“Be where the ball will be, not where it is currently”, said Asif Aziz, Chief Commercial Officer, Jazz, to the students of NUST Business School in Islamabad, during an interactive session on Digital Marketing. He elaborated that this was the first lesson his football coach taught him and he fully grasped this concept a few years into his professional life.
Aziz, who is also Chairman of the Pakistan Advertisers Society, believes that the digital landscape is shifting at an unprecedented pace; tools keep evolving and are becoming more efficient while the access to digital has increased tenfold. According to Aziz, the marketing industry has been quick to adapt. Brands have diverted their focus from TVCs, billboards and print advertising to online campaigns. Applications such as TikTok, Instagram and Snack Video are being leveraged to create brand narratives with greater engagement and user-generated content.
According to recent numbers, globally and within the span of a minute, 167 million videos are watched on TikTok, 310,000 photos are shared on Facebook and Instagram, and 6,940,000 hours of video are streamed on YouTube. Users everywhere are actively creating and sharing content.
Aziz believes that in order to benefit from this content stream, brand must learn to create their own digital brand voice – how the brand is viewed and perceived by users through its content. Brands must adapt to changes and focus on building a unique identity and USP.
He believes visuals will remain a very important element of digital branding. Explaining this through billboard marketing, he said it is impossible to calculate the number of views a billboard gets in a single day; there is also the possibility that people passing by at high speed may not see the billboard and even if they do, what aspect of the image would they retain and related to most? Similar dynamics are now at play with digital marketing. A person scrolling quickly may decide to skip an advertisement. But a strong colour combination and design can help the brand stand out and this is the reason why the digital universe is thriving on colourful, vibrant visuals.
Another important aspect to evaluate is the audience. Young users make up a high percentage of online audiences, hence the creative ideas have to be young and fresh enough to grab attention and influence purchase decisions. In Aziz’s opinion, local brands have started thinking ahead of the curve in terms of their digital marketing campaigns; they are paying attention to where the ball will be next, rather than where it is now.
To conclude his session, he combined all the key aspects of successful digital marketing to explain how Jazz has created a strong brand. Staying ahead of the curve, Jazz quickly realised that its target market was present on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Jazz was one of the first mobile operators to shift its marketing focus to online media, and in the process, accomplished a lot of firsts in the industry.
Nada Naeem is Industry Liaison Officer, NUST Business School.