A Week in My Life: Saiful Islam, Director, Creed & Culture
Saiful Islam co-founded Creed & Culture with his business partner Omar Dacosta Shahid in May 2020.
The agency, which has offices in Manchester and London, connects brands with faith-based and cultural audiences - helping brands understand and value the impact of someone's background on the decisions they make. It uses digital and data-led strategies to deliver culturally appropriate stories through marketing.
Creed & Culture is founded on the belief that brand's can't afford to reflect the diversity and multiculturalism of today's world. Islam is also co-founder of M.I.N., the Muslim Influencer Network, and is on the Board of Directors for Mvslim, a digital publication for Millennial and Generation Z Muslims.
We found out how a recent week in his life looked.
My Monday actually starts earlier than most. Being a person of faith and a father of two under-twos, I’m always up at around 4:30am for my morning prayers and to spend some time with the girls before I head to the office.
When I get to the office, I grab myself a coffee - courtesy of our in-house barista - and then my workday begins. I'm a big fan of Brian Tracy’s “do difficult things first”, so I always prioritise the ‘difficult’ tasks and then review the most important goals of the week.
As we have a global team now, with members in Abu Dhabi, Canada and Brazil, Mondays begin with an all-team session where everyone assesses their wildly important goals, and projects forward for that week how we’ll achieve them.
We finish off the meeting with a ‘reminder’ - this is where a member of the team shares a reflection, a book, a quote or even generic learning they feel can benefit the wider team. It could be as simple as a reminder to stretch!
My afternoon consists of 1-to-1s with new team members to see how they’re settling in and if they require any support. The day ends with a weekly call with our Brand and Strategy Manager, Dana, who is based in Canada. We discuss proposals due for the week and creative briefs that have just come through.
Tuesday’s one of my favourite days of the week as it allows you to reflect on how Monday tries to dictate things!
For me, Tuesday becomes a day where I’m able to focus on those things, as well as book in client catch-ups and reviews.
During lunch, I find a quiet spot in the office to read my afternoon prayer. I find that having a moment to reflect in the middle of my day provides me with serenity and motivation to keep purpose as the focal point of our projects.
I finish off the work day with a training session on campaign delivery, booked with our Accounts Executive who will be joining the team soon! It’s crazy how the team is rapidly doubling in size in such a short space of time.
I end the day by getting ready for a game of football, organised by a group called AKG, that brings together people of different ethnicities and backgrounds to come together and play a beautiful game. It's a fantastic way to network and get to know people within my area. I’ve been attending for over four years now and it definitely is the highlight of my week!
Wednesday starts with a call with our UK team, sharing our progress throughout our week. It’s a time for the team to voice any queries or concerns about literally anything! It’s essentially an open floor space to discuss how we can work more efficiently and manage our time effectively.
We usually re-group with the global team in the afternoon for a business update. This is where we really assess our company practices and policies and realign to see if we are working towards where we want to go. During this meeting, we also spend a bit of time focusing on 'Better Outcomes' - looking inwards to see what we can improve for our clients, our team members and our culture.
Like all our catch-ups, the meeting ends with a reminder and reflection from a team member, to ensure everything we do is connected to the purpose of why we exist as a company.
At Creed & Culture, we really want our team members to grow as individuals and become more culturally aware of the world around us. We always use the business update sessions to have guest speakers from different backgrounds share their expertise and background, and these sessions have been really well received so far!
Since our main offices in the UK are based in Manchester and London, I often have to split myself between two cities. As the majority of our clients are based down South, I try to keep those meetings for the back-end of the week.
Thursday afternoon is a busy one! Not only do we manage content creators, we also create campaigns with some of the biggest brands in the world, like Primark, Anchor Butter and TfL.
Data has found that simply including people from different groups doesn't mean ads are more engaging than average, so a large part of our work with clients is to help them build meaningful and impactful interactions that positively impact the brand's ROI, to help them truly resonate.
We have a few calls with brands to discuss proposals and budgets; we then end the day by collating a report for one of our influencer campaigns. Reporting on the success of our campaigns is definitely one of the highlights of working in this field. Especially when working with charities, being able to report on the funds raised has always been one of my favourite parts.
Omar and I have dinner with a long-term client in central London and head back in time for the last train. Long train rides home are the best time to catch up on admin and get a headstart for next week.
The morning normally starts with our team 'Friday Funday activity'. It’s a bit of fun and games to build team spirit and compassion, as well as understanding the people we work with on a personal level. A great way to humanise what we’re doing and build better relationships.
Friday is the highlight of my week. It’s not because it’s almost the weekend, but the fact that it brings together so many cultures and is seen as the “start of the week” for people who practice the Islamic faith.
My Friday is dictated by a special prayer only read on Fridays, the Jummah prayer, which - unlike the other midday prayers - requires Muslim men to attend the mosque to be a part of a sermon delivered by the Imam.
It connects three core stages for me - my childhood and attending the Jummah prayer with my dad; to my present, reflecting and introspecting to see where I am; to thinking where the eventual destination we’re aiming for is. It’s a great reset and opportunity to consider what I stand for. I’m lucky enough to be able to spend those few hours every Friday at the mosque and allow other team members of the same faith to do the same.
I end the day by taking the girls out for a walk and spending time with the family. It's weeks like this that help me remember how far the business has come in just a year - the team is growing at such a fast pace and we're incredibly excited for what we have planned for the next year.