Pages

Friday, November 22, 2013

BRANDING-GOD



BRANDING “GOD”

Since I am an “o” Level fail (I really am) I am going to stray away from normal assumptions made by analysts as i am not educated so i won't understand them and use some common sense.

It seems to me that everything is for sale these days…  I heard a shopkeeper tell a foreigner “everything is for sale here, depends how well you negotiate”… lately we have had a lot of religious holidays so we sold what was not ours to celebrate the beloved 72 martyrs by digging a few more graves near the GHQ.  I am a Shia and I do not blame the Sunni’s and I don’t blame the west and I don’t blame our neighbors and I am not going to take a sword and chase after my buddy because he did not wear black or say “La Baik Ya Hussain!”  Apparently “Branding God!” seems to be a really good business for quite a few people!

I am however, going to question what the wandering eye of justice was focused upon and how come “Suo Moto” was not screamed out when the innocent mothers had to bury their sons and wash away the blood whilst ironing more black clothes for another forty days.  We are all to blame because we are puppets to a bunch of bored brand mangers that we have elected repeatedly who have made our emotions a currency to be traded in by branding the sanctity of Religion and poisoned the love found in religion.

As we are commercially inclined the educated lot are worried if they will earn tomorrow and the really spiritually enlightened are sharpening emotional swords which they intend to use at some BTL activation after Jumma prayers.  The Brand Ambassadors of stupidity have been given some marketing plan that we the nation are stupid.  Sadly that one cannot argue with because we fuel these morons by lending them an open ear. 

If we are studying how to brand God then in this class room let’s understand that we are a nuclear army with a country that clearly respects a few raps on the wrist by the head masters baton because we clearly cannot enjoy the recess of democracy.  If we are to blame anyone then the list would be wrong and not at all long because our core marketing teams with the groomed beards need a bad shave.  The reason is that the purity of the beard is so long that when they stand at the prayer mat and look down they cannot see if the Masallah is pointed in the right direction or going round in hypocritical circles.

If you are Muslim then understand that in our religion “Islam” that spreads peace we never endorsed blood shed because The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) never endorsed any form of conflict and unrest.  That was a time when we were an insignificant number and united.  Today we are the most powerful volume based commodity globally yet so divided.  If you are a Shia or Sunni then you are a Muslim and as I Shia I will apologize for those who harmed you because I want this insane business where lives are traded under a branded religious war cry to stop.  If you will not join me I cannot teach my child to respect the love that Hazrat Hussain & his 72 died for and we learnt from.


The most important thing I learnt from Karbala was forgiveness but the sad thing is everyone’s too busy recalling quarterly numbers in the form of hatred count as they have to exhaust some kind of blood budget or the other…  I hate the business element of Religion and I wonder if you will agree with me too…  



Thursday, November 21, 2013

FORGIVING THE SHAH

FORGIVING THE SHAH

The title bestowed upon a person of means the following according to Wikipedia
Shah (/ˈʃɑː/; Persian: شاه‎, [ʃɒː], "king") is a title given to the emperors/kings and lords of Iran and of India. We all know the Shah of Iran who is the most famous one to have been betrayed by those what had their own motives to do well via hidden agendas. 

Pakistan has also had its Shah who was best known in the circles for his playboy like ridiculous behavior that could be forgiven because of his smile.  Sadly this “Shah” was betrayed by those who he thought were so close to him yet to them he was a stranger emotionally.  A king is someone who knows how to rule and live by the sword and love ruthlessly till he dies.  A king is compassionate and forgiving and knows how to fight for those he loves and die for those he hates.  Most kings have been killed by those who loved him in their beds or poisoned emotionally by their vazirs they respected to a point that they would make bad decisions which in the end resulted in death. One of the attributes of being a king is that you live a very lonely life because you have subjects not friends who either need something from you or are jealous of you.  That was Shah Fuad Alam my only friend who was there for me when you sad lot were not!

Today I have the courage to say I miss him terribly and if I had on prayer that would be to sit with him and listen to all his loneliness because circumstances have stolen the luxury from all socialites to understand a person before we base a judgment.   When a person dies people usually say good things about him but with the case of Fuad people try to avoid his name in a conversation socially even though he is six feet under and only try to get social acceptance by adding to the shame they feel any affiliation of his name would bring to them.

Now let me tell you all I understood about Shah Fuad Alam.  He was the one King I knew who loved his friends who only loved what he had.  He shared his life and his soul with anyone who would smile at him Fuad was so stupid that he would go out of his way to fight for anyone he felt was being bullied and stuck up for those who never had a chance socially.  If you were nice as is said hello to Fuad at school he would ask you over for lunch and go out of his way to make sure you had the ice cream of your choice.  Fuad was one person who had the ability to carry your pain and turn it into his emotional war against who wronged you.  This king fought a war with the world yet to him “family was the most important treasure he searched for in his friends.

He desperately tried to have his own family but as we know there are queens and then the mistresses and somehow a mistress is only there when the going is good and that is what happened to him.  Fuad was my family who helped me conquer my insecurities and have the courage to be resilient.  He made me say its ok to fail as that is a part of life he showed me how to smile when the world left me all alone and he was there for me whilst his own castles burnt to the ground.  Fuad was the one person who knew how to love you when the world hated you and he was the one person in the world who would stand in front of you when it was your fault and defend you even though society hated you!




If anyone wanted a lesson in how to be a friend then one needs to learn from a King sadly that king is no more and I never got to bury him and pay my respects by he will always be my king and always be more than a friend.  I can only wait to meet him in the afterlife as we have an eternity to talk about what was left unsaid and I really want to apologize to him on your behalf why you only judged him and never understood the value of a Shah and I hope he forgives me for your not being there!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

HOW TO SELECT AN ADVERTISING AGENCY

HOW TO SELECT AN ADVERTISING AGENCY

I was looking for something to write on and as I am a salesman I realized that I absolutely “HATE & DETEST” one core vertical in the business world and that is “Advertising”.  My suggestion is to sack the lot of them and warn your security guards not to let them back in.  Also put in your spam filters to delete these two words “Advertising & Agency” if they are anywhere in the body or subject of any e-mail that touches the domain.  Finally if I could delete the day that some academic decided to include them in a college curriculum I would gladly do so that I may change history and rewrite it.  Kindly bear this in mind I am not referring to any business that is forced to inherit it’s agency due to regional or global restraints.

My reasons are as follows from what I have seen over 25 years as a salesman…  Advertising Agencies always come up with extremely expensive plagiarized, preconceived notions every month on how they can better business with cliché’s such as “brand appreciation” and “packaging it better”…  They always have been a creatively expensive solution to executing that one “Big idea” plagiarized off the web and TV whilst totally ignoring the core attributes of the business.  Bottom line at the end of the day a salesman like me has to convince himself that he can deliver the numbers to keep the lights and fans running whilst these guys keep adding to the COGS like mad.

Ok now realize this.  We are living in Pakistan and our International Brands are heavily localized to suit the Pakistani hypocritical pallet which will never accept any form of change that has NOT originated from the west or not endorsed by the Indian Silver screen.  We are slaves to foreign brand names and as of late that is why the knock off capital of the world Thailand is blossoming because of our business.  Also with the rising inflation and instability in the exchange rate any campaign is like a rouge nuclear warhead that today can make or break a Public listed company’s yearend closing!  However, this post is from a sales perspective how one should select an Advertising Agency and not to highlight even more the issues we are aware of already yet choose to ignore.  There are three main elements.

  1. MEDIA BUYING – To protect yourself as a business when selecting your agency ensure it is not a 360 solution where your releases are in the same hands that are responsible for the creativity.  Go to a buying house directly and get a better deal and save money directly from the source… More value in a collectively shared media buyout deal and a lot of extra candies. Bottom line… you do not need someone who is a GP to remove a brain tumor so ensure you give your business to a specialist and keep the core focus of the job as a primary.
Should you decide to give your media in the hands of an agency check its APNS ratings and analyze its payment, credit & banking history to the end recipients?  As a customer you have the rights to ask such questions after all you will be getting into a professional marriage and in every marriage background checks are thoroughly done.


  1. CREATIVE AGENCYTwo decades ago ever since these two words “entrepreneurship” & “democracy” became a war cry of the educated lot all off a sudden started spinoffs on assumed good will from many old legendary agencies and went on a personal crusade to do the job better.  These pirates broke people from the same institution where they trained and swore allegiance to with greed being extremely poorly funded and sadly destroyed the sanctity of the goodwill that the industry held. Out of the few hundred spinoffs only two to three agencies have withstood the test of inflation & time and still exist today.  Now that you understand the history let’s get to what to look for.
a.       Your creative agency MUST at all times need you as their first choice rather than your business want them as an only choice where your management is chasing them down for deliverable and they are only proactive when it comes to calling your finance department.
b.      The investors must have an active personal involvement in the management of the creative agency and must respect time at all costs as well.
c.       Whilst they creative agencies cannot predict the economic future they must have it in their SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) with you that if they choose to predict your brands future and you choose to accept spending or investing in their idea then a certain percentage or a number must be involved with every campaign where they always guarantee a return on your investment.
d.      Also when selecting a creative agency a key element is to ensure that the agency does not have a huge attrition rate as far as its own Human Resource goes.  Just imagine running a campaign conceived by one creative head, amended by another and tweaked by the third during a complete roll out over the second business quarter.
e.      Keeping the element of focus in mind to the job description as well as allowing a creative agency to earn negotiate where you as the business that are entrusting your company’s future to them will ask them to invest their ability to earn with you by
i.         taking a nominal retainer fee along with a fat royalty cheque for the idea that you will buy and also add a cherry to the pie with a bonus from the percentages in revenue that you will earn from the sales generated from your investment
ii.                   taking a 65% less than market rate standard retainer with yet again a percentage in revenue that you will earn from the sales generated from their campaigns
f.        Vendors and their payments are a big grey area when it comes to payments and businesses being held at gunpoint when “immediate” funds are required for Editing, BTL activations, Ooh campaigns or any other nonsensical excuse that the agency can find to flex its muscles.  Nobody likes any form of insecurity so why should you and then again pay for it not only in hard earned cash but also with the loss of respect because you are working to support your business and the agency is actually a solution and should never add to the problems.  In any relationship professional or personal if there are any discrepancies regarding money or respect then that relationship needs to be addressed at the source and often a divorce is the wisest choice to protect one’s self and the professional family.
So in short it is advised that since the agency has the ability to stay focused a business should also hunt down alternatives to curb on COGS and have a directory of multiple vendors as in independent production houses, animation studios & BTL activation companies and social media popups.  Since your finance department takes at least 5 quotes to get the best deal for your computer hardware & physical assets then you should apply the same law to these advertising value added services.  
g.       Agency contract should be for a maximum of 180 days or two business quarters so that as the economy changes or the business trends change you have the right to go for a new position change for your business and can always get fresh ideas and concepts.  This will keep your agency on its toes to work for the cheque and your contract with your agency must state penalties for not only you on defaulting on credit terms but dire financial consequences that will be borne by the agency in the case your business or its good will is affected due to their mistakes. If a woman can get 20 million US dollars because a cup of coffee singed her legs from Mc. Donald’s then it is only fair if you ask someone to guarantee their promise of quality service with a financial penalty should they defalt.

  1. MERIT BASED APPOINTMENT – I have been a salesman selling a vast diverse range of services and products for 25 years and in that time only three people who knew me or my family gave me business and actually did not take me for granted when it came time to pay me.  The rest were all professionals who paid me on time.  Imagine you import a certain service or product at a certain dollar rate of 96 rupees what is the point of getting your cheque after 18 months when the dollar is at 120 rupees?  Most people who do business with you will take you for granted and always play a personal card to get something better for them thus removing the transparency element in any agreement so when you choose an agency ensure that if you hire the agency through a reference that the entity that referred the agency is also financially liable for its misdemeanors.  In our country people will say what they have to get the deal they want to and then leave you hanging like a teenage boy at the mall waiting for the promised Cinderella.  If you can remove any and all forms of personal interaction with your agency and strictly forbid non official interactions between your employees and your vendors.  Would you go to have coffee at 11pm to butlers with your Maasi?  After all she is also a service provider!


Anyone who has read this post from the marketing & advertising world will absolutely detest me for bringing these key elements to light! The reason is because I have asked you to focus on two elements with your agency that any relationship is based upon.  1. Mutual Respect & 2. Honesty, sadly no relationship can exist because we cannot have one without the other.  Should you follow this there will always be transparency within your Marketing Department!  A few people might even resign, but I hope not!  

However if there is transparency where it begins I will be able to deliver the numbers much more easily from a sales perspective!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

HOW TO SELL NEWSPAPERS

HOW TO SELL NEWSPAPERS

Before I begin my class on selling something that is perceived extremely difficult to sell today let me tell you a short story followed by an analysis. 

Imagine its 630am you wake up, there is a smell of eggs being fried toast almost burnt on a stove and when you climbed up on the chair you got Fauji cornflakes and Milo milk in case you were not in the mod for eggs.  Your father was drinking his chai with the paper and as you got off the chair your mom told you to hug him good bye before you leftfor school.  As you reluctantly did what “mummy” said you got three distinct smells and they were in the following order the scent of your dad from his clothes, the welcoming aroma of the chai lingering on his smiling lips and then the crisp smell of the newspaper he enveloped you in or you crushed as you hugged him as though it would be the last time you saw him.  

This was a typical Pakistani family before it got corrupted by Technology and cellphones!  In those days the fattest newspaper came on Sundays with a hefty Jobs (Classified) section and forgetting the minority based publications DAWN & JANG were what you read.  In those day’s life was simple people had time and everything had a hint of innocence.  The moms were satisfied housewives (mostly) and the fathers that were employed never needed to feel insecure because their first job was their last job and they would probably leave the employer upon retirement.  The word “divorce” for any form of relationship was “never” an option and the kids would be home when the streetlights came on Tanhaiyyan being on PTV was more effective than an air raid siren to clear the roads.  And Qayyamat fell upon us kids when Parent teacher meeting days took place.  The choices were few if none but welcomed by all and there was a clarity towards our patriotic ideals and we actually believed that we would progress and land somewhere.  

Today everything has become too quick to handle and our culture has not evolved into something better because if you look at it form a comparison purpose you will observe that we have stopped focusing on quality and shave on everything and cut corners to try to get more time.  Sadly things have become incredibly horrible.  Today’s breakfast in any typical Pakistani family home goes a little something like this… 

There is utter chaos where there is no structure at all.  People living in close quarters are complete strangers and slaves to gadgets that wake them up and shock the life out of them by delivering all the gossip their best friends are saying on social media and the word home is replaced by “house that we sleep in” The entire family is centered around “money & not family values.  Both parents work and like clockwork switch jobs every 48 – 60 months (job trade) to meet the horrors of inflation because they are in ridiculous debt of some kind and live beyond their means. There are more child psychiatrists today that take ridiculous sums of money to do the jobs that parents who never wanted to be parents cannot do (not don’t want to do).

Qayyamat day falls upon teachers who dread the day they have to face the schools customers who pay the education business so well to educate their children and make them into robots.  Parents have stopped spending time with their kids and now spend less time with each other and husbands who actually care (the ones who married the girl of their dreams – love marriages) spend more time in family counselling sessions trying to find a way to communicate and not spend the next fifteen years running away from the same woman he convinced his entire tribe was his only choice who understood him and that he could talk to. 

So now you see if it aint bright and shiny then the monkeys will not play with it therefore Newspapers became toilet paper and the song “Video killed the Radio Star” really makes sense now.  BUT there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Pakistan is perceived as a country that has more BADNEWS channels than its entertainment ones!  Believe it or not there is a vast majority of those who hate this fast paced economy and culture and actually enjoy the feeling of holding a newspaper & I am not talking about the old fogies.  When you read a newspaper there is a lot involved in the process and one gets a sense of structure.  Unlike the web where you finger twitches like a heroin addict to skip to the bottom in a newspaper you respect the authors, editors and those who put the efforts into bring you that valuable bit of information.

As everything is focused around money well a paper has to earn for its self and clear its bills so one needs advertising.  But forget all of that imagine we got regular printed newspapers that would give us specific genre based information and were focused on providing unbiased information rather than here say and opinions.  Imagine being able to give your eyes a break from that strain from glaring at the screen and never having to worry about your battery running out.  Oh yes also imagine you have a ready flyswatter should you decide to roll it up.  

Since people do not have time one needs to provide accurate concise information in a printed form regularly and increase the frequency to maybe dual issues a day.  Whilst the COGS will go up one needs to stay away from the word “Marketing” and only focus on two words “Customer Service” (this is where you outsource your super-efficient delivery methods to a multiple number of effective courier companies that will do the delivery work if you do not want to deal with the almost non-existent hawker mafia who have now turned to begging) and most of all use this same courier service company to manage your “Sales & Collections” to their existing clients.  Further to this one MUST consider that only 36.2% of Pakistan is actually connected (major cities) so one needs to focus these efforts on villages and townships where electricity being present is a reason to celebrate.

Selling a newspaper is NOT hard because in the 80’s we had kabaria’s coming to the house every two months or so who would pay our family money to take the entire old lot away that our parents did not line the cabinet & cupboard floors with.  Today electronic junk is piling up and it cannot be recycled so your best bet would be to go for thinner more comprehensive issues that hit the nail on the head and are more focused on analytical perspectives by honest journalists about surviving through this decade.  I am very sure people would like to read the Gambols & smirk over Calvin & Hobbes yet once again and a lot of people would like the fact that they can engage their minds with a crossword puzzle en-route to Lahore from Karachi.


One of the best things that technology has done for this entire business vertical is that it almost flushed mafia-ism from the industry.  Whilst new words have popped up like Reporters, Offline Editors & JCG’s and information delivery methods have become instant cobwebs now exist in the offices of journalists that had integrity. As a nation we are so efficient in adopting assumptions about things that do not matter we have lost the ability to respect journalistic integrity.  The last flame of integrity was extinguished when the "journalist" that we all got perceived as an "entertaining bitter lunatic" during election time (Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee) was laid to rest in the “Tower of Silence” (It’s ironic I know!)  So if we want to bring back our culture we need to go back and strengthen the foundations of a free press and honest analytical journalism.

This Blog was not about “Selling News Papers” IT was about trying to make a last effort to back our souls from the Devils we created!

LOVING PAKISTAN - (but from a distance!)

LOVING PAKISTAN -  (but from a distance!)

Five months ago I was down and out about the violence in our country, inflation and worried about all the security issues at hand and the political instability etc. basically I was being a typical Karachiite!)  That evening I went to Flamingo on boat basin and bumped into a school friend I had not met in over a decade as we started talking the conversation led to these thoughts that were on my mind.  This guy was such a patriotic chap he lived breathed and spoke only about Islam and Pakistan and was filled with such positivity about the country that I felt ashamed to be a Pakistani citizen. 

I was educated by him about what the perfect solution was to fixing all our matters politically and from an Islamic perspective and even listened to his opinions about how beautiful we are as a nation and we must look at positivity.  Sadly the conversation ended when he stood up bid me farewell to catch a flight and when I questioned where he was off to he floored me with “Home bro! Back to Toronto!”  Out of politeness I followed him to his car where he told me he had left ten years ago and now that was home to him but then after the “Insha Allah we will meet again!” and a friendly hug he bent down to the floor of his car and chucked three Beer bottles and two pint bottles of the desi stuff out on the curb and drove off.

It took me five months to write this post because it should be called “Hypocrisy” rather than the heading it has because I researched a lot about and am going to try to compress into this small diction here.  I am disgusted with those sloppy few who live under the crucifix or star of hypocrisy!  How can you live in London, Perth or Houston and tell me what the Holy Quran says over a “Heineken” and try to dictate solutions to political matters and who to vote for to us residing Pakistani’s via blogs and social media just because your daughters father in law Mr. Bharwani Singh told you that his Guru Jee had told him so when you both celebrated Diwali at the Indian High Commission!

I find it odd that those very people who spent their entire lives running away because they “could not hack it here” suddenly find Pakistani & Islamic roots at the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 10 Downing Street, or under the shade of some “Thawb” in the midst of a desert safari.  What irritates me is that here they were (I do not consider them to be citizens anymore) first class citizens had drivers, cooks, maasi’s but sold their identity and culture for a card that is not even the color it is called and eventually wound up cleaning toilets at Manchester, driving a cab across the desert, or becoming a dishwasher in an Indian “curry” restaurant in Melbourne.

I for one support racism and completely endorse the words “Paki’s, sand niggers, camel jockeys and curry boys” from now on because how on earth can a Briton respect a desi whose country fought for its independence and this chosen lot decided to run back to those who are still licking their wounds.  The reason the west has a bitter opinion about us lot is because these jokers call themselves anything but the citizens of the country they have been residing in for the past two decades. 

Also this lot is so obnoxiously desperate to start any kind of trouble here through their misguided offspring that has never set a foot down on Pakistani soil that it confuses the west like mad.  There is a saying “When in Rome do as the Romans do!” but why must we do what these clowns tell us to do so!  If you look at half of Azad Kashmir or well to be more specific Mirpur either you speak in “pahari” or well English with a crude cockney accent!  67% of the population has British Passports in Mirpur and they simply are quick to adopt national causes within a minute and love to use words such as “Shariah” & “Sunnah” also it is remarkable how these confused hypocrites suddenly stop playing victims and start loving and living everything Islamic and Pakistani once they have a quick exit insurance policy which will help them prove in this country they never wanted to have anything to do with it in the first place.


I wish we would stop listening to these people and not allow them back in here or give them a NOCOP NO Citizenship Of Pakistan card rather than a NICOP card.  Please if you walk the talk then speak your heart out otherwise the local bar serving Indian Pale Ale is somewhere close by and you wont have to pay the cab fare in your own taxi…