Those who have studied business studies or related disciplines will be familiar with the name Seth Godin and his books on marketing. One of his books All Marketers Are Liars is the third in a series of books on 21st century marketing. The book highlights the power of stories in the world of advertising. Consumers often believe in narratives told by the marketers that lead them to spend way more on a branded product, rather than availing the same non-branded product at a lower cost. This is the art of storytelling in marketing.
This very idea inspired Mashfique Khalid to name his creative agency 'Lie to Eye' (LTE) which began its journey in 2016 and has gained its position among the established first line creative and digital media agencies of the country within a short time. Mashfique Khalid, managing director and head of Creative Strategy of Lie to Eye, shared the pleasant story of his journey.
After completing BBA from IBA, Dhaka University, it was a challenging task for Mashfique Khalid to start a new organisation with the pressure of family expectations. He initiated it as a project based venture. By the end of 2018, he developed a full-time committed team. In 2019, the company came into the discussion in the advertising industry by campaigning for several established brands in the country and then, there was no looking back.
At the age of 26, when a business graduate aims to join a renowned well-reputed company and dreams of becoming the 'Employee of the Year,' Mashfique Khalid opened a new agency of his own with his partner Pulak Das and competed with the country's leading marketing agencies.
"Like other start-ups, we had to face some financial problems at the beginning. In 2018, for the first time, we had the opportunity to work with a big client by becoming the creative and digital partner of Beximco's Akash DTH. The work of print and visuals, from TVC productions to initial campaigns, was so acclaimed that for the first time in the industry, the name LTE grabbed a place in discussion," shared Mashfique with a smile.
LTE won the Digital Marketing Award in 2019 for the best audio-visual in its first breakthrough. Later in 2020, with the relaunching of Apex's Sprint brand, Lie to Eye shined again. That campaign, involving more than 300 influencers, was an unprecedented one in Bangladesh. The campaign gained so much traction that the brand's tagline 'Ignite your spark' moved to the list of Instagram's global trending hashtags, the first time in the history of a commercial campaign in Bangladesh.
Later, LTE's portfolio grew with big names like British American Tobacco Bangladesh, Abul Khair Group, Xiaomi Bangladesh, Nitol Niloy Group, Uttara Motors Group, SR Group, etc. The journey that started with three people in 2016 has now turned into a team of 30 people. Fivedigital marketing awards have been added to the list of achievements by 2020 which was the fourth highest among all agencies in Bangladesh. Besides, Lie to Eye also won ‘Commward’ four times which is a communication award given by Cannes Lions and Bangladesh Brand Forum.
When asked what he believes to be the reasons behind this success in such a short time, he confidently said, "It's not just that we are producing unique campaigns. Those campaigns are creating a big impact among the masses which is reflected in the Sprint brand's total annual revenue at the end of 2020. It was the highest in the history of the brand, amid the pandemic."
LTE always tries to come out of the conventional method and challenge the common practices, which is why new clients also become interested in working with them. In addition, they have a young team with a fresh mindset and unique perspectives.
"When someone applies for a job in our company, rather than a formal interview, we offer a short conversation and if we think that the candidate has the potential, he or she initially gets a task relevant to their applied position like designing demo contents or preparing situation analysis. The applicant gets recruited on the basis of that performance," explains Mashfique about the recruitment process.
He also shared that they do not treat their workplace in a formal manner, however, maintain proper respect for everyone. Most importantly, the employees have the opportunity to share their ideas to their seniors freely which builds the confidence and courage to explore new things and be more expressive from a young age. They believe that ideas can come from anyone-- senior or junior, permanent employee or intern. And the first thing everyone gets reminded before any brainstorming is that it has to be something that has never been done before. This is what makes them unique.
To the newcomers in this industry, Mashfique suggests three things. "First of all, do not sell your work without proper value. Second, do not copy or repeat ideas. The final one is to have patience to hold the business until it succeeds."