Khalid Sala­mat

- Khalid Sala­mat

Enterprise - - Contents -

Lead­ing mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional Khalid Sala­mat has many years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the GCC, Le­vant and Pak­istan mar­kets, gained with MNCs like Unilever, PZ Cus­sons, Kraft Foods and Col­gate Pal­mo­live. He started his ca­reer with Lever Brothers in Pak­istan and then moved to Smith and Nephew, man­ag­ing the Nivea business across the coun­try. Khalid un­der­took his first over­seas as­sign­ment in the late 80s with Unilever Ara­bia, where he worked as Con­sumer Prod­ucts Man­ager in the UAE and sub­se­quently in Saudi Ara­bia. He was sent to Jor­dan to work as Gen­eral Man­ager of Spin­ney’s be­tween 2007 and 2010. In his present role as Vice Pres­i­dent of HBG, he is re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing the company’s con­sumer prod­ucts and health and well­ness busi­nesses across the re­gion and iden­ti­fy­ing ac­qui­si­tion/in­vest­ment tar­gets in re­tail, man­u­fac­ture and dis­tri­bu­tion.

He speaks to En­ter­prise in this ex­clu­sive in­ter­view:

What is your main area of ex­per­tise? How would you de­scribe your­self?

My core com­pe­tency has al­ways been mar­ket­ing from a per­spec­tive of per­sonal pro­cliv­ity as well train­ing and ori­en­ta­tion. The work I have done en­com­passes a range of di­verse FMCG projects over a span of 25plus years in dif­fer­ent mar­kets such as the UAE, KSA, GCC and Le­vant, specif­i­cally Jor­dan. The jour­ney be­gan in Pak­istan with Unilever. My present role with HBG Hold­ings in­volves con­nect­ing the dots, which is iden­ti­fy­ing a prod­uct/brand that sat­is­fies a con­sumer need, then find­ing the best ‘fit’ for the brand owner by screen­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing and se­lect­ing a suit­able business part­ner and for­mu­lat­ing a strat­egy that de­liv­ers re­sults for both. The process does not stop here, but goes on to fa­cil­i­tate business de­vel­op­ment over a long term pe­riod.

I would de­scribe my­self as a quin­tes­sen­tial mar­keter, who has de­vel­oped knowl­edge in business strat­egy as well as op­er­a­tions through a va­ri­ety of roles with blue chip com­pa­nies like Unilever (Pak­istan and Ara­bia), Kraft Foods, Col­gatePal­mo­live, PZ Cus­sons and Spin­ney’s in Business De­vel­op­ment, Brand Build­ing, Re­search & Anal­y­sis, Sales, Dis­tri­bu­tion and Gen­eral Man­age­ment. I en­joy work­ing with mul­ti­cul­tural teams and am pas­sion­ate about the as­sign­ments I un­der­take.

How has your ex­pe­ri­ence been in the Mid­dle East/GCC mar­ket com­pared to your ex­pe­ri­ence in Pak­istan?

Mid­dle East is very dif­fer­ent than Pak­istan from many stand­points and even within the Mid­dle East and GCC, there are in­ter-mar­ket dis­sim­i­lar­i­ties.

Whilst it is far more com­pet­i­tive in the GCC than in Pak­istan in ev­ery sense, the dis­pos­able in­comes and spend­ing power are high. Greater com­pe­ti­tion also means larger ex­po­sure to a va­ri­ety of in­ter­na­tional prod­ucts and ser­vices. The UAE in par­tic­u­lar has a mul­ti­cul­tural con­sumer base, which makes the task of mak­ing your of­fer­ing ap­peal­ing to a di­verse group of con­sumers. The other side of the coin is that within the big pie ex­ist eth­nic mar­ket seg­ments which can be tar­geted quite ef­fec­tively if the mar­keter does his home­work. In Pak­istan, you are deal­ing with a ho­mo­ge­neous con­sumer base, with far lesser dis­so­nance within it. Be­cause of the huge con­sump­tion base, get­ting a crit­i­cal mass is rel­a­tively eas­ier in Pak­istan. If a brand owner gets his act right only in Karachi, La­hore and Rawalpindi/Is­lam­abad (col­lec­tively around 40 mil­lion peo­ple) suc­cess in the rest will follow in due course. Though reach­ing the tar­get au­di­ence is chal­leng­ing due to pro­lif­er­a­tion of me­dia in re­cent years.

The trade dy­nam­ics are com­pletely dif­fer­ent too. Be­sides, in the Mid­dle East the in­fra­struc­ture to serve

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