Marketing Iran: It's Time
I will be honest. When one of my close business friends invited me to visit Tehran last year, I was very excited but at the same time a bit scared. I remember spending days on google analyzing Iranian culture, reading about other people’s experiences in the country and just trying to get as much information as possible about this country that has this amazing history but at the same time seems isolated and misunderstood by the Western world.
My fears about Iran disappeared the moment I landed in Tehran.
Despite negative portrayals in the media media, the truth is that there is nothing mysterious about Iran and its people. In my personal experience, Iranians are one of the friendliest and open-minded people in the world. Iran deserves a chance on the global scene, like it or not, the country is about to become one of the world’s most important players.
A lot has happened in the year since I first landed in Iran. This November 21-22, working with our wonderful partners from Mana Payam and Aujan Iran, we are organizing the Global Marketing Summit, Iran’s first ever business conference to feature two days of presentations by global marketing gurus.
Organizing this historical event in Iran has been the most incredible journey of my life. In the past five years my company, P World, has organized over 150 business events in 30 different countries. None of them compare to my excitement for the Global Marketing Summit in Tehran.
It is important to note that as an international company we faced serious backlash from some of the countries where we operate due to the fact that we are organizing events in Iran. The Iranian visas in my passport also resulted with me being questioned on numerous occasions by security guards at different airports about my trips to Iran and yes, at the beginning I was a bit nervous. At one point, we were receiving so many negative messages that we were seriously thinking of whether we were making a good decision by organizing an event in the country. You have to understand that we worked very hard to build a global brand and it was very important for me, as the company’s founder, that our reputation remains intact.
After several sleepless nights and very careful thinking I realized one thing. It is everyone’s responsibility, including mine as a foreigner, to help paint the real picture about Iran. It should be our responsibility to position Iran where it truly belongs and to showcase to the world the true possibilities in the country. Iran is a country of amazing potential and intellectual richness, not the enemy that the Western world is afraid of. To create the right image for Iran and Iranian companies will require better strategies in marketing and communication.
The reality is that as Iranian companies open up for international business, they must learn to adapt and follow the trends that the global superbrands are setting. As their customer base expands, they will have to be able to understand the needs of their new consumers and create marketing strategies that reflect the global marketing standards. The aim of our event is to help all Iranian marketers understand the new rules of the marketing game and to help them prepare for the new and exciting times. At the same time, international delegates must gain much needed insights about the Iranian marketing scene and the rules they have to follow if they want to successfully operate in Iran.
Today, as I am packing my bags to travel to Iran, I know that I made the right decision to host our event in the country.
Iran’s time is coming and if you cannot accept this fact, then the loss is completely yours.
Photo Credit: P World