IBA International Conference on Marketing (IBA ICM) Corporate Meet up
December 8, 2016: The IBA International Conference on Marketing (IBAICM), after its past successful renditions, set the stage for this year's conference with a Corporate Meet-up, held at the G & T Auditorium, IBA Main Campus. The event sought to shed light on the topic of 'Marketing to the bottom of the Pyramid (BOP)' by calling various marketers and researchers with diverse marketing experiences on the floor.
The IBAICM-Corporate Meet-up owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to its esteemed event partners, comprising Habib Bank Limited (HBL) as its Platinum Partner and Greenstar Social Marketing as its Gold Partner. Alongside them, Surf Excel, Shan Foods, and Habib Metro Bank also played a pivotal role in the event as the Silver Partners. The event was further elevated by the support of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Bank Alfalah, and Indus Pencils; the event's travel, support and stationary partners, respectively.
The conference began with recitation from the Holy Quran. This was followed by a moment of silence, observed in memory of the victims of the PIA plane crash on 7th December. The event commenced with a note of welcome by Dr. Huma Amir, the Conference Convener of IBA-ICM and Chairperson IBA Marketing Department. She addressed the audience by reflecting upon how the conference has evolved over the years, 'This conference was initiated by the IBA Marketing Club in 2010-2011. IBA-ICM then became an international event in May 2012 with speakers from UK, USA, Germany and Thailand. The Second conference was held in May 2014.' She proudly went on to express how both the conferences had been huge successes. Moreover, she praised Mrs. Yasmin Zafar, Convener of the last two Conferences, for her significant role. The audience was then addressed by Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, the Dean and Director of IBA, upon the global perspective of the 'Bottom of The Pyramid'. Once the event was up and running, Dr. Syed Aziz ur Rab, CEO of Greenstar Social Marketing brought to light his insightful point of view on the role of BOP Marketing as a means of bringing social change. His focus revolved around marketing that doesn't just limit itself to profit but seeks a greater purpose of providing value to self and the society. The means that Greenstar has chosen to create this value is innovative and relevant healthcare to the BOP market.
The floor was then held by Mr. Naveed Asghar, Chief Marketing Officer of HBL, who stressed upon the opportunities that exist around the massive BOP market of 4 billion people. In his view, the need of the hour is to develop a viable route towards this market, which creates accessibility by prioritizing market development over the expansion of market share. He explained the innovations of HBL with regard to rural banking and catering to the vast BOP market under the motto of 'More Users, More Usage and Better Usage'.
The second session themed, "Adapting to Changing Trends" began with a panel discussion led by Sidra Iqbal, renowned Broadcast Journalist and Development Activist, who gathered valuable insights from panelists; Tughral Turab Ali, a Financial Inclusion Expert, Sarfaraz Ahmed Rehman, Former CEO, Engro Foods and PepsiCo., and Batool Mehdi, Publisher and Editor in Chief, FYI magazine on the topic of "Opportunities and Challenges at the Bottom of the Pyramid for Businesses". The discussion highlighted the positive and negative impacts of globalization on BOP markets.
The Corporate Meet-up reached its next discourse under the title "Speaking their Language" with Mr. Amir Paracha, Vice President Consumer Development at Unilever Pakistan, sharing his views upon creating a customer base where there is none to begin with. He discussed the idea of building a relationship with one's customers before diving into introducing a product to them and thus, presenting oneself to the target audience not as a money-making machine but rather as a human being that speaks and understands the same language they do. The idea of being relevant to the audience was further elaborated upon in the second panel discussion, "Communicating and Mass Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid" again led by Sidra Iqbal and delved in to by panelists; Umair Saeed, CEO, Blitz Advertising, Shafia Naseer Agha, Manager Corporate Affairs, BASF, Salman Ali, GM Marketing tea whitener, beverages and media, Engro Foods and Samar Hasan, Head of Communications, Karandaaz Pakistan. The discussion lay emphasis on creating social impact as a by-product of conducting business.
The final keynote speech was delivered by Fahad Ashraf, Marketing Director Reckitt Benckiser (RB). He centered his speech around RB's core message of providing "Health, Hygiene and Home" to its consumers and how, in accordance with its Corporate Social Responsibility, RB has directed its efforts towards making these facilities accessible for the BOP market.
The concluding speech was presented by Dr. Wajid, Assistant Professor, after which, plaques, shields and certificates were awarded to the honorable guests and the hard-working management team by the Dean & Director Dr. Farrukh and Dr. Huma Amir.
BY: MAHEBA NASIM AND HAFSA UMAIR