According to Hasan Rizvi of BodyBeat Public Relations (BBPR), public relations is often mistaken and merged with advertising and this is where BBPR comes in – essentially to draw the line between the two. Where advertising is mainly above the line and includes certain elements such as TVCs, public relations deals with providing the customer with an experience. This, he insists, instills brand recall and brings your brand a step above the competitors. To find out more, OK! Pakistan speaks to the PR maven Hasan Rizvi.
How did your love for Public Relations (PR) begin?
Hasan Rizvi: So, PR just fell into my lap. We were doing an event for Pepsi and they suggested that we do the PR as well, and that was the beginning of a whole new avenue for us. It was a very successful event with a massive turnout, where everyone was talking about the event and I knew that this was our calling.
What is your ideal work environment?
HR: I believe in the “carrot” approach. You can grow creativity when you have a healthy environment where everyone is comfortable with their space as well as working alongside me. Ideally, I would want a quiet space to have the creative juices flow but that doesn’t always happen. [Laughs]
“I feel social media is a great economical tool that increases talk-ability instantly for a brand.”
What does PR mean to you?
HR: PR is the perspective people have about a brand, product or service.
How did you come up with the name BBPR?
HR: BBPR stands for BodyBeat Public Relations. BodyBeat was initially a popular dance class that turned into an event management company. Since the name was recognised by many, we decided to stick to it and now we’re a full-fledged PR company, holding one of the biggest corporate portfolios.
What does your typical day look like?
HR: My typical day tends to consist of a 10-hour work day, with a few hours spent at the gym, one hour with my kids, and a couple of hours to socialise and unwind.
What source of media do you follow regularly and why those ones?
HR: I like to stay updated with news both online and on TV. I like to stay updated on Instagram as well; it’s probably my most used social media append, and I’m somewhat active on Facebook as well.
“We not only take care of crisis situations but make sure the brand maintains its true sense of self and is recognised and amplified to its fullest.”
Why do you use social media to help your clients?
HR: I feel social media is a great economical tool that increases talk-ability instantly for a brand. Thus, I feel social media plays an integral role as it is one of the fastest growing platforms in Pakistan and brands as well as marketers see the importance of it.
Describe a social media crisis you had and how you handled it.
HR: I’ve actually learned a lot in the past year about social media and we had one blogger complain about one of our products where we learned a lot about crisis management, including the threshold required for a brand to respond to a query. Response rate and response time becomes an integral part of social media crisis.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a PR firm such as BBPR?
HR: We not only take care of crisis situations but make sure the brand maintains its true sense of self and is recognised and amplified to its fullest. Moreover, amplification can never be negative because we are constantly trying to convey the brand’s message to the masses.
What has been your proudest achievement in the field of PR?
HR: In my opinion the proudest moment has been mostly with regards to sales. When I see the sales reflecting a brand I take on, I can gauge how my PR campaign has been in terms of execution. A very recent example from a few weekends ago is WinterLand for which we did the PR, and the amplification was such that the newly opened theme park was instantly booked for three weeks straight! They continue to have a barrage of bookings coming in which in itself tell you about the power of PR.
Why do you think companies need to pay attention to PR?
HR: Not only companies but talent, influencers, cricketers, artists… everyone needs a PR company or a PR person. That being said, it is our job to maintain the brand’s reputation and repertoire.
What kind of clients do you find most interesting?
HR: Well, obviously the clients that give us the liberty and creative freedom. This includes strategic liberty and creative margin. I feel like the best campaigns we’ve done were the ones with open-ended briefs. Lastly, with the belief of the client I feel we can conquer the world.
In what direction do you see the PR industry heading?
HR: Globalisation is definitely blurring the lines of marketing and that includes the lines between PR and advertising along with merchandising. The best part is that with the increasing need and understanding of PR from the clients’ end, companies are approaching us instead of the other way around. Local companies are now beginning to invest in PR, which is a great move and works in our favour.
Describe your PR agency in three words.
HR: Creative, fun, and hardworking.
You’re a father, a husband and run a PR agency. How do you manage to give time to everything?
HR: I wish I could give more time to each, especially to my wife. However, she understands that this is the peak of my career and I need to focus on work. I am not going to say I am the best at everything but I am definitely trying my best.
Dance or PR?
HR: Always PR.
What’s on your bucket list?
HR: A Cannes Award.
HR: Superman because he’s superman.
Who do you admire the most?
HR: My father.
Favourite summer activity?
Morning, noon or night?
What was the last film you watched?
HR: Ford v Ferrari.
HR: Barcelona, Spain.
HR: Meghan Markle.
HR: I work out six days a week. I only take Sundays off because I feel I deserve it.
INTERVIEW: Mehr Kassim
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTSEY Hasan rizvi