Made in Pakistan: Products and Services

Rumi Forum hosted Mr. Meiraj Hussain (Educationalist, Coach, Entrepreneur, and HR Director) as the resource person on April 14, 2013 for an Afternoon Talk.

Presently a resident of Dubai UAE, Mr. Hussain brings along eighteen years of progressive experience in human resources, leadership development, talent management, coaching and mentoring, change management, RPO, marketing, sales and management across financial services, technology, professional services, food manufacturing, real estate and personal care industries. Mr. Meiraj Hussain worked for General Electric (GE), PSD Group, Damac Properties, Al Ghurair, Fakhruddin and Al Fara’a Group across Europe, USA, Middle East and Asia.

Most recently, Mr. Meiraj Hussain ventured for a youth entrepreneurship project titled, The Seeds of Progress, which was launched on April 12, 2013 in Islamabad.

Rumi Forum’s Afternoon Talk “Made in Pakistan: Products and Services” attracted an audience of university students and members of special interest groups on entrepreneurship and social sciences. Speaking on the theme, Mr. Hussain gave an overview of entrepreneurship and the dynamics of global trade. Later, he focused on Asian businesses and the problems faced by the producers and the consumers at large.

According to Mr. Hussain, being one of the pillars of financial interaction trust is essential to drive the businesses in Asia and in Pakistan. Trust goes along with another vital element, i.e. consumer protection. The foremost problem of Asian businesses is the availability of copycat products. Yet, be they originals or fakes, these products are adopted as status symbols by the consumers, while what drives the market are the ones with money. Stating this predicament, Mr. Hussain added that sometimes producers claim that the consumers do not deserve to be served with quality. Listing a number of examples in and around Pakistan to this vein, he also raised a question: What is the most prominent Pakistani product?

Answering his own question by saying, “The most prominent Pakistani brand and/or product is Pakistan,” Mr. Meiraj Hussain highlighted that Pakistani entrepreneurs and business community should do business by forming associations which conduct business with character. The brand Pakistan is affected by the visitor experience as the visitors take mental snapshots of conduct which they take along with them. These mental footprints establish an opinion about business conducts and how much intensity should be while doing business with Pakistanis, he maintained.

Stating a case study of Dubai as a huge international market, Mr. Hussain stated that initially Dubai and the other GCC were frequented by former Soviet republics for trade. Now Africa and China utilize the advantage of Dubai market which is proven by huge trade volumes registered annually. Asking why Pakistan may not utilize this market for its own products, Mr. Hussain also summed up the secret of tradeworthiness in Dubai as follows: “Basically, Dubai merchants are experienced and this is based on trust. I mean, rather than a Chinese, you buy it from a man from Dubai. It is a trust-based relationship that dates back to more than half a century.”

For “Made in Pakistan” products and marketing them lucratively worldwide, the need of the hour is innovation, openness, good design, compelling messages i.e. good advertisement, and security, which all stand out as strategies for better consumer experience. Instead of one-size-fits-for-all strategies that do not respect the consumers who pay for products, producers should consider a number of strategies which put fidelity and respect in the transactions. In this regard, Mr. Hussain listed down some tips such as: (1) building trust by money-back guarantee, (2) listing your ingredients, (3) standing clear from falling in the mediocrity trap i.e. same products everywhere, and (4) donating to different civil organizations or employing people with learning difficulty i.e. corporate social responsibility (CSR) that gives back to the society.

Summing up his talk, Mr, Meiraj Hussain reiterated the essence of trust and sense of quality by putting oneself in the consumers’ shoes and providing them alternatives to use different products willingly. An example to this was: Banking on the popularity of fragrances among ladies and gentlemen, launching fruity perfumes for the summer and solemn fragrances like ‘ud, sandal, attar and flowery scents – that will run a perfumery business as per the consumer experience and demand.