The Business chats to Hussain Bayoomi, regional managing director for Newsquest Wales, Hereford and Taunton about engaging with customers, moving the South Wales Argus office into the city centre and why Gwent is such a great place to be an MD...

The Business: How did you get into your current position?
Hussain Bayoomi:
I have been working in media for nearly 30 years, the majority of that time spent working for Trinity Mirror now Reach PLC. I started as aa apprentice and have literally done every job imaginable – sales, sales training and marketing. 

TB: Has being based in Newport changed your views of the area?
Until Friars Walk, Newport in my opinion was similar to many towns in Wales. It didn’t feel like a city, although gaining city status in 2002, and I felt it was in the shadows of Cardiff and Bristol. 
Fast forward, we have Friars Walk, a better infrastructure, a great arts centre an award-winning university campus, a city on the verge of great economic growth, and with that, success. 
There are incredible people working hard on behalf of the city – a good example was the re-naming of the velodrome as the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales, capitalising on a Welsh cyclist who’d trained there wining the Tour de France and all the great publicity associated with it.
Newport has a way to go but with the strong leadership, passion and the enthusiasm of the city council and its leader, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, I am truly excited with its future. This is now the time to shout about all the great things happening in this great city, especially now the bridge tolls have been abolished. 
To underpin, and support the above the team at the South Wales Argus have been working hard at engaging with the communities we serve, showcasing and raising awareness of the key pillars of our community.
We’ve launched numerous campaigns to support our unsung heroes. These include our Pride of Gwent Awards, our Health and Care Awards and our School and Education Awards.
Last year we held the first South Wales Argus Business Awards to help showcase the fantastic businesses in Gwent and we had more than 200 entries! These awards, along with a our business magazine, and regular bi-monthly networking event, help us stay in touch with those working so hard in businesses around the area. 
We launched the business awards and this magazine as a result of the enthusiasm from the business community, as well as capitalising on the skills, experience and contacts of the business editor, Jo Barnes. Commercially, the 2019 awards have already sold out, and we are delighted to say that we’ve already re-booked the venue of the Newport Centre after such a successful event last September right in the heart of the city.
We feel a responsibility to shout about, showcase, and reward all the great things that happen in our area, along with the people who live and work here. 

TB: Tell us a bit about Localiq and how businesses should be getting involved?
We live in a world where we are bombarded with news content, advertising and data capture.
The South Wales Argus is definitely at the heart of our community. However, we have to be at the heart of the business community, and that is where LOCALiQ comes in.  
It’s our recently launched B2B brand which accelerates our push into digital marketing services. It represents the company’s full range of advertising and marketing solutions, from print and digital advertising to fully bespoke digital marketing campaigns, SEO services, lead management and website build. 
LOCALiQ combines the best-in-class digital marketing tech platform with the huge audience reach of Newsquest’s local news brands. 
We have invested heavily not just in tech but in our people and we now employ four digital marketing consultants along with a head of digital marketing services, Iestyn Page, who between them have more than 30 years collective experience. 

TB: What other initiatives is the business putting in place to engage more with the local business community and our readers?
In terms of other initiatives, we will continue to develop our magazine portfolio, extending our Living brand, as well as launching four new coffee-table type magazines, targeting Penarth, Cyncoed, Lisvane and Old St Mellons. 

TB: The are rumours that the Argus will be moving into the city centre at some point – is there any update on that? If the business does move, how will that show support to the city?
The South Wales Argus needs to be back in the city centre, working hand in hand with local businesses to promote the city. We already work closely with Newport Now Business Improvement District, Friars Walk and the Kingsway Centre. When it happens, it will be great for all us to be at the heart of things and easily accessible for our readers to come and see us. 

TB: You ran a #backingnewport campaign – how did it go and will that be happening again?
The #backingnewport campaign was the beginning of our push to promote the city. We learnt a lot from it, such as the importance of staying relevant socially, along with how valuable our content is. Our awards portfolio is an extension of the campaign. However, I am bowled over how diverse Newport is and for me how welcoming it’s been, so I definitely see something happening around that celebrating diversity. 

TB: What do you enjoy about being MD of a business in Gwent?
This is an easy one. For me it’s definitely about our people, as well as our customers. We have an incredible team and seeing their confidence grow, along with their aspiration, makes it all worthwhile. Commercially, it’s also about doing business, and engaging with businesses throughout the region. 

TB: How do you see the future of newspapers?
We will continue to evolve and grow our audience digitally, with the appointment of two Facebook journalists this will extend to our social platforms. 
   The South Wales Argus will continue to serve Gwent, delivering content the way our readers want to consume it, its brand will continue to develop through events, campaigning, and through key strategic partnering. 

TB: What’s the best bit about being MD of the Argus?
It’s definitely a privilege to look after such a historic brand. I am careful to listen to our editor, and readers, as to how we develop. For me extending our brand and entering into new markets is the exciting part of the role, working with our journalists and commercial teams to identify opportunities and to deliver ROI to our partners. 

TB: Best piece of advice?
It takes as much energy and effort to think small as it does to think big. My motto is ‘Think big’!