Farah Shahrookh Raza, Head of Marketing and Branding of BSRM expounds on the advancement and digitalization that allowed the industry to use the right online and offline platforms to connect to customers
How has your 19+ years of professional journey been so far? What were some of the obstacles that challenged you to grow in your role?
In one word – marvelous. I have enjoyed every moment of it. Growing is always about facing challenges. There is no growth when there is no challenge. I never say there were obstacles, rather there were opportunities which I could see and all I had to do was rise up to the situation with diligence, dedication, integrity and a big smile. In many cases it was about working more than what was required with patience because it is a patriarchal society.
You have been in the branding and marketing arena of which more than 10 years have been in the construction Industry. How has the industry practices evolved over the years?
I have worked with international and national leading brands of the construction industry. I have always found the industry to be very dynamic and at the same time exigent resulting in having multiple players in its own industrial category. Each of these categories are so vibrant that the market created the opportunities for both the customers and consumers to choose. The initiation of Branding and Marketing Practices in the overall industry came 25-30 years ago but the evolution took place rapidly because competition grew fast. When my parents constructed their dream house in the early 90’s there were limited choices but now there are multiple brands – multiple choices. As there are multiple players there are multiple brands with their own voice, commitments and deliverables that require aggressive marketing practices to support Sales Actions. The Brands that are playing a role in the economy are also taking initiatives to support the community, protect the environment and branding employees.
Branding contents often speaks volume of the inclination towards culture, history and nationalism. How does this help any brand stand apart among its contemporaries?
A brand is good and strong only when it has been able to create trust, maintain its commitment and respect’s its customers. It is all created when the brand is able to capture the culture and history of the nation in its vein. It is not about making the brand stand apart, it is the basics of the brand and any strong brand will do so. A brand that doesn’t understand the culture and doesn’t believe in the history of the nation will not be able to survive. It is the responsibility of the brand not only to be there for the customers but also assume the responsibility to build the nation. Some brands do it in a subtle way and some by creating a buzz, it is the personality of the brand that determines how to do it. A brand is a personality, an entity.
How is the pandemic shaping the way marketing and branding is done? What are some of the key marketing aspects to keep in mind for the construction industry?
Pandemic was a situation for which no company was prepared for. But, a strong brand is always able to shape up the situation through its marketing and branding practices, no matter what is going to happen in the coming days. Hence as a part of their responsibility brands step up for customers and be there for them. The pandemic extended new methods and platforms of the communication basket. It integrated digital channels with traditional methods and gave rise to various areas to create the best customer experience. Construction industry has a versatile level of customers and a core concept of marketing activity is to engage with its customer segments as much as possible. Even though the onset of the pandemic has been difficult, the advancement and digitalization allowed industry players to use the right online and offline platforms to connect to customers on the basis of segment type, needs and deliverables. Virtual platforms like Zoom and the rapid succession of social media allowed brands to retain the faith of their customers.
Can you share some advice for up and coming marketers looking to enter the steel/construction industry?
The construction Industry is a very versatile and dynamic industry. It allows you to work with customers of different dimensions and different needs. If you look into the operational value chain you will see working in this industry will extend your knowledge. Every industry has its own uniqueness and so does this industry. My advice to all will be to have patience, be open-minded, have an inclination to learn and a willingness to say yes to whatever work is kept on your table but never compromise with integrity and ethics. If you love your work you will own it and if you own your work it will always pay off for you when the right time comes.