Search

Listening to stories

especially digital success stories

Digital Success Stories – An Audition

Dear Team Chalhoub and the World At Large,

JW – looking pensive on train to Manchester

This is my open letter, declaring online that I’m ready, able and hungry to join your exciting team that is built for purpose, SHIFT. Built to drive change. Yes, this is part of my job application, and I’d like to share it with you and get your feedback.

I’ve had three face-to-face interviews now, where we have talked tech, experience and measured appropriateness for the Digital Business Manager role in the SHIFT Chalhoub team in Dubai. Then came the email from Alex, in Group HR, asking for me to audition to be part of this Chalhoub business transformation. The email read:

We would like you to send us a Digital Audition through any digital medium of your choice. We would like this to be as flexible and convenient for you to complete as possible and some of the key things we are looking for from you are:

– An introduction to yourself
– What are you passionate about?
– How do you think you can impact our culture?
– What keeps you up at night
– What does transformation mean to you? How do you envisage it?

Continue reading “Digital Success Stories – An Audition”

Advertisements

The Marketing Society Middle East: Dubai’s growing buzz

MarSocLogoThe collection of senior marketers at each Marketing Society Dubai event grows more diverse, interesting and whatsmore, engaged each month.

On this occasion, two years since our launch, on arrival there were senior marketing execs from Dubai Airports, Emirates NBD, The Entertainer, IBM, Majid Al Futtaim, MBC, Unilever sprinkled with a handful of senior agency and consulting folks.

Each event gets busier and with a bigger buzz.Welch_CalvinHart_3

And that’s why we keep coming.

The conversations amongst this growing community before the main attraction are often as meaningful as anything said on stage.

Regular marketing community interaction, beyond big festivals, is rare in this part of the world. It’s becoming vital to catch up on unfinished conversations from the last time; great to build upon growing friendships; a delight to share ideas, opportunities and general chit-chat.

Then we remember that it’s the food for thought that counts the most, in theory. 

So when Calvin Hart, the fabulous storyteller, gets on stage with an attitude of clear ambition and wealth of experience to colour the framework set by his agency story, we sit, learn and think that we should have more people like him in our own teams. Continue reading “The Marketing Society Middle East: Dubai’s growing buzz”

#OnTheCouchWith: Ash Banerjee, The Man Who Warned Against Data Ethics & Governance Breach

Ash_welch

In early 2017, when we sat down to discuss the format, the purpose and the opportunity of the #OnTheCouchWith series, we didn’t anticipate the foresight inherent in all the people we were yet to meet on the couch.

We created many episodes and not all have made it to light as yet. Other projects do get in the way of “house” projects like these. For example the 140-episode series that we undertook for Emirates Group’s ‘Be There’ campaign which has enjoyed over 150 million views. Across this project and all others, we work with clients to produce a series of ‘wow’ moments that can lead to transformation.

And here’s a new ‘wow’ moment: now is the time to bring Ash Banerjee’s insights to light. The Managing Partner of Lighthouse was setting up his consultancy around the time of filming about a year ago, and you’ll hear him speak about the dangers of unmoderated algorithms and data. The present-day focus on the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook debacle makes his prescient observations extremely relevant.

In Episode 54, Ash talks about how data can help build amazing customer experiences, citing Disney’s Magic Band as an example.

In Episode 55, he expands on how using data appropriately is quite critical to informing and building excellent customer experiences.

In Episode 56, he says big platforms such as Google and Facebook need to be careful. “Algorithms are machines and machines don’t have morals,” says the man who can see around corners, as he stresses the importance of data ethics and data governance.

#braveleaders in the Middle East

The Marketing Society Middle East is the fastest growing element of the MarSoc world (London, Edinburgh, New York, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong). So it’s a delight to put on our first conference in an excellent venue, the Vox Cinema in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, The Brave Conference. #braveleaders.

BraveDubai_Nov2017.001
#braveleaders in the audience as well as on the stage

Recurring themes underpinned the excellent and unique presenters. Unique in their storytelling and unique in their outlook. All demonstrating different themes of bravery. Let’s look at some of these themes.

Honesty and relevance are key to bravery. Ros Atkins, presenter, Outside Source, BBC World News and BBC World Service, gave an honest story of passion, preparation and purpose. Which turned out to be the three Ps of #braveleaders in business as a whole and marketing in particular.

Accessibility and going against perceived & received wisdom are key to bravery. Asad Rehman, Chair of the Marketing Society Middle East and Director Media, North Africa and Middle East, Unilever, Continue reading “#braveleaders in the Middle East”

Transparency is a murky word (Radio Interview)

 

DIGITALORCHESTRA_TRANSPARENCY
Picture credit: Murky Fish by Joybot, Hong Kong Wetland Park

 

When you know you’ve got only a seven minute slot on the radio as the advertising industry insider one weekday evening, 610pm, do you plan what you’re going to say. Of course you do. And better, if you’ve got a chance you can prep the presenters as to what you think they will find interesting to talk about.

Here’s how it went recently. Forgive me if it’s a bit glib. But it’s not for an industry audience, it’s for the mass audience of Dubai commuters driving home.

We talk about disruption, personally identifiable information, relevant advertising, dynamic creative optimisation, industry collaboration, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), bang for your buck, consumers are key let’s not forget that… and finally “transparency is a very murky word”.

Recorded in Feb 2017 on the Tim Elliott and Alex Hirschi Drive Live Show on DubaiEye1038.com

 

 

#OnTheCouchWith… Augmented Humanity

onthecouchwith_episodeone-001-jpeg-001-jpeg-001[This is taken from the research project, TheFuture:Exposed (aka #onthecouchwith) which was kicked off by interviewing thought leaders in Dubai. This research will continue, on stage, at Dubai Lynx, the festival of creativity, on Sunday 5th March, 2pm, with two inspiring thought leaders, PK Gulati and Philippe Blanchard. Hope to see you in the audience!]

EPISODE ONE

https://youtu.be/_bn4GmIQ9co

In today’s world we’re all having to learn how to cope with the pace of change and how to respond. The pace of change is something that – as consumers – we adopt without blinking but as businesses, we get stuck with the legacy of yesteryear.

This is why adaptation is key and one of the fastest ways to grow is to understand the psychology of people and trends across this distinct and exciting region.

The region is exciting but without a sense of purpose it’s easy to drift rather than drive. The only way to drive in the right direction is to find a meaning to what you do. And then to fight for a way forward, fight until you win; fight like a gladiator. Continue reading “#OnTheCouchWith… Augmented Humanity”

BRING ON BLOCKCHAIN

 

[NB #nextmoneydxb events are regular. Sign up here, today: www.nextmoneydxb.com]

The problem with blockchain is that same problem that all today’s technologies face. Most people seem to be focused on the technology and not the benefits. The result: the man on the street might feel that blockchain isn’t of interest. But within a few years, blockchain will underpin all sorts of industries. This was a recurring theme during the last “FINTECH Hangout”, a collaboration between Next Money DXB and Emirates NBD.

blockchain
A full house at Dubai Future Accelerators for the NextMoneyDXB event, Bring On Blockchain

Blockchain is still in its infancy. One day, Zahir Khoja of MasterCard, the moderator for this first “FINTECH Hangout”, assured us, no one will Continue reading “BRING ON BLOCKCHAIN”

An anthropological study, #ONTHECOUCHWITH …

onthecouchwith_02An anthropological study of change agents in the Dubai business community.

Stepping down from the dais after being on “the breakfast panel” at the Siegle+Gale “future of branding” event a couple of months ago, I started chatting with one of the audience who had asked a specific question about the future of video branding. You could tell this Frenchman was a creative, he looked the part and his passion was evident from the outset.

This was my introduction to Gilles G Vidal, the creative director and co-founder of WOW Agency, the video content strategy team. I told him about my upcoming initiative to film business leaders with my smart phone in Dubai asking them a few questions about the future. He looked serious all of a sudden and asked simply, “Why don’t we do it properly?” And he proceeded to tell me about his upcoming work to “interview people in unusual situations, to find something more deep, based upon their own personal vision, experience, less corporate and business…but more on a human way.” And so it came to be.

With thanks to amazing art sales houses, La Galerie Nationale and Ikonhouse, Alserkal Avenue (Dubai), the first “On The Couch With” series has now been filmed; the business leaders all took a deep breath and looked into the deep recess of their minds for answers. Many were uncomfortable at the outset – lying down on a luxurious sofa in one of the art galleries – but many didn’t want to leave when their time was up, as if their session had hardly begun.

My original plan has transformed, from something of a survey trying to capture the zeitgeist; we now have captured the zeitgeist through a creatively deep, anthropological study. That sounds grand for just twenty five interviews, but it’s the start of something much bigger.

The first part of this anthropological study – to be released over coming weeks in partnership with The Arabian Marketer – examines what makes people tick and what they can see that others might have missed.

Well, to save you the suspense – and in an attempt to whet your appetite – I’ll let you know what we’ve found. Every single one of the interviewees has a burning passion, a sense of purpose and is charming. It’s the middle attribute that makes the real difference. There are plenty of passionate and charming people. But without a clear sense of purpose those passionate people are lost – or just salesmen with a target to meet.

The similarity across the interviewees may be because our anthropological study is flawed: the sample is biased. We have invited people we’ve met already, who we think are interesting and who we thought – from the outside – are driving change right now within their businesses. There’s nothing random about this sample. These people are cherry picked.

Everyone was amused by the notion of work-life balance, echoing a sentiment along the lines of ‘if you don’t like your job, if you’re watching the clock, you’re in the wrong job’. Apart from two interviewees who were fiercely pro a division – or balance if you prefer – of work and non-work. And they promote this division actively across their business teams – and use this as a recruitment and staff retention tool.

All the interviewees were prepared for the dark times ahead as business gets tough. They were not teflon-coated in their approach, but humble insofar as they will freely admit that trial and error has been an important part of their growth to date.

But apart from this there was nothing in common with the interviewees as we discussed themes including self-motivation, the tough business climate, foundations for optimism, attracting talent in this region, what is around the corner – yes they can all see round corners, apparently – and their advice for “the future generation”. They were all very individual, to be frank. And that’s what makes this an interesting study.

Please follow twitter.com/onthecouch_with for upcoming soundbites and video episodes.

This article was first published in The Arabian Marketer, January 2017.

james-welch-column

Article by James Welch, Chief Timpanist, ORCHESTRA MIDDLE EAST

The creative concept is an original idea by Gilles G Vidal, WOW Agency, Dubai

With thanks to La Galerie Nationale and Ikonhouse, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, UAE.

Great Balls Of Fire … On The Radio

It was late in the afternoon and I could feel that it was going to be a long night ahead at the computer… and then I started to flick through my Linkedin and Facebook feeds. Damn.

I became engrossed with a theme across several posts instead of writing that big presentation. It was all those posts about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 spontaneously combusting again.

galaxynote7
Photo thanks to @aaronhsl, driving past the big hoarding on Sheikh Zayed Road, (SZR), Dubai. “Gotta be coming down from SZR soon right? It’s not smoking yet at least.”

Then my phone rang. I felt I should ignore a number I didn’t know because there was so much work to be done. But I answered, and a super-familiar voice said, “Hi James, it’s Vasti.” I knew straightaway why she sounds like a friend: she’s on that radio show. “Would you be available to come on the show again tomorrow morning and talk about…” Yes, the Samsung brand debacle.

So I did. Have a listen, it’s just ten minutes.

Continue reading “Great Balls Of Fire … On The Radio”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑