As MullenLowe Lintas Group rebrands GolinOpinion to Lintas Live, Ameer Ismail and Virat Tandon tell us everything that will change, and everything that won’t
Virat Tandon, Group CEO, MullenLowe Lintas Group and Ameer Ismail, (current) President GolinOpinionBI India
MullenLowe Lintas Group has appointed Sarvesh Raikar as the Creative Head of Lintas Live

As MullenLowe Lintas Group rebrands GolinOpinion to Lintas Live, Ameer Ismail and Virat Tandon tell us everything that will change, and everything that won’t

MullenLowe Lintas Group has appointed Sarvesh Raikar as the Creative Head of Lintas Live
  • MullenLowe Lintas Group has today announced the launch of its digital-first creative PR agency Lintas Live in India.
  • In an industry-first move, by a PR agency, Lintas Live has appointed Sarvesh Raikar as its Creative Head.
  • We talk to Ameer Ismail, (current) President GolinOpinion and Virat Tandon, Group CEO, MullenLowe Lintas Group about what this transformation really means and why it was necessary.
With an aim of transforming GolinOpinion into a digital-first, creative PR agency, the MullenLowe Lintas Group has rebranded GolinOpinion as Lintas Live. Owing to the fact that consumers are spending more and more time online and the Digital medium has become a critical medium in a brand’s journey of brand-building, this newly launched PR and Communication agency’s framework will now be powered by data-led insights and LIVE storytelling across digital and conventional platforms.

To also do justice to its promise of transforming into a PR agency that is led by creative thought, in an industry-first move, MullenLowe Lintas Group has also announced the appointment of Sarvesh Raikar as its Creative Head.

The agency that was founded in 1990 has over the years had a rich roster of clients that include Seiko, Etihad Airways, Tata Starbucks, Sony Pictures Networks and Porsche. This transformation move comes at a time when how brands communicate and consumers behave is evolving on an everyday-basis. The aim of the agency is to catch the pulse of every trending and topical conversation happening online, and using creativity to make brands a part of the trends.

To understand what this rebranding would entail and how things will change while also remaining the same, we caught up with Ameer Ismail, (current) President GolinOpinion and Virat Tandon, Group CEO, MullenLowe Lintas Group. They shed some light on how the rebranding and restructuring will transform not just the way they work as an agency but also will help them come up with relevant communication to help brands in their brand-building journey.


Q) How did the idea of this transition to Lintas Live come into being and why was it necessary?

VT: We had started this conversation even before Covid. Firstly, we wanted to create a digital-first PR offering and secondly, we have a global play in PR as MullenLowe in the US, Europe and Singapore and we wanted to bring that model into the country. We have been working on this transition for the last 4 months now and we are happy to share that we’re going to launch a digital-first and also a creative-first PR offering. It’s a bold move, but it is something that the market needs right now. What also makes it special is that the last 6 months we have been seeing a lot more digital adoption by marketers and therefore it was the perfect time for us to launch this.

AI: I have seen the world of PR change quite significantly. If you look at the reality of news today, consumption and sharing of information is all in real-time and that’s the genesis of our thinking that we needed to re-organize and reorient ourselves in this new reality.

Q) What exactly does a digital-first and creative first agency mean?

VT: There was a time when opinions were made on news media itself. That time has really changed now. Today people in the networked platforms with opinions, who are leading conversations, really matter for corporates and brands. Therefore, a lot of opinions are being created and shared online. The other part is, there is so much data available online that can really inform your PR strategy. That is something we are keen to tap into.

The other bit is as a creative agency, our PR offering is a standalone company but as a DNA, we bring to the category a creative might which we feel is becoming increasingly relevant even in the PR space and we wanted to leverage that and bring a big creative punch into our work and campaigns. Sarvesh Raikar, a very senior creative head at Lowe Lintas who is already running a big team that does the global creative work on Lifebuoy and various other mandates, will be coming on board in addition to that role, as the creative head for the new company.

AI: Our new name Lintas Live reflects that in today’s environment. Today, everything about brands, be it an individual or a corporate brand, or a brand that you as a consumer go out looking for, needs live conversations. Today, the landscape has changed drastically. People are no longer exclusively dependent on a certain channel for news. They consume news through social platforms and portals and so many other repositories of information that this kind of intervention from an agency is the most important criteria in this new world that we’re living in. That reality got fuelled increasingly more after the pandemic hit us. We have seen information and data that suggests it’s going to continue for sometime and we are not going to lose our dependency on this kind of information that we need to consumer. And information leads to choice and in that mix, the relevance and abundance of data and how you use it to carve out insights is extremely critical.

From a PR and storytelling point of view, it can give you a rich base of information that will help you carve out your PR strategy for clients and that will be a visible differentiator as we move forward. And if you look at it from a future play, it’s the predictive capabilities of AI and machine learning that will give you a chance to see conversations and trends and then decide how to place your brand conversations there.

Q) The restructuring will also mean the way you work will see a transformation. How are you driving this change within the organization?

VT: We’ve seen this coming and there is a fair bit of distance we have already travelled in the way we work today. The team has already been working on some campaigns following this line of thought and that gave us a lot of confidence. We were in a very good place to concretize this offering. The only new piece we are bringing in now is a creative lead and a little later, a digital lead. We have some capability in data and digital but we will strengthen that further.

AI: Our day-to-day working will change. We are restructuring some part of the group into what we call live communities that will help in adding value to what we are currently doing. This will be different from a PR agency structure and offering but the core of what we do will remain the same. We’re still committed to impactful storytelling for clients and brand-building for them through earned media and whatever else that we do. We anyway have a very strong social media team and ecosystem that is part of our PR offering which we launched a number of years ago. Within that there are creative people and content colleagues. All we intend to do is to power this much further to reflect the kind of promise and offering that we have planned.

Q) You speak about forming live communities within the agency. Can you tell us more?

AI: Our transformation also means we are reorganizing our team members into live communities. We will have 3 communities who we are calling Trendspotters, Creative Architects and Newjackers. Trendspotters are a team of people who extremely enthusiastic about the digital universe. They will scan this universe for relevant news and conversations, track what is trending and capture relevant topics in client reports. These days, if there is a trending conversation, it gets picked up by news media and gets cascaded on to TV too. We are looking for opportunities like these through our trendspotting team that can be relevant for our clients. Once they capture that news or information, they pass it on to the second group, the creative architects who will understand where the opportunities lie and start churning out content relevant to that particular trend or insight that can in turn be flipped back to the client for approval and that can go out as information in interesting formats. And this second community is the one that will be powered by Sarvesh and some additional people who will get new kind of competencies to deliver that promise. The last community is that of the newsjackers. This is the team that will take this content developed by creative architects to journalists or bloggers or any other mediums that is best suited to get conversations going on the brand. These three communities will interplay to really enrich and bring alive our vision.

Q) Going ahead, as this transformed PR agency, what will the key focus areas of Lintas Live be?

AI: We have had a long and successful journey. The business was launched by the agency in the 90’s. We have had a long tenure where we’ve worked with clients across every imaginable sector. We enjoy fantastic relationships with them even today. If you look at the future play of what we intent to do, it’s bucketed under corporate brands and brand PR. Those are the 2 areas of focus which will continue to be important to us as we grow our business.

VT: Delivery-wise, we’re looking at the traditional PR which is media training and relations etc but also further strengthening our influencer practice, social media as well as our content business. We have added the ‘live’ in our name because we are living in a digital, always-on, connected ecosystem which therefore leads to opportunities for brands and corporates every minute. We want to be there with our finger on the pulse and be able to act on those opportunities to help our clients.

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