Breaking the Clutter – A Public Private Partnership

 In Entrepreneurship

All around the world, the public and private sectors work together to create propositions that add value to the lives of the communities they are serving. In its broadest sense, all types of collaborations between the public and private sectors can help to deliver policies, services and infrastructure projects. These schemes are sometimes referred to, internationally, as PPP or P3 and can cover everything from design and planning, financing and construction to operating services. They are a way of bringing in private sector expertise, business efficiency and money to deliver improvements to public services often at a time when government money and resources were being reduced. In recent years public-private projects in many countries, have been used to provide large-scale infrastructure schemes – roads, hospitals, schools, power stations and railways. One such monumental public-private partnership was born as a result of collaboration between Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority and Gizelle Communications Pvt. Ltd.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is a public sector body working under the Federal Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defence. It was established on 7th December, 1982 as an autonomous body. Gizelle Communications Pvt. Ltd is a private enterprise that specializes in integrated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), infra-structure development and media solutions. It amalgamates conventional advertising methodology with the principles of CSR and community development, where the ethos of social responsibility is strategically linked with brand recall and mileage.  Gizelle Communications also provides BTL activities/event management, internal and external branding, creative and design services, customized and innovative signage, and outdoor advertising.

These two institutions entered into a partnership in early 2010 to initiate the largest integrated CSR media infrastructure project – ‘Airport Shed Project’. This venture started as a result of two different needs that were identified in the environment. The first need evolved on account of a change in the perception of customers in Pakistan’s market. They had started to perceive traditional media marketing strategies by companies as exaggerated and directionless efforts at trying to gain their attention and maintaining mindshare. The traditional methodology had stopped working, and these customers were now beginning to question how private sector companies were actually adding value. Large billboards, print and electronic advertising did not substantiate the money that most private sector entities were making, and the value addition they were actually providing to the communities where they were operating. This shift in paradigm required a new method of reaching out to these customers. The ethos of Corporate Social Responsibility and traditional media marketing needed to be amalgamated to devise a way forward that would engage and stimulate the customer, and additionally create further avenues of increased brand recall and mileage.

The second need was making use of wasted space at Jinnah International Airport. To conventional thinkers this was just open space, but to progressive minds this was untapped area that could be utilized to create something that would eventually benefit the public that visited the airport on a daily basis. This space existed outside the main airport building, right in front of the arrival bay. It was a waiting spot for both passengers and visitors.  Gizelle Communications identified this space, and the team put together a media strategy that incorporated the principles of traditional marketing and corporate social responsibility. They suggested that sheds be built at all entry and exit points and a large shed be constructed over this open KCL area. The benefits outlined were that these sheds would firstly improve the overall aesthetics of the airport; they would provide a proper waiting area for the passengers and ample space for branding at a location that is visited by thousands of people throughout the day. The total footfall for Jinnah International Airport is 63 million visitors a year – this was wasted potential, and the idea proposed by Gizelle Communications transformed these ordinary visitors into a potential audience for brand engagement and activation.

The Directorate Commercial, Civil Aviation was rather forthcoming with this concept; they were able to see the larger picture and understand how a project of this proportion would impact the lives of not only the people who visited the airport but also all stakeholders. The implementation of this project opened employment opportunities for the labour force in the construction industry; it was a sustainable initiative with a long lasting social impact. This was a great image building method for the airports, the public entity involved and the private sector that had collaborated for the execution of this project.  It also highlighted one valuable truth, that if a brand was willing to invest its resources in such a project, it showed that the economic and business conditions in Pakistan were improving.

Thus began the construction of the state-of-art Shed Shelter on the open KCL area and all entry and exit points of the airport. The complete assembly, development, fabrication and installation with branding took almost two years. This was a very large-scale project, but would have never been possible without the strong collaboration between Gizelle Communications and Civil Aviation Authority. It is the largest CSR infrastructure project that has been implemented in Pakistan so far. This project has also been implemented at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, and is being replicated at all other airports in Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan, and Faisalabad. Very soon, all airports across Pakistan will showcase this ingenious marketing strategy. Hence, this novel collaboration has set a new benchmark which has successfully linked two sectors that once faced detachment.  The Airport Shed Project is a living testament of what a sincere partnership between the public and the private sector is capable of achieving.




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