Enlighten us of your journey in the PR industry and how did you enter this field?
I started out by blogging for different publications like dawn express Tribune and Karachi metro blogs as I met more and more people from the media there came a time in Pakistan where the media industry exploded and I was caught at a crossroads I always wanted to bring change through technology and the way I start doing this is through my activism campaigns which gradually let to me doing crowd sourcing and then meeting my now Co-founder on such a project. Since the formation of MindMap we indulged in campaigns in the development lifestyle and corporate sectors and there came a time where we realised we cannot keep on outsourcing PR to companies that could not match the pace of us doing digital and content creation and thus we added the PR function as well.
How did you meet Amena (Co-founder MindMap) and how has her journey been in the PR Industry?
We met through a common friend. Amena started her career in 1994 in Boston during her college days as a student of communications in Boston. She was working part-time as a graphic designer at an advertising agency called Boston Advertising and they needed volunteers to conduct an event and the rest is history as they say or the beginning of a future career for her in this field. Over the years, she has worked in PR in the dot com industry in the US and then moved to the UN and later World Bank and DFID. Therefore, when we started MMC, PR and digital PR was a natural inclusion in the company portfolio not just because it was the demand of clients but also because we could not find quality PR agencies to partner with locally
Was MindMap your dream or Amena’s?
We were dreaming on the same lines so when the conversation came up, we just started working on it. It was a very quick conversation and we started working on MindMap the next day.
Tell us a little about your operations here at MindMap?
Mindmap is currently a one stop shop for anyone’s PR and digital needs. We have everything from web and app development to social marketing to PR videography photography copy writing and event management in-house and are thus uniquely positioned in our space to disrupt and make things happen in sometimes hours which are not possible for other agencies due to their time lags. We are currently based in Karachi Lahore and Islamabad
How did you and Amena the co-founder of MindMap initially come up with the idea of PR & Digital agency?
We knew that digital was the name of the communication game in the coming years. There were a few companies working in this field already, but very few who had the full spectrum of communication with them and the kind of relationships we had. So we knew that we wanted to go digital and that is where we started focusing our efforts. But as we ran social media for social cause campaigns we realized that behaviors were not affected and conversation did not take place until word of mouth was not added to the equation. Therefore that is how, MMC grew in its scope to include PR and digital PR in its realm.
Tell us about your vast clienteles that you hold under your PR Agency?
Mindmap is the digital and PR for brands across the fields of lifestyle, corporate, health as well as development sector and even aviation, some of which include Rezwan Beyg, Deepak Perwani, Shehla Chatoor, Toni and Guy, PIA, USAID, World Bank, Ensemble and many more.
Out of all, which one is your personal favourite brand to work with and why?
We don’t do favourites.
What do you have to say about the PR industry in Pakistan?
The PR industry in Pakistan is currently facing the wrath of influencer marketing. With rates going through the roofs and little to no attention on conversion true engagement levels and which influencer falls under which niche it’s mostly a scattergun kind of approach to campaigns to just try to hit something. There is still not much data available on ground aside from the bigger portals and thus one cannot really talk numbers with anyone here. Secondly the clients in our industry seem to have completely different concepts on what PR is compared to what it is internationally. Thus at times it gets very difficult to explain things to people here. Content quality is also dictated by clients here as they mostly seem to be stuck to the cookie cutter approaches and aren’t willing to experiment. All in all it still remains a fledgling sector and will take some time to mature and evolve.
How do you perceive the digital industry of Pakistan and where do you see Pakistan digitally in the next five years?
Ever since we started to do digital campaigns in Pakistan both marketing and social development wise we have seen a steady shift in the ad budgets going towards digital and away from print and broadcast. At the same time however we have seen a mushroom growth in the numbers of one man basement type service providers which are ruining brands every other day as they charge less and destroy more in their attempts to find ground as a marketeering outfit. So while we see a boom in the digital space both creatively and financially we also think that proper verification agencies and evaluation platforms need to exist locally for the market to really take off.
How has the digital medium changed the world of media buying and advertising in Pakistan?
It has changed the allocation of spend which is currently going away from print and broadcast and towards digital
Do you think the PR industry of Pakistan has met international standards of PR & Communications?
Not at all! PR agencies in Pakistan are mostly busy in doing their own PR at their events rather than trying to make their clients shine. The first rule of international PR is that the publicist needs to be invisible. Take that barometer examine our PR landscape and you will have your answer pretty quickly.
Mindmap is currently a one stop shop for anyone’s PR & digital needs. We have everything from web and app development to social media marketing to PR, videography, photography, copy writing and event management in-house.