Raja Rajamannar | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Raja Rajamannar

Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and President, Healthcare
MasterCard
US

@RajaRajamannar

 

Raja Rajamannar is responsible for building the Mastercard brand, driving business and advancing sustainable competitive edge for the company. He joined the credit card company in 2013, bringing with him more than 25 years of extensive experience as a global executive in the consumer products, financial services and healthcare. Since then, he has overseen the successful rebranding of Mastercard in 2016 – the organization’s first major rebrand effort in 20 years – and led the integration of both marketing and communications to create one global function. 
 
He explained his philosophy for marketing and communications at Cannes earlier this year, observing that "consumers hate interruption…. They are paying money to keep these pesky marketers out. We have to realize that advertising is not the way going forward." That belief has signaled a shift towards more sponsorships and expanded experiential marketing.
 
Prior to Mastercard, Rajamannar served as chief transformation officer of the health insurance firm Anthem (formerly WellPoint). He had also served as chief executive, international and chief innovation & marketing officer at Humana, and earlier spent 15 years with Citigroup including a stint as global chief marketing officer, cards and payments. He has been named one of the “World’s Most Influential CMOs” by Forbes magazine twice, and was recognized by AdWeek as one of the “Top 50 Most Tech Savvy CMOs in the World.”

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
The challenge is social media: the consumer voice is stronger than ever and issues can escalate faster than ever – and transcend borders. There is no such thing as a local campaign any more. The biggest opportunity is the ability to self-publish and make and shape stories without traditional media intervention. Businesses and brands have a much more direct route to their audience, as well as the traditional opinion formers.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
“Mad Men”. On the surface this a TV show about advertising, but it transcends all disciplines in my opinion. It applies to anyone working in an agency, working for a brand, and dealing with perception. There are lessons in every episode!