes app on her phone (which is now a shrine to half-finished sentences).

What do you love most about your work at Landor?

No two days are the same. I’ve never been one for routine, so I absolutely adore the fact that every industry, client, and challenge is different. That means that I get to keep trying new ways of problem-solving and cross-pollinate inspiration. College may be behind me, but learning certainly isn’t!

You studied product design and now you work on strategy. Can you explain how being a designer influences your work in strategy?

The decision to migrate from product design to strategy wasn’t made lightly, but the transition was surprisingly easy. I think it’s because the process of design thinking (that every good design school drills into its students) serves me well as a strategist. Fundamentally, both fields are about the creative transformation of consumer insights into brilliant solutions that work. It’s a natural marriage between logic and creativity – left brain and right brain.

Words or visuals?

I fancy myself both a writer and a designer, so this is like asking me which child is my favourite! I choose communication and storytelling, for which words and visuals are both just tools. Aim for words that are more than a word count and visuals that are more than pretty pictures.

What about India inspires you?

For a country with so much legacy and tradition, I am amazed by the unshackled spirit of ‘jugaad’. It’s innovation in its purest form. People will think outside the box and bend ‘the right way of doing things’ to find a solution to any problem. I like to think of it as problem-solving ‘as the crow flies’.

In moments of self-doubt, what do you do?

Make lists, use diagrams, talk to someone! Basically, get the doubts out of my head and onto paper. Once a situation is mapped out and visualized, it’s usually much easier to work out the way forward.

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