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.
Shoumili Maitra, Client Manager
Shoumili Maitra is a Client Manager at Landor Mumbai. She works with clients across categories and aims is to connect consumer truths to product offerings to create enduring brands that last the test of time. She has worked with a diverse range of clients including Kinder Joy, Kokuyo Camlin, Diaspora, greytHR, branding a new airline and many naming projects amongst others. She was previously a Qualitative Marketing Researcher at Kantar and predominantly worked in categories such as FMCG, beauty & personal care, BFSI and media sectors. She is curious about culture and people and finds inspiration in travel, books and art.
Interview conducted by Sneha Chury, Client Manager.
1. Tell us about yourself
Sometimes it is hard to introduce yourself considering you know yourself so well (at least that’s what I perceive!) that you do not know what to start with. But let’s take a stab at it!
I spent my formative years in East Africa – Tanzania and Kenya. A land of safari, wild animals, beautiful beaches, mountains, volcanoes, and most importantly warm and loving people. East Africa was wild, wicked, and wonderful! However, contrary to popular belief, our lives were beyond the cliches of being on one long safari. My youthful years in Africa was an experience by itself and something that I would cherish always!
After moving to Mumbai, I completed high school at Podar International School. Thereafter, I pursued a degree in BSc Economics and Management from the University of London (LSE). Fascinated with the realm of marketing and wanting to gain greater insight, I had an opportunity to work at TATA Chemicals as a Marketing & Business Development intern. This was followed by a role as a researcher at Kantar in the Qualitative Marketing domain that allowed me to help brands translate consumer insights into action standards to solve business problems. I believe the unique blend of work experiences so far, along with my involvement in various academic and non-academic projects have given me a broader perspective and a goal to aim for.
Apart from this, I love to explore food! My passion for cooking has been inherited from my mother and grandmother and I truly treasure the recipes that have been passed down the generations.
2. Why Landor? And how has the journey on the boat been so far?
Being from a research background that was rather black and grey, I craved to understand the other side of the fence. I have always wanted to explore the world of branding and I was fortunate to have been told about an opening at Landor while I was exploring further opportunities. I instantaneously knew this was where my next training school had to be – after all, Landor is the Mecca of branding! Landor’s fascinating history surely added to the list of reasons for me to join the place.
At Landor, every day is different, and every project presents new challenges. I love being able to see a project from start to finish, or at least to understand and influence its development. Many of my friends at other agencies have very narrow breadths of responsibilities, and they often never know how, where, or if their work ended up in the final deliverable.
Landor supports you to craft and shape your own career path. One isn’t forced to fit a mould or a linear path everyone has followed. We are encouraged to wear many different hats and explore beyond our job descriptions to identify our true calling. Through this type of cross-discipline collaboration, we often produce the most creative ideas and groundbreaking work and in the process, we are provided endless opportunities to explore, learn, and grow.
Since I joined Landor in February 2020, I was able to embrace the vibes of the office for only about a month due to the lockdown, however, it amazes me how soon I was made to feel like a part of the family!
3. One thing that anchors you in the world of brands and design
In today’s fast-paced and digitally driven society, humanity is becoming the new premium. In the sea of sameness, successful brands connect with audiences, pull their heartstrings, and engage with them on a deeper level. That’s where brand storytelling comes in and what I find to be a fascinating facet in the branding world. Instead of only giving consumers reasons to buy your product, it is essential to start sharing the story behind the brand, why it exists, and why this matters and have it consistently communicated across all touchpoints. Wrapping one’s message into a story that transports people and evokes an emotional response is what truly anchors me in this dynamic world!
4. What is your superpower that’s hidden from the world?
5. Three things you tend to do once you shut your laptop
- Yoga – One of the pitfalls of remote working is that you can easily fall into the trap of a sedentary lifestyle. Yoga has been a magical discovery for me during this lockdown! I tend to catch up on my sessions post my work hours – it has not only boosted my health but helped me stay focused and motivated during these
- Staying connected – I try to make time to catch up for real conversations with my friends and family (at times with a glass of red to really unwind).
- But disconnecting too! – I make sure to disconnect and unplug to completely recharge myself (put electronics somewhere off-limits). It truly makes for a better and more productive evening, making me more refreshed for the next
6. Any WFH hacks you’ve discovered since the lockdown
During other times, working from home was considered to be a hack but here we are, finding hacks to a hack! Here are some of my tips and tricks that have helped me over the months:
- Designate a workspace – whether it’s a spare room, converted garage, yurt, or hanging nest, designate a workspace for work and only for work. It is essential to create an environment for yourself that creates the sense that you’re leaving personal time and entering work time.
- Get ‘ready’ for work / wear makeup – yeah, really! I guess somewhere subconsciously it takes you out of ‘hanging out at home’ mode and makes you feel at work. Weirdly, this means I get more done!
- Use a whiteboard – I tend to jot down all my tasks for the day on a whiteboard. I also write down any ideas that come to mind or quick reminders as then they are there, glaring me in the face and I can’t forget about them
- Have a functioning coffee machine!