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SHAHBAZ MAQSOOD KHAN, DIRECTOR MARKETING – MOBILINK

By: Hina Ishtiaq

An expert Marketing Specialist who brings with him more than 13 years of extensive experience in Brands, Media, Strategy, Sales, Category Development and Product Launches. In his current role as Director Marketing at Mobiliink, ShahbazMaqsood has been a vital part of the successful re-launch of Jazz, the rebranding of Mobi-cash to Jazz Cash, introducing the company’s own handset category, Jazz X and the brand’s successful affiliation with Lahore Qalandars, in the inaugural season of the Pakistan Super League. Moreover, he has also been pivotal in winning the Pakistan Award Society – PAS award, recognized as one of the most prestigious award of the advertising industry. During his last stint at Telenor, he was the force behind Talkshawk, Telenor 3G and Telenor Corporate where he brought about exceptional results in brand growth and sales. His impressive portfolio includes various brand building and brand development assignments on a local and international level for Unilever, working on renowned global brands such as Axe, Lipton and Brooke Bond. Shahbaz is an MBA from NUST with specialization in Technology Management & International Business and Marketing.

BM: How does it feel to be heading the biggest telco brand of the country?
SM: It’s indeed humbling. At the same time it’s a constant rollercoaster ride that never ends, never slows down.

BM: Why did you decide to relaunch Jazz and what is the Jazz eco system?
SM: Jazz has been ruling millions of hearts for over two decades. Its magic left our customers so mesmerized that they never got out of the Jazz spell. A few years back as part of Vimplecom’s single brand philosophy, we decided to make “Mobilink” as the umbrella brand and Jazz was pushed back. This was probably the most interesting decisions of Mobilink’s history. We learned how brands that are loved by people never die. We learned how companies don’t decide the fate of the brands people do. So while we called it Mobilink, people called it Jazz.

So I would say, we didn’t “relaunch” Jazz, we just woke up the Sleeping Dragon. As for the Jazz Eco system, yesterday’s Jazz was known for connecting people, today we have a whole new eco system which will help us in leading the digital revolution and will enable our customers with innovative solutions for their digital requirements. Jazz now has Jazz X (our devices portfolio), JazzCash (our mobile money service), Jazz Points & Jazz Experience (our customer care and service centers) and lots more to offer. It’s breaking the boundaries of telecommunication to redefine the future.

BM: A few years ago you launched Mobilink as the umbrella brand and there was a talk of doing away with Jazz, however, now Jazz appears to be the brand under which all consumer services have been aggregated. Why this shift?
SM: I have just answered your question but let me further reiterate that in another way. We have always heard in our marketing courses that “consumer is the king”, and with JAZZ in particular this theory makes perfect sense. Our consumer refused to let go of the brand name JAZZ from their memory. For them everything is JAZZ so we have just listened to our consumers and gave them back what and how they want.

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BM: What does the relaunch of Jazz mean for consumers in practical terms? Will there be any changes for postpaid customers, for example? Or any other changes?
SM: Yes definitely!! People usually think that it’s just a new logo & a new tagline and the rest is the same. Not with every new logo comes a changed mindset. The new tagline “DunyaKoBataa Do,” is one of its kind. For the first time in the history of brands in Pakistan, a brand let alone a telco brand, with such volatile market dynamics has taken advocacy as a platform. Jazz stands for social change via individual change. When one believes that success is made accessible to individuals they have the capacity to change society, then.

BM: Have you made any changes in terms of service offerings?
SM: Jazz comes back with a new promise. Promise of being not just a friend but as a mentor. The frientor that will keep you happy & guide you towards a successful future. Our new brand promises that success is always difficult yet achievable. We have set the bar higher for ourselves. The company derives its strength from the positioning of a brand. This time the positioning is such that you will see the difference in services and offerings automatically. We stand for value and innovation.

BM: You have a new tagline: Dunyakobato do. What are you trying to convey with this? And does Mobilink’s tagline: Hardilhar din remains?
SM: “HarDilHar Din” was a great tagline. People loved it. But it was not stating the new digital ambition of the company. Therefore, it had to be let go of. The new tagline “DunyaKobataa Do” is a self explanatory tagline which asks and motivates our customers to tell the world what is hidden in you. And only with the help of the right tool i.e. with Jazz you will be able to showcase your talent, make a statement and change mindset of the societies.

BM: The campaign is about collecting stories from Pakistan and making a positive impression in the world. Can you tell us a bit more about how this will work?
SM: We have launched an on going campaign under the hashtag of #HerosOfJazz, through this we will be showcasing the talent and achievement of Pakistanis who are excelling in different fields. At the same time we will also communicate new & innovative ways of using the same products & services of Jazz to make a difference. Like in our recent Ramadan Campaign we had highlighted how our youth is a responsible person, who is responsible enough to do things using a tool like a bonus offer from Jazz to make a difference. We give our customers back & they give it back to the next person. This way we will motivate our people to become heroes.

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