Passion of Perseverance
Igloo’s Head of Marketing credits success to never saying no to an opportunity
The Metamorphosis of a Marketer from Research Officer and Puppeteer
If I look back to my student life in DU and NSU and early professional days, I can see, I was guided by the right leaders all through. My passion to pursue, curiosity to learn and going the extra mile also helped me to attract the attention of the right leaders, and the bottom line was together- we – the prodigy and legacy have been achieving more since then.
When I was a student, apart from academic activities I was also involved in many extracurricular activities which helped me to build my career, sharpen my interpersonal and communication skills, and develop my idea iteration skills as well. I am always very comfortable to go way beyond my comfort zone to challenge my limit even in cross functional assignments.
I was also a puppet artist with Mustafa Monwar from my student days.
There was a show on BTV called Moner Kotha where I portrayed the character Parul.I joined this organization for an initial training workshop. Sir associated me to different meetings; when he would work on a project, particularly a national-level project, such as UNICEF and the likes, where the issues were focused on impact creation. Such issues were communicated via education through the puppet show. When such national-level projects or issues were being discussed, though I was the youngest one in the group, but sir always used to include me.
The Corporate journey began under the supervision of a very visionary person and of the living marketing legend, Ashraf Bin Taj, he was my recruiting boss. It is said, your first boss has the best impact on your career, for my life, it is correct indeed. Coming from a different academic background, my marketing know how was zero, apart from my inherited curiosity, problem solving ability and creativity. He nurtured me, guided me every day with new assignments and coached to improve my ability. We also learned teamwork at Nestle and tried to help each other, in return I actually acquired new skills and competencies.
My career turning point was in 2006, when Nestle Global decided to transform from the global number 1 food and beverage company to Most preferred Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company. In Bangladesh, it was me who was working in marketing with a combination of marketing and nutrition know how. And in South Asia Region (SAR), it was me , who identified the move and wanted to implement in market level. My Boss, that time was Shammi Rubayet Karim, he appreciated my interest and gave me full support to lead the show.
Further, my department was reassigned, and Mr. Ziaul Hafiz became my boss, he helped me to see the big picture, and I started taking strategic decisions with his guidance, it helped me to have better aspiration for business and for personal growth.
After that,I joined BRAC with a vision because they are the number one NGO internationally. I took over Marketing Lead role for 12 social enterprises, except Aarong. I was fortunate to share the same stage with Sir Abed here and learned new leadership skills from Mr Taufiqur Rahman- the former CEO of BDFP. I also experienced a short span of time for a new business inception in Bangladesh. Looking into my track record and seeing my passion for work, the Corporate Coach and Group CEO of Igloo GM Kamrul Hassan chose me to lead Igloo Marketing Function – The most trusted & loved Ice-cream Brand in Bangladesh.
Tapping into global taste buds
We look into the global trend before we decide on a flavor. Ice cream is something that is very impulse-based. We focus on what the trend is, at the same time we also focus on local taste preference. Combining both we create our own, unique flavors. Although we have a very strong R&D team we still go for numerous consumers tests. Every year you will find an ample number of new products in DITF. Icefest is also a place where we get immediate feedback about new products and improvement needs from the real consumers. Besides that we also do several consumer studies , getting the input from consumers, combining quantitative and qualitative data, we analyze our products improvement needs ,and as the products are designed by adopting consumers feedback you will see, this is the most preferred Ice-cream brand by consumers too, actually, it is the most loved Ice-cream brand in Bangladesh.
Consistency is crucial for loyal consumer base
We tend to confuse marketing and propaganda – both are different and serve separate purposes. A real marketer never claims or makes unattainable promises. The job starts when the designing of a product begins. When the product or branding communication is initiated, an effective marketer’s job is to communicate that to consumers. Consumers are really smart, it’s not like they don’t understand that from a 1TK worth product, it is not possible to get a 1.5TK benefit. So, from the beginning, what I can provide, is what I should communicate. Therefore, the chances of these issues arising decreases. You know, if you don’t over promise, there is no chance of heartbreak. So instead of over promising, it’s better to be real, relevant and reliable- and all can be delivered with a quality product & service. It helps to build a loyal base who trust on the brand and brand promises.
Trust is formed alongside a long-term relationship. So we need to serve, engage our consumers and need to walk the extra mile for them. As the most loving Bangladeshi Ice Cream brand, we have a loyal base, who are our safe gourd and brand advocates. If anyone intentionally wants to create any controversy about us, they start talking on our behalf, because the consistent quality delivery earned their trust for years. However, there are some occurrences or external stimulus for which the brand itself is not liable, but became a victim in those cases I think the media should be a bit more conscientious. They should check all their facts, before stating the information they’ve collected to the public.
At the government level, the role of the gatekeeper should be amplified. By that I mean, who is responsible for what, what can be done, and what can’t be done. What the standard is, and based on what are the questions being asked. The reason I am saying this is because, for a very long duration, the brands I have worked for, and those I am still working for, all of them were tested and trusted brand. Even then, I have witnessed 3 big incidents, once in 2008, then in 2014, and again this year, for 3 different brands. Each time, it was due to external reasons, and the brand was not involved. Something transpired in a different country, or the study that was conducted was faulty. Later on, when according to the standard, it was tested outside or abroad, the result revealed that the entire study was erroneous. Therefore, if the government were to handle such issues, just a bit more strictly, then the fraudulent industrialists will develop a sense of fear and start assuming more responsibility. On the other hand, if the brand is good, they can continue to serve with right products to the consumers. even if the consumers are confused, they would approach the brand, because they have faith. Then via one on one communication, the confusion can be resolved, since they do have faith in you. It’s not necessary to tell everyone, but it is essential to stay connected with your loyal base. So an issue may arise, but if I stay within the promise I made, then it’s possible to overcome the issue in a short span. Because consumers have faith and it’s being tested. We don’t compromise on product quality, which is the main reason people trust us. We maintain consistency and this is how we ensure the confidence of our loyal consumer base.
Catering to the convenience of consumers
Despite the proliferation of social media and digital marketing, the distribution network is still the same, naturally. But the fact is, as people are more convenience seeker, we have evolved our delivery services i.e. home delivery. You can call 16556, and you can get your favorite flavor of ice cream at home. That is how our reach to our audience is being changed. Similarly, our communication approach has also changed. The channels we are focusing on are mostly digital because that is more convenient and you can actually communicate with you consumers directly. You can actually target the consumer you are seeking for. Accordingly, the work is involved with the products, as well as engagement. Because a particular study about Facebook says that, ice cream is more about impulse, and the biggest consumer demography is the youth and millennials, and generation i, and millennials are not actually loyal. They prefer and love brands who can offer them an experience, engagement and excitement. We get this opportunity more via digital, so we are more focused on digital channels now. Accordingly, we are trying to communicate with our consumers, besides that. This brand has a legacy, has been in the market for a very long time. People of different ages like ice cream, hence for some we communicate in conventional media like television, and for some, particularly the new ones we have to be involved in BTL, for activation. We also work on the consumer end. However, we select the touchpoints, those which are fun and entertaining, we work on those points. Naturally, Facebook comes first but we also have a focus on YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn etc
Journey will define the success
When I think about career and success; I find them as the journey, or you can call it the life road. The journey will take you to a path, it’s a long journey and still I need to go miles away, hence I can’t see the destination yet. However, to make the journey a memorable and significant one, I will try to give my best one, and I am sure I will get some reward in return. Thanks to Ice Business Times for featuring me. A success story of someone from the crowd may help others to encourage. Thanks for the initiative but I will request you to raise your voice more about violence against children and women and violation of consumer rights. Before doing business we have a society to uphold.