Q&A with Maliha Aqeel, Director of Global Communications at Fix Network World

MEDIA 7 | January 16, 2020

marketing metrics
Maliha Aqeel, Director of Global Communications at Fix Network World is an award-winning, communication and marketing professional who helps companies harness the power of their brand to drive engagement and achieve measurable business results. 

She has developed and led content and marcomm programs for B2B companies in the financial and professional services sectors in her over 15 years of industry experience.

MEDIA 7: When did you start working and what was it?
MALIHA AQEEL:
I started my career in 1996 right after high school, freelancing as a journalist and features writer for a magazine in Dubai, UAE. Over time, I expanded my services to include scriptwriting for corporate videos and TV productions, writing and designing client newsletters and promotional collateral.

M7: What made you want to pursue a career in branding and marketing communications? What aspect about your role brings you the most joy?
MA: I didn’t consciously decide to pursue a career in marketing and communication as my plan was to become a filmmaker. However, I had great curiosity about what makes people prefer one brand over the other when a feature-by-feature comparison didn’t show a huge difference between similar products or services. I had taken a few advertising courses during university and it broadened my understanding of how powerful brand experiences and storytelling can drive business objectives. That balance of strategy and creativity is what I enjoy most about what I do and why I’ve continued to find purpose in my career.


"Marketing professionals have to act as conveners, and connect the dots so that there is alignment between stakeholders like sales and operation teams and executive leadership on what products and services will drive growth in any given quarter."

M7: How has branding changed over the years to become what it is today? What marketing metrics do you value most for brand management?
MA:
Branding used to be focused on the tactical: aesthetics of an ad, wordsmithing copy and “selling” a vision that was less about what the customer needed and more about what the brand wanted you to purchase. Much of this was driven by the rise of a consumerist society in the 1980s and part of the 1990s. But the new millennium witnessed boom-bust economic cycles, changing demographics and technological advances at a relentless pace than ever before. Gradually, the brand’s point of view started to become less relevant and empowered consumers took back control of their brand experience and their buyer journey.

Now brands have to look outward, focusing on the needs, behaviors and motivations of their end customers. They’re also recognizing that purpose and having an impact on society in a positive way is what will drive their enterprise value instead of share price alone. The institutional investors are also taking notice and aligning their investment criteria and evaluation accordingly. This was one of the outcomes of the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism, a multi-year initiative that looked into making capitalism more dynamic, sustainable, inclusive and trusted. As a result, the brand metrics that I value most are outcome-focused like contribution to reputation value, net promoter score, brand perception (a combination of brand recall and service delivery) and employee engagement/advocacy scores.


"One of the most common mistakes companies make is implementing a brand strategy that isn’t aligned to the organization’s overall business goal."

M7: What are the common mistakes that companies make when implementing their brand strategies?
MA:
One of the most common mistakes is implementing a strategy that isn’t aligned to the organization’s overall business goal. This can be challenging in large corporations where there are multiple competing priorities, but marketing professionals have to act as conveners, and connect the dots so that there is alignment between stakeholders like sales and operation teams and executive leadership on what products and services will drive growth in any given quarter. And then create and implement holistic marketing campaigns that drive specific results that support the key performance indicators (KPIs) that the executives are measured on.

A second mistake is running campaigns that are not aligned from a macro or micro environmental perspective. For example, an oil company runs a social media campaign on their corporate citizenship initiatives at a time when the industry (not necessarily the company) is under regulatory scrutiny for bad environmental practices. The timing, not necessarily the content, of the campaign can appear tone deaf and unsympathetic to sentiment in society. Another instance is if a company runs an employer branding campaign about its great culture at a time when it might be going through litigation for a workplace harassment issue. To counter this, marketing and communication professionals need to create business partnerships across all layers and functions of the company so that they’re planning and executing brand strategies that are contextually appropriate and reputationally sound.


"Marketing and communication professionals need to create business partnerships across all layers and functions of the company so that they’re planning and executing brand strategies that are contextually appropriate and reputationally sound."

M7: Which strategies do you count on to help leaders understand the value of communications?
MA:
I’m a huge advocate of data-driven decision making and offering informed insights and recommendations. C-suite executives see data analytics as a distinct competitive advantage for their business, and it can be the main strategy we use to help them understand our value. Gut instinct has a role to play in planning and execution, but to convince others and demonstrate our importance, we need to have a common understanding of business goals and use language that senior leaders will understand. Examples of this include showing how strategic communications resulted in cost efficiencies, margin improvement and contribution to revenue or increase in sales. These are tangible financial results that any executive function will recognize and appreciate. In addition to the above, I also use benchmarking data (internal and external) and forecasting as part of my communication and resource planning so that I have a framework for reporting to leadership on communication-driven outcomes.

M7: With over 15 years of progressive experience in strategic communication, what advice do you have for leaders who are trying to improve their performance?
MA:
My advice is to bring the brand promise and purpose into your decision-making process. Often, not always, performance is directly impacted by the culture of an organization. And your culture is a reflection of your purpose. It conveys why what the organization does matters; make evangelists out of your customers and convince employees to be part of the journey not just show up for a pay cheque. Research by Gallup found that highly engaged teams are 21% more productive, but low employee engagement results in 65% lower share price over time.

Communication professionals are enablers of the brand. As strategic advisors, we have to help make the connection between culture and business performance—between the intangible and the tangible. The cost of getting it wrong can have a negative impact on reputation capital, share price and even the balance sheet. Research from the Engagement Institute showed that disengaged employees cost US businesses up to $550 billion a year, which is a little over half the nominal GDP of The Netherlands in 2019 ($900 billion). That’s not a comparison that you want someone making at your annual general meeting of shareholders.

ABOUT FIX NETWORK WORLD

The Fix Network global family of brands includes collision repair franchise networks Fix Auto and Pro Color, glass repair and replacement brand NOVUS Glass and mechanical shops Speedy Auto Service, as well as the full suite of SRP glass products. With more than 2,100 points of service in over 40 countries worldwide, Fix Network is the global aftermarket services leader. The Network continues to grow internationally, thanks to a solid foundation based on entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, visit Fixnetwork.

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Pyramid Analytics Expands European Systems Integration Channel With Amplifi Partnership

Amplifi, Pyramid Analytics | September 21, 2022

Pyramid Analytics (Pyramid), a pioneering decision intelligence platform provider, and Amplifi, a specialist consultancy providing Advisory, Delivery and Support services for data management, data governance and data quality, today announced a partnership from Big Data LDN, the UK’s largest data and analytics conference. Expanding channel partnerships with complementary technology companies, independent software vendors (ISV), consulting firms, value-added resellers (VAR) and systems integrators (SI) is a strategic priority. Pyramid has expanded its Alliances team and partner recruitment capabilities, invested in partner training and development, and launched joint go to market programs. Key Points: Amplifi provides a portfolio of services across the data management spectrum: Strategy & Advisory; Implementation & Integration; and Managed Services & Support. Partnership enables Amplifi to broaden its service portfolio to include top-rated augmented and prescriptive analytics with the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform. Pyramid continues to build a roster of SI and VAR partners to extend market reach and scale. Pyramid is a CRN Channel Awards 2022 finalist in the Emerging Vendor of the Year category which recognises new and emerging organisations which have successfully supported the growth of their channel partners in the UK. To learn more about becoming a Pyramid partner in the UK & Ireland, contact bill.clayton@pyramidanalytics.com. Pyramid Analytics Demonstrates its Commitment to and Value for Channel Partners Channel partners are critical for Pyramid’s ability to continue to grow in a scalable manner, in turn offering them access to pioneering innovative technology that can transform their business. Pyramid understands that for outstanding growth to be achieved for the company and for its channel partners, its partners should be thoroughly supported with training to develop in-depth knowledge and insights. Pyramid’s partner portal is vital in delivering learning, development and growth value for Pyramid and its partners. Decision Intelligence is the Next Big Data Analytics Innovation The next major innovation in analytics is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Applying AI across Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science is what separates Decision Intelligence from traditional business intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau. AI lowers the skills barrier by automating the highly technical work needed to prepare and analyze data and create and share reports and dashboards. The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform delivers data-driven insights for anyone to make faster, more intelligent decisions. The Pyramid Platform provides instant access to any data, enables automated governed self-service for any person, and serves any analytics need, from the simple to the sophisticated. By uniquely combining Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science with AI guidance in a single environment, the Pyramid Platform reduces cost and complexity while accelerating growth and innovation. This enables a strategic, organization-wide approach to Business Intelligence and Analytics. Quotes Bill Clayton, Vice President of Global Partner Sales, Pyramid Analytics: “Amplifi has a proven record of building solid data foundations for customers in a variety of industries. This partnership brings additional vertical expertise and services to Pyramid customers across the UKI and Europe. Importantly, analytics is the catalyst that turns data into intelligent decisions. The combination of the data infrastructure architected, deployed, and managed by Amplifi and the decision intelligence capabilities of the Pyramid Platform are highly complementary and will deliver added value to joint customers.” Mike Evans, Chief Innovation Officer at Amplifi: “Our partnership with Pyramid Analytics is a strategic step for Amplifi as we advance our capabilities and services along the Data Value Chain. Until now, our focus has been on the foundational management of data – from data strategy through to implementation of MDM, PIM and data governance frameworks. Mike Evans, Chief Innovation Officer at Amplifi: “Our partnership with Pyramid Analytics is a strategic step for Amplifi as we advance our capabilities and services along the Data Value Chain. Until now, our focus has been on the foundational management of data – from data strategy through to implementation of MDM, PIM and data governance frameworks. Being able to offer the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform to operate on top of that foundation means we’re able to provide increased value to our customers when they’re making business decisions with their data.” About Amplifi Amplifi is the go-to consultancy for Enterprise organizations that want their success to be driven by data. We establish and deliver data strategies that enable global brands to manage, govern and analyse their most important data so they can innovate, grow and succeed. Consistently recognized as a leader by Gartner on the Market Guide for MDM External Service Providers report, Amplifi provides strategic consulting and implementation services for industry leading B2B and B2C companies through its global offices in North America, the UK and Northern Europe. About Pyramid Analytics Pyramid is what’s next in analytics. Our unified decision intelligence platform delivers insights for anyone to make faster, more informed decisions. It provides direct access to any data, enables governed self-service for any person, and serves any analytics need in a no-code environment. The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform uniquely combines Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science in a single environment with AI guidance, reducing cost and complexity while accelerating growth and innovation. The Pyramid Platform enables a strategic, organization-wide approach to Business Intelligence and Analytics, from the simple to the sophisticated. Schedule a demo. Pyramid Analytics is incorporated in Amsterdam and has regional headquarters in global innovation and business centers, including London, New York City, and Tel-Aviv. Our team lives worldwide because geography should not be a barrier to talent and opportunity. Investors include H.I.G. Growth Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Sequoia Capital, and Viola Growth. Learn more at Pyramid Analytics.

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