Tehmina Khalid, CEO of Take 2, one of the most popular PR agencies in Pakistan has proven her mantel in a short period. She has to her credit numerous PR campaigns, events and strategies that are looked upon as professional to the core.
In her interview with Fashion Collection, Khalid unfolds many aspect of her PR world.
FC: Please tell us about your professional journey.
TK: My journey is quite long. I started my career as a Fashion Journalist back in 1990 with Glamour, owned by Iqbal Munir. I worked there for a year. After that I joined the Jang Group and worked for Mag. I worked there for 18 years. It was a weekly magazine. I was responsible for fashion shoots, coordinating write-ups, lifestyle interviews of celebrities. I have done almost 5000 fashion shoots of almost all the fashion designers and models of the 90s. The fashion scene started evolving in the 90s and the big designers including Maheen Khan, Rizwan Byge, Tariq Amin, Deepak Perwani, I had profiled all of them. I was also coordinating Bridal Asia, so I have also worked with Indian models as well and interviewed many celebrities. When I left Mag in 2009, I started own PR company which is Take 2.
My biggest achievement would be a transition from a popular fashion journalist to a PR person and then succeeding at it. I started my PR company in 2009 when there were very few PR companies in Pakistan. Some were corporate companies however the concept of PR was relatively new. I started my PR career with the biggest event in Pakistan which was the first fashion week of Pakistan, FPW1. Before that there was no fashion week so it was a successful and exciting experience. I was doing the PR for that event. I was also the spokesperson for the council too. Since then, there has been no looking back.
FC: How would you rate PR in Pakistan?
TK: Event Management in Pakistan is much older profession than PR. PR has branched out into a new venture is nearly 15 years back. It is relatively a new concept. A lot of people still do not understand the concept of PR. If I compare the kind of PR we are doing with that of the global level, I think, we are only doing 30% of that. We still need to achieve a lot. There are still many avenues to explore and ethics to follow. PR needs improvement in Pakistan.
FC: What prompted you to venture out into PR?
TK: To tell you honestly, I was forced into starting my own business. When I left the Jang Group, I was a very senior journalist. I had 18 to 19 years of experience with a lot of popularity to my name. Plus I was the highest paid Editor of that time. When I left that job and looked around for another one, the salary and seniority level started going against me because, that kind of salary and job status was not available in the market. Being an editor of a magazine, I was involved with the marketing side also, I was involved in the printing side, designing too. I was involved in lot more. So I thought that the transition from a journalist to a PR business would be natural. This is a common phenomenon all over the world. This is exactly I did. I started my own company with zero capital. I had no money, I just had my computer. I started doing business from my house and then later on hired people, took office and took it on a professional level and here I am after ten years, mashaAllah doing very well.
FC: Where do you see Take 2 in the next five years?
TK: I see Take 2 at new heights in five years. We have lots and lots of things in the pipeline. We are starting a new company which is a going to be a sister concern of Take 2. It will be a complete digital solution in PR. Very soon it will be launched. Take 2 will also venture out into other stuff so yes I see Take 2 there with more work and more aggressively forging ahead.
FC: What would you classify the main forte of Take 2?
TK: Take 2 is a PR company and its main forte is offering 360 degree solution in PR. Be it a print media, electronic, digital, brand-collaborations, designing, building new narratives, complete PR solution is what Take 2 offers. I take pride in saying that Take 2 is one of the best PR companies in Pakistan because I am a people’s person and to be a PR person, you need to be a people’s person first. This is what I enjoy and Take 2 is purely a professional PR company.
FC: What angers you most?
TK: The things that anger me most at work are delays. Client payments, non-deliverance of work, laid-backs, holidays and non-professional attitudes.
FC: What do you like the most about your colleagues?
TK: I am really proud of my team. They are very efficient and hardworking. They don’t have a choice because they have a boss who works 24/7. So they are all very hardworking and honest to their job and this is what I like about them.
FC: What scope does PR has in Pakistan?
TK: PR has a wide scope. You can venture into marketing, media, being a spokesperson for various companies and celebrities. It has a wider scope and it can venture out majorly into marketing. Somehow, it can take up the role of an advertising agency also in the future if a PR company is big enough and it has the required infrastructure.
FC: Does Journalism background help in PR?
TK: Journalism background does help in PR. If you have been a journalist, then you understand the psyche of a journalist and in PR, you have to do mostly with the journalists, be it electronic, print or social media. So it makes your link with them much easier. If you have been one, you understand their psyche, what material is required, where they are coming from. If you take me, I know the style of each and every newspaper and magazine, the style of content and that is what we provide them. So it does help
FC: Describe yourself in three words.
TK: Determined, Patient and hardworking
FC: How do you measure the results of a PR campaign?
TK: It is measured by the kind of noise it is making. People are talking about it, people are discussing it, it is visible, it is being noticed then it is successful. It could be a positive or negative narrative. The campaign should build-up to affect sales of the product in a positive way. If it is a campaign for an actor, the end result should be that they should be noticed, in demand and get projects. Effectiveness is visibility.
FC: Do you think there is a communication crisis?
TK: Yes, you can say that there is a communication crisis. In the world of social media, one news spreads like fire and people start talking about it. If everybody starts talking about things without knowing the background, people have become opinionated. So I feel that this is the communication crisis. They come from different backgrounds and don’t know how to and what to say about others. They don’t understand if they have the public sentiments with them.
FC: How has social media changed the world of PR?
TK: Social media has changed PR drastically. Everything changes in a minute on social media. Mood, news, and opinion change in a minute. For a brand to penetrate into social media and maintain its presence and visibility is a challenge. The negative impact aspect of social media is that it is a public domain and you need to strategies to influence people in the right direction. In this public domain, not just influencers act upon your narrative but an ordinary man can also comment on it and effect it. To cater the public sentiment is a tough task for PR. On the other hand, it is very interesting and result oriented.
FC: what tips would you give to someone entering PR business?
TK: If you are not a peoples person, if you are an introvert, then PR is not your profession. If you think, you are pleasant, you are happy to meet and deal with them, only then come into this business. Secondly, try and work professionally. Make a proper infrastructure. You should work properly. This is not a job you can do from your house. It is a serious profession, please take it seriously. Lastly, you should know how to deal with the media.
FC: What surprises you most about the PR business?
TK: In Pakistan people still do not understand the meaning of PR. PR is wrongly used and people do not understand the application, its concept and its wide scope to affect the brand.
FC: What would you prefer; journalism or PR?
TK: Journalism is close to my heart. I would love to go back to journalism someday. But I love PR I enjoying this. My first love is PR than journalism.