First of all I am really sorry at me for writing it after a complete day. I am not the only culprit for this delay last night it was I could not write due to “flu club membership” and the whole day was dedicated to one event this wedding season. Any ways its better be late than never so right now sitting on my couch with much tissue paper on the table and a cup of hot coffee I am recalling all the memories of last days of mine. The LUMS Marketing Colloquium was the event which brought some busyness in full time Farigh Zindagi (free life) of mine.
I got to know this event via an email from ROZEE.pk, but at that time I was not very much interested in the event. I really want to thank Navin Naqvi because I got to understand this event in detail through BAD where she invited representatives from LUMS Marketing Executive Club (the team behind this event). Saadi, The Precedent of the club, described this even in such a way that to I was not able to ignore it this time. There was no electricity (as it was Thursday and on Thursday WAPDA launches a special weekly 5 hour long program) When I finally decided to go for this event and wanted to know the registration process. I was thinking, lying on my bed, how to get information about it even contacted some of my good for nothing friends if they can help me, but they proved that they really are what I think about them. After an hour or two suddenly a name came to my mind and it was “Tariq Bashir”; Tariq Bhai was my mentor during my internship at ABL back in 2007 and now he is doing his MBA at LUMS. I called him, he is PR Manager of LUMS Marketing Executive Club, he helped me in registration process but the fee submission part was yet to be played by me.
It's another story that how embarrassing it was for me to stand in front of ATM machine who told me where I stand financially. But things are not that worst half of the amount was arranged from my “bank account” and the other half I got from Mom as a short term interest free loan. It is also not the part of the story that how I reached the vane because, now many people know that it's impossible for me to reach a place without forgetting the path. After reaching the LUMS I completed the whole registration process, Tariq Bhai was there to help me, and made my way to the auditorium. It was 8:50 am, there were not many people in the auditorium so I managed to have a seat in the row which was exclusive for “Corporate People”, I was attending this event as student, and I had no idea about such protocol.
The event started after 10 am while the time to kick off the event was 9am according to the schedule. Due to some reason Mr. Syed Baber Ali (pro-Chancellor, LUMS) did not address the opening ceremony, but Dr. Shaukat Ali Brah (Dean, Salman Dawood School of Business, LUMS) made the shortcoming up with his speech where the sense of pride and belongingness towards his students and the institute was clear. I must mention Dr. Jamal Arif (Patron, LUMS Marketing Executive Club) not for the reason of his speech but for being such a nice and interesting person. He made us to realize that this whole event is going to be a test in such a light mood that none of us got tired on the spot or I should better say before the battle begin.
After Tea & Networking break, the session of “Inside of Consumer Minds of Consumer” where the focus was FMCG. Mr. Abrar Hassan (CEO National Foods), Mr. Saad Kahn (CEO Gillette Pakistan), Mr. Haseeb Aslam (Country Manager, Nestle Waters) were the panel for this session. Mr. Abrar Hassan was the best among them, not for being son of an ex Test Cricketer- Waqar Hassan, his presentation was really impressive and full of data, facts and figures, and the best this is he told us how to be aggressive during recession time to get the advantage.
The next session was “Shifting the Tides” the focus was FMCG as well as Modern Retail. This was a dry session for me I can't remember much of this even but the small accident took place with my PEPSI bottle which spoiled my cloths. Networking Luncheon and Prayer Break were the next event.
During the lunch I had some talk with the people there specially Mr. Haseeb Aslam; he seemed to be quite impressed by the ultimate business plan of mine. The B2B Challenge was the next session where Mr. Ayaz Bokhari (CEO, BOC Pakistan)and Mr. Imran Mufti (Senior Manager Sales, Shall Pakistan) described and elaborated this less glamorized mode of marketing in very interesting, understandable and knowledge oriented way.
It was the time when I had to make a decision whether to attend the Brand Wars or The Management Workshop. I asked Tariq Bhai what to do? And he advised me to go for workshop.
Mr. Irfan Mustafa (VP & MD- Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan & Turkey- Yum! Restaurants International) was the MAN OF THE DAY as per me because he re-energized us again for another session with his dynamic and interactive style he described the phenomena of “Managing in Crisis: 16 Week Mindset - Learning in Turbulent Times” that was really a great session which ended with the Alpa chino Speech from the movie Any Given Sunday. I believe the whole session deserve a blog post to be written on so I will definitely write it.
After the work shop I went to the room where brand wars were on but I was not very much interesting to me, may be the magic of Mr. Irfan Mustafa was still on. Well I have completed the Account of day one without a single word about the people I met there. Zaffar Iqbal is one of the people I met there, he was sitting next to me, he came all the way from Peshawar to attend this event and he is from the world of IT. During the tea break we had a small chat and exchanged some ideas and views over what's going on. Syed Hassan Talal is the one whom, I met on this even, I met him on Wake up Lahore event a couple of weeks back, and he is such a cool guy very energetic and a discussion loving person. While I was just attending the sessions and noting down the things going on he was playing in my way over there, answering the questions of the speaker and taking part in question answer sessions along with giving ideas and views to the man carrying the session out.
I knew this post is getting really long but it will be unjust if I don't write about the day two; as it was far more interesting than the day one. The program started at 11am, again one hour late, the first thing Session was about “Digital Marketing” and the focus was E-Business/IT. Mr. Monis Rehman (CEO, Naseb Network and ROZEE.pk) was the first one to talk over the topic. His presentation was really good and I came to know many facts which I never knew before. Mr. Amer Sarfraz (CEO, BRAMERZ - Official Google Partner in Pakistan) came next and he talked about the mechanism of marketing and putting ads over the web. The last presentation of this session, which I was really looking forward to, was by Ms. Rabia Garib (Editor in Chief, CIO Pakistan). Her presentation was really good and easily understandable for a person like me who really avoid getting into numbers and graphs. She used me in an example to describe how information flows over the tweeter. It does not mean that I have become very famous but reason might be the chat I had with her on tweeter a night before.
During the Tea and Networking break properly introduced my self to her and during the Tea break she became so much busy to answer the questions of the participants that she never got chance to have tea. Zaffar Sb was the one who gave her teabag dipped hot water and when he noticed that she is still not able to have proper tea; he brought sugar and milk to her.
Down to the track; Telco Blood Bath was the next thing where Telecommunications was the focus. Mr. Naveed Khalid Butt (V.P, UFONE) described the history of Telco in Pakistan and the state of this industry during the e recession period. Mr. Basam Qureshi (Brand Manager Djuice, Telenor Pakistan) presented the future expectations of Telco industry. Thankfully he clarified that he really got some experience under his belt because apparently he was looking just a boy from his early 20's, which he was not if what he spoke truth about his experience.
During the Lunch Break I along with many other participants had chance to talk with Mr. Naveed Butt about the on going scenario of Telco in the region and future prospective, and how can one forget to talk about the ever entertaining and funny advertisements of UFONE.
While going back to the auditorium I had no idea that the next session is really going to be a blast. It was a Creative Marketing Workshop; Mr. Shakeel Khokhar (CEO, Ogilvy and Mather) is a real cool dude he made the whole session enjoyable with his interesting way of describing things and the hilarious advertisements he presented in his slides to describe the blunders made in advertisements. While Ms. Madeeha Noor (Execuitive Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather) was quite calm and serious presenter and her philosophy of imagination and reality was, or I better say is, awesome. She also presented the facts behind the BRRRRR ad campaign of Coca-Cola and the rivalry of Cock with PEPSI over the game of Cricket. One of their team mate sang a song “Main Bara Ho K Truck Banu Ga” (I want to become truck when I grown up) it was a sweet wish of a Rickshaw. Ms. Madeeha also held a competition which was about imagination- props were given to the participants and they had to mention a way of using them other than the way the have ever been used.
The last session of the Colloquium was “TOUGHER TIMES… TOUGHER TACTICS!” it was the tag line of whole event, Mr. Amer Mohsin (Head of Marketing, Service Sales Corporation) and Mr. Asad Gondal (GM, Product Division, BayerCrops Science); these two gentle men summed up the whole thing that what tactics can be applied during the tougher times.
Dr. Shaukat Ali Brah gave the Closing Remarks and ex President of LMEC was also called to share his views. In the end Saadi Rauf (President, LMEC) took over the rostrum to announce the winners of Brand Wars, Call the participants to Collect the Certificates, and his team mates to get there shields. After the Closing Ceremony there was a Tea where I have some chat with Dr. Shaukat Ali Brah, the pieces advise he gave us are true gem for me which I can en-cash my whole life.
Before the Tea; Mr. Zaffar and I got, chance to exchange our data and this whole operation took place at PEPSI Dining Center of LUMS. I can't make this post too long so I can just say that it was a good place. Before leaving the building I said goodbye to Tariq Bhai but I missed to say properly goodbye to Mr. Zaffar, and I am really regretting this. If Zaffar Bhai you are reading this- I m really sorry on not see you off.