Brand Chat with Dinesh Sandhu

December 4, 2015


2 min read



Dinesh Sandhu and I worked together at McCann Worldgroup Malaysia in 2004. We've been friends ever since. He was a senior colleague at McCann, and also acted as my mentor. He continued to master his craft in the Agency land while I went over to the Client side. Dinesh had served in various senior regional roles at TBWA\ and Havas and he is currently the Regional Touchpoints Director, South East Asia at Hakuhodo Communications Asia, based in Singapore. He has a significant role in securing new businesses in the region, driving the thought leadership agenda and winning multiple regional accolades while at it. Always upbeat, cheerful and positive, Dinesh is great to be around with. 


I caught up with him recently to chat about brand and communications -  what else! - what we both are passionate about. I love to hear insights and inputs from the leaders in the industry and Dinesh had graciously agreed to my Q&As. Read on what we talked about...



M: How long have you been involved in branding and communications? 

Dinesh: A little over 20 years. I began my career at McCann in Malaysia in the early 90’s. They were at that time, the world’s foremost network agency not to mention the biggest. The next 20 years were a wonderful ride and continue to be so. My career has evolved over the years. I currently wear a number of hats at Hakuhodo, namely media, strategy, digital and M&A/partnerships.



M: What about it that you love so much? 

Dinesh: Brands are the cornerstone of consumerism and industrialisation. The two factors that drive the economy. The economy that creates opportunities, employment, wealth and a culture of sophistication. Our role every day is to ensure that virtuous cycle operates flawlessly. The adrenaline rush of being in a new business pitch, the thrill of the chase, the fulfilment of winning a Client or an award can’t be beat. The other part to the equation is working with young talent entering the industry. They bring a sense of innocence, wonder and energy. I learn much more from our younger team members everyday than from any management bible.



M: What are the major trends now? 

Dinesh: Memorable branding, content, target audience and one-to-one marketing are still very much focus areas. Not too different than when the early days of advertising is it? The difference now is that technology enables speed to market, accuracy and sharper results. A consequence of that is the social web marketing arsenal, digital media in the broadest sense and marketing automation.



M: How can brands benefit from it? 

Dinesh: Accuracy and measurement of messaging and targeting. Measuring response (or the lack of it). The ability to correct the course of communication in mid-stream. To be topical. Eliminating wastage.



M: What is the one leadership lesson that you'd like to share? 

Dinesh: Surround yourself with potential winners and proven winners. Learn from them as much as they learn from you. Be humble. Humility goes a long way in this business. Be intelligently brave. Never ever say its over, till its really done and dusted.



M: What about teamwork? 

Dinesh: Be inclusive and personable. It pays to shut your mouth and open your ears. Don’t have a clique and don’t promote cliques. Most of all be passionate. Passion and confidence are infectious.



M: What is your favourite inspiring brainy quote? And why do you like it? 

Dinesh: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”. Rumour has it Steve Jobs wrote the copy for this momentous “Think Different’ campaign in 1997 with a little help from the legendary Lee Clow. 


I believe that it embodies everything we are as a people, as individuals, as nations, as an industry and as global citizenry trying to preserve our way of life while making our world a better place for mankind.



Thank you Dinesh for the catch up. Never a dull moment over our coffee and tea! Till next time.






For more information on Hakuhodo, click here:






M Consulting, the branding and marketing strategy development and activation consultancy was founded by Mawarni Adam, an award winning marketer with over 13 years of experience in branding and integrated marketing across multiple industries in the ASEAN region. It is her passion in building, revamping, turning around a portfolio, leading change and breathing new life into stagnant business situations that propelled her to establish her own marketing consultancy. Helping others make a positive difference in their businesses excites her. Her direct experience in the Subscription Video-On-Demand, Airline, Insurance, Loyalty, E-commerce, Banking, Venture Capital and Advertising industries, will bring an integrated perspective and valuable marketing input, strategy development and execution to any business. 


Read more about Mawarni here: About M



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