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MediaCom’s Latha Sundaram

MediaCom's Latha Sundaram

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TRENDSETTERS: MediaCom's Latha Sundaram Advocates Cultural Agility & Purpose-Driven Marketing

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

Over the course of her 25-year career in media and advertising, Latha Sundaram has become passionate about the role global organizations can play to drive positive social change. While her position as Group Business Leader, Executive Director at MediaCom is to lead purpose-driven marketing and communication strategies for multinational companies, she believes her passion for the "power of people" and her viewpoint as a woman of color and global citizen can have a transformative effect in today's advertising world.

From her definition of "active collaboration" to new thoughts on disruption and reinvention, Latha Sundaram speaks with authority on issues of cultural agility, which she sees as a term that goes beyond diversity and inclusion to encompass wider cultural perspectives.

To hear more from Latha, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as she not only redefines the language of contemporary marketing, but shares some interesting thoughts on media's role in purpose.  CLICK HERE

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • Have the considerations for purpose changed at all in the last year?
  • Are consumers at the center of driving brands to being more purpose-led? 
  • What is media's role in purpose.  Are we now evolving to be conscious about when not to convey messages?
  • You talk a lot about cultural agility and a sense of global community, how does that factor into your purpose-led work?
  • How do you balance the intention of purpose with solid results or tangible measurement for your clients?
  • What's your view on some of today's buzzwords: Purpose Fatigue?  Brand Activism? Virtue Signaling? Mock Altruism?
  • What do you see ahead for brands in this emerging world of stakeholder capitalism?  More partnerships with non-profits or NGOs?  With competitors?  With governments?  With local communities?

Latha was worked throughout the world in leadership roles for several global media agencies and was born in Chicago to East Indian parents and educated at Northwestern University with a degree in Sociology and Economics.  She first caught the attention of The Internationalist in 2007 when she was named an Agency Innovator for her work at Starcom.  Interestingly, she was quoted then as saying, "In baseball, you can go to bat 10 times, and a person who is successful on three attempts but fails the other seven is considered a star. I encourage my team to consistently serve up innovations and recognize that not everyone will be a home run — but that one idea that does make it out of the park will make up for all the others."  We have a feeling that she continues to live by that rule today.