“…marketing is not done in a vacuum” – Qashif Effendi, Chief Executive Officer, 180°

Published in Slogan

To be a successful marketer, you need to be observant, have faith and be a wacko. That is what has made Qashif Effendi’s marketing career highly impressive.

Mr. Effendi never really read a book on marketing while pursuing his MBA degree at IBA Karachi. He chose marketing because he could never balance a balance sheet so majoring in finance was out of the question.

What made him discover his passion for marketing was not his academic record – gold medallist with 3.8 GPA – but a chance reading of the book ‘Marketing Warfare’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Realising his love for the subject, Qashif embarked on a fun filled but challenging marketing career with Caltex. After a year, he moved to Philips and spent 4 years there. The next five years were spent at Unilever, where he worked on Dalda for one year and then 4 years on Supreme.

With his expertise in marketing tea, he then moved to Tetley Pakistan and then Tetley Middle East.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working for this product category,” he reminisces. “Tea is in the blood of our nation. There is no specific occasion for this beverage. For some people it is in fact a full meal. Even in the Middle East, per capita consumption of tea is very high. So working for this product offered tremendous opportunities to position brands according to different tea drinking habits, climate etc.”

On his return to Pakistan, Qashif found another challenging opportunity and worked at KESC for six months, where he handled a much bigger target market – influencing 16 million people directly and 160 million indirectly.

Qashif then established his own marketing consultancy firm called 180° with the simple realisation that several companies were looking for a 180° turnaround of their brands, on a sustainable basis.

“I am often asked why I did not name the company 360°,” says Qashif. “So I clarify that 360° refers to tools such as PR, sponsorships, ATL activities etc. which will help achieve a 180° result. Companies and brands that are in trouble need a 180° change and that is what we seek to achieve.

“Brand managers stay in a company for a few years and develop campaigns that will deliver results for only those few years. We have a long-term approach and believe in building brands rather than just developing a few popular campaigns that have a short life.”

In doing so, Qashif is joined by Yasmin Hyder, his partner at 180 Degrees, and a team of marketing professionals who are ‘as excited about change.’

Qashif opines that Pakistanis are risk-averse and do not want to come out of their comfort zones; they resist change. But things are changing for the better and clients are now more open to advice.

“If a company approaches us, we visit their office, talk to people there and do a full diagnosis. Then we prescribe solutions and not only that, we are also there for execution and guarantee success, unlike other consultants,” explains Qashif.

He says that another goal is to train and guide the marketing team at the company so that they do not completely depend on outside help.

In addition to his work at 180 Degrees, Qashif has also been teaching marketing courses since the past 14 years at leading business schools in Pakistan including Szabist, IBA, CBM, Greenwich and Karachi University. Currently, he is the Vice President at Szabist, working towards making it a global institute.

He states that in this information age the role of teachers is changing. Students have access to all kinds of information and rather than imparting knowledge, teachers have to focus on inspiring students and developing their interest in the subject.

For this purpose, Qashif refers to the latest text available of marketing books and keeps himself updated on changing trends in the field,

“One of the major shifts we are witnessing is in retailing. It used to be really fragmented here but now you see a change in urban markets, with the Metros and the Makros coming. It is becoming more concentrated and we will have more specialised and exclusive promotions.

“Then there is social media through which power has shifted to the consumers. You just have to write a line on facebook about the brand and word spreads. Smart companies are using social media to gain support.

“There are also many changes coming up in technology. Marketers need to keep abreast of what new gadgets have been introduced and other developments. Today marketing has become an extremely dynamic and demanding field. But the most important thing that we need to remember is that marketing is not done in a vacuum. One has to be aware of the environment. Marketing campaigns that are developed keeping in mind the socio-political climate are more successful in making an impact.”

– By Ayesha Hoda

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