At the end of Global Marketing summit I had a chance to have a short interview with Arash Vafadari CEO of Mana Payam Public Relations, which co-organized the Global Marketing summit Conference with The P World. Apart from the background about Arash Vafadari and Mana Payam, We mainly discussed the challenges and values of organizing such an event in international level.

A very short background about Arash Vafadari

Arash Vafadari studied Business at McGill University and then he moved to Public Relations and studied that for one year. He worked as a freelancer for a while. When he moved back to Iran 8 years ago for family reasons, after one year he realized that he wanted his own business as well. What he was in love with was Public Relations so he started Mana Payam.

Mana Payam: Pioneer in PR and Communication

Mana Payan has been doing consultancy in Public Relations and Communications for seven years. It’s a company of thirty specialists working in different principles of communications, from Corporate Communications to Media Relations, Media Monitoring, Social Media, Corporate Design, etc. “We tell people what to say, when to say, how to say, to whom to say and what channel of communication they should use” Arash Vafadari told us when I asked about Mana Payam’s fields of expertise.

Mana Payam has done big campaigns for many companies in the past few years but we were eager to know the most important accomplishments of this company. And Vafadari ’s answer was a surprise to me, “In my perspective the most important accomplishments of our company are not the big campaigns that we’ve done, not that they weren’t important but I want to pick smaller instances, for example the changes that we made into the psyche of the private sector as far as how they can use communications to their advantage. The fact is the only thing that they had before us, was the advertising agencies. Those advertising agencies are very good in what they do but unfortunately by default they don’t cover the whole aspects of Communications. So basically the small different changes that we made into the mindset of our clients, how to interact with people, bringing transparency into their communications and not being scared of their audiences, those things have been our most important accomplishment that my team have achieved in the past few years.” he said. But apart from those accomplishments, Mana Payam has done many campaigns for big companies like Samsung and their Media Relations, HyperStar retailer and their Corporate Social Responsibility to name a few. So, in general Mana Payam has been doing Media Relations, corporate communications, and Digital Communications for private sector.

Communications and PR are getting so much attention nowadays. And it’s the main focus of Mana Payam. “ The importance of using all the tools and tactics that are available in communications is vital today. Specially since we have so many different audiences and a lot of people are looking at us with different points of views, for example: customers, government, the regulatory body and even employees. So it’s very important to have a strategic communications planned for each and every one of those audiences. Marketing role is between organization and costumer, PR comes and help marketing in that communication. But what about all the other audiences, that’s where PR comes in. By continuously sending the right messages to all your audiences through PR and Marketing you can assure that you have a brand and sustainability.”

The Global Marketing Summit

It was Mana Payam’s first international conference on the subject of Marketing but they have done many other conferences for their clients too. Co-organizing Global Marketing Summit was good initiative from Mana Payam, “I thought it was the time to do something for our fellow specialists in our industry. I don’t want to say we see it as our Corporate Social Responsibility at all, but it was a small gesture of doing something for them and bringing them together. We’ve been able to bring together the representatives of Advertising Agencies, Digital Marketing companies, PR companies and many other companies. It’s kind of the first time that all these people are coming together, talking to each other and listening to interesting presentations” said Arash Vafadari.

Challenges

Organizing an international event in Iran always has its limitations and worries. Many conferences have been held in Iran, with different topics and different aspect of running a business. But many of those conferences have tried to add a single foreign speaker to their guest list to sell out the tickets. Organizing an event such as Global Marketing summit in Iran had its challenges, “One of the challenges was how to be different, this was the question that we asked ourselves to organize this conference. And the answer to this question was easy. We realize that the key was to use these two days and give our 300 to 400 attendees something to remember, give them content, something they can actually use. So with this strategy we tried to invite international speakers to fulfill our goal. That was the main challenge, how to be different. Because we are not in the business of organizing conferences, we are in the business of communications. We wanted to show everyone that how every conference needs good communications as well.” Arash mentioned. But this wasn’t the only challenge, “The second challenge revolved around the fact that the conference had no academical body behind it, no accredited certification or any point for universities to participate in this event. It was a different and new type conference in Iran. But how could we create that trust, specially with all the failed conferences that have happened. We really tried to change the communication strategy of the conference, to create that credibility for it.”
I was curious about the challenges that speakers might had for coming to Iran. “ The challenge over there is the networking. They have to trust the person who’s running the conference as well. On that front we were lucky to find The P World who have created that relationship with these high ranked speakers and it made it so much easier for us. Actually when I saw The P World with whole package that they had, we decided that this is the good partner to co-organize this conference with in Iran.” Arash added.

One of the main problems of companies in Iran is creating content for their different channels of communication and their target audience. Creating content is somehow the core of the communications. It’s interesting to know that the main challenge is what tone of language they should use, as if it should be formal, informal, friendly etc. Content is playing an important role in Marketing and PR too. it’s no surprise that Mana Payam has some events in mind to fill this gap, “We have a PR summit in line, we are going to have that event in near future. The main topic of this event would be general communications, content and PR. It’s worth to mention that even in Global Marketing Summit, most of the speakers talked about contents all the time because it’s one of the elements of Marketing too. But I don’t think foreigners can help us in content area, we should do that part ourselves. We should use every bit of information that we can get from the world and try to localize this knowledge.” he told. I asked Arash about the next conferences that they might have, “ The P world wants to have HR conference but we are not sure yet if we want to do it. After that around April, we might be helping them as a partner to organize a PR conference.” he replied.

Mana Payam is one of the pioneers in PR and Communications in Iran. What they do right now is pushing forward the industry, and changing the perception of companies about Communications and PR in Iran.

If you are wondering about Global Marketing Summit you can find the report here.

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