Ahmed Kapadia

Executive Doodle – Issue 2, 2021

Executive Doodle – Issue 2, 2021

In my personal experience as an entrepreneur and a vocal activist of the advertising fraternity, I feel that there is a lot to be desired. This does not mean that we have not achieved anything worthwhile, but an honest introspection does make me feel disappointed at the present state.

Let me explain why. The advertising industry has been growing constantly in the past two decades or so, as I see more and more ads in traditional and digital media every day. Despite the overall growth in the industry in terms of advertising spend, addition of more advertising agencies and human resources, I still find the industry to be erratic and in disarray to a very high extent. Our creative, in most cases, is below par and our quality of work, highly inconsistent.

The world of digital has brought with it some challenges that we had not seen earlier. The advent of digital agencies and continuous struggle for the traditional agency structure to evolve along with changing media realities, has been daunting to say the least. The process of evolution tells us that no matter how much we fight to keep the status quo, change is the only constant. For us, the reality is in our face and it is telling us how much we need to re-configure and re-structure our working relationship, yet I don’t see the urgency in our actions.

I strongly believe that leadership, in an advertising agency, like any other business is the key to setting the direction for the future. When I look around, I see a lot of time being spent on getting business and initially on developing executional campaigns, but what I don’t see is the desired leadership or down the line communication of the purpose of the organization or its priorities towards business, people, the industry and community. Let me tell you from personal experience that these are not buzz words. These are life lines for an advertising business to create alignment, across the organization and create common and shared priorities.

In case you are thinking, ok so we do all the above then what? Well when we do these crucial actions, they must be further expanded upon. The organization must invest in plans and programs that lead to actions supporting their purpose. It involves investment in people, in HR policies and procedures, in accountability of action, in support to causes that align with the purpose and the list goes on. I don’t think that there are many advertising agencies that even have manuals containing HR policies, leave aside the other items listed above.

How can excellence be achieved when we are not committed to our business and ourselves? The way we ignore driving in lanes, we are also avoiding processes that are mandatory for developing campaigns. We need to rise above mediocrity and show character in building organizations that can compete at least regionally and then globally. It’s time that we take responsibility through actions that back our words.

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Executive Doodle Annual 2021

Executive Doodle Annual 2021

Life goes on amid all the chaos and external changes. COVID-19 still remains at the epicenter of the world with the kind of disruption that is difficult to fathom yet it continues to force itself on the human race at an unprecedented level. I am sure this is not the first time you would have heard someone say, “When are things going to get back to normal?”, as much as we are continuously questioning during this particular uncertainty, since it is so highly discomforting. The one thing that we all yearn for is stability which seems to be the least guaranteed in the present circumstances. It is so interesting that a quick reflection on the last 8 months or so and the massive changes that humans have adapted to is no less than a miracle. We were pushed, forced, challenged and cornered and each time we stood up and faced it with greater resolve. We don’t need to be told that we are resilient as time has proven through history that we have risen from the ashes and fought back each time our backs were against the wall.

I know we are now getting used to the new normal where a lot is quite different to what it was pre-COVID. Having said that, there are certain changes which may not revert back to how it was in the earlier days. An exceptionally large part of these changes are digitally-influenced, which we can expect to keep building on our behavior and as a response to our paranoia and fear of the pandemic. I cannot imagine that we will discontinue our newly acquired habit of excessive hand-washing or using hand sanitizer when we have control over the pandemic. Similarly, there are many other new habits that we will carry forward even when our fears subside in the near future.

I also find it interesting that our changed priorities have led to new consumption habits. According to a recent research report by J.P. Morgan, COVID-19 has transformed consumer spending habits. There is a surge in sales of household cleaners, soap, vitamins and supplements, hair color and coffee. There is also a double-digit decline in sales of cosmetics and sun-care products. There is also a major increase in demand for hi-speed internet, streaming and cable services, video games and online gaming, food delivery services etc. All these changes demonstrate that we are highly influenced by our environment and our habits can shift instantaneously.

I want to leave you with one more thought. With the COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out, there will be a huge cost that governments as well as individuals will pay for. To give you an idea, the cost of one vaccine will average from $25 to $35, hence the total cost of vaccinating a whole population will run into billions. Don’t you think this cost will be at the expense of another priority on the government’s agenda; such as education, health, infrastructure or human development? We are in unusual times where disruptions like these may continue in the next decade. Though I cannot predict the future, I can say that we have entered a new spiral of evolution, where we will be faced with multiple conflicts. Our biggest challenge will be to maintain a balance within, despite the continuous changes in the environment.

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When Winning Ain’t Enough

When Winning Ain’t Enough

We are a people so consumed by the act of winning and losing it isn’t funny anymore. Where has the love of the game gone I wonder? To individualistic, we only embark on gossips about fixing, or a mutiny on board with the two apparent characters Misbah and Afridi leading and hogging the limelight. We as a cricketing public or public in general are accustomed to lay blame on certain outer misdemeanors rather than look at the problem itself, that we aren’t the team we used to be, I’m ok with accepting this fact. Look at it in hindsight, all the problems we face in the country are laddered on our neighbor or some ultra intelligence agency spicing up a plan on us. Face it; we are not that important enough. When we cannot unite as a nation, why are we blaming the lads in Oceania?

As I write this, I too am hurting; as it is natural and I’m not one of them arty types who just don’t care and say why bother. Of course it bothers me, to the point of a hating innuendo. But I do not appreciate to associate with people who take it as their personal insult to lose to India, as if India is of any great importance in their lives, my life, no way. Yes, this is cricket country and we do normally feel a connect to our teams fortunes too that of our own, but it’s time to let go and have pride in other things except the frailties or strengths of our cricket team. As a nation we are consumed by glories of yore, living in a state of limbo, case in point the state of hockey is for all to see. We should accept that cricket has changed, and we are still in rewind mode.

Fans have extreme moods, and that’s good, you should be passionate, but also patient, because it is still on and if Pakistan springs up a surprise and gets to where we all hope it should be heading, these guys will just look silly. Be critical, but always have some respect and admiration for the proverbial twist in the game. Probably coming up, and if doesn’t, we shall be queuing up next time.  Wait and watch, you’ll learn something about yourself.

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Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

Every now and then we wonder what really constitutes a great mind. To me, the idea of a great mind is just a mere myth. It’s just a delusion made by pessimists. Your 1500 grams of mass in skull cannot make you great; it’s how you use those 1500 grams of mass. It takes effort and a mindset of a winner to achieve greatness.

 

A solution oriented mindset and an attitude of a winner would make you great. Edward de bono rightly framed this idea by saying “If you never change your mind, why have one?” The point is to ask the right questions when it is required. In most cases, whenever a heated situation arises the first question is who did it? And then it becomes the last question which can create chaos and haphazardness. We are always asking the wrong questions in almost every situation that always leads us to a never ending blame game.

There is another point I would like to highlight over here and that is the idea and hesitance to make mistakes. A learning mind is never afraid of making mistakes. Every other defeat should be celebrated because every mistake leaves behind tons of treasures of knowledge.

It just requires an active mind to learn from it and move on.

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Media convergence in the global village

Media convergence in the global village

The world is becoming more globally accessible, and at the same time, more convergent. By convergent I mean a world where no person or touchpoint exists in isolation; everything is interconnected and every action can potentially have an effect on everything else. Convergence empowers consumers, enabling them to take control over their relationship with everything they interact with.

Media and media vehicles have genuinely become more important to businesses these days as these phenomena have gained tremendously in their ability to influence consumer’s lives. It is reshaping marketing and its capacity to translate directly into business performance. Hence, there is huge opportunity to reinvent and elevate the role that media plays in promoting businesses. This includes creating opportunities through such touchpoints which have the potential to gather consumers so that they can be more connected and receptive to messages being sent out by brands.

And that is what is changing in consumer’s lives; connected devices connecting consumers. What we as marketers need to make sure is that brands are there when the consumer needs them. We have the opportunity to create need, but the critical fact is the point of engagement, connection and transaction are all getting closer and closer together through different forms of media; and paying attention to this can really change the way business is done.

Another dynamic is that we are moving in terms of convergence from a media world that was quite controlled, with a limited supply of vehicles that was much organised. Things happened at fixed points in place and time. We could plan it easily as well as calculate how many and how often. We didn’t know what happened, but suddenly we have to calculate so that we can supply to the world over. This translates into almost infinite choices for the consumer and infinite choices for us.

The critical matter here is how much more powerful this is, how much more influence we can actually generate and the million dollar question; how much further capability does the media actually have. We can do much more; it’s just that we’ve got to make smart choices…

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The power of perspective

The power of perspective

Perspective is a funny thing.

All it takes to change it are a few vicarious words and voila! You have a whole new outlook to a situation, entity or your beloved fizzy drink.

With the entire buzz that shrouds marketers for being the only ones responsible for changing perspectives, it’s only logical to say that every other entity around is as much of a spin-doctor. From TRP-hungry TV transmissions to brain-jacking Facebook updates, mind maneuvering is but a bitter reality. Look around and you will find anyone and everyone playing to their agenda. Be it a local

broadcasting network disfiguring facts or an international media outlet snaking information to the extent of projecting state terrorism as a right to self-defense for a country like Israel – letting her bombard a country which does not have an army, an air force, any missiles or even tanks. Rather what they have to defend themselves are 10-year-old kids, throwing stones at armored military personnel sitting inside a fortified vehicle.

We live in the so-called age of information. Whoever owns or broadcasts information, holds the influence to manipulate it as well. And we all know that information is power…

This has never been truer than in recent times. With the mass media’s rise to power and the advent of social media’s unimaginable user penetration, spilling selective and suggestive information has never been easier. Leave it to the end user to perceive as per your plans. Be it renowned news channels hammering ‘Breaking News’ at its audience or a popular talk show host using religion attributed intonations to incite ratings. All that you need to do is spark a thought into the ever-receptive minds of your consumers and let them build upon it, and in turn build confusion – from an individual to the masses. We all see it; we all hear it, we all think it. The game has changed, the tools have evolved and the need to use these tools has been enforced.

This is the war of the minds and perspective is the weapon of choice.

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IBA: A world of leaders

The IBA is one of the biggest names when it comes to leadership. Most of the graduates of the IBA are big names in the industry. Be it the President of Pakistan or the Prime Minister, all are prominent figures. One of them being Ahmed
Kapadia CEO Synergy Advertising. Mr. Kapadia is best at what He does and He has taken Synergy to new heights of success. That’s a trait of the IBA graduates, to be on top and the bar is still rising.

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Mind over matter

Mind over matter

Every now and then we wonder what really constitutes a great mind. To me, the idea of a great mind is just a mere myth. It’s just a delusion made by pessimists. Your 1500 grams of mass in skull cannot make you great; it’s how you use those 1500 grams of mass. It takes effort and a mindset of a winner to achieve greatness.

 

A solution oriented mindset and an attitude of a winner would make you great. Edward de bono rightly framed this idea by saying “If you never change your mind, why have one?” The point is to ask the right questions when it is required. In most cases, whenever a heated situation arises the first question is who did it? And then it becomes the last question which can create chaos and haphazardness. We are always asking the wrong questions in almost every situation that always leads us to a never ending blame game.

There is another point I would like to highlight over here and that is the idea and hesitance to make mistakes. A learning mind is never afraid of making mistakes. Every other defeat should be celebrated because every mistake leaves behind tons of treasures of knowledge. It just requires an active mind to learn from it and move on.

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Managing Work Pressure

Managing Work Pressure

I see time as a limited resource; no matter what we do, we only have 24 hours a day. In order to cope up with these challenges, firstly one needs to realize the hard fact that we can’t sustainably work through all of them. Realizing this would enable us to make smart choices such as prioritizing and allocating our time and energy for every task. This doesn’t mean that we should restrict ourselves at any point; we should have an attitude of a learner and a striver. The idea is to make smart choices and not to be fearful of making mistakes. A true manager trusts his capabilities and tests his natural abilities so he can overcome all the barriers that helps in coming up with a stronger mindset.

One can only enjoy his work when he has an entrepreneurial mindset for work. If you have a passion, determination and love for anything you would achieve it sooner or later. Any job would definitely stress you out if you don’t have the right mindset and measures to plan and act on it. The most important thing is to accept your strengths and weaknesses and develop a can do attitude. It encompasses responsibility, perseverance, with a focus on good work ethics, initiative, positive thinking, pro activeness and a planned vision. Importance also needs to be placed on time management. If someone is really interested in improving himself he needs to identify his strengths and weaknesses. Once you have identified your weaknesses and strengths you can allocate your time appropriately where you can bridge the missing gaps and take advantage of your strengths. Again, if you are not sure what you are doing than definitely work would stress you out. Uncertainty and doubts is a killer and a true manager has the ability and insight to see the flow and sequencing of his activities, acting on that plan is secondary.
Consider your priorities and try to discard and delegate the unnecessary and unimportant ones. Use the people around you efficiently in order to maximize results and minimize the work pressure. In a true synergy all the team members should be on the same wavelength.

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Health TV – Sidra Iqbal interviews Ahmed Kapadia

Health TV – Sidra Iqbal interviews Ahmed Kapadia
Ahmed Kapadia speaks to Sidra Iqbal in this weekly episode of Pehchaan on doing things differently, his strengths and the

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power of perseverance. He talks about the legacy of philanthropy that has been part of his family and how he will continue it forward through he Latif Kapadia Welfare Memorial Trust.

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