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Future Corporate Leader: Ashikur Rahman

Future Corporate Leader: Ashikur Rahman

Ashikur Rahman
Manager – Brand & Communications
Bangladesh Finance

Mr. Ashikur Rahman is a seasoned marketeer with 5+ years of experience in telling stories of different brands through marketing & brand communications, along with a sound understanding of growing industries such as consumer goods, Fintech, online ticketing, logistics, food delivery & e-commerce focused on B2B, B2C, C2C marketplace. With a wealth of experience and expertise in strategic branding and communication, Mr. Rahman plays a pivotal role in shaping the image and outreach of his organization. His dedication to excellence and innovative approaches make him an invaluable asset to the field of finance. He has developed the ability to handle high-pressure situations, navigate complex matrix structures, and deliver results within strict deadlines.

Let’s learn about his journey.

The InCAP: Mr. Ashikur Rahman, please share your professional and academic peregrination for our readers!

Mr. Ashikur Rahman: I completed my schooling part from Dhaka Board and then My educational compass guided me to North South University. Here, under the famed NSU SBE, I committed myself to the study of knowledge, eventually earning both a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Marketing.

After taking on the hat of academics, I made the journey into the exciting world of the working world by starting an internship with Square Toiletries Limited. This life-changing event introduced me to the field of marketing and laid the groundwork for my so far career. I had the honor of collaborating closely with Brand Managers in charge of renowned brands like Senora, Meril, Kool, and Supermom during my time at Square Toiletries Limited. This practical experience not only expanded my skill set but also provided the groundwork for my future marketing attempts. My love for powerful communication was, however, really sparked by my work with UNICEF Bangladesh as an individual consultant for the Meena Media Award. I was able to learn more about the nuances of effective messaging thanks to this experience, which helped to further define my career path. In search of fresh opportunities, I set out on a journey inside the startup community by joining the dynamic team at Shohoz. I negotiated the complex terrain of the Ride, Food, Ticket, Truck, and Grocery verticals here as a marketing executive. My agility was sharpened and my development as a marketing specialist was accelerated by Shohoz. Later, I dabbled with e-commerce, applying my vast experience to a reputable platform where I worked as a Senior Executive in Marketing and Communications. After that, my journey took a sharp turn when I joined Bangladesh Finance, a prestigious sustainable financial institution. I assumed responsibility for defining the institution’s narrative and image as a Senior Officer handling Brand & Communication. Today, I’m happy to take on the role of Brand & Communication Manager, in charge of managing the marketing and communication initiatives for Bangladesh Finance Group, which includes Bangladesh Finance, Bangladesh Finance Securities, and Bangladesh Finance Capital.

Can you provide an overview of your role as Manager of Brand & Communications at Bangladesh Finance and your key responsibilities?

As Bangladesh Finance’s Manager of Brand & Communications, I play a crucial part in establishing the institution’s public image, maintaining effective stakeholder communication, and encouraging brand recognition. My primary duties cover a variety of tactical and strategic actions:

Brand plan: Create and implement a thorough brand plan that is in line with the organization’s mission and objectives. Defining the financial industry’s distinct value proposition and brand positioning.

Marketing Campaigns: Create and carry out marketing campaigns to advertise financial services, making sure that all channels use the same messaging and branding.

External Communication: Manage initiatives for external communication, such as press releases, media relations, and relationships with external partners. Maintain a favorable and consistent public image for Bangladesh Finance.

Content Development: Content should be created and managed across a variety of platforms, including the company website, social media, newsletters, and press materials. It needs to be ensured that every content successfully conveys essential messages and complies with brand rules.

Management of crises: Create and implement crisis communication plans to deal with unforeseen occurrences or problems that could harm the organization’s reputation.

Participant Involvement: Develop connections with important parties, such as clients, investors, authorities, and the public. Be proactive in your outreach and keep the channels of contact open.

Market analysis: To keep up with market changes, consumer preferences, and rivalry activity, I conduct research and take marketing and branding initiatives using data and insights.

Budget administration: Ensure effective resource usage by managing the funds allotted for branding and communication initiatives.

Team Management: Manage and guide a group of experts who are in charge of various facets of communication and branding. Encourage the team to work together and be creative.

Analytics and Reporting: Using key performance indicators (KPIs), track and evaluate the success of branding and communication strategies. Present senior management with regular reports and analysis to help them make decisions.

As the manager of brand and communications, it is essential for me to improve the organization’s reputation, develop brand equity, and promote Bangladesh Finance and its associated companies’ success. My capacity for compelling storytelling, crisis management, and stakeholder engagement will be crucial to attaining these goals.

What strategies have you implemented to enhance the brand image and reputation of Bangladesh Finance in the market?

In October 2021, I assumed the role of Brand & Communication leadership at Bangladesh Finance. This moment marked the beginning of a new era for the organization. Bangladesh Finance, formerly known as BD FINANCE, has embarked on a journey in the financial sector since its inception in 1999. However, it had previously operated with limited visibility and recognition as a brand. The moment I took the charge of Brand & Communication of Bangladesh Finance, it was just a newly rebranded baby. From that place, I tried to bring the brand to a top position in the financial industry. I must admit this journey would have been impossible without the supervision and guidance of my mentor Md. Kyser Hamid, Managing Director & CEO of Bangladesh Finance

Under the stewardship of our esteemed Managing Director & CEO, Mr. Kyser Hamid, Bangladesh Finance underwent a remarkable transformation. In a relatively short span, we successfully rebranded and repositioned ourselves in the competitive financial landscape. The strategic vision and innovative approach of Mr. Kyser Hamid played a pivotal role in reshaping Bangladesh Finance. Over the course of the past three years, we have rapidly risen through the ranks to establish ourselves as one of the top financial institutions in Bangladesh.

This transformation is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire Bangladesh Finance team. Together, we have worked tirelessly to create a brand that not only stands out but also sets new standards for excellence in the financial industry. Our journey, from the rebranding to the present day, signifies our commitment to becoming a trusted and reliable financial partner for our customers and stakeholders. As we move forward, Bangladesh Finance is poised to continue its upward trajectory, offering a comprehensive range of financial services and solutions to meet the evolving needs of our clients.

After assuming the leadership role, I focused on a few major segments that can help me build a brand within a comparatively shorter period. Usually, Financial institutions tend to spend very rational amounts on their marketing initiatives, but however, during the growth phase, brands need to burn to be visible in front of audience. Despite several limitations, I tried to make the best use of obstacles and come up with a blended marketing approach.

  • Consumer-Centric Approach: Focusing on the demands of the consumer and offering top-notch customer service can help to create a strong brand image. This involves providing individualized services, quick response times to questions, and prompt resolution of consumer complaints. I have built a super-efficient call center that can cater to any initial needs of our customers Also the social media platforms are maintained rigorously to serve the queries within the shortest possible time.

  • Transparency and Trustworthiness: In the financial sector, developing trust is crucial. Maintaining high ethical standards and being open and honest about financial services and terms can help build a reliable reputation. We have already achieved several recognitions from different governing bodies including Bangladesh Bank for our non-compromising business policies toward becoming a sustainable Financial institution. 

  • Digital Transformation: Embracing digital technologies to improve the customer experience & promoting in digital platforms can help modernize the brand’s image and attract tech-savvy customers. The preference of the audience is changing, if we look at the scenario closely, we will see people are now on their mobile phones, tablets, and computers throughout the day. They don’t have enough time to sit in front of the TV. So, to reach this segment and adopt this new behavior we decided to be present on digital platforms including social media, display ads & other third-party and collaborative ad placements.

  • Community Engagement: Actively taking part in community projects, sponsoring events, and assisting regional causes can show a dedication to the community and enhance the brand’s reputation. Recent studies have shown that community engagement is a must for a brand and both internal & external community engagement help a brand to grow. Hence, we focused on maintaining relationships with our partners, stakeholders, media, corporate clients, and individual clients. Also, we focused on employer branding, because employee advocacy helps to gain trust of the potential clients.

  • Brand Collaboration: We focused on co-branded products & joint marketing campaigns. These partnerships amplify brand reach, credibility, and engagement by leveraging each other’s strengths. Also, I tried to focus on Third-party branded content, created by external entities like influencers or publishers, showcasing a brand or product. This content, spanning blogs, videos, or social media posts, helped us tap into new audiences and gain credibility through trusted content creators, amplifying marketing efforts and building brand awareness.

So far these are the initiatives I drove in my last 2 years at Bangladesh Finance, and I hope to bring some positive impacts in terms of developing the brand image of Bangladesh Finance in the upcoming days.

How do you approach developing and executing integrated marketing campaigns to reach your target audience effectively?

A comprehensive approach that incorporates numerous marketing channels and strategies is required when creating and implementing integrated marketing campaigns to successfully reach my target audience. Here is a step-by-step process I use to successfully execute integrated marketing campaigns:

  • Define the Campaign’s Goals and Objectives: Clearly articulate what I want to achieve from this campaign. Am I aiming to increase brand awareness, drive sales, generate leads, or achieve another specific goal? The objectives drive the entire campaign strategy.

  • Setting Target Audience: I create detailed customer personas to understand ideal customers. Define their demographics, behaviors, interests, pain points, and preferences. This information helps to tailor messaging and channel selection.

  • Conduct Market Research: I run a thorough study on the market, customers, industry, competitors, and trends. Identify gaps or opportunities that the campaign can address.

  •  Establish a Unified Message and Communication Channel: I create a message that is compelling and consistent, resonates with the target audience, and is in line with the brand’s identity and values. I choose a combination of online and physical channels that are pertinent to the audience based on the objective. Social media, email marketing, content marketing, paid advertising, events, and traditional media are all covered in this.

  • Make a calendar and content plan: I concentrate on creating material that engages the audience and promotes the campaign theme. This covers articles on blogs, movies, infographics, posts on social media, email newsletters, and more. Then, distribute these in accordance with a content calendar that supports the campaign’s goal.

  • Campaign Budget & Tracking: After creating the material, I allocate resources to various channels and techniques depending on predicted ROI and relevancy to the campaign’s goals. Utilize analytics tools to continuously monitor the effectiveness of campaigns. Keep track of important indicators including website traffic, conversion rates, involvement on social media, and ROI.

  • Test, optimization, and ROI calculation: Following the launch of a campaign, I regularly assess its effectiveness and make any necessary modifications. I sometimes prefer A/B testing because it helps to improve methods, aesthetics, and communication for better outcomes. Based on this, I calculate the campaign’s return on investment (ROI). Compare the expenses incurred and the outcomes obtained. Using this information will aid in future campaign decisions.

  • Evaluation and Reporting: After the campaign is over, I prepare a detailed assessment that shows how successfully the campaign has achieved its goals, what went well, and where I could have done better. Keep a record of these conclusions for future use.

How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends and incorporate them into your brand and communication strategies?

To be competitive and current, it’s essential to keep up with industry trends and incorporate them into your brand and communication initiatives. To stay up to date I follow a few activities:

  • Follow industry influencers and thought leaders on social media platforms & read articles, and journals from relevant sources.
  • I’m highly dependent on Google Alerts, I use this to receive timely updates based on industry keywords and trends.
  • Attend conferences, trade shows, and seminars to network and gain firsthand insights into emerging trends.
  • Enroll in webinars and online courses related to my industry and relevant topics to deepen my knowledge.
  • I Regularly conduct market research, including surveys and customer feedback, to understand changing customer preferences and monitor what competitors are doing and what trends they are embracing.

Based on these learnings I craft my marketing activities and strategies.

Mr. Ashikur Rahman, please say something to the readers!

It’s very important to have a purpose in whatever we do. Without having a solid purpose or knowing what and why I’m doing this, the end result will never be self-satisfactory. In my life, I consistently seek meaning in everything I do. I strongly believe when passion meets purpose magic happens.

Quick Chat With Ashikur Rahman

The most outstanding achievement of your life as of now:
Achieving the CEO’s AWARD at Bangladesh Finance.

The greatest philosopher in your view:
Prophet Hazrat Muhammad.

Your Icon:
My mentor Md. Kyser Hamid.

Name the most influential books you have read:
Masnavi by Rumi.

Your greatest fear:
Leaving this world with unfulfilled dreams.

Best piece of advice you’ve received:
If you don’t utilize your full potential, the reason behind sending you to this beautiful world will be incomplete.

You in only three words:
Agile, Compassionate and Problem Solver.

Skill Set

  • Hard Skills: Digital Marketing, Campaign Planning & Management, Vendor Management.

  • Soft Skills: Adaptability, Creativity, Collaboration

Prayer For Human Civilization:

May we, as a civilization, be guided by wisdom, compassion, and unity to create a world of peace and harmony.

The InCAP: Thank you, Mr. Ashikur Rahman! It’s a glittering conversation with you!

Mr. Ashikur Rahman: My pleasure! Wish you all the best! Thank you.

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