This Kashmiri’s Company is one of the Top Brand-Rating Companies in Asia

This Kashmiri’s Company is one of the Top Brand-Rating Companies in Asia

Don’t settle for something you are not passionate about and never be afraid of taking risks. Personally I think this generation from Kashmir is doing pretty well, with a lot of them venturing into fields whether that be of business, art or social work that were hard to think of a few years back.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Asif Var, I am the Founder and Director Business & Strategy at White Page International.

I am basically from HMT in Srinagar. I belong to a working class family, my father works in a bank while my mother is a teacher. I did my schooling from Srinagar British School till 10th and after that 10+2 from Tyndale Biscoe School, Srinagar. After completing my graduation from S P College, Srinagar I moved to United Kingdom to pursue management degree in International Marketing & Project Management. While studying at University of Cardiff I had an opportunity to intern with M& M Associates that introduced me to the world of branding and advertising. Post my MBA I had the opportunity to work with some of the reputed firms like Compass Group, M&M Associates in the UK and Economic Times in India.

Give us a little insight about Whitepage International 

In 2013 after working with a number firms we felt there was a void in the industry for a credible research based branding platform in the market. We saw an opportunity and we grabbed it. 

White Page International is a consulting firm with a diverse portfolio that includes brand consulting, print advertising, brand Shows, creative advertorial promotions, PR and research. White Page Consulting was born out of the need to create platforms for brands to communicate with their audiences in a manner that is easily understood. We work with media houses like CNN News18, India Today TV and ET Now to brand shows along big 4 consulting firms like Ernest & Young and PwC to create some of the best branding platforms in Asia.

In 2017 we released  5th edition of  ‘Most Admired Brands & Leaders’ coffee table book at our 2017 The Brand and Leadership Conclave which features the epic journey of prominent brands and leaders across Asia. It is research based listing of 100 Brands across 25 categories from 16 countries in Asia, research was conducted on an initial list of 2,000 brands.

Watch full episode of India Brand & Leadership Conclave by Whitepage International on India Today Tv at 4:30 pm on 25th & 26th March 2017.

You quit your full time job to do something of your own, tell us about that

 Those fancy salaries, fancy business-class flights and fancy five-star hotels were tempting, but not tempting enough to break my dream of doing something of my own. If  you don’t enjoy what you are doing, no point of doing it, that is why I quit my job.

I will be honest though, with the mindset we dwell in, quitting the job felt like a big risk. On that if you have friends and family who are not entrepreneurs, they won’t truly understand what you are trying to achieve and the public pressure will start going even higher.

We had to go through difficult times initially at WhitePage and on that managing the expenses in a metro like Delhi was not easy for the months. It all started to get better when we were up and running at WhitePage.

Being a Kashmiri its not easy to quit your job and go after your passion, how did you tackle LUK Kya Wanan epidemic

Initially I used to care so much about what other people think of me– so much that it would lose my focus towards my goal.  On that it was also a quite a task to convince my parents what I was doing was right and it was going to work out. Like any other Kashmiri parents they wanted me to have a job security.

But then I realized that if you care too much about what others think of you and your work, you will waste your time trying to prove that you are or will be successful instead of focusing on your startup. 

Alhamdulilah we have done well as a company in last couple of years. However, my parents still remain skeptical Yi Chuon Kaar Chun Aasi Samjhi Yiwaan.

What difference do you feel between working for someone and working for yourself?

I must say that when you work for yourself every day is a new challenge, it brings in a whole lot of responsibilities. You learn every step of the way, you grow as your company grows. 

Speaking of the perks of having something of your own is that it’s your gig and you’re the boss,  who would mind to work the days you want and take off the days you don’t? Also their is a freedom to build your business around the life you choose. Yes – you’re free to build your work around your Ideal Life; instead of letting your work dictate the life you’re supposed to live. No more chains to hold you down. 

Who is the team behind WPI?

I started it with two other colleagues of mine Sarmad Zargar and Shahid Bhat. White Page team is a mix of young exuberant individuals and old experienced industry experts, the work place is lot of fun, we enjoy what we do. With teams in Delhi and Mumbai and consulting partners in Singapore, Dubai and London  it a mix of work and play.

What are your future projects ?

Our next target is the Infra and Education summit in Mumbai and we head to London in the later part of the year where we are currently working on a brand research project with UK Asian Business Council.

Any message for the people reading this ?

Don’t settle for something you are not passionate about and never be afraid of taking risks. Personally I think this generation from Kashmir is doing pretty well, with a lot of them venturing into fields whether that be of business, art or social work that were hard to think of a few years back.

So to all of them work hard, relish your experiences at work and in life, there is no better time or moment than now.

By arrangement with the Gyawun.com