As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia presents “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time.
This week we talk to Amna Kasumbi Marketing Manager at Qureshi Group based in Karachi, Pakistan.
Over the course of our conversation, she talks about how she got her first break in the industry, what she loves about the work, what she doesn’t like about it, and more.
Name: Amna Kasumbi
Agency: Qureshi Group
Position: Marketing Manager
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
Current Location: Karachi
Education: Iqra University, Bachelors in Media Studies, Major in Advertising, 2015
How did you get your first break in the industry?
I had been a public speaker all my school life and that was one reason why I opted for a communications degree in the first place. This passion landed me my first internship in the 2nd year of my degree. I interned in the Client Services Department at Red Communication Arts, a full-service advertising agency.
Assisting my line manager on advertising campaigns for Garnier, Sanofi Aventis, Hilal Foods, and PSO, I was fascinated by the room full of professionals working together building successful campaigns. There was so much to explore and learn from and somehow, from that very experience, I knew where I would want my future self to be.
Since then, there has been no turning back.
What is your personal mantra?
Something that I read randomly and has been stuck with me throughout:
“You Didn’t Come This Far to Only Come This Far.”
This quote has held me up through the best and the worst of days. Be it a success at work or a failure, I have learned to end each day with a sense of acknowledgment and thankfulness for the opportunities I got and things I learned that day and hope that the new morning is going to bring me more.
From what person, place or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?
All my life, I have seen her outperform all her roles, however, no hardship could ever bring down her creativity and passion. She has always had a different lens to every situation and hasn’t ever hesitated speaking her heart out. From painting with me as a kid to helping me out with all the science projects and later sharing her input on my brand campaigns, she has always had my back.
What do you love about the job?
The freedom to try. When I started my current job, the department was relatively new and I was given the task to build it from scratch. Every idea I pitched was backed with enormous market research and the organization always supported me.
With numerous successes and failures, the learning and exploration have never stopped. The room to experiment and do better resulted in me winning international awards 3 years in a row for my brand, competing with 70 countries worldwide.
What about your job are you not so crazy about?
Working on the brand side, managing a portfolio of multiple brands, every new day comes with new challenges. But with these challenges comes abrupt timelines and some very tight deadlines.
Something not very pleasant for an avid planner like me.
What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
In my past 5 years working in the personal care industry of Pakistan, a sector largely comprising of females, I believe I had the opportunity to bring a positive change. From digitalizing the service industry through website, software and app-based monitoring to training the staff in building their professional social media presence, I have seen numerous thoughts and ideas coming to life and making a difference.
With the digital transformation, the thorough analysis has helped us tap into wider audiences and has made it easier for the staff to track their performances. Their social media and content creation skills have polished over the course of time, helping them showcase their work more effectively and grow not only as a part of the organization but as an individual as well.
Another proud achievement is building Guinot Paris as a market leader in the skincare industry of Pakistan, with its presence in more than 80 salons nationwide and winning “Best Social Media Practice – Global” for 3 consecutive years.
As for campaigns, professionally, one of the most challenging and biggest campaign of my career and one that I am most proud of was the launch of the fashion retail brand ZELLBURY. The parent company had an existing brand offering a similar range of products which is why the competition was not only external but internal as well.
The aim was to launch the brand with a diversified range of 8 categories and a total of 6 branches on its initial stage, with these branches located in different parts of the country. From creating the brand identity to the massive marketing plan and its execution, it took us months of tireless effort to launch the brand successfully, generating turnovers beyond the initial forecast.
If you had to choose another career what would it be?
I would love to become a Motivational Speaker. I saw my mom as an epitome of resilience, patience, and hope and that just fascinated me throughout my childhood.
I have always believed that no one’s story is ordinary, every voice matters. If my words/stories/experiences could empower or inspire even a few, my potential will be fulfilled and I’d feel honored.