PAS – Aurora – The New Value Seekers


Dawn New Value Seekers ConferenceIn the last two decades, with the march of technology, increasing commoditization, increasing global sourcing and competition and increasing discretionary incomes across the boards, the consumer in Pakistan has gotten selective and buys only those products that precisely met their changing needs which unlike before  are not immediately obvious anymore. With the evolution of new forms of media, global outreach and the current hyper-fragmented channels, the marketing process too has evolved making life harder for the marketers in Pakistan.

In this new world of ‘value’ reconciling what the customer wants and then delivering on their expectations, has never been more important or more challenging. This is especially more-so, because in many of ourUmair Mohsin sectors, over the years consumers had been effectively taught to buy on price and price alone. Thus the PAS-Aurora Conference that took place at the Karachi Pearl Continental Hotel on the 20th of March, 2010 sought to answer these questions about the new consumer. If the presentations could be summed up in one sentence it would be ‘the customers are now fully in control and marketers are scrambling to understand what their customers value and the value they place on those values.’ The mood at the conference was entirely dedicated to the topic of seeking value in three key areas namely ‘the organization’, ‘the brand’ and ‘the customer experience’. It was especially interesting in hearing how the current state of the economy had altered the value equation and what the industry experts expected to see in the coming months / years.

Highlighting the changes between the old value seekers and the new, the conference started on a keynote session by Mr. Hamid Haroon, CEO, Dawn Media Group. His focus was the underlying morality that drove the Hameed Haroonold-value seekers in creating for their consumers. He minced no words when talking about the short-termism of modern industry practices including the growing number of media & agencies offering kick backs to clients which he said “undermined the advertiser, media and society”. Writing off today’s campaigns, he remarked that “Advertising agencies today are low-med sweatshops for implementing strategies created in larger markets” and implored people to find answers that would actually create value for their consumers.

The session was followed by Mr. Aly Mustansir, Chairman, Pakistan Advertisers Society, who talked about recent initiatives taken by the PAS including banning advertising on pirated cable channels and establishment of the Consumer Multimedia Index. Jamal Mir, Ad Hoc Vice-Chairman, Advertising Association of Pakistan ended the session with a talk about the challenges facing the industry including Economic, Human Resource, Compensation, the problems of Media multiplication and the standards AAP was setting in driving value for the organization and the industry.

Seeking Value From The Organization

The session started off with Mr. Atif Bajwa, President, MCB presenting his views on “Internalising the
Mr. Atif Bajwanew  value equation” and talked about how the customer should be the starting point for all decisions. Talkingabout MCB’s strategic thrusts, he spoke greatly towards building a leading payments bank including becoming #1 in alternate distribution channels like the mobile phone. Citing numbers he said already MCB had signed up 50,000 users for its Mobile Banking initiative.
Subsequently Mr. Abrar Hasan, CEO, National Foods talked about “value driven strategies to meet consumer expectations”. Citing ‘The Consumer Decision Journey’ model published recently in the McKinsey Quarterly (June’09), he challenged the traditional linear progression of consumers from awareness through familiarityConsumer Decision Journey to sales, purporting that that the traditional funnel concept failed to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer thanks to the “epicenter of consumer driven marketing which was the internet especially during the active evaluation phase.”

He said that “40% of the customers changed their minds because of something they saw or learnt at the point of purchase. Therefore it was imperative to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions.” His advice to create value to was to Invest in customer driven channels and win in-store. He ended his presentation on the note that “The key is not change… but to adapt and survive under rapid change.”

The final presentation of the session was delivered by Mr. Farhan Hasan, COO, UG Food company, titled “The smart organisation in a value seeking world”. He talked about how value was about a bundle of services for the consumer and not price. Talking about Pakistan being a ‘Sachet Economy’, he commented that if 2/3 rd of Farhan Hassan, COOworld’s population made less than $1000 than why were marketers selling them products designed for those nations making 20 times as much. His value creation process involved targeting the aspirational classes with small quantities and larger volumes with good margins. He summarized his discussion as “high volume + high margin plus additional [sachet] volume with good margins = smart business sense”.

Seeking Value From The Brand

The immediate session which followed answered the questions as to what it took to innovate in advertising and provide value for the brand. Answered by Julian Saunders, Managing Partner, The Joined Up Company in his presentation,” Value for Time – It’s What People Really Value”, Olivier Auroy, MD, GS Fitch, Middle East who talked about “Why Good Design Never Lies” and Mr. Guy Winston, National Creative Consultant, JWT Pakistan in his presentation “Stop Talking, Start Involving”, these international experts focused on how content and delivery were the next wave of getting one’s marketing Olivier Auroymessage out. They talked about how creativity was going to be about creating content that was funny, amusing and could quickly be shared. Julian Saunders in his presentation advised to ‘Brand Play’. He referred to cognitive research that “what we remember is determined by how the experience feels when it peaks and when it ends”. He concentrated on providing simplicity (“don’t make me think”) and talked about how respecting time was also a sales strategy. Olivier Auroy on the other hand, focused his attention on how brands needed to remain accessible and relevant to consumers. He cited studies which proved that fun could change behavior for the better. He concluded with how people wanted brands to connect to their community, give them control, were friendlier and funnier.

Seeking Value From The Experience

The last two talks were delivered by Mr. Sirajuddin Aziz, CEO, Bank Alfalah who gave a thoughtful presentation on “Consumer Touch Points As Effective Communication Tools” whilst Mr. Karim Rammal, President Unicorn Consulting, concluded the session with ‘Meet The Digital Native’ advising marketers that that “…unless you bring something to the table – Inspire, Passion, Laughter, Curiosity, nobody cares if you’re on twitter”.

Aurora TeamThe conference ended on a high note delivered by Mr. Irfan Mustafa, VP & MD, Yum Restaurants on “Yeh Tera Pakistan Hai, Yeh Mera Pakistan Hai”.

If the conference has proved anything is that what really has changed is the way we implement marketing and the way we run our marketing organizations. In the oncoming world we will no longer talk about mass marketing. For all future marketers it will be vital to understand that the price-value equation will be different for each consumer. That’s when real value will be created.

InStore, InStyle – Marketing in Retail Stores Using Digital Media


Dawn Aurora - March-April 2010 IssuePublished in Dawn, Aurora, March – April, 2010

Over the last decade broader socio-economic changes, including growth in the urban middle class and disposable incomes have given rise to the modern retail sector in Pakistan.  There has been a marked decrease in traditional ‘kiryana’ stores, an increase in general stores and the emergence of new formats such as superstores, malls and retail chains to cater to the increasingly time-compressed consumer[1].Instore Marketing

Even a few years back, the concept of in-store marketing did not exist in this country. Yet today due to the fragmentation of traditional media and the tremendous clutter of information assaulting today’s consumer, stores are emerging as a viable alternative to the challenging mass-market advertising environment. They’ve quietly become a hotbed of advertising activity as more and more brands, big or small shift to in-store advertisement, providing effective and direct communication to the customers.

“Currently all our marketing activities are sponsored by our suppliers. Roughly speaking [instore marketing] accounts for 2 to 5% of Makro’s revenue. Instore marketing also include Makro-mail, which is fortnightly published and distributed to top 5000 customers as well as to all concerned suppliers and stakeholders.” said Salman Zafar, Asst. Category Manager at Makro Pakistan.

Research indicates that over 70% of decisions are made in-store or at the ‘First Moment Of Truth’[2] which is why marketers are increasingly seeking ways to control what ad messages their customers see and what information they access for making purchase decisions increasingly through digital media – one of the primary digital vehicles being used in-store is Digital Signage, one of the staples of modern trade outlets.

Through the use of Digital Screens / Retail TV and Interactive Kiosks, marketers are increasingly targeting consumers looking to learn about new product offerings, recipe ideas, advertised specials, etc. Fast Moving Consumer Goods brands in food, dry food and non food segments are most active industries in this space and actively use digital signage to differentiate their brands and provide customers a break from the rather mundane shopping experience.

Amongst the innovators in this category, has been Dalda Foods Pvt. Ltd. Recently in Ramadan, they launched an ‘Activation’ across Karachi, Lahore & Islamabad using Digital ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Interactive Kiosks. Using touch screens to provide instant play, software to control the inventory and multimedia to add excitement to their consumer offer (play and win on buying 10 KG of Dalda’s products), Dalda added entertainment to an otherwise mundane activity and the results of the activity backed their decision. In an otherwise crowded marketplace, these kiosks helped Dalda to differentiate from all the other brands out there using traditional formats.

Similarly, a high-end beauty products company utilized this medium to interact with their customers too. Using motion sensing technology called ‘Eye-Sense’ developed by Tuesday Digital, the digital characters would call out to the passerbys and get them to interact with the screens and products of the company. Aside from FMCG, PSO has also setup digital screens at its pumps, whilst banks such as Standard Chartered are experimenting by setting up live kiosks at their branches to give their customers a demo of their online banking facility.

These companies are not the only ones. Realizing the gains from going digital, retailers too are jumping on this band-wagon. Originally viewed as a potential incremental revenue stream and a way of sourcing more marketing rupees from brand manufacturers, digital instore formats are now also being seen as a way of differentiating the shopping experience and promoting their own offerings.

“Currently digital signages are not there in Makro, but yes Makro has plan of introducing them in future. In-store media can provide us with an effective way to increase revenue, both through higher average shopping baskets per customer visit and increased customer loyalty in terms of number of visits and what they regularly purchase while in that store during each visit”, Said Salman Zafar.

Aside from Digital Signage, another digital medium which is growing is the use of Mobile technologies in the retail environment. ‘BlueCasting is a relatively newcomer to advertising but stands to greatly change the way we market. The pioneers in this field are Mobilius who have developed ‘BlueStorm’, a proximity marketing tool which aims to engage the consumers. Using the technology marketers can broadcast pictures, audio, video and text within a 100m radius ensuring a very innovative and cost effective way of spreading the messages across thousands of people who visit these outlets. Since it’s fully mobile, BlueStorm” can be used to reach out to customers for special promotional campaigns like distributing redeemable coupons. It can also be utilized to organize promotional game shows such as treasure hunt at exhibitions/shopping malls or anywhere else, thank customers on exit and get instant feedback.Instore marketin

The future of this format is only expected to be bright. If the experience of Thailand is taken as a benchmark, one can expect that by 2010, modern formats particularly large supermarkets, hypermarkets, and convenience store chains will have captured about 25 per cent of the total retail market, and most of the middle and upper class markets. At the same time, one can expect that the number of outlets per thousand population would decrease from the current level of about fifteen down to ten. It is expected that the share of total retail sales held by both traditional kiryana and general stores would decrease from about current levels of 95 per cent to 50 per cent.[3]. Marketers are taking note.

“I think “the last mile” is becoming increasingly important even in Pakistan as categories go back towards commoditization with an endless supply of brands and the consumer lost between their choices. Especially for intangibles like telcos where data is the only thing that the consumer buys, it is much more convenient to deliver interactive ways to select and change package plans on the go”, said Tamseel Alvi, Brand Manager, Zong.

He continued “Retail is surely becoming a key “moment of truth” in terms of delivering brand experience. In terms of dedicated brand outlets, franchises and more so our customer support centers are becoming more like experience centers rather than just a sales outlet. In the rural sector, our mobile customer support centers are taking the retail outlet directly to the consumer”, Tamseel Alvi, Brand Manager, Zong

With the falling price of digital media gadgets and flexibility in content creation that only digital technology can offer innovative store technologies now allow grocery retailers to give consumers what they want: time and money savings. This is just the start of what digital can do for marketers and retailers.

“Retailers must make the jump to a totally integrated closed-loop model. To maximize return, retailers must deploy a macro system which seamlessly connects all in-store digital marketing with their POS and loyalty database systems [and if they don’t have any, they should start thinking about creating them] and in-store activation devices that connect customers in real-time to the retailer’s systems. What I’m talking about, is CRM applied at the store level. We call it transactional media, because it involves bringing together all the in-store marketing pieces in a coordinated customer-centric fashion to enhance the in-store shopping experience for consumers, increase sales transactions and build loyalty for retailers. What’s intriguing about this model is that by better serving their customers, retailers and brand marketers better serve themselves”, said Salman Abedin, CEO, Tuesday Digital.

As digital media  increasingly prove their effectiveness  — To retailers by turning their communication vehicles into steady revenue streams and to advertisers through better reach and targeting — the flood of interest and money will disrupt the status quo. This change will affect nearly all in-store marketing players, from agencies to retailers and everyone in between. Those that embrace the disruption stand to benefit the most.


[1] Mr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, Consolidation In Pakistan’s Retail Sector.

[2] Source: POPAI, Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI)

[3] Mr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, Consolidation In Pakistan’s Retail Sector.

Get Ready For Social Shopping


People have long shared product opinions with friends and family through word-of-mouth. Today’s social media tools enable consumers to share and extend their connections and opinions in powerful new ways even further, enough to build in a whole new layer in the sales funnel for marketers. Yet e-marketers have barely tapped that potential to leverage the opinion of consumers to drive sales on social networks.

Traditional Sales Funnel

Modern Sales Funnel

Forward-thinking retailers are changing that very quickly. Most are bringing their Web stores to the environments where their customers like to spend time. As a result, almost three-quarters of the merchants in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide have a presence on at least one of the major social networks or social shopping sites.

Social network users are also a highly coveted group of consumers. Across all age brackets, they are more likely than average to make an online purchase, according to a May 2009 survey by Anderson Analytics. What’s more, social network users are also more likely to share recommendations with greater frequency than generally expected. A Q1 2009 Razorfish survey of social network users found that some 29% reported sharing their views online at least every few weeks, while 10% said they made such contributions at least every few days.

Etailers have already seen amazing results through social media tools like Twitter which is now becoming the defunct channel of Customer Service and a Promotion Vehicle of ‘Deal of the Day’. They’ve seen proven benefits through the ratings and reviews systems, which are already the mainstay of every e-tail store. It is now how etailers tap into this shift from a transactional experience to a social one which will determine the winners of tomorrow.

HP ProBooks Launched In Pakistan


Philip Lau, General manager, Asia Emerging Countries, Personal Systems Group, HP.

Philip Lau, General manager, Asia Emerging Countries, Personal Systems Group, HP.

I recently participated at the HP launch of their new brand of affordable notebook PCs, at the Karachi Avari, that merges business functionality with sophisticated design – the HP ProBook. The HP ProBook series joins the award-winning HP EliteBook series to form one of the most versatile business notebook portfolios in the industry.

The new HP ProBook family, is a low-cost business notebook designed specifically for small and medium businesses. Translation: this desktop replacement notebook has a good balance of performance, security, reliability and extras all at an affordable price.

HP Probook

HP Probook

First Look

Inspired by minimalism, the design of the new HP ProBook series combines matte and glossy surfaces while stripping out the extraneous, leaving only a stylish and clean look. The Probook is also distinguished by a choice of merlot or glossy noir finishes, a unique keyboard design and a set of professional innovations previously found only on higher-priced models.

The outer shell of the screen casing, like the rest of the notebook, is made of plastic. The lid is made of reflective, glossy plastic with the HP and ProBook logos printed in silver. The laptop screen housing it is a mixture of firm and flexible materials.

The full-size keyboard is a new design that HP has unveiled with the launch of the ProBook series. The keyboard provides extra spacing between the individual keys to help reduce typos and even includes a dedicated number pad (a major plus for businesses that use their computers for number crunching or data entry). Each key is relatively flat with a nice matte texture and the keys sit above a glossy black support frame. The support frame surrounding the keys is quite firm thanks to the design of the chassis which adds additional support for the keyboard. The only obvious area of flex in the keyboard is when you press on the number pad keys. Usability is the same as with traditional keyboards and the raised surface means fewer places for dirt and dust to hide making it easy to clean and more maintenance free than ever before.

HP Professional Innovations

HP Professional Innovations included on the ProBook s-series include:

1. HP QuickLook 2 software, which provides access to e-mail, calendar, task and contact information within seconds at the touch of a button.

2. The HP SpareKey feature addresses the hassle of forgotten passwords by using a sequence of three predetermined personal identification questions to gain immediate entry into the system.

3. For added data security, File Sanitizer for HP Protect Tools permanently deletes individual files, folders and personally identifiable information from the notebook, which also allows customers to recycle the notebook with confidence that their business data has been removed.

Pricing and availability

HP ProBook - Black

HP ProBook - Black

Estimated street pricing in Pakistan begins at a little over Rs.60,000. The glossy noir (black) option is available now and the merlot color option will be available from August.

The standard series (s-series) of the new HP ProBook models incorporate a mercury-free design, and features high-definition (HD) LED backlit displays in a choice of 13.3-inch, 14-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch diagonal widescreen sizes.

See Tuesday’s Flickr Page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuesdaydigital/ for more pictures of the event.

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