Name : Adeel Ahmed Qadri
Position : Media Director
When was you first visit to Myanmar and what was your first impression back then?
I came in Myanmar in December 2015 with an understanding that it will be different compared to many other South Asian and South East Asian countries and I was right. Myanmar is different in terms of the market, media, culture and values to offer which makes it a unique market that has not lost its charm and curiosity. People are generally innocent, nice and generous, weather is ideal (except rainy season); work life though is easier if you know your stuff.
What do you think of Myanmar now?
I believe Myanmar economy is getting stable, but the country still needs a lot of improvements in infrastructure and I am happy to see the developments. However it remains unpredictable as it can take a while for the market to reach to the level of bit advanced markets or it can happen very fast as it’s a leap frog market where technology can take its place in some days but other changes such as development in education, health care, infrastructure etc. may take more time.
How did you end up in current position at Havas Riverorchid Myanmar?
My luck brought me here. I had worked previously with Havas in another market so I knew and appreciated the ways of Havas operating. While I joined a different company in Myanmar with different culture, I felt I missed my ownership working style so I got in touch with Havas Riverorchid (HRO) management and after 7 months I finally landed here. With overall 12 years’ experience in the field of media and advertising I have sound knowledge about all aspects and scopes which I am happy that is being valued by Havas Riverorchid (HRO).
Could you tell me more about your duties and responsibilities?
Well, it’s what I wanted to make my . responsibility as a designation doesn’t matter always. In other words I can say that I have liberty over all media operations of the company, it takes from idea inception and ends at billing and payment. I am the face for the company for clients for media which involves all scope like media strategy and planning, negotiations and buying, monitoring and reporting, team hiring, development and management, numbers crunching and much more.
Havas Riverorchid is in a number of other countries as well. What are the differences between working in Myanmar and other countries?
Havas Riverorchid is part of Havas Worldwide and regionally present in all countries of Indochina like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. Actually Myanmar working style is more challenging because many times ideas are there but lack of authentic data to back those ideas makes the ideas useless. It happens basically when advertisers do not want to spend on the research front but need ideas and insights which is equally opposite. While the reporting and resources gap also exist in this market, personal preferences also matter a lot. However the beauty of Myanmar market is here the opportunities are unlimited, like Media and Advertising industry is still in its growth stage which in other countries have already matured and got stagnant with a fixed growth ratio. This is a healthy indicator that there is a big playground to innovate and develop the market and it further indicates continuous growth rather copying other markets, something productive of your own can be created easily.
What kinds of service Havas Riverorchid Myanmar provide for local and international Companies?
Havas Riverorchid (HRO) is a leading integrated advertising agency as part of Havas Worldwide. Our mojo is loving, knowing and living Indochina. Gone are days when there were specialized wings to perform media, digital, activations, PR etc. separately. Now the big networks and agencies globally are coming back to traditional agency model as clients requirement are changing. However Havas Riverorchid was on the same traditional model for many years, which highlights the knowledge and thinking of strong management. Here at HRO we provide integrated solutions which cover all advertising aspects like Media, Digital, PR, Activation, Creative/ Content and Research solutions. Our ultimate aim is to develop the market, Myanmar people and provide superior level of trust to the clients who look for a reliable international level partner in Myanmar.
Who are the major clients of Havas Riverorchid Myanmar?
We basically do not call or treat our clients as clients only. We are strategic business partners to them where we work with them on all levels. We have variety of clients/partners which belong to several categories and are leading among them globally and regionally. We have proud clients from Telecom, Mobile Money, Banking, FMCG, Pharmaceutical, Contraceptive, Education and NGOs sectors. To name a few, our regional accounts are GSK, Johnson and Johnson, Bosch, UnionPay, Osotspa and Emirates Airlines. We are managing integrated portfolio of almost all of them which gives us not only an edge of versatility in the market with an upper hand while dealing with international level standards so they feel that they are not sitting somewhere they do not belong to.
How do you secure such high profile clients?
It’s a secret I will tell after you publish my interview.However, it is the level of trust we have built through many years of hardworking and making the clients aim as our aim. I personally believe that without taking ownership of the client projects, you cannot succeed. It applies not only to advertising but every industry. A client brief is never enough neither it answers all questions. You have to support your clients in all possible ways where they lack behind from their objectives and competitors;you have to treat your clients as you treat yourself otherwise everything will fall back and the trust is lost. You have to speak client language, you have to understand their businesses as of your own, and you have to commit the level of service more than they need then only you become a strategic business partner.
What is your view on media ads market in Myanmar?
Myanmar media market is growing as every year the AdEx observe growth, more and more regional and global brands are coming to Myanmar. Media (Offline and Online both) is the key to create immediate awareness of the brands which is the leading discipline in the market among all other medium. Among media the Reach king is TV, which is followed by OOH (Out of home), Print and Facebook. I particularly mention Facebook as it’s a digital era so like other SEA countries Facebook is being the most used social networking app and site in Myanmar. However, in terms of creativity the market is not yet being appreciated much by advertisers. The wide concept is to run the international/ regional version of an ad with local translation which underestimates the creativity of the market. I think brands should create more local content and enhance their local creativity with deeper understanding so the end user may feel relevancy, after all Myanmar is a country where national pride is impressively higher.
What are the critical success factors in media business?
In any business success, a happy customer plays the most vital role. The more the client is happy, the more he trusts, the more he trusts the more relations get stronger. We work for client’s trust and it’s the same for media business as well where you have to equip yourself with latest trends, research data, planning tools, more negotiating power, more ease of access, real time reporting and what not. Media is a business where employee turnover ratio is much higher. HRO spends a lot behind the grooming of their employees where the employees are treated as a family and work like a team. At HRO Employees have been taken care very well with proper trainings, exposures, ownership and of course rewards.
What are your future expansion plans and projects for the company in Myanmar?
In Myanmar we are growing very fast, we have new projects coming in on regular basis and we are expanding our operations accordingly. We have recently made our new home at Hledan Center 7th floor which is heart of the Yangon city to serve our clients with better experience and more efficiently. Looking forward to coming years we believe there will be a lot more improvement in the media landscape of the country which will open new challenges and for them we are ready to tackle.
From a business standpoint, what do you feel are the biggest challenges facing you and your team in next 1-3 years?
It is basically the media market that will be stagnant as at the moment it more prefers to operate in traditional ways. In other markets unconventional solutions are getting boom, the understanding and application for them is much more impactful and integrated which unfortunately is not happening that fast here. In next 2 to 3 years there will more clutter for the brands and if the choices will not be increasing then it will become too difficult to reach to the consumer. So brands need to start adapting unconventional ways such creating more content, exploring new marketing avenues and channels etc. It’s not only brands responsibility the media owners should also conduct proper research and reading of the market so they can create the choices accordingly. With the rise of digital media the traditional media will be fading and for the survival of it the proper measures should be taken.
If you could make one major changes to any government policy, what would it be?
I would suggest seek the more and continuous betterment of education and health sectors, education in general as education is foundation of the success of any individual and country especially in the country with young population with high level of hungry for broader exposures, so further development and advancements in education will be really nice stuff. From health point of view it is too expensive but still many expats and locals do not rely on it and go abroad to get a checkup or treatment.
How are you enjoying your days in Myanmar?
I am basically having a calm and peaceful life here, my one and only wife is here with me. The culture is bit similar to my homeland however the thinking and living styles are different. I only make friends which I can help and who can help me as well. However my best friends are my office media team who always support me in my personal and professional life and I am also keen to shift them my knowledge and experience during my tenure in Myanmar.