Transform 2011- What’s Next in Marketing, Media & Advertising

Transform 2011marketing conference

Transform 2011 marketing conference organized by Event Architects was held on Saturday the 15th of October 2011. The event comprised of some of the best marketers including Haseeb Ihtisham Nokia, Amin Rammal Brand Crew, Amer Sarfaraz  Bramerz, Shoaib Qureshy  Bulls Eye, Mansoor Nawaz Dynamic Marketing Concepts, Afzal Shahabuddin  Resource Edge, and Zainab Ansari Xenith Public Relations,  showcasing the paradigm shift  in marketing, media and advertising and how to make the most of the changing scenario for your brand.

(Q – Questions from the audience.)


Transform 2011marketing conference

Transform 2011marketing conferenceTransform 2011 marketing conference


Art of Communication through PR

Zainab Ansari – CEO Xenith Public Relations:

Zainab Ansari Xenith Public Relations

Zainab Ansari Xenith Public Relations

  • Public Relation plays the role of a catalyst.
  • Bridges the communication divide between organization and target audience.
  • PR informs, creates ideas, persuades people and makes things happen.
  • PR is not brand management but corporate image management.
  • While BM deals with brand identity and management, PR deals with corporate identity and perception management.
  • PR delivers credibility, influence and endorsement.
  • A survey was conducted by Reckitt Benckiser 11 years ago to determine its corporate image amongst the local populace.
  • Majority of the people didn’t know anything about Reckitt Benckiser. The only thing they did know was that Reckitt Benckiser manufactured Dettol, as such their entire perception of the organization was based on how they perceived Dettol. The brand image of Dettol was in essence the corporate image of Reckitt Benckiser.
  •  All the PR efforts of Reckitt Benckiser since then have focused on carving out a separate corporate identity.

 Q –  How do alcohol and tobacco companies do PR?

ü  Alcohol unlike in Pakistan is not banned in most countries and as such alcohol companies carry out PR directly as any other company in other industries.

ü  Tobacco has a plethora of stringent regulations imposed on them throughout the world and thus do PR more subtly.

ü  Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) does it by focusing solely on corporate social responsibility (CSR) – planting trees, especially those it has cut down for its manufacturing purposes as well as opening schools and hospitals in rural areas.

ü  Now the people who benefit from PTC’s such gestures will not start smoking because of it, but they do form a benign image of the company which is the real purpose of this strategy.

  • When Intel came to Pakistan in 1997, Pakistanis were not tech savvy. A survey was conducted across different segments of the society to find what people knew about Intel.
  • The overwhelming majority, including even the CEOs and students said that Intel was a box, meaning the CPU on which the ‘Intel Inside’ logo sticker was plastered.
  • Today the entire technology paradigm has shifted with even the students owning laptops and Intel has managed to become a household name through concerted PR efforts.
  • GreenStar relies a lot on PR efforts to penetrate and get its message across in the rural realm of Pakistan.

Q – How to determine efficiency of a PR campaign in the face of parallel massive advertising. GreenStar for instance promotes its products through songs and TVCs on a mass scale. How can you measure the effectiveness of a PR campaign when the BM campaign is creating so much awareness itself?

 ü  GreenStar came up with a product called EC (Emergency Contraceptive) which was a pill that would prevent conception 17-18 hours after the intercourse had taken place. This product was not allowed to be advertised.

ü  We came up with a PR initiative whereby professionals from across the medical profession were called to take part in a panel discussion. This discussion was so successful and created so much hype on its own that it received prominence in the print and electronic media. In the absence of any other tactic, the PR campaign was solely responsible for the success of this campaign.

ü  Secondly,  advertising per say doesn’t work in the rural environment the same way you and I wouldn’t be effective as strangers persuading the rural follk. The rural women are more likely to respond to the advice of influencers from within their own community, people who they look up to. And this is where PR proves as most effective.


Transforming the Brand Experience 

Afzal Shahabuddin – Managing Director – Resource Edge


Afzal Shahabuddin Resource Edge

Afzal Shahabuddin Resource Edge



  • Every interaction is an opportunity.
  • The conventional 360 degree has changed and every touch point needs to be differentiated to be able to impart value to the brand.
  • Liberty Books has started a DIAL-A-BOOK plan whereby books can be ordered and delivered free on a mere phone call anywhere in Pakistan.


Socializing Ideas across platforms

Amin Rammal CEO – The Brand Crew


Amin Rammal Brand Crew

Amin Rammal Brand Crew


  • Our perceptions and perceptive are constantly changing. For instance, no one asks if you get the flu, however if you’ve a heart attack like I did  sometime ago, everyone was inquiring about me. That’s because heart attack is still uncommon especially in a person of my age whereas flu has become a common phenomenon.
  • Cancer was once an ominous disease but now people view it with less apprehension because cures have been found and there have been more survival stories now than ever.
  • We live our lives in a perpetual state of beta.
  • People want to use social networking sites- facebook,twitter, linkedin- anywhere and everywhere, even in offices. No barrier can stop this activity. It’s that ubiquitous and pervasive.
  • Hashtags # in twitter is responsible for more breaking news more rapidly than any mainstream medium. I found out about the burning of a café on Zamzama through twitter first.
  • I switched from Blackberry to Motorola Android and I still don’t know why although I compared the functions of numerous models and brands.
  • 95% of decisions are made on an unconscious level and hence cannot be rationally explained.
  • Consumers don’t think in a linear way. Marketers think they can run a campaign and consumers will straightaway go and get hooked to it.
  • It doesn’t happen that way. Real value is built over time.
  • Volkswagen Canada came up with a brilliant ‘Great Art Heist’ campaign  to promote the new  2012 Jetta GLI whereby improvised art galleries  featuring long exposure light painting  graphs created by Jetta’s car lights at night  were placed in unusual places all over the Canadian cities. The paintings were loosely hung with no security to entice the people to grab the paintings. Afterwards, those who did ‘steal’ the paintings were encouraged to share their experience online through Volkswagen Canada Facebook and Twitter pages under the #VWArtHeist hashtag. While the activity was conducted in the real world, it went viral in the online world.

  • The marketing team of Mini came up with an addictive location-based game which comprised of an app which when installed  on your cell  got the user chasing after a virtual Mini on a real map of Stockholm. The way to acquire that Mini was to get within 50 metres of where it was located in the real world on the map. The twist in the tale is that any other user with the app installed can snatch it away from him by coming within 50 metres of him. So the only way to keep the virtual Mini was to physically run away from all the users from coming within 50 metres of his real world location. Anyone who managed to keep the virtual Mini for a week would win a real Mini Clubman.

Amin Rammal Brand Crew

Amin Rammal Brand Crew


  • Pakistan’s own came up with a social media campaign that was based on the Stockholm Getaway campaign.
  • Tesco came up with an app for smartphones for product promotion whereby ads seen through the camera lens of the smartphone came alive with animation and all.
  • KLM came up with a real-world campaign to delight its customers who were waiting in the airport lounge waiting for their flight that utilized the power of social media.
  • First KLM identified the customer’s presence at the airport lounge through their FourSquare status and tweets. Then their team went to the lounge with a surprise gift that was relevant to the customer. This was identified by going through their social media conversation to know what they like and what was their wishlist. The entire episode was filmed to capture the customer delight at receiving this unexpected gift.


Q– How does wasting your resources on a few customers convert into better image or even sales conversion for the brand? It’s just a marketing gimmick. Wouldn’t it be better if KLM instead focused on improving their overall service for all customers or doing something different that affected their entire customer base? Besides, once other airlines start to copy this activity, it wouldn’t be that effective and customers may instead start demanding it.

  • It’s true KLM campaign was just a marketing gimmick. And if your points of parity (POPs) are not in line with the industry standard, there’s no use coming up with marketing gimmicks to create Points of Differentiation (PODs). However, you do need marketing gimmick every now and then to instill some excitement into the brand experience.
  • Secondly, a marketing gimmick such as the one used by KLM may wear off its novelty once the other airlines start using it. On the other hand, it may become so common that the customers actually demand it from the entire industry. In that case it helps if you were the first one to start a trend.


Haseeb Ihtisham – Head of Marketing  

Nokia Pakistan and Afghanistan


Haseed Ihtisham Nokia

Haseed Ihtisham Nokia


  • Traditional ads have ceased to be effective. Take me as an example. I watch TV at night, changing the channel the moment an ad starts. Most of my office time i.e. morning till evening –is spent connected to cyberspace. The best way to reach and influence me then would be online rather than offline.
  • With so many channels to choose from, traditional ads are no more effective.
  • The only viable way to cut through the clutter in today’s fragmented media is to cultivate brand advocates who already have a huge fan following across different platforms in the online as well as offline world. Amin Rammal for instance acted like a brand advocate when he influenced all of you by saying he preferred Motorola over all the other brands. Whether he’s a paid brand advocate for Motorola is a different matter altogether.
  • Nokia came up with a strategy whereby free E7s personally signed by the CEO of Nokia were given to those brand advocates who have a substantial influence online. These brand advocates were identified through their tweets and facebook conversations. After the handing of phones, their online activity was again monitored to gauge their level of delight and to what extent they communicated this experience to their online followers.

Q.  How can brand advocates be effective especially in Pakistan and how much influence do they really have on the masses? Can the entire marketing plan rely on these people?

ü  I can’t recall a single Iphone ad in Pakistan let alone a campaign and yet iPhones are being increasingly adopted in this part of the world. That’s brand evangelism at its best. And if one brand can do it, others can emulate it too.


  • In order to show the real power of the N8 camera phone, a campaign was run whereby eight directors were chosen who were given two N8 phones each to showcase their creativity which was adjudged through a contest online. The campaign generated massive attraction not to mention great quality content proving the worth of N8.

  • Nokia partnered with Disney for a brand alliance with their movie Tron Legacy. N8 sets custom-made for this movie were made. Then the website of Nokia was shown as to be hacked by the villain in Tron and you had to come up with the code to restore it. The message went viral so much so that people started tweeting in binary codes.
  • Nokia also came up with a pink N8 campaign that we weren’t confident would be successful but turned out to be quite a smash courtesy some shrewd online tactics that went viral.

Q. Does all this hype and publicity stunts online really convert into sales? How do you measure that?

ü  Responses are definitely measured but it doesn’t mean we’re only monitoring the conversion rate. A giant screen is installed in the Nokia HQ which shows all the tweets, mentions, likes, comments etc being generated in the social media sphere. So a number of parameters are used to gauge the success of a campaign.

Q. How all of this is pertinent to Pakistan? We don’t have the same structure where a brand advocate can influence thousands of people online.

ü  There’s a guy in Lahore who already loves Nokia and has a huge following we’re going to surprise him by giving a free phone and all the information he needs to spread the word around in his social influence online. It doesn’t mean we’re bribing him to talk good about the brand. The guy already loves the brand. We’re just facilitating him so that he does what he’s already doing even better.

Q. How do you create brand advocates in rural areas? Majority of Pakistani market is rural, how do you apply the concept of brand advocates under those circumstances?

ü  We’re in the process of identifying and creating brand advocates in SEC C,D and E colleges who will then influence their peers. But yes, this strategy has limited penetration and we are looking at different models to penetrate the rural market which is about 80%.

Q. Why hasn’t Nokia Pakistan implemented this strategy if it’s so sure of its effectiveness?

ü  There are certain business reasons I cannot disclose that we have to follow the traditional marketing practices. However, the fact that I’m presenting these techniques to you does mean that I myself am going to follow them. Maybe we’ve already started doing it and my presentation today maybe part of that plan to influence you.