IRFAN AAMIR is
the Director of O2 Communications, a Marketing and PR Consultancy with
in-house design capabilities. O2 Communication was formed in June 2002.
Before setting up O2, Irfan was working as Client Service Executive and
PR Manager at Adcom, a renowned advertising agency. His portfolio of
clients at Adcom included Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB), Pizza Hut and
Inbox Business Technologies. Prior to Adcom, he was working at Cupola
Pakistan as Brand Manager of TGIFridays and Pizza Express and PR Manager
of Cupola Pakistan. He has also worked with CMC, a PR agency where he
was working with clients such as Intel and Cupola Pakistan. Prior to CMC
he was with Orientale Aviation Services as Customer Services Manager.
made you take the step of forming your own company?
IRFAN AAMIR: Let's
just say forming a dynamic marketing and PR consultancy was on the cards
for a very long time and it all finally happened last year. It certainly
happens a lot more in this industry than any other where you see
employees walking around dreaming of having an agency of their own. If
you look around, many advertising and PR companies today are owned by
people who used to work for one agency or the other.
PAGE: What do
you think is the future for companies similar to yours?
IRFAN: It is
not a secret that the overall advertising business is disintegrating
into smaller more focused services outlets. Media buying houses, PR
companies, event specialists and design houses, all these organizations
are essentially providing the services that were being bought from or
sourced via a traditional advertising agency. Perhaps clients have
realized that it is not possible for an ad agency to focus on all these
critical areas. Consequently, in the last 10 years or so we have seen a
deluge of such professional and more focused marketing solutions shops.
No appreciable growth has taken place in the advertising industry as
such. This perhaps gives us an idea of times to come and the shape of
this industry. Bigger advertising agencies have already started focusing
on this situation and some have setup specialized media buying houses,
PR and event management companies as well in some cases. So to answer
the question, the future looks good and seriously competitive.
seriously does the industry take Marketing & PR Consultancy?
IRFAN: I have
always believed that clients will take you as seriously as you want them
to or as seriously as you deserve to be. Marketing and PR efforts are
very important to clients and they want quality advice and reliable
support. Unfortunately these two elements are not the hallmarks of our
industry. It is perhaps therefore that you see a lot of movement in this
industry. Clients are on a perpetual prowl for a better agency. I
generally call this relationship a relationship between the ungrateful
and the unfaithful. Mediocrity does not have a future in this trade and
a very short shelf life. Companies that are willing to sweat it out and
make genuine efforts to add value to their client's business will always
be placed on a higher pedestal by the clients. Though marketing and PR
consultancies have been around for a while now, it is only recently that
they have started making their mark.
PAGE: Do you
think marketing/advertising and PR as industries provide quality carrier
entrepreneurs have done exceedingly well in this industry, there aren't
many examples of individuals rising to the top, especially for
advertising agencies. It is also a fact that advertising industry itself
has not attracted quality human resources. I personally believe that
with changing times and more client involvement the quality of marketing
and advertising organizations is improving and they are now willing to
offer good remuneration for deserving candidates. Young business
managers are keener to join multinational companies or large local
brands to pursue their carriers. A lot of them feel that the restrictive
environments of individually owned advertising agencies won't offer them
sufficient growth opportunities.
PAGE: What are
your future expansion plans?
the grace of Almighty from the day one we have been able to establish
priorities for our business. Firstly we wanted to form the right team,
we know from experience that without qualified, professional and
committed people we cannot go a long distance. We now have a team
together and we have ambitions of spreading out locally as well as
internationally. We are currently looking at introducing our services in
Dubai and London. Nationwide, we are planning to setup a liaison office
in Islamabad and we will be aiming to do a lot of creative and
consultancy work online as well.