There are creative people and then there are ‘strategically creative’ people. Arun Iyer, according to me, fits in the latter category. He is, by far, one of the most ‘strategic creative’ people I have met in my professional career. Let me explain: When most of us are looking at a business problem in front of us, Arun is busy looking at the opportunity that lies within that problem. He’s someone who is creative in applying the finest strategies when a brand is facing glitches of any kind. He is one of the few people who will find the most innovative ways to communicate the brand ethos to consumers and resolve problems in the most creative ways. In doing so, he will ensure he gently pushes the creative boundaries of his team, inspiring them to think beyond the obvious and look for the big idea that will be vital for the brand to reach out to consumers.
No surprise then that it’s an amazing experience to be a part of creative meetings when Arun and his team are in discussion. These aren’t ordinary meetings given that one is sure of receiving path-breaking ideas by Arun to push the brand to further success. Here’s someone who basically treats each brand differently using ‘brand filters’ that highlight the significance of the brand. In our case, for instance, Arun has always pushed the proverbial envelope and deployed tools that are critical in communicating the core beliefs and values of Tanishq.
A reason why he’s a name to reckon with in the Indian advertising fraternity is because all the work that he does is backed by beautiful customer insight. ‘Naya kya bataein consumer ko? (What new insight can we offer to the consumer?)’ is something that he says very often while discussing any creative. It is this questioning, spotting trends, seeing opportunities and handling everything meticulously and creatively that makes Arun a true rainmaker. Personally speaking, I love how Arun has this exceptional ability to draw insights from real life. In fact, that’s why when you see Tanishq ads they don’t look, well, made-up. They look real because they’re inspired from what Arun sees and observes around him.
Like most creative people, it can be difficult to convince Arun if he’s not sure of an idea or it doesn’t appeal to him. But what I’ve observed is that he’s a keen listener, always willing to hear what the client has in mind and what the views of others around him are. He is most understanding if an idea – no matter how creative – doesn’t work for the business or brand sensibilities. I see him as someone who is a rare combination of being a people’s person and being suitably task driven.