About Suad Marchant, Senior Vice President & Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Communications for Mashreq Bank

Suad Merchant is the Senior Vice President & Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Communications for Mashreq Bank – UAE’s oldest  bank in the MENA region having a strong presence spanning 13 countries.

In her current role, Suad has established and driven the brand strategy, corporate communications, PR, ESG marketing & communication at the Group level. Suad plays an integral role in defining Mashreq’s strategic vision as the organization’s communication custodian while exemplifying its digital transformation journey by ensuring a focus on customer-centricity.

Suad’s career began in India at McCann WorldGroup 19 years ago. As a Communication head, she helped several brands such as MasterCard International, Microsoft, Kraft Foods and L’Oréal. Her work spanned globally across multiple markets including EMEA, UK, US, Australia, China and India.

Before joining Mashreq, Suad played a pivotal role in establishing the ‘Global Integrated Marketing’ team at Hewlett Packard for 12 countries, post which, she was a crucial catalyst during the brand merger for First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) in the UAE.

Suad’s experience and achievements are meticulously rooted in agile-thinking, and shaped to encompass a digital-first approach to marketing and communications. Suad particularly excels at forming thriving strategic partnerships and collaboration between key stakeholders and marrying business needs with the organization’s core customers.

By formal education, Suad holds a Masters in Business Management, a Masters in Digital Business and a Diploma in Advertising & PR.

About her thoughts for the industry 

I have always been drawn to the power of storytelling and its ability to connect with people. But beyond building brands, I have also felt a strong desire to use this power to help people and stand for the greater good.

As I grew up, I observed people and their behaviors, communication styles, and reactions in different situations. When I bring together my knowledge of human behavior and my understanding of brands, I realize that the purpose of a brand and the organization is what it stands for. This purpose should go beyond making profits and contribute to a greater good.

Companies need to have a clear sense of direction and articulate their contribution to the wider good. However, it is the brand values that truly connect with consumers and make a tangible impact on them. If we communicate these values effectively and connect with people who care about the brand’s purpose, we create “fansumers” rather than just consumers.

We saw this trend emerge with brands discussing relevant topics in 2020 to stand out online. Now, more and more brands are using their power to connect and create awareness about issues that matter beyond their functional needs. This long-term vision to create a difference fascinates me as a marketer.

As marketeers, we have the power to make a difference through storytelling and communication on the right channels. However, for this to happen, we need to believe in the higher good, and the organization needs to support us by providing the resources to communicate this through their official channels.

Brand purpose is not just about having opinions on issues like sustainability and diversity. It is a complex balance that could drive long-term brand strength and performance if approached correctly and by the right brands. It goes beyond social or brand activism and involves creating shared value for customers.

We must also recognize our customers’ purpose and create shared value by using the right mediums or channels to build a wider ecosystem. For instance, meaningful conversations are essential to drive engagement and connect with our audience.

Creativity has no boundaries, and a true marketeer is not restricted by resources or a brief. If we can imagine it, we can do it. The headline matters, but so does the authenticity of the brand and its story and what it truly stands for.