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Vineet Mehra

Vineet Mehra 


Marketing and Technology


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TRENDSETTERS: Ancestry's CMO Vineet Mehra Shares How Purpose & Performance are a Marketer's Responsibility

Vineet Mehra, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer of, the digital genealogy and DNA research company, believes that to become a "modern marketing organization, you need a brand side and a performance side at the same time." 

For Mehra, brand marketing encompasses thought leadership and brand building at scale, while performance marketing is more transactional with its emphasis on sales leads and last-click acquisitions.  He has demonstrated how combining the two can make a significant difference in brand growth and deep consumer connections. 

He also believes that to affectively drive growth, the structure of a marketing organization must change and be managed as one collective whole to ensure that the "brand side and performance side are humming at the same time."  Interestingly, within his own worldwide marketing organization, Mehra manages a combination of brand generalists and hyper-specialists.

Speaking at the ANA's Masters of Marketing Annual Conference last month, he also outlined how brands can play a new role in energizing consumers to affect positive change.  Vineet Mehra expresses Ancestry's purpose as enabling journeys of personal discovery that collectively inspire a world of greater understanding and belonging.  He adds, "If we are more similar, then empathy is easier."

To bring such purpose to life, he has leveraged technology and creativity to meaningfully connect with global consumers.  Mehra admits, "Ancestry sells the most personal product on earth," and in doing so, he has crafted a way to encourage consumers to tell Ancestry's purpose story.  The brand's growth in a relatively new category also demonstrates how the company has engaged people with both its product and its marketing.  The discoveries around the DNA testing process are core to a person's emotional journey, as well as to content that resonates with curious consumers.

Vineet Mehra's goal is "to take our customers and invite them into every part of our content ecosystem." Ancestry is certainly well-known for its long-form programming with series like Finding Your Roots on PBS and Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC.  These shows feature celebrities on a journey that reveals their ancestry through DNA testing and historical documents that bring a family tree to life with personal drama and often surprising discoveries.

Mehra underscores that a combination of captivating content and a branded message is at the heart of keeping Ancestry's marketing relevant.  Yet the fascination with one's own DNA and historic roots can play out naturally in entirely unsponsored segments. NBC's Al Roker, for example, spent five minutes on the Today Show outlining his own Ancestry findings of his African origins. 

Ancestry also creates provocative short-form content, and the company's Fourth of July message was particularly clever.  This execution revealed direct descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence by creating a historic tableau of contemporary men and women of diverse backgrounds and ethnic origins who were all related to America's founding fathers.

According to Vineet Mehra, "When you think about what's happening in the world today with the overall rise of nationalism and the separation of peoples, this brand can connect us and take a point of view in the space.  Now that's powerful."

He adds, "Brands should think of purpose as a beginning, not the end. Marketers should operationalize purpose by having your consumers be the voice of your purpose.  At Ancestry, we no longer have actors in our advertising and content creation.  We want the authentic voice of our customers, so we simply feature them."

Vineet Mehra is a true internationalist. Born in India and raised in Canada, he has led teams across Asia, Europe, North America, and South America at some of the world's most respected companies, while driving brand growth in categories as diverse as Skin Care, Hair Care, Cosmetics, Food, and Consumer Health/OTC. He has lived and worked in several of the world's most creative and diverse cities-- Toronto, New York, Singapore, Bombay, and Geneva.

Prior to Ancestry, Vineet held key leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson including Global President - Baby Care, where he was leading the transformation of their $3Billion flagship portfolio of brands, and Global President - Marketing Services, where he held responsibility for J&J's $2Billion+ global media budget.   

His previous roles included: Global Vice President of Cosmetics/Color at Avon (New York), Vice President of Marketing for Europe at Novartis Consumer Healthcare (Geneva); North American Category Director- Analgesics at Norvartis Consumer Health; Head of Marketing- Canada for Norvartis Consumer Health Canada; Marketing Manager- Cereals and Snacks for General Mills Canada; Regional Brand Manager/South East Asia- Beauty Care at Procter & Gamble (Singapore) and a first role at Procter & Gamble Canada for Beauty Care.