The CMO Files: Prem K Viswanath, CloudCherry

What keeps CMOs awake at night?

Get inside the minds of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job... and what keeps them awake at night.


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Prem K Viswanath

Organisation: CloudCherry

Job title: Co-founder & Chief Brand Officer

Location: Currently based in Chennai, India



  1. Where were you born and raised?
    I was born in Chennai, India but spent years in Calgary & Toronto, Canada. Moved back to Chennai which has been home for the last decade.
  2. What was your first job?  
    My very first job was as a promoter with a product promotions company – I was out on the streets offering samples of new products (Fun fact: this included Diet Coke when it first launched in India, so I can claim to have played a part in its success today!)
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?  
    The internet – how we take it for granted today! I still remember the moment I got my very first connection – Paying $50+ a month for a connection that took 5 minutes to go online (if it did!), made those weird noises, and offered whopping speeds of 9.6Kbps! It was the greatest thing ever!
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    My career has taken many turns along the way and I’ve been lucky to have interacted, worked and learnt from some extremely talented people – I’ve had great bosses, co-workers, professors, peers and owe a little bit of who I am to all of them.
    I’ve also had the “privilege” of interacting with folk who made me say to myself “this is who you shouldn’t become!” (We all have those, don’t we?)
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    Weathering through the tough times that came my way in every step of life. I’ve seen so many people who’ve unfortunately succumbed in similar situations, but I’ve managed to make it past, and can proudly look back to say “hey, that wasn’t too bad after all!”
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Basing my success on benchmarks set by other people.  
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    I’d like to say that I’m a stickler for detail – I can’t stand those little things that grate on the senses. Also, I always look to put my team and my people first – success is bigger than your own individual achievements.
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    Needing all the information, and clear direction before I start anything – lack of clarity is my kryptonite.
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
    That it’s both tactical & strategic, but one directly affects the outcome of the other. While you might set a strategic vision, the little tactical changes you make along the way as the gameplay changes invariably makes your strategic vision look completely different 6 months down the line – bringing it back in line is key.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    Not so much a mantra, but something that resonates with me is “You’ll never walk alone” – never lose heart, and never lose hope (Can’t say that I follow it all the time, but I try!)
    One that really gets me is “It’s not my job” – sorry, but it is! For an organisation to succeed, every single person needs to take it on themselves and do everything needed to get there.  
  11. What makes you stressed?
    The artificial stress created by the thought of a task ahead of me – creating a mountain out of it before starting off and getting bogged down by how arduous the climb is going to be (only to realise that when it’s actually started, it was nothing!)
  12. What do you do to relax?
    Can’t really bring it down a few activities, but if I had to say what I enjoy the most – music, rowing (and anything else related to sport), cooking. I’ve also found a new love in HIIT.
  13. What is your favourite song?
    In recent times, almost everything released by the Imagine Dragons. Going back though, huge fan of the Beatles, Iron Maiden, U2, and anything 90’s and before. 
  14. Which book taught you most?
    Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – a simple, heartfelt account of how he humanized technology. The other was Lovemarks: The future beyond brands by Kevin Roberts – ever since I read it, it’s been my dream to build a brand that can fit this framework!
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    Liverpool FC, McLaren F1, Roger Federer. I’m a huge sports fan & love to try out any new sport/activity.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    If it ever comes by, I’d love to live and work in Singapore! It feels like home every time I visit.
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    Hands down, IKEA!
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    You’re learning every day, you opportunities to experiment (and continue to do so even after hundreds of failures!) the joy of every single little victory (things we tend to overlook in larger organizations) and of course, seeing my people grow and them being able to celebrate their successes.
  19. What is your favourite book?
    Metamorphoses by Ovid, The Strain Trilogy by Chuck Hogan & Guillermo Del Toro, The Harry Potter Series, Life & Times of A She Devil by Fay Weldon.
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    Social media & my to-do list.