Duo’s drive for success

BUILDING a brand that is recognisable is part of a battle. Creating something that stands the test of time is another task. The skills to sustain an entrepreneurial dream requires in-depth knowledge of the business and an understanding of the mechanics from an insider’s point of view.

These were the skills Benedikt Bjarnason, who hails from Reykjavik, Iceland, unintentionally found himself acquiring after he was stranded in Kuala Lumpur when the airplane he was on broke down.

Bjarnason says that in 1999, he was working at an airline and flew all over the world. On one of his trips, the airplane he was on broke down in KL.

He explains that while waiting to board his plane, he looked for a place to study and expand his knowledge.

He found himself sifting through a study guide and came across the wide range of courses offered by IACT College. He applied to study the Diploma in Advertising and Marketing in 2000 and the rest is history.

Bjarnason is the co-founder and chief executive officer of a telecommunication company in Iceland known as Global Call.

Bjarnason places much of his success down to the practical nature of the marketing course he undertook in IACT College.

Noting the usefulness of the programmes as well as the industrytaught and driven nature of the courses, Bjarnason, who now has an MBA to his name from New Zealand, adds that the skills and knowledge he acquired while at the college allowed him to better package his products as he was guided by professionals from the industry.

It did not take long for Bjarnason to feel at home in Malaysia as his close friend and successful entrepreneur from IACT, Roen Cian, helped him acclimatise.

The man behind premium brands The Roof, LifeJuice and The New Camp, Roen Cian is another IACT College alumnus making waves in the industry.

“All the businesses I run is driven by passion. I enjoy seeing people have a good time at a party and I get to play a part in making it happen. That is why I run restaurants and bars,” says Cian.

He adds that his love for football and a healthy diet led to him creating The New Camp, a football and fitness centre, as well as LifeJuice – Malaysia’s first fresh juice franchise that uses the cold-press method.

Cian is the director of the group that owns all these businesses. It is not hard to identify the distinctiveness of each business that Cian runs to other businesses.

Each is well-positioned, branded and intelligently marketed to make an immediate impression on its target audience’s mind.

Cian credits his success to the creative and critical mind he garnered in his earlier days, which was further sharpened when he pursued his Diploma in Mass Communication in IACT College, the creative communication specialist college.

“What I loved about my time at IACT College was that it was a close-knit community. I had very passionate lecturers who were not there for the money but for the passion and interest in the industry,” he says.

When asked if he has any advice for people who want to start a business, Cian shares, “Get an original and creative idea, then embrace it and believe in it to the core of your bone.”

This article was published on The Star Newspaper on 21 March 2017

Ben and Roen

IACT College alumni and entrepreneurs, Benedikt Bjarnason (left) and Roen Cian, branded their businesses to succeed locally and internationally.