7 questions with TAG’s Gary Fernandes: “I treat failures in the same manner as I treat success”

159 0

In our current series of ‘7 questions with’, we present you Gary Fernandes, Vice President, Marketing, Transnational Academic Group (TAG), who says organic marketing alone, particularly on social media, will just not cut it

#1 What first attracted you to your current role as VP Marketing and Student Recruitment?

I would have said creativity, leadership and innovation but there’s a much higher purpose that attracted me to this role, which is to make people and customers happy through helping them achieve their education and career goals.


ALSO READ: GMR explores how Gen Z and millennials pose challenges and opportunities for marketers


This also extends to the cross-functional teams that I work with at TAG Middle East, a leading tertiary education organization whose motto is ‘Developing the people who develop’.

#2 What has been the highest point of your career so far?

I strongly believe in never settling for the ‘status quo’ and with that said there have been many milestones achieved along the way, from helping students realize their dreams of the college education, developing and nurturing talent to turning businesses around.

It’s an absolute privilege and blessing to lead a fantastic high-performance marketing and recruitment team at TAG Middle East who bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and diversity and I consider this to be the highest point of my career whilst attributing every milestone and success achieved to my team. When the team is successful, business is successful!

#3 If you could restart your career from the beginning, what would you change?

Absolutely nothing! I take great pride in saying that the education industry is one of few industries where we are in the business of building success stories and changing lives.

I must also add that I treat failures in the same manner as I treat success and pay heed to all its learnings and outcomes.

So, where I am today is all because of hard work, being consistent with my vision and plan, developing people along the way, and failing and learning often!


SEE: Is Ramadan a big boon for luxury brands? 


#4 What are the biggest challenges facing marketing professionals in 2018? 

It would have to be the disruptive digital industry – either we embrace and exploit the opportunities it brings us or ignore it to our own peril. We also often tend to compare the present with previous trends and build strategies on past trends.

That was fine when the markets were moving in the right direction but in an ever-changing competitive landscape like 2018, we will need to learn to adapt, change, innovate, consistently learn from each outcome and devise new solutions.

Organic marketing alone, particularly on social media, will just not cut it; it’s much harder to reach audiences and maximize share of voice today without paid campaigns.

I also advise marketers to invest in meaningful video content that will enhance engagement, drive traffic, showcase experiences, and increase fan base.

At the end of the day, whatever we decide has to have a positive impact on both, our bottom line and reputation amidst competition.

#5 What is the one thing that you can’t live without?

Family time; and this should never be compromised at any cost. When I’m at home I ensure to spend quality time with my daughter whilst I also report to the other boss, my wife.


SEE: What do most of the Internet users in the Middle East do online?


#6 If you were not in marketing, you would be. . .  

A pilot – I have an appreciation for aviation and absolutely anything to do with planes. I even have a collection of miniature planes of different types.

#7 Complete this sentence: 2018 is the year for…

Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and predictive marketing, however, as leaders and marketers we must be cognizant of the fact that there will never be a substitute for human intelligence.