Born: Beirut, Lebanon; Nationalities: Czech & Lebanese
Worked in: Dubai, Kuwait
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? For my development role within a Middle East-based media agency, innovation is the catalyst that fuels our corporate success. This viewpoint has resulted in a tremendous number of new multinational, regional and local account wins in the past two years. Certainly in the agency world, new business is viewed as a key driver in achieving market leadership, as are revenues and awards. Starcom MediaVest Group, Dubai has done well in all three areas. To date in 2007, we participated in 24 new business pitches, and won 23 — creating a tremendously diversified client portfolio. Our billings are at an all-time high, and our work appeared on two shortlists at Cannes this year — the only entries from the Middle East to qualify at that level of international competition.
We recognized that we needed an innovative approach to marketing our own agency brand in the region. One of our best assets included a reputation for provocative thinking, so to portray that as a leadership strength we presented a series of “StarSight” Creative Learning Programs. Their goal is to enable a marketing-based audience to seek inspirations from people of different walks of life for a deeper understanding of the Arab stereotype or how local Arab consumers wish to be perceived. Our presentation of “Look Beyond the Veil” was particularly provocative.
Any final thoughts on innovation? At an agency level, innovation cannot happen without the interaction and competence of so many spirited teams within the company. The dedication of people and their passion continue to be any agency’s greatest asset and the drive behind innovative thinking.