Established in 2019, the Marketing 2.0 Conference spotlights the innovations and breakthroughs made by the marketing and advertising industry and at this year’s edition (held earlier this year in Dubai) RED Publicis won the Best Companies Award and the CEO and Founder, Sabene Saigol, received the Outstanding Leadership Award.
Uzma Khateeb-Nawaz: What would you consider your key take-home from the Marketing 2.0 Conference?
Sabene Saigol: It is a fabulous event that brings together like-minded enthusiasts, celebrates the industry and inspires one another to continue producing good work. It reminds you that you are part of a very passionate and creative fraternity that is motivated to learn more and grow bigger. In a creative field such as advertising, acknowledgment of successful work not only motivates the team, it sets the benchmark for other advertising enthusiasts to look up to. Overall, awards boost the spirit and act as a driving force to grow further.
UKN: Who were the other winners this year and how many awards were presented in total?
SS: A total of 108 awards were handed out across categories, including honourees from different global regions. There were a total of 20 entries from Pakistan, of which 12 were in the same category of Best Company Award. To win among the most reputable honourees was a very prestigious moment. It is a true honour for RED Publicis to participate for the first time and then be recognised for game-changing creativity and forward-thinking leadership with two awards.
UKN: How would you define your leadership style?
SS: Research shows that the best leaders do not mull over decisions that have to be made. Very often, delaying decisions by overthinking leads to huge losses. I believe in making a call with all the information and facts and then putting everything behind that decision. I am not the type of leader that just issues a bunch of directives and instructions. I get involved with my teams in brainstorming sessions; we discuss, we agree, we disagree and then we start all over again. I try to inspire them, they inspire me, and that is how great ideas are born. Since I lead a creative agency, my main purpose is to facilitate the birth of these great ideas.
UKN: What are some of the strategic leadership decisions you have taken that have brought RED to where it is?
SS: As the founder and CEO, I have had to wear different hats in the last 24 years. As a leader it is essential to understand the different rhythms of one’s teams and facilitate good energy among them. Adaptability and evolution with the ever-changing new media landscape have been RED’s motto; one that has helped craft the path to success. In the past five years, we have moved ahead strategically and become an official affiliate of the Publicis group, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
UKN: What is the one thing that makes you proud of RED Publicis? How is it different from other agencies?
SS: We are not only known for our strong creative but for a very easy-going and fun work environment that is free from leg-pulling and politics. I guess the two are interlinked as you cannot have one without the other. The fact that I am the biggest supporter of my creative teams facilitates in developing an environment in which people want to come to work and develop ground-breaking communication. It is only when you love what you do that you will create something memorable and very special.
UKN: What has been the most successful work of RED Publicis?
SS: Each campaign comes with a set objective that we challenge ourselves to achieve. While we have been successfully delivering on those objectives, one campaign really took a bolder step to create a more prominent position in the market. Nescafé has been a huge part of pop culture globally, but locally it had not created a love mark on the audience due to the dominance of tea consumption. Jaagna Toh Parega is a cherished campaign done right. One that not only put the brand on the map locally but succeeded in driving sales exponentially. Pitching coffee against tea in Pakistan is not an easy challenge. Yet, Jaagna Toh Parega was able to able to make an impact and eventually became trendy among young people.
UKN: What is your five-year plan for RED?
SS: The future is about harnessing the potential of new media. Although globally, brands and agencies have started to excel in digital, Pakistan has only seen the start of this revolution. RED was one of the first agencies in Pakistan to set up a creative digital team able to synergise digital knowledge with creativity and generate customised content that is relevant to digital audiences. Moving forward, RED will invest further in digital training and talent to deliver expertise in digital content creation and optimisation.