Muzaffar Manghi, CEO, MCS, on his newly established agency and how he hopes to stand out from the competition.
AMBER ARSHAD: What were the reasons that led to the establishment of Manghi Communication Solutions?
MUZAFFAR MANGHI: We are a brand new agency and based out of Karachi. As our name suggests, our purpose is providing solutions and our primary objective is to identify a business challenge with precision and to create media-neutral solutions. The solution then dictates the medium and the message.
AA: Considering you have worked at key positions with prominent agencies such as Adcom Leo Burnett, JWT, Ogilvy & Mather and Red Communications, what factors prompted you to leave an established advertising career and establish a new agency?
MM: There were two reasons. The first was that I hit the glass ceiling at an early age, and given the prevailing agency structures, I realised that further growth would not be to my liking. Given that I have almost two decades of global experience, establishing my own agency seemed to be the only logical step. Secondly, I realised that the advertising industry across the world is scrambling to figure out how to restructure itself. In the midst of these seismic changes, we identified a gap of sorts that allowed us to create value for businesses.
AA: How do you plan to differentiate MCS from other agencies?
MM: We are a full service advertising agency, but essentially we are not competing with any of the big five. As an agency, we aim to actively avoid becoming a big shop. Consumers and clients need agility, not just in terms of services but with regard to thought leadership. After agility, our core difference is our approach to communication, and in the way we service the business. Lastly, we plan to utilise our understanding of where tech fits into communication and human behaviour.
AA: What strategy are you keeping in mind when recruiting new people?
MM: MCS will only ever be as good as its people. Excellence in the craft is mandatory. However, the people we hire have to be hungry; they have to be bloodthirsty, irrespective of their age. We abhor people who use jargon and complicate things that are better off simple, as well as people who seek validation from a title. We respect people who laugh easily, like what they do and like other people. As for our hiring strategy, we are not going to reach out to start with. When people hear about us, understand what we do and tell us how they fit in with us, we listen, because it shows that they are not pursuing the beaten path. We like people who like living outside their comfort zone.
"The people we hire have to be hungry; they have to be bloodthirsty, irrespective of their age. We abhor people who use jargon and complicate things that are better off simple."
AA: Is it difficult to acquire new clients in Pakistan?
MM: No, it’s not difficult. The challenge is retaining them by creating value for them. There are some international brands that we are in talks with; we have an appetite for global work since we bring global expertise. However, there’s a large band of clients that aren’t thinking about million-dollar TV campaigns, and because of that they don’t receive the attention their business needs. They are seen as ‘chotay retainer waalay clients’. Shockingly, these clients are big businesses themselves, and understand the simple concept of making money, assuming someone is willing to step aside from selling ads and actually solve business problems for them. Advertising becomes a by-product.
AA: In your opinion, what is lacking in Pakistan’s advertising industry?
MM: Ironically, the harbingers of change themselves are terrified of change. Can this fear be overcome? Perhaps. Will change happen irrespective? Of course, change occurs whether one wants it or not. And that’s fantastic because accepting change and responding first is the spirit behind MCS.