Mehek Zafar, Business Manager – Omnicom Media Group speaks to team Brands Magazine and FHM Pakistan on the changing perspectives and dynamics of the rapidly growing digital media.
BM: Tell us about your educational and professional journey.
MZ: I was studying in SZABIST when I joined Symmetry Group. At that time, it was the only agency dealing with new media where initially telecom companies made a head start by advertising on digital mediums. Thereafter, Maxus reached out and I joined them under their newly launched digital wing in Islamabad, and later joined GroupM as a Digital Strategist. Following my joining at Lane 12. I then had to take a break from my professional journey due to personal reasons but joined back after a year at String Media. With my previous work experience I felt more equipped to face the challenges. Finally, I then reached Omnicom Media Group Pakistan (OMD and PHD )as I felt I was finally at a point where I could handle their energy and drive and joined the digital wing as Business Manager of OMG . Work at OMG Pakistan is evolutionary with the fire and passion found within every team member here and the environment which allows you to push and excel with unparalleled support locally and from the region, which is why the craze has been more to achieve than yesterday.
BM: What challenges do you face in the market of digital media?
MZ: There is undoubtedly great competition in the market with the rising trend of digital media in Pakistan. The biggest comms challenge for our market in the next twelve months is clutter and intrusion, former for traditional media channels and latter for digital ones. Although creative excellence is continually advancing, it is the advertisers’ count on electronic and print that increased manifold most recently. Clutter, hence, is an issue calling for attention. On Digital, intrusion is a pain point which limits the power of paid. To overcome these issues, it is pertinent to further focus on Earned Media as an avenue. Native Advertising, for once, allows advertisers to disseminate sponsored posts in a subtle manner. Similarly on traditional media channels, it is important that the media strategy addresses the area of clutter-breaking ads and executions. Driving and pushing content that makes it to the domain of earned media a lot more seamlessly. However, the advantage here at OMG Pakistan is that it runs its own digital DNA with OMG. So, we have the power to provide and pass on efficiencies to our clients with every medium whether digital, print, electronic or outdoor.
BM: What style of management do you follow? How much do you rely on your team to achieve the set targets?
MZ: I consider myself fortunate that I was a part of the golden period when the medium was still in its infancy and then there was a sporadic growth. I always value someone’s experience over anything. This experiential learning has enabled me to train, direct and provide a vision to any team that I have worked with. Going by the famous quote “Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships” at OMG me and my team truly believes in the crux of this quote. I have been empowered by my higher management in many ways and they ignite my passion further by giving me a playing ground to move beyond the basic job and take risky leaps which will always be supported. The same I try to apply in my own team. I will always be their leading support but will not leave any stone unturned from fueling them further with respect to immaculate delivery and focused approach. Although, it is surely a challenge to manage multiple personalities and bring out the best of their capabilities which will add value to the entire system. However, once you have chosen to be in the lead role then the speed of the boss is the speed of the team. At OMG, I feel really lucky to have a self-motivated team that shares the same passion, fire and a fertile culture to explore more in the digital field, one that never sleeps.
BM: Do you think we have met the international standards with regards to digital marketing and advertising?
MZ: When comparing your work with international standards, you firstly have to understand that they cater to a completely different audience, having a completely different set of mind. However, this comparison has surely made it quite challenging for us to run alongside in digital. 360 degree digital is still being explored as you cannot get effective results just by investing in social media, development or media alone. It has to be based on the psychographics and multiple ways your audience interacts on various platforms. Speaking of audience, the age cohort of 20-24 years is the most important once in Pakistan. This cohort has the highest population, and malleable to a great extent: making it a sought for one for Brands and Advertisers to leverage. Research is still a challenge as Media Consumption Needs of Youth need to be studied and evaluated in that context. This will add to the perspective that we usually rely on.
BM: What new ventures are there to be seen from digital perspectives in OMG?
MZ: OMG is a dynamic, driven, ambitious group made up of individuals from top to bottom who feel like they belong and are not just committed to their jobs but also in adding value, which I believe is a true sign of a progressive culture. Not only is our local group, complemented by traditional media planning, buying and research very helpful, but also our region always aids and pushes us into different avenues and streams to build upon excellence. With so much happening in terms of creative excellence and media strategy and execution, it is indeed a promising era for OMG. The advent of Media efficiency tools, Creative and PR, it has opened doors to greater and better opportunities for both OMG and its clientele. Our media planning and buying capabilities are growing effectively with better methodologies and media relationships and making it possible to make a better informed judgement passing this on to our clients who are our partners in every venture. So to directly answer your question, the sky is not the limit for us and never will be. Stay tuned and connected with us as we are here to shake this platform through informed disruption.
“THE ADVANTAGE HERE AT OMG PAKISTAN IS THAT IT RUNS ITS OWN DIGITAL DNA WITH OMG.”