Photo Courtesy: Society for Intl. Education (Tech Camp 2012)
Driving down the main roads of Karachi, it is exciting to see the grand display of brand executions brightening the cityscape. For a teacher of marketing such as myself, these ads and promotions offer a windfall of examples and ideas to be shared with the students.
Walking down the aisles in the college library I can find a dozen books on marketing written in the western context; however till 2009 I had to make do with these, even though I yearned to discuss local cases from the Pakistani market.
Hence, it was a moment of sheer delight when I discovered a marketing textbook with the “South Asian Perspective”, written by Kotler, Keller, Koshy and Jha in 2010. This textbook was filled with excellent cases written about the brands from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
I was extremely satisfied with this book as a reference point for my undergraduate students.
Pondering over the situation I am struck by the irony that this book, which was so relevant to our markets, was written primarily by foreign writers.
Is there a dearth of good case writers in our country? Where are the numerous graduating batches of highly-ranked universities who are turning the wheels of Industry in Pakistan? Are they too busy to take up the responsibility of providing the academic community with good quality cases on local businesses?
So many difficult questions to answer!
The marketing sector is considered to be the breeding ground for creativity. This creativity lives a short life and bites the dust leaving no mourners behind buried deep in the files and folders of companies never to be seen again.
I believe it will be extremely beneficial if brand custodians would join hands with media and creative strategists; and with the academia, to publish case studies that can enable industry-level knowledge sharing and enhance learning by business students a.k.a. future managers.
Those from the advertising industry agree with the need for this initiative. In a brief interview session at PAS Awards 2015, jury session, Brandsynario got the opportunity to pose the question to some advertising experts.
As stated by Mr. Imtisal Abbasi, Imtisal Abbasi, Global Creative Director – Safeguard & COO, IAL Saatchi & Saatchi, in answer to our question,
“…this question would perhaps be better suited to clients. We would love to share but we are constrained by a lot of information safeguard protocol by our multinational clients in terms of business results in terms of research and so on. But I don’t see any hesitation because retail audits and grand health audits are available to people in the industry and they should share whatever they can. But clients would be in a better position to answer this question.”
Commenting on the issue, Mr Mansoor Karim Sheikh, CEO JWT Pakistan said, “I think that is a very good point, I think PAS should open a portal where case studies are available for everyone… I think the case studies from all advertising agencies and brands should be available for the students and for anyone to learn, as there is nothing to hide. It should be an open forum, I believe in that.”
Mr Aly Mustansir, Chairman PAS Awards Committee/CMO Bank Alfalah has an interesting take on the problem.
In his own words, “We’re not very good with information creation or information sharing. I know that some local business school have tried to develop some case studies but unless you get a lot of support from the companies about whom the cases are being written, it’s not going to happen. The academia also hasn’t really done much in terms of developing local cases where marketing and advertising skills come to use. I would request all local business schools to take this initiative.”
Watch their answers in the video below:
It would be fair to mention the individual efforts of some Universities which are trying to fill this gaping hole and close this chasm with publications and formal case studies.
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, has recently started a series of Case-writing workshops under the professorship of Dr. Zaki Rashdi (Associate Professor of Management Sciences), which is aimed at providing specific guidelines, timelines and discussion forums to help make high quality local case studies a reality.
A similar project was undertaken by the Institute of Business Management in 2012 by their Case studies cell, under the faculty leadership of Mr. Ekhlaque Ahmed.
To increase the quantity and quality of case studies from Pakistan, the proactive steps of the academia must be met with enthusiasm by the advertising and activations industry.
This urgent, unmet need will hopefully come under serious discussion in the upcoming PAS Conference, and concrete steps will be taken to ensure publication and open access to quality case studies, based on success stories and learning opportunities just waiting to be revealed to the keenly interested, business savvy audiences of Pakistan.