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.

More THOUGHT LEADERS

Kraken's Head of Banking and Payments, Maximilian Marenbach discusses their platform and the future of cryptocurrencies

Media 7 | October 27, 2021

Maximilian Marenbach, Head of Banking and Payments/Business Development at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, takes us through his professional journey with Kraken - one of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Read on as he talks about the Kraken Bank,  the significance of digital currencies and their impact on our financial system....

Read More

Q&A with Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET

Media 7 | September 20, 2021

Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET,  has combined FinTech, commercial and central banking experience. She is experienced in European Banking, FinTech, Payments and Digital Platforms industries, with particular expertise in the area of innovative payment solutions, digitally enabled payment financial products, acquired in the Business Development, Innovation, Strategy, M&A, Relationship Management, Change Management, International Development, Sales-related roles....

Read More

Q&A with Bronwyn Pretorius, Head of Marketing at Mukuru

Media 7 | September 17, 2021

Bronwyn Pretorius, Head of Marketing at Mukuru, is a seasoned marketeer with over 14 years of experience. In her current position as HOD Marketing for one of the largest Remittance led FinTech's in Africa, she has entered into a new industry of Financial Services where she aims to bring a positive change with strategic planning, implementation and leveraging her innate interpersonal skills with the focus of delivery....

Read More

Kraken's Head of Banking and Payments, Maximilian Marenbach discusses their platform and the future of cryptocurrencies

Media 7 | October 27, 2021

Maximilian Marenbach, Head of Banking and Payments/Business Development at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, takes us through his professional journey with Kraken - one of the largest and oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Read on as he talks about the Kraken Bank,  the significance of digital currencies and their impact on our financial system....

Read More

Q&A with Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET

Media 7 | September 20, 2021

Anna Pavlovska, Executive Vice-president at VIALET,  has combined FinTech, commercial and central banking experience. She is experienced in European Banking, FinTech, Payments and Digital Platforms industries, with particular expertise in the area of innovative payment solutions, digitally enabled payment financial products, acquired in the Business Development, Innovation, Strategy, M&A, Relationship Management, Change Management, International Development, Sales-related roles....

Read More

Q&A with Bronwyn Pretorius, Head of Marketing at Mukuru

Media 7 | September 17, 2021

Bronwyn Pretorius, Head of Marketing at Mukuru, is a seasoned marketeer with over 14 years of experience. In her current position as HOD Marketing for one of the largest Remittance led FinTech's in Africa, she has entered into a new industry of Financial Services where she aims to bring a positive change with strategic planning, implementation and leveraging her innate interpersonal skills with the focus of delivery....

Read More

Related News

CORE BANKING, FINTECH

Pacific Service Credit Union Chooses Lumin Digital to Enhance Its Digital Banking

Pacific Service Credit Union and Lumin Digital | January 20, 2023

On January 19, 2023, Lumin Digital announced that it established a multi-year agreement with Pacific Service Credit Union (Pacific Service CU) in California to promote an improved online banking experience for the latter's almost 70,000 members and assets worth over $1 billion. Lumin's cloud-based online and mobile digital banking platform, set to launch in October, will provide better safety, security features, and seamless digital integration. This would help Pacific Service CU develop tailored experiences by providing personalized suggestions such as spending insights, financial guidance, savings goals, and fraud warnings. Michelle Shelor, Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Service Credit Union, stated, "At Pacific Service CU, we've built a strong reputation for providing world-class products and services for our members." Michelle continued, "Our partnership with Lumin Digital will greatly improve the user experience and back-end processes. We are excited to bring this new technology to our members." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) Lisa Daniels, Lumin Digital's Chief Delivery Officer, indicated that Pacific Service CU's members would benefit from the cooperation. In a recent digital-banking analysis from The Financial Brand, U.S. financial leaders foresee four themes for 2023, all of which are Lumin's focus - digital transformation, boosting data and analytics, streamlining the customer journey, and extending digital product and payment capabilities. "Addressing these critical areas hasn't always led to predictable outcomes for financial institutions in the past," Lisa Daniels said. "Lumin's thoughtful approach, experienced implementation teams, and innovative technology stack simplify this process greatly - providing Pacific Service CU with the confidence, security, and engagement they deserve from their digital partner," she concluded. (Source – Cision PR Newswire) About Lumin Digital Lumin Digital, a majority-owned subsidiary of a PSCU, provides a cloud-native platform that redefines digital banking for financial institutions. The platform offers a complete and modern integrated suite of capabilities based on the industry's most sophisticated technology and best practices. In addition, through a patented engagement model that enables highly focused, actionable, and distinctive digital interactions, organizations will be able to create excellent user experiences across platforms, enabling more personalized journeys and connected relationships. About Pacific Service Credit Union Pacific Service Credit Union, headquartered in Concord (California), is a full-service financial institution. The company, recognized as a Bay Area Top Workplace from 2019 to 2022, has a talented, cohesive leadership team with an average of over 11 years of service. Meanwhile, San Francisco Business Times has also recognized its corporate generosity over the years, placing it in an elite group of businesses that give away more than 2% of its annual profits.

Read More

PAYMENTS, FINTECH

SUNRATE Announces the Integration of Mastercard Cross-border Services

SUNRATE | January 17, 2023

SUNRATE, a leading global fintech firm, announced today that it has successfully integrated Mastercard Cross-Border Services into its intelligent global payment and treasury management platform thereby, enhancing its customers' worldwide cross-border payment capabilities. Mastercard Cross-Border Services integration is the latest expansion of the two firms' ongoing global partnership. In 2020, SUNRATE secured the Mastercard principal membership, providing the company with direct access to Mastercard's leading global payments network and resources. Mastercard Cross-Border Services facilitates businesses to send and receive money safely and confidently through a single, secure point of access. SUNRATE's successful integration implies that its clients can send money to five designated Asian nations, including the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and China. SUNRATE Head of Product, Qincheng Wang, stated, "We have a vision for SUNRATE to be the go-to B2B payment and treasury management platform, especially for emerging markets. As such, the flexibility brought about by Mastercard Cross-Border Services, such as the capability to make cross-border payments to the most popular and emerging markets worldwide is something that our customers are very excited about. Our collaboration with Mastercard will allow our customers to focus on what is more important in their scaling journey, such as localization efforts and potentially establishing new revenue streams for their businesses." (Source – PR Newswire) "Mastercard is pleased to further its collaboration with SUNRATE via its Cross Border Services solution, enriching SUNRATE's remittance service in a faster, safer, more transparent and cost-effective way. Mastercard Cross Border Services reaches over 100 markets and 90% of the world's population and this partnership will continue to expand in hopes of enhancing the cross-border service for businesses," said Helena Chen, Managing Director, Hong Kong and Macau, Mastercard. (Source – PR Newswire) About SUNRATE Founded in 2016, SUNRATE is a global payment and treasury management platform for enterprises worldwide. It has been recognized as a leading solutions provider, enabling companies in over 130 countries to accelerate local as well as global growth through its cutting-edge proprietary platform, broad global network, and robust APIs. Headquartered in Singapore and offices in Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and China, SUNRATE collaborates with the world's leading financial institutions, including Standard Chartered, Citibank, and Barclays, and is a Mastercard and Visa principal member.

Read More

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, FUNDING

Singapore's Avallis Investments Chooses Clearwater Analytics to Grow Business

Clearwater Analytics | January 23, 2023

Clearwater Analytics recently announced that Singapore-based fund manager Avallis Investments chose the company to power its investment data management, portfolio analytics, and investment reporting operations in order to drive higher growth across its business. The supply of investment accounting, reporting, and analytics solutions is an area in which Clearwater Analytics excels thereby, making it a market leader. Avallis Investments is a privately-held asset management firm that operates out of its headquarters in Singapore. The organization's primary goal is to grow the company's presence in the high-net-worth wealth management market in Asia. Clearwater's single instance, multi-tenant IT platform will give Avallis Investments a complete picture and single source of truth for its clients' investment portfolios. It will gain ‘a single pane of glass’ to examine their entire investment portfolio and quickly address specific reporting difficulties by eliminating the need to manually collect, reconcile, and validate data from diverse sources and systems. Thus, Avallis users can gain practical insights for wealth-building decisions. Gary Cheo, CEO at Avallis Investments, observed, "After evaluating a number of investment accounting and front-to-back-office investment operations solutions, Clearwater Analytics came out on top." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) He further added, "Clearwater's powerful network effects—its single instance, multi-tenant architecture—delivers a clear advantage for us in terms of speed, flexibility, and operational efficiencies. It also aligns with our belief in an open, transparent service model that empowers our clients and put their interests first. In a few clicks, our clients can quickly drill into portfolio specifics and track the necessary information to make effective portfolio decisions, manage risk, and measure performance." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) Scott Erickson, President, Americas and Asia, Clearwater Analytics expressed, "We're excited to work with Avallis Investments in supporting their relationship managers with Clearwater's innovative, on-demand technology platform that boosts operational efficiencies and profitability." "Avallis Investments joins our clients in Asia and around the world seeking a transformational, more competitive path forward," he concluded. (Source – Cision PR Newswire) About Clearwater Analytics Clearwater Analytics is one of the leading web-based investment portfolio accounting, reporting, and reconciliation services for institutional investors at hundreds of organizations. It reconciles and reports on $5.5 trillion in assets across thousands of accounts daily. The company provides the global standard for investment portfolio reporting from its headquarters in Boise (Idaho) and offices in Edinburgh, Frankfurt, London, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Seattle, Singapore, and Washington, D.C.

Read More

CORE BANKING, FINTECH

Pacific Service Credit Union Chooses Lumin Digital to Enhance Its Digital Banking

Pacific Service Credit Union and Lumin Digital | January 20, 2023

On January 19, 2023, Lumin Digital announced that it established a multi-year agreement with Pacific Service Credit Union (Pacific Service CU) in California to promote an improved online banking experience for the latter's almost 70,000 members and assets worth over $1 billion. Lumin's cloud-based online and mobile digital banking platform, set to launch in October, will provide better safety, security features, and seamless digital integration. This would help Pacific Service CU develop tailored experiences by providing personalized suggestions such as spending insights, financial guidance, savings goals, and fraud warnings. Michelle Shelor, Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Service Credit Union, stated, "At Pacific Service CU, we've built a strong reputation for providing world-class products and services for our members." Michelle continued, "Our partnership with Lumin Digital will greatly improve the user experience and back-end processes. We are excited to bring this new technology to our members." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) Lisa Daniels, Lumin Digital's Chief Delivery Officer, indicated that Pacific Service CU's members would benefit from the cooperation. In a recent digital-banking analysis from The Financial Brand, U.S. financial leaders foresee four themes for 2023, all of which are Lumin's focus - digital transformation, boosting data and analytics, streamlining the customer journey, and extending digital product and payment capabilities. "Addressing these critical areas hasn't always led to predictable outcomes for financial institutions in the past," Lisa Daniels said. "Lumin's thoughtful approach, experienced implementation teams, and innovative technology stack simplify this process greatly - providing Pacific Service CU with the confidence, security, and engagement they deserve from their digital partner," she concluded. (Source – Cision PR Newswire) About Lumin Digital Lumin Digital, a majority-owned subsidiary of a PSCU, provides a cloud-native platform that redefines digital banking for financial institutions. The platform offers a complete and modern integrated suite of capabilities based on the industry's most sophisticated technology and best practices. In addition, through a patented engagement model that enables highly focused, actionable, and distinctive digital interactions, organizations will be able to create excellent user experiences across platforms, enabling more personalized journeys and connected relationships. About Pacific Service Credit Union Pacific Service Credit Union, headquartered in Concord (California), is a full-service financial institution. The company, recognized as a Bay Area Top Workplace from 2019 to 2022, has a talented, cohesive leadership team with an average of over 11 years of service. Meanwhile, San Francisco Business Times has also recognized its corporate generosity over the years, placing it in an elite group of businesses that give away more than 2% of its annual profits.

Read More

PAYMENTS, FINTECH

SUNRATE Announces the Integration of Mastercard Cross-border Services

SUNRATE | January 17, 2023

SUNRATE, a leading global fintech firm, announced today that it has successfully integrated Mastercard Cross-Border Services into its intelligent global payment and treasury management platform thereby, enhancing its customers' worldwide cross-border payment capabilities. Mastercard Cross-Border Services integration is the latest expansion of the two firms' ongoing global partnership. In 2020, SUNRATE secured the Mastercard principal membership, providing the company with direct access to Mastercard's leading global payments network and resources. Mastercard Cross-Border Services facilitates businesses to send and receive money safely and confidently through a single, secure point of access. SUNRATE's successful integration implies that its clients can send money to five designated Asian nations, including the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and China. SUNRATE Head of Product, Qincheng Wang, stated, "We have a vision for SUNRATE to be the go-to B2B payment and treasury management platform, especially for emerging markets. As such, the flexibility brought about by Mastercard Cross-Border Services, such as the capability to make cross-border payments to the most popular and emerging markets worldwide is something that our customers are very excited about. Our collaboration with Mastercard will allow our customers to focus on what is more important in their scaling journey, such as localization efforts and potentially establishing new revenue streams for their businesses." (Source – PR Newswire) "Mastercard is pleased to further its collaboration with SUNRATE via its Cross Border Services solution, enriching SUNRATE's remittance service in a faster, safer, more transparent and cost-effective way. Mastercard Cross Border Services reaches over 100 markets and 90% of the world's population and this partnership will continue to expand in hopes of enhancing the cross-border service for businesses," said Helena Chen, Managing Director, Hong Kong and Macau, Mastercard. (Source – PR Newswire) About SUNRATE Founded in 2016, SUNRATE is a global payment and treasury management platform for enterprises worldwide. It has been recognized as a leading solutions provider, enabling companies in over 130 countries to accelerate local as well as global growth through its cutting-edge proprietary platform, broad global network, and robust APIs. Headquartered in Singapore and offices in Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and China, SUNRATE collaborates with the world's leading financial institutions, including Standard Chartered, Citibank, and Barclays, and is a Mastercard and Visa principal member.

Read More

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, FUNDING

Singapore's Avallis Investments Chooses Clearwater Analytics to Grow Business

Clearwater Analytics | January 23, 2023

Clearwater Analytics recently announced that Singapore-based fund manager Avallis Investments chose the company to power its investment data management, portfolio analytics, and investment reporting operations in order to drive higher growth across its business. The supply of investment accounting, reporting, and analytics solutions is an area in which Clearwater Analytics excels thereby, making it a market leader. Avallis Investments is a privately-held asset management firm that operates out of its headquarters in Singapore. The organization's primary goal is to grow the company's presence in the high-net-worth wealth management market in Asia. Clearwater's single instance, multi-tenant IT platform will give Avallis Investments a complete picture and single source of truth for its clients' investment portfolios. It will gain ‘a single pane of glass’ to examine their entire investment portfolio and quickly address specific reporting difficulties by eliminating the need to manually collect, reconcile, and validate data from diverse sources and systems. Thus, Avallis users can gain practical insights for wealth-building decisions. Gary Cheo, CEO at Avallis Investments, observed, "After evaluating a number of investment accounting and front-to-back-office investment operations solutions, Clearwater Analytics came out on top." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) He further added, "Clearwater's powerful network effects—its single instance, multi-tenant architecture—delivers a clear advantage for us in terms of speed, flexibility, and operational efficiencies. It also aligns with our belief in an open, transparent service model that empowers our clients and put their interests first. In a few clicks, our clients can quickly drill into portfolio specifics and track the necessary information to make effective portfolio decisions, manage risk, and measure performance." (Source – Cision PR Newswire) Scott Erickson, President, Americas and Asia, Clearwater Analytics expressed, "We're excited to work with Avallis Investments in supporting their relationship managers with Clearwater's innovative, on-demand technology platform that boosts operational efficiencies and profitability." "Avallis Investments joins our clients in Asia and around the world seeking a transformational, more competitive path forward," he concluded. (Source – Cision PR Newswire) About Clearwater Analytics Clearwater Analytics is one of the leading web-based investment portfolio accounting, reporting, and reconciliation services for institutional investors at hundreds of organizations. It reconciles and reports on $5.5 trillion in assets across thousands of accounts daily. The company provides the global standard for investment portfolio reporting from its headquarters in Boise (Idaho) and offices in Edinburgh, Frankfurt, London, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Seattle, Singapore, and Washington, D.C.

Read More