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Urbane, curious and fiercely passionate about the role of brands, Rupen Desai’s unique blend of experience includes more than two decades at advertising powerhouse Lowe Lintas, followed by two years as part of Edelman’s transformation. All of which adds up to his self-described role as an ‘accidental marketer’ at Dole, where he has reinvigorated the company’s role in society, via six ambitious promises that revolve around sustainable, inclusive growth.
Desai’s progress at Dole, where he serves as one of the few global CMOs based in Asia, is worth watching, not least because he harbours few illusions about the classic brand advertising model. But he surely recognises the enormous influence they can wield, illustrated through ambitious campaigns to tackle LGBTQIA+ rights and malnutrition as he rebuilds Dole’s brand purpose platform.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
The restatement of the Dole purpose, launch of its promises and earned-at-the-core work like Malnutrition Labels, our partnership with Pinatex and our ‘Quaran-Tensions’ campaign.
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Convergence between the growth language of marketing and the 'Do no harm' language of sustainability within an organization.
What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
The resilience of the talent that has moved from surviving to thriving.
What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
The lack of real action, even when called out.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness over the past year?Meditation and reading Calvin and Hobbes.
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through the past year or provided inspiration?
‘Deep Purpose’ by Ranjay Gulati and repeated watching of 'Here's To The Crazy Ones' by Apple.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Still growing brands my conscience can live with...
Sum up 2022 in one word.
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