13 Jul, 2021

Practice Brand Say, Brand Do – Hajar Alafifi to APIIT MBA Students

The strongest Industry Linked master of business administration degree( MBA) programme in Sri Lanka, the Staffordshire University MBA; presented  by The Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology( APIIT) featured the 35th edition of the “ Top CEO of Sri Lanka” with the guest being the Chairperson/ MD of Unilever Sri Lanka, Hajar Alafifi recently.

Chairperson/MD of Unilever Hajar Alafifi on the APIIT MBA oration

The Chairperson enlighten the MBA students on the role of Unilever in today’s environment and the way in which business is done by Unilever accross the world.

Ms Alafifi said  ‘ At Unilever, our higher purpose is to make sustainable living a common place and to do this, we practice three components in our daily work- 1) brands with a purpose grow 2) companies with purpose lasts 3) people with a purpose thrive.

When these three things come together magic happens in an organisation ’ she quipped.

This was an interesting dimension commented the Interviewer Dr Rohantha Athukoarala as the buzz word in today business world is “purpose” and Ms Alafifi’s explanation very aptly describing the balanced behavior that was required that an MBA graduate must practice at the work place. Specially, given that the disruption created by the Covid-19 virus, the only way forward is by asking our self ‘ what is our purpose’ was the consensus of the audience.

Ms Alafifi’s profile being very impressive- 19 years experience at Unilever across different geographies from Morocco to South Africa, Netherlands and London she brings in to the Sri Lanka business extensive experience in strategy and execution coupled with strong business and people acumen.

Prior to the current role Hajar had been the Global Brand Vice President for Dishwashers business and has the brand experience of OMO, Sunlight and Strategy Director for the global HC business.

When asked what advise can be given to young marketers the speaker said ‘ At Unilever we believe in growing brands that serve a consumer. How we make the brand elevate from pure selling to a higher social order is by making a brand speak to a consumer in two ways 1)  A Brand must say something with adverting, which we call “brand say” 2) a brand must implement on the ground which we call ‘ brand do’. To explain the concept Hajar took the iconic brand- Lifebuoy which was very well received by the audience and in fact some MBA graduates mentors that it was the key take from the session.

The Chairman of APIIT Bandula Egodage who is also the Chairman of the Industrial Association of Sri Lanka commented

“ It’s an honour for us to have a personality like Hajar Alafifi as she is not only a professional at the helm of the career but is a person who has a special Honors as Bachelor of Business and Administration (Marketing major),  a member of the LEAD network and a converted Alumni of Xynteo. Egodage went on to say that ‘ The MBA from the University of Staffordshire is undoubtably the strongest industry Linked MBA’s in the country which will add value to their working life “ he said.

APIIT Sri Lanka
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