Interviews

Taslim Ahmed, CEO, Unitrend

The CEO of Unitrend Ltd., local affiliate-McCann World Group and an Impress Group concern Taslim Ahmed makes communication a priority. He believes that if core messages and values are not provided large companies will cease to function with a unified mission. ICE Business Times sits with Taslim as he describes his journey working with global brands such Nestle, Berger and working his way up the corporate ladder to the Head of Communication and PR of Citycell.

CEOs are somewhat self-selected into roles that set them apart from other individuals in an organization, and they have specific traits that distinguish them amongst the rest. Taslim explains his take on leadership, “I believe a successful leader is a person who lets people grow in their own capabilities. It is important for any leader to eliminate the fine line that is created between bosses and employees overtime. As a CEO, I did things in a way, which I think was right, unlearning the traditional on-going practices and always prioritized on keeping the basics right. Thus, putting employees at the core of business strategies has helped me come this far. I have always believed that employees make up your company and help the most to realize its vision; this is why I take care of the people and they take care of the business; in a nutshell – “People First”

The market dynamics along with consumer behaviorism of the nation’s growing economy is changing with the help of massive internet penetration. Taslim believes that there is a concrete solution to this shift, “We plan to respond to such changes using both internally and externally tailor made strategies to cater to specific dynamics. Our first attempt is always focused on improving employee effectiveness internally through an extensive HR audit. Through this, we are trying to build a more contemporary team that is well aware of the increasing digitization and immediate changes in the market demand.” He believes that changing mindsets is not enough, there has to be a shift in marketing strategies, “Similarly, as the market will take its form from a physical place to a virtual one, Unitrend is also coming up with a new venture ‘Next Motion’ that will act as a digital wing for the company and cater to the needs of its digital audience.”

Taslim believes that Unitrend’s approach is what sets them apart from the plethora of agencies in the market, “We are more innovative when it comes to managing brands and their business. Unitrend does not promote the idea of having a dedicated team for individual clients, which allows us to treat every brand equally regardless of its size. And it is only possible for a process driven organization. We do not subscribe to the idea of milking the clients or providing orthodox solution to client briefs; rather custom-made solutions to meet each of the need a brand/client requires at varying occasions. That’s what I think makes us different from the competitors.”

Unitrend has successfully dealt with numerous global and local firms during its many years of operation. Taslim postulates that their success comes from planning that caters to demands of both markets, “As an agency, we can explore our potentials and experiment more with new strategies when it comes to local brands. However, regarding global brands, there is a pre-set guideline that in many cases does not allow us to be a little adventurous or strategize the brand completely locally.”

Taslim equates his outlook to the many years of working with international organizations, “The amount of exposure I have had to knowledge sharing on a global platform and my learnings on managing a team while working under the managerial authorities in Citycell or Nestle and so on have helped me immensely to plan strategies for Unitrend.”
Agencies must undergo a paradigm shift from being urban-focused to going country-wide. Taslim articulates that Unitrend approaches this change with careful consideration of the target market, “Strategies often depend on the brands an agency is handling. There is often a need of being urban-focused to target the right consumers for the brand. However, when looking at it from a holistic perspective many brands are extensively placing efforts on upholding the rural potentials which must be brought into the light.”

Taslim understands that the balance between the Critical Success Factor (CSF) and ensuring profitability is complicated, “In most of the marketing agencies strategies hover around the satisfaction of the clients, and everything is done accordingly. My approach in this sense is a little different, and I believe focusing a bit more on employee satisfaction along with clients that go hand in hand. In my tenure of being a CEO so far this has what let me have happier clients and brought in the most amount of profit for the company simultaneously in this period.”
Taslim points out that Unitrend is expanding to newer ventures in the future, “Two more business avenues that we are coming up with recently consists of the ‘Next Motion’ as mentioned earlier and ‘IMG’ (Image Management Consultants). ‘Next Motion’ is a digital innovation wing that will cater to the growing digitalization whereas IMG will help out our clients with reputation management as it has become increasingly important to maintain brand image.”

He recognizes the support of foreign partners in their endeavors, “I am glad that a couple of Global Companies have agreed to help us with the capacity building for Next Motion and we are vigorously working in the process of laying out our operations soon. The backing of such a huge local conglomerate like Impress Group lets our company and workers know that we are heading towards the right direction.”

The CEO applies similar theories to this career and the company, “I have continually believed in growth and the efforts to reach a higher platform and that is exactly the growth I want for Unitrend in the next decade. We do not aim to be the number one company in the market but the most aspiring one.”

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