Muhammad Shahid, Group GM Marketing – Cool Industries Ltd – Waves & Singer

Tell us about your educational and professional journey.

To begin with, it’s been quite a journey really from my childhood till now and a good one! I did my masters in marketing from University of Punjab and masters in computer sciences as well from ICS Nk-Fact. Right after, I joined PEL in Marketing department as an executive after that I was forced push to shift to Sales department due to lack of scope of Marketing in appliances sector, very quickly got promoted as Area Sales Manager which marked as my first prominent step in professional life. It was successful 4 year tenure resulting in promotion and that is when I was sure that I have a good career in sights, right after my promotion got opportunity at Dawlance the largest appliances company in Pakistan there my love and passion for Marketing reignited, as I knew form the day one that marketing is my thing, so later part at Dawlance and recall by PEL in 2011 was the changing time of my career , I got wide empty canvas of a brand that was out and lost in consumer minds, had to plan strategies things as per requirements and boy its was some work and achievements, distinctions and satisfaction when I re jog myself on that.  I was the youngest and most shining, during my time, the best ever sales numbers were recorded in April 2007 which was on an uphill till June 2010.

I was heading the first and properly laid marketing department at PEL where 8 years back I worked as an executive and a rookie was a big crown in itself. In March 2017, I felt the time came for more and bigger challenges and I should take another step when Waves opened its doors. So I became a part of Cool Industries as Group General Manager Marketing Waves & Singer, yet again 2 brands from the past lost their way in recent times newer projects balancing both brands making different positioning, man I love such challenges, now I am managing a vast range of products, dealing with a bigger network of people and working hard towards the evolution of the brands.

When I look back at all this, I feel very lucky and today where I am at this age, I feel right at the top of my career ever ready to bigger and better challenges. Challenges and struggle always gets best out of me, I feel very luck at the mid part of my career where professionals are settling down into comforts, I got a bigger opportunity of my life, so a chance again to use all knowledge, experience and skills to empty canvas.

For me the challenge isn’t to be different but to be consistent

 

Share a few details about your family back ground?

I have 2 younger brothers working in USA, well settled and contributed well in their fields; father is an engineer he along with my mother is also settled in USA now days. I am the only member of my family living here in Pakistan because of my work passion and to do well in the field of marketing and advertising. Appliances are innovative in their own being and the market is ever revolving. Witnessing inventions from a ground level to where it currently is, I stay amazed. Such a scope always inspired me take advantage and formulate more strategies which were mainly based on the brand’s growth. But then, they weren’t as simple as said, they required the right time and right approach in order to be successful. I was not very happy to move into sales at earlier part of my career but now I feel and sure that it is the biggest plus for me while taking leading roles in marketing for the industry. The product knowledge in the key as it is also the base of the Marketing, effectiveness and command will only come in your work when you know your product, segment it is designed for people you need to communicate with all the insights of the TG group.

We have produced great marketers and still are the richest country as far as talent is concerned but as a professional I always feel, it’s very little we have given back to the marketing industry and upcoming generations.

Give us your reviews about the “Digital Revolution” and how Waves is maintaining its growth alongside.

It has definitely camouflaged this era, in a good way! Mainly for businesses and marketing based ventures, digital forums have and are playing a primary role where the world comes together on one platform. Likewise, this revolution is highly beneficial for Waves especially in this case of re-positioning the brand. For Waves, reaching to its people, creating awareness and letting its consumers know about the newness, I believe, digital is surely a helping hand in the growth of the brand. I always believed that digital can change things for brands very quickly, my interest in digital marketing comes from my second degree, here content is the key, our industry in terms of digital is medium is growing & developing, strong focus on digital related content is required. Ecom is another big thing that hit our industry as quite a revolution and generating good numbers, although its quite different from west, where appliances are mostly still bought through personal involvements but here numbers are picking up quite fast.

Tell us about the fundamental difference between Waves and other companies when it comes to network capacity and customer service.

Having worked with well-known players of this category, I can for sure feel a difference. And why not because like every other human being, even brands have their peculiar personalities. Here at Waves, there is a wider scope because the brand is enthusiastic to try out new ventures for its growth. This includes more manufacturing, more selling and certainly all that comes in the same line of expansion.

Waves as a brand and its recall will be right up there when it comes to appliances industry and the    legacy of number 1 Deep Freezers company, still is leading industry in this category gives a huge promise to its customers for the quality as the tagline Nam hi Kaafi hay strongly emphasis the promise we make to our customers of trust.

Singer on the other hand is an American multinational brand and leading industry in various countries, in Pakistan it is being restricted just to hire purchase business but it’s doing quite well in the business though, more than 140 shops across Pakistan taking a big chunk of share in this business, this 140 shops network is the largest for any brand. Singer legendary products sewing machines and water heaters are still leading the categories for ages for its very strong brand name. We need to work on product and its positioning for singer to match its international standards, to get it placed with other MNC’s in the business. So these challenges are quite different for what I have been doing for my previous employers.

Waves has always brought forward inventive features, what is the next big venture?

Well, there is much in store. Just like Cool Bank was Waves initial invention which is still the market favorite because of its coolness and maximum cooling retention, we are onwards coming up with a range of refrigerators, microwave, air-conditioners which have top-of-the-line features and specifications.

We have introduces Pakistan’s first Low Voltage Running (LVR) refrigerator just in last campaign that runs at 160 volts perfectly, this is different from LVS function, as it not only starts at low voltages but runs perfectly on low voltages without compromising performance and cooling losses. Our new Glass door refrigerator is Pakistan’s first all glass refrigerator with glass shelves and balconies, gives customer and upgraded and sophisticated feel for their buy.

We are coming up with best magnetron technology in MWO with 3 years warranty support where competition is just hovering around 1 year.  Our new Inverter air conditioners will be with 4D technology to give customers maximum saving without any cooling loss and with best cooling performances.

Innovation part was well taken in when it comes to our advertising, I am sure you all have seen our new Fahad Mustafa starred campaign, that again is an innovative campaign for the industry, nothing like this was tried in this before. We needed to show change in management and the vision for the company and I think it served us quite well. The bang not only left people with a strong image of change in the brand but also left them guessing for a lot more to come from Waves.

You entered the market facing very strong competition, what problems did you have to face achieving the market share you hold today?

Yes that is true, the market is surely dense and appliances are one category where people invest heavily. For Waves, all its competitors present in the market have been there strengthening their footing since long, taking good support of marketing and advertising as well. This has resulted in the audience getting more attracted and gaining trust. However, our basic challenge was and is to cut through all this. And in a short span of time, we have managed to turn the audience towards us. We have managed to create quite buzz in the market, results in this short time is lot better than expected but this is just a start and shares need to rise, we need to work more harder to get things going as competition will not give up shares easily. The good thing is we are aggressive under new management, we understand our challenges and really looking forward to take them aggressively.

Our last campaign strategically placed in low season with quite a unique and aggressive content generated quite a buzz, which considering the budget spends gave us far much more prominence and recall.

What has been your defining moment of your life?

Well I am still pretty young to ask this question, I think for me there is still lot to be done, learning and growing is still on and lot of goals are still at sight.

I throughout my career have worked for myself as I am the judge of my work,  self-assessment and accountability leads to improvements, my professional goals become my personal goals in fact my personal goals becomes more tougher. I think working in sales as mid part of my career was the defining moment for me because mostly while strategizing and making business plans, that sales instinct always gives me an extra side of thinking to visualize how trade will react and counter plans.

Appliances are innovative in their own being & the  market is ever revolving