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Get To Know Mahzabin Ferdous, Head of Brand & Corporate Communication at IPDC

What are the biggest challenges for the Bangladeshi women in the leadership roles?

Hi Mahzabin. Hope all is good. So, can you share with us a little bit about yourself, IPDC Finance Ltd. and your role in the organisation?

It’s all good by the grace of God, thank you. I believe that I am just another passionate soul feeding the hunger of the new day. I must say, I have been quite blessed to have found my passion in my career which is kind of rare lately. From being a protected daughter and caring teacher to a keen next-gen innovator, digital PR, and BTL practitioner, it has been a great decade of one of its kind creations.

If there is anything I fear, it must be stagnation. Be it in life or work, I wake up every morning hoping for something to drive me next. Don’t want to sound whimsical, but I left the previous organisation in a short because I was missing out on the thrill. And finally, landed here which was on its verge of a rebranding exercise. IPDC was on its onset to realign its focus on Youth, Women, and Underserved. Here I am part of the most unconventional financial institution in the country as the Head of Corporate Communication. We are constantly on the look for breakthrough innovation not only in the offerings but its communication.

Well, you are considered as one of the top marketing leaders in Bangladesh. What’s the secret?

I will have to figure out that statement though. However, over the years, I have come to an understanding that apart from the designated role, only by being more human such as approachable, kind and authentic to be specific, people will very likely connect deeper with you. Since the time, I have understood the value of it. I am just working towards a set of purpose and finding the sweet spot of difference.

How do you deal with the rapid changes happening in the marketing industry?

One just has to be simply curious. Just be alert and observant. At times it does occur to me if I was born to be a marketer. From being curious of the surrounding, spotting trends before others, realising the ability to connect the dots between different things has been my passion from the very beginning.

Now, if you simply just look at the way digital marketing has grown in the country over the last few years, it’s just unbelievable. As of March 31, 2019, internet user in Bangladesh accounts to 92,061,000 which is around 54.8% of the population whereby 91% of online consumers believe what they see online.

So the stake of winning or losing hearts is really high. Marketing is about trust thus if the customers believe the message is not credible, they will not listen to it and will not buy the product eventually. You just have to balance it the right way. As we are the only financial brand banking on human emotions unlike other players in the industry, we design our offerings and communication touching the desires of our customers.

You are successful both as a marketer and also as a mother. Now that’s a good balance right there. We thought it was a myth and you just prove it wrong. What’s the key to balancing both?

Mothers are technically manufactured with an extra edge perhaps. Being a mother of my twin sons, I have to listen to twice the stories on call while I am at my extra hours or late nights in the office. But it’s all part of the life now and a life I could not ask for any better. I believe I am doing well as a mother as long as I see my sons growing up to be good human beings. The rest, they shall figure it out. Having that belief on the personal capacity, I try to give the same level best professionally too.

What are the biggest challenges for the Bangladeshi women in the leadership roles?

To be very frank, the biggest challenge is having answers specifically on behalf of women. All of us are equally strong and empowered. One just needs to firmly believe so. We tend to forget that we have a choice. If you feel that you are not given the opportunity to grow and work on your potential, you have two options: You can either ask for it, or create it for yourself. Everything else – like nagging, blaming others, feeling sorry for yourself – will not change anything unless you try to put it all together. We should celebrate our leadership roles not because we accomplished those as a woman but worked for it.

Any advice to the next generation female marketers?

Actually, for marketing, it is important to have some innovative senses. You need the drive it forward and take risks, and secondly, the young people who want to be part of the marketing niche, they should be patient. You need to hang in there and give time so your roots become strong. Always have the interest to know and learn. Mostly young people have this habit of changing the mindset too frequently within a short period of time. This is not good. If they have the right amount of patience, the foundation will be stronger and when this happens, I am sure they will do well in this field.

How do you see 2019 from the perspective of IPDC?

In 2015, IPDC formulated a clear and strategic growth plan towards 2020 which will not only bring sustainable and profitable growth to the company, but also contribute to creating an impact on the societies’ ecosystem and at the same time achieving sustainable development goals of the country.

A Home for Every Family, Empowering Women, Creating Entrepreneurs and Going Beyond Megacities, Bringing Convenience at Home.

Since then we have been doing our groundwork, building our capabilities, integrating technological innovation and facilitating collaborations. We are still growing that too at the exponential growth rate. It was towards the end of 2016, that we rebranded ourselves significantly. With it, IPDC is all set to complete another year closer to the vision 2020 set by launching the most strategic product – an affordable home loan scheme across the country which is called “Bhalobasha Home Loan”.

This year, we have a few more products line up to be launched and one of them is the first ever blockchain based digital supply chain finance platform in the country, “Orjon”. This is going to be huge. And to deal with a big initiative like this, it will definitely require a 360-degree marketing stunt if we were to make a real impact. We are really looking forward to these as it will set to elevate IPDC  as a brand into a new whole level altogether.

Anything special you’re personally aiming for this year?

Yes! This year is an onset of another milestone. Having completed a decade of learning and experience as a marketer, now I feel it’s time to explore myself deeper moving forward from this year. I see myself pretty much making the best use of all that I have garnered over the years through the theories and experience. At this point of time, collaboration is the key and maybe this shall take me forward to create something holistic for everyone to see.

What’s the best way to contact you?

I’m available at IPDC if you wish to find me in the office. Else if you are busy or lazy, find me on LinkedIn.


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Rahnama Haque
Written By

Rahnama is the Marketing In Asia's Editor for Bangladesh. She is also a journalist based in Dhaka, working on a freelancing basis for a few organisations. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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