Reema is a brand strategist with a rich experience in branding and business with three Masters Degrees as well as work experience across five countries. She recently graduated from the Master’s in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts, New York where she was awarded a Brand Masters Award for academic excellence.
Her previous Masters Degrees were in Management and Strategy & Consulting at EDHEC Business School in France after which she did marketing internships with Bosch in Singapore and L’Oréal in Dubai. She then worked as a Brand Strategist and Business Development Manager for 4 years at Elephant Design, India where she played a pivotal role in being a brand partner to over 30 clients such as Nestlé, Uber, Colgate, Kellogg’s, among others.
She was awarded the honor of being on India’s Top 30 under 30 list for talented individuals in the Media and Advertising ecosystem by Impact Magazine.
She is passionate about DIY crafting which led to her founding a start-up ‘Cardit’ where she handcrafts cards & home décor products. She loves learning about different cultures through travel and media. Her personal project on Love Languages explores love in various cultures across the world.
Why are you into Branding?
A brand exists in the minds of people. It is an idea that people collectively believe in. Branding is the act of creating differentiation to help form a connection with people. It is creative storytelling and has the potential to inform human behavior. The power to affect social change through creativity is what draws me to the field of branding.
Tell us something about NYC’s School Of Visual Arts.
New York City is a destination for several creative minds and SVA has been fostering such artists, designers, and creative professionals since its founding in 1947. I pursued the Master’s in Branding program at SVA, which is the first and longest-running program of its kind in the world. The accelerated one-year program offers students the opportunity to learn from industry experts, work on real-world client projects, and a chance to get mentored by successful professionals.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
This one is completely away from the world of design. The one role model that my dad always referenced in his motivational lectures to me was Steffi Graf. My dad spent most of his prime years watching Steffi rise in her career as a tennis player. She held her No. 1 ranking for 377 cumulative weeks, the longest reign of any male or female player in history. Her rigor and excellence in every game, with a strong comeback after every missed opportunity, resulting in dominant wins have proven to be truly inspirational.
Who is the most influential personality in your career in Branding?
Debbie Millman, illustrator, author, educator, curator, and host of the podcast Design Matters. She is named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA. She is also the Chair of the Master’s in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts. I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by her throughout the program and even after.
Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
I believe that inspiration lies everywhere if you look properly. I get ideas from TV shows, music, social media, or even conversations with family and friends. Simple everyday life experiences have the potential to spark ideas. As the author, Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
You have three wonderful Masters Degrees. What inspires you to keep learning and evolving your outlook towards brands, visuals and strategy?
I’ve lived in five different countries and traveled to twenty others. Having experienced these different cultures, I developed a sense of empathy and open-mindedness towards how people behave. The study of human behavior plays a crucial role in developing any brand strategy. It is important to stay updated with cultural trends and economic changes in the world, as this directly impacts how brands should communicate. All these factors have kept me eager to learn!
Tell us something about your 100 Days of Love Languages Project. What made you select Love Languages, amongst a world full of commercial brands and commoditised expressions?
The emotion of romantic love is very powerful but at the same time very confusing. It is a very personal emotion and makes people behave in certain inexplicable ways. Love is an emotion that is felt by everyone, no matter where they come from. But the expression of love is different in every culture. I set out on a journey of 100 days exploring love in one culture each day in an effort to decode love. I articulated unique expressions of romantic culture and visualized it in the form of a handmade paper card through cut-out maps, doodles, and the regional language script.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Every individual is a product of their lived experiences, resulting in a uniqueness that is personal to them. I believe that every creative professional should embrace this uniqueness and allow it to show in the work you create.
What’s your dream project?
I’d love to work on a branding project for an independent bookstore. For me, reading is a way to disengage from the everyday to-do lists and stress. It is like entering a different world, a world that the author creates in their book. It almost feels like paradise. I want to bring to life this experience within a bookstore. And also take a stab at trying to keep independent bookstores from dying at the hands of e-commerce giants and technological advancements.
Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
In 15 years I would love to have worked with clients from every industry sector as a brand consultant. Gaming, Tech, Fashion, Food & Beverages, Transport, etc. – each industry has its own challenges and I love to go down rabbit holes in trying to understand these. It fuels that curiosity that lives within me!
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
I’d love an opportunity to chat with Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer, over dinner. His popular books like Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, and Wind-up Bird Chronicle are full of musings and introspection about the banality of everyday life, sprinkled with some fantasy creatures. So fascinating!
What’s on your iPod? Spotify? Podcast?
I recently finished listening to Radiolingo, a podcast that investigates all the ways language shapes our world and how our world shapes language. Absolutely recommend!
Mac or PC?
Mac, hands down.
What’s your Twitter Handle? Instagram?
You can find me on Instagram @reemamehta27 or follow my project @100daysoflovelanguages