Brands to Stands – Every Brand Needs a Point of View

In a world awash with brands, most of them are either unable to chart a clear course in today’s uncertain marketplace or are drowning in a sea of sameness. The solution is in ‘Distinctive Advantage’, not ‘Competitive Advantage’. Something that is exclusively derived from point of view, not point of difference.

It is a ‘Stand’. A stand comes from what is true and inherent to the brand. It is purpose-driven and not market-driven. It is about the why and not the what. About advocates and not consumers. About what you buy into and not what you buy. About the next quarter century and not the next quarter.

MullenLowe Lintas Group’s brand positioning philosophy of ‘BRANDS to STANDS’ is a brand’s definitive declaration of what it believes in and fights for, a brand taking a stand to fulfil a higher order purpose, thereby transforming itself into a catalyst for social change. It floats an idea that aims to inspire more brands and businesses to embrace this fresh new wave of thinking.

The impact of this pioneering philosophy has now been distilled into BRANDS to STANDS – Every brand needs to have a point of view, a compendium that celebrates the captivating stories of how over 25 of India’s leading brands have created brand marketing history by adopting a point of view, taking a stand and spearheading purposeful action.

Authored by S. Subramanyeswar, Chief Strategy Officer – APAC of MullenLowe Global, the book provides important lessons for the future direction of brand strategy in creating inspiring brands that take a stand.



By Balki


When it first appeared, the word ‘Brand’ had the ring of a unique personality and stood for something distinctive. Today, everything is a brand. Subbu was one of the first strategists who passionately believed that if brands need to remain in the heads and hearts of people, they need to stand for something higher… a higher purpose. The examples in this book have all been pioneers in this direction. These are Brands that became Stands.


By Harish Bhat


The reason why this book is so important is because the over 25 stories that Subbu has chosen to present, hold memorable lessons for us. Lessons in building strong brands that sustain, because they have chosen to take a stand. These brands have risen from product truths to brand truths to life truths, and in making this transition seamlessly over the years, they have entrenched themselves in the minds and hearts of millions of consumers.

Over 25 Brands and their Point of Views (POVs)

Roll over your cursor on the Brand logos below to reveal their POVs

Anecdotes from over 75 advertisers and marketers

  • “Through 25 brand stories, this book captures evocatively, the success Subbu and the rest of the Lintas leadership across Business, Strategic Planning and Creative have managed to achieve with a singularly pursued philosophy towards brand building. While people ‘buy’ products, architecting what a consumer can and should ‘buy into’ about a brand and then landing it with impact and empathy, requires clarity and belief at an institutional level. That to me is the big win.”

    Joseph George
    Founder Chairman & Managing Director, Tilt Brand Solutions and Former Regional President – South & South East Asia + Group Chairman & CEO – India, MullenLowe Global

  • “A delightful guide to inspire anyone who values ideas and creativity in business. Subbu, in his inimitable style, has mined and presented the stories behind great stands that brands have taken. I’ve had the good fortune to play a small part in a lot of the brands in the book and I don’t think these brands could have asked for a better chronicler. Read this engaging and insightful book to learn how brands become famous.”

    Arun Iyer
    Founder & Creative Partner, Spring Marketing Capital and Former Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas

  • “When I read what Subbu has penned down, it all comes back very vividly. A fan and a major proponent of purpose-driven brands, Subbu would always remind the team of two things. One, in order to maintain long-term success, we have to remember why the brand started down this road in the first place, and do everything in our power to make sure you never forget it. Two, great brands deserve great expectations.”

    Raj Gupta
    Business Consultant and Former Chief Executive Officer, Lowe Lintas

  • “The brand stories in this book illustrate how to create an intimate, intrinsic link between delivering a product benefit and taking a stand, all in the brand’s unique tonality. Purpose is an overused term these days, used to justify all manner of woke-washed waste of time and money. But a great purpose solves both - a societal problem and a business problem, and in doing so, cements your brand’s unique role in a consumer’s life.”

    Samir Singh
    EVP – Global Skin Cleansing & Oral Care, Unilever

  • “The historical background to each Brand, and detailing the progress on its journey towards the Stand, makes for fascinating reading. With the elaboration on the deep insight that led to the uncovering of the connection between the Brand and the Stand and suggesting a practical way for marketers to discover such a solid bridge in their own situations, Subbu has written a very valuable book for companies looking for new lessons in these challenging times.”

    C K Venkataraman
    Managing Director, Titan Company Limited

  • “One learnt long ago that leaders driven by purpose are those who create long-term value. This compendium cements the same belief about brands - that brands driven by a point of view and a sense of larger purpose are the ones that truly become leaders in their category. A must read, both for seasoned practitioners and students, for leaders and trainees - in short, for anyone who lives and loves the world of brands and business.”

    Punit Misra
    President – Content & International Markets, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

  • “This is a book that is as timely as it is insightful. There is so much talk about brands seeking a higher purpose and giving back to society, without a corresponding demonstration of how brands go about doing that in a meaningful and real way. Subbu shows us how it is done. The examples span a range of categories and contexts and bring alive the concept of Brand Purpose better than any theoretical explanation could.”

    Santosh Desai
    Managing Director & CEO, Future Brands

  • “Years of experience have been synthesised into an insightful narrative on brands. Practitioners of the marketing craft will have many interesting and useful directions from the book that they can rely on.”

    Varun Berry
    Managing Director, Britannia Industries Limited

  • “If purpose doesn't make your brand relevant, even urgent, in solving one of society's problems, it is of little use. But it is even less useful if it addresses a social issue, but has nothing to do with the intrinsic nature of the brand or product benefit. A great purpose solves both - a societal problem and a business problem, and in doing so, cements your brand's unique role in a consumer's life.”

    Samir Singh
    EVP – Global Skin Cleansing & Oral Care, Unilever

  • “This book reaffirms what I have always believed in - marketing is not about finding a business solution to a business problem, it's about finding a human solution to a business problem. These large, impactful brands don’t just tell you a story of the business, category or consumer, but they become a commentary on the society itself. Subbu helps us understand the brand as a part of the human ecosystem rather than merely a commercial ecosystem.”

    Partha Sinha
    President, Times of India Group

  • “Subbu leverages his considerable experience and expertise as a brand strategist to achieve a conceptual breakthrough in this refreshingly awakening book. The argument that brands must take a stand has great appeal, especially during these uncertain times when all of us are searching for meaning. The proposed concept of Brand Stand is set to trump Positioning, as it helps elevate the discourse from rational and emotional appeals, to something more engaging to consumers - higher purpose.”

    Prof. J. Ramachandran
    Faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

  • “Storytelling is a revered and artistic aspect of brand building. This volume embraces that mantra by sharing a collection of fascinating stories on how brands that take stances can transform consumers and industries.”

    Prof. Derek Rucker
    Faculty, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Illinois

A note from the author

Take a Stand. History will stand by it.
By Subbu

Most brands operate at the surface level. Even the ones that have a purpose, or have taken a stance, are limited to mere advertising slogans. They haven’t really explored how taking a stand can transform businesses.

Finding an inspiring stand for a brand, and keeping it at the heart of your business, not only creates sustained profitable growth, builds relevance in a rapidly changing world and deepens loyalty beyond reason with all stakeholders, but also changes the lives of individuals across the communities it serves, for the better.

Taking a stand is ultimately a matter of self expression. You cannot take a stand unless a little bit of you goes into it, be it your heart, your mind or your beliefs.

Whatever your passion, there’s sure to be a cause worthy enough for your brand to take a stand. And your actions might just make the world a better place!

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