Forbes Agency Council members work with a diverse set of clients across numerous fields. To share their expertise on everything from marketing to branding and more, we’re profiling Forbes Agency Council members here on the blog. This week: Azad Abbasi.
Azad Abbasi is the CEO of Genius Marketing, a digital marketing and advertising agency based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded a decade ago by Azad, Genius Marketing now includes iamGeniusVR, which specializes in 360-degree video and virtual reality storytelling. The agency also has locations in Paris, France, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
How did your career as an agency executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
I’ve always been a creative person. From designing flyers for local shops on Microsoft Word when I was 14 years old to creating home movies with friends on my dad’s old Sony camcorder, directing creativity became a thing for me. When I really understood that the best ads were the creative ones, I immediately wanted to work in advertising. I founded the agency back in 2006. Our first account was a chain that sold auto parts; they mandated us with the design, print and distribution of their mail-in postcards. Now, 10 years later, we produce and create virtual reality. Leaps are what we have been making, progressing from print, radio and TV, to newsletters, eCommerce, social media, online video, apps and so on. I attribute my success to my tenacity, hard work, and the ability to take risks and be on the cutting-edge of the industry.
How do you keep yourself creative and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I exercise, meditate and eat healthily. I take breaks from technology every few hours. I have my fun time; I take walks, read books, draw and write with a pen and pad. The key is to not stagnate and move along. I don’t make to-do lists; I make my daily schedule include breaks and fun time.
What do you see as the future of media strategy or advertising?
Transparency is key to advertising and being social digitally is mandatory. It has always been about creating content, but now the content needs to be updated daily (or even by the minute) and needs to be relevant and authentic.
I believe that everything will soon revolve around virtual reality and will be the next platform after mobile devices. We will see TV, online and print ads created to bring people towards VR content. It is most immersive communications tools available.
What is your best PR, marketing or advertising tip for businesses?
Everything is storytelling. Be genuine. Be different. Innovate.