MediavataarMe News Desk
The sixth instalment of the Digital Media Forum (DMF) and the fourth edition of MENA Digital Awards (MDA), the first event of its kind in the region, has drawn to a successful close today. The event welcomed the region’s biggest gathering of digital influencers, leaders and entrepreneurs to Dubai, from across the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region and beyond. Gathering at the The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Serdaal Ballroom, attendees discussed the past present and future of the digital world under the theme of ‘Digital Transformation - Own It’.
The event featured a busy agenda that was expertly led by top keynote speakers via a wide range of workshops, panel discussions and high-profile interviews spanning Media and Performance, and Creative and Tech. Serving as a networking and discussion platform, DMF saw attendees exchanging views with some of the world’s foremost digital and tech advocates before attending MDA – a bespoke awards show that is the first of its kind to honour digital efforts in the region.
Najla Semaan Mazboudi, CEO of SpotOn Media Services and Events, and Founder of DMF and MDA, kicked off the event with an opening speech, which was followed by an interview hosted by Houda Koussa, Founder and Managing Director of Archers Brand and Research Cosultancy, with Filip Jabbour, CEO of GroupM MENA. Mathieu Yarak, Data Science Manager of the Data Team at Marketing Department Data Team at Choueiri Group, then presented the first keynote speech – ‘Understanding Saudi Credit Card Ownership and Purchase Journey’ – before Joud Nawar, Research Director at IPSOS MENA, took to the stage to give attendees a bird’s-eye view of the MENA’s digital landscape. His comprehensive speech explored the latest consumer trends, the growth of the digital sector, the increasing competition between video platforms, and the impact of mobile devices and deepening internet penetration on businesses.
The first dynamic panel discussion of the day saw five experts from some of the region’s foremost organisations sharing their views on how traditional business are evolving in the digital era. Expounding the philosophy ‘Evolve or Die’ were panellists Mai Cheblak, Associate Vice President of Group Media and Social at Emirates NBD; Nour Almasri, Digital Marketing and Media Director for Sayidaty & Aljamila Magazines at the Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC); Rami Zahran, Head of Digital at Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi; Ahmed Qandil, Digital Products Manager for MBC Group and Guido Mercati, who acted as moderator and is from Leo Burnett MENA – a global leader in digital transformation and content marketing.
Other panel discussions featured during the event’s programme included ‘The Rise of Influencer Marketing’ and ‘How to Plan, Execute and Win in the Micro-Moments Era’, which was overseen by moderator Alexandra Tohme, Head of Strategy at Eight Creative Technology, and conducted by panellists Ben Christensen, CEO of Empefire, Norway; Jonathan Lacoste, President at Jebbit, USA; and Karl Escritt, Creative Director at Like Digital, UK.
The agenda also offered deep dives into social media developments, with speeches including ‘Twitter: Harnessing Live and Real-Time Storytelling’ by Meghan Doyle of Twitter MENA, and ‘5 Trends for 2017 (and what we can do about it)’ from Ian Manning of Facebook MENA, North Africa and Pakistan.
Meghan Doyle commented: “Marketers can target Twitter's audience with precision through a number of innovative tools, including premium sponsorships and timely distribution to new and relevant audiences. For example, advertisers can now associate their promotional efforts with premium content by collaborating with content partners through short ad placements within a live stream. Moreover, we have recently witnessed a strong advertiser demand across both video and our live streaming ad formats, through recently launched offerings such as live 360 video that allows for more immersive and engaging brand experiences.”
Taking another slant on the sector, the increasingly vital role of digital media in public relations and brand positioning was highlighted during speeches on ‘Digital PR’ from Ross Bethell, Strategic Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations; ‘Moments that Matter’ by CEO of Empefire Ben Christensen; and ‘Digital User Experience’ from Jordi Guix, Global Insights & Analytics Director at Havas Media Group, Spain.
Jordi Guix commented: “The web has transformed into a social and mobile-first territory, with companies like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon growing into media ecosystems that structure the entire consumer journey. In this context, content has become the essential gateway to access and build audiences, and user-driven design has become instrumental in making this content visible and engaging. As a result, the presentation of content has arguably become just as important as the content itself, as it represents the frontend of the consumer experience and guides the entire consumer journey. Content is no longer king - context-driven consumer frameworks are!”
The day drew to a close with a final speech from Rohin Thampi, Regional Director at Zomato Middle East and Africa, on the evolving influence of digital media on the F&B industry, and a networking session where attendees were encouraged to meet and exchange opinions on the topics discussed.
Mazboudi commented, “The digital sector is one of the world’s fastest growing and changing industries, and the programme for DMF 2017 reflected this by offering attendees key insights into the shifting landscape that we operate within. The theme of the event – ‘Digital Transformation - Own It’ aimed to make attendees the masters of this change, put them in the driving seat of innovation and transformation, and encourage them to #bethechange. DMF 2017 has achieved this, with a spectacular turnout of some of the best media-minds in the digital and creative industries, who have equipped attendees with insider knowledge of which digital powers are currently changing the media landscape, and what it takes to make an impact in this dynamic industry.”
Sony Middle East and Africa (MEA) has unveiled a new business strategy that aims to increase its regional presence and grow business by 20 per cent in 2017.
Driving Sony MEA’s strategy, new managing director Taro Kimura will achieve this vision through new product launches and a refreshed business development strategy that will place the company and its business partners in a strong position to gain market share in the company’s focus categories, which are television, digital imaging and audio products. Sony MEA is looking to grow television sales by 26 per cent, audio product sales by 11 per cent and achieve a 52 per cent sales growth in its interchangeable lens camera business in 2017.
“To achieve our ambitious plans, we are re-engineering our operations and evolving strategies based on data and facts. We are aligning priorities, KPIs, processes and in-market execution plans both within Sony and in our business partner establishments in the region. Our aim is to present a powerful united front in the retail space. This will enable us to offer our customers the best experiences with our innovative products and encourage them to appreciate their unique value,” said Kimura.
Leading change in the television category will be Sony’s first BRAVIA OLED TV A1 Series, scheduled to launch in the Middle East in July 2017. Previewed at the CES earlier this year and generating rave reviews, the BRAVIA OLED A1 series offers a totally new visual experience. A combination of superior picture quality, achieved with the company’s proprietary 4K HDR Processor X1™ Extreme; revolutionary sound that emanates directly from the screen itself - a feat made possible by Sony’s newly developed Acoustic Surface™ technology and a streamlined, stylishly minimalistic “One Slate Design Concept” make it a technological marvel.
“Television is our key driver for business growth and our product strategy of best picture quality, design and usability remains unchanged,” said Kimura. “The BRAVIA OLED A1 Series will be a new addition to an array of best in class televisions that will expand from 23 models in 2016 to 37 models in 2017, offering customers a wider choice,” he added.
The ambitious growth expectations in the interchangeable lens camera are spurred by the overwhelming acceptance of the company’s flagship Alpha 7 series by photography and videography professionals.
“Sony is the market leader in Digital camera and our interchangeable lens Alpha 7, Alpha 6000 cameras and fixed lens RX100 cameras have won several industry awards. They have also been well received by photography enthusiasts around the world and are continuing to gain wider recognition and popularity,” said Kimura.
He added, “The strength of Sony is that we develop all key camera components in-house. Sony is the world’s largest Image Sensor supplier. In order to achieve highest resolution, highest sensitivity, fastest speed and most reliable image stabilization, we continuously develop ever-more advanced image sensors, image processors, lenses and software algorithms. Sony today offers a selection of 24 lenses all of which are High Resolution compatible. No other camera manufacturer offers such an extensive range of high resolution lenses since legacy lenses are not high resolution and future compatible.”
Headphones, wireless speakers and sound bars will be the main contributors to business growth in the audio category. “The launch of the MDR-1000X industry-leading noise-cancelling headphones was a breakthrough for Sony, and we expect sales of this product alone to increase 5 fold in 2017,” said Kimura. “Supplementing the MDR-1000X will be the widest range of headphones and earphones that will meet all the types of usage such as in-ear, overhead, microphone function, Bluetooth and noise-cancelling,” he added.
A seasoned consumer electronics professional, Kimura has a proven track record in corporate transformation and business turnaround across the GCC, Europe and Japan. With his vast global experience and local knowledge, Kimura has been driving Sony’s business in the region since he began his second stint with the company in August 2016.
Under his leadership, Sony MEA witnessed massive growth in sales in the television segment in 2016. The company grew the business by 174 per cent and hit 16 per cent market share in FY16 in the 55-inch TV size category. Sony MEA also experienced strong growth in the 65-inch TV size segment and grew by 112 per cent and hit 18 per cent market share, while the 75-inch TV size segment achieved 252 per cent growth with a market share of 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, in the audio segment, the soundbar category grew by 126 per cent while the high power audio one box series achieved 55 per cent growth. The headphone and earphone business has grown by 38 per cent, reinforcing the company’s positioning in sports, Bluetooth and noise cancelling space.
In the digital camera business, Sony’s mid-segment grew from 58 per cent in 2015 to 65 per cent in 2016.
92% of Top Public, 86% of Top Silicon Valley and 76% of Top Private Company CEOs Have Online Social Presence; CEO Engagement Rates Lower than 40% –
Research released today from global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick finds that the majority of leading U.S. public (92 percent) and private (76 percent) company CEOs, as well as the top CEOs in Silicon Valley (86 percent), are visible online in social media and on their company websites. Socialising Your CEO IV: The Engagement Factor is the latest installment in the Socialising Your CEO series, which started in 2010 as one of the earliest explorations of social CEOs.
“Due to the strong link between corporate reputation and CEO engagement, we are committed to better understanding how CEOs can adopt and leverage social media and other digital platforms to communicate, listen and respond,” said Andy Polansky, Chief Executive Officer, Weber Shandwick.
In its most recent report, Weber Shandwick researched the online activities of CEOs from the top public companies in the U.S. Fortune 500 rankings, Fortune’s Most Important Private Companies in the U.S. and Mercury News’ top companies in Silicon Valley. The audit investigated three levels of CEO activity: 1) Public CEO visibility on the company website or on social networks; 2) CEO posts from the past 12 months on the sites on which they are visible; 3) CEO engagement from the past 12 months. The report defines engagement as any open dialogue between the CEO and site visitor, such as responding to comments or joining in a discussion. For example, one CEO in our research frequently writes back to people who comment on his Facebook posts. This CEO even responded to a criticism about customer service and offered his email address to the customer to follow up on the issue.
“CEOs and other executives can amplify and deepen their company narratives by creating social content and sharing it online,” said Chris Perry, chief digital officer, Weber Shandwick. “More CEOs have made the leap to communicating online to help shape their brands digitally and personalize the company. However, we are now at a point where CEOs need to truly embrace social engagement and move it up the next notch.”
CEOs are Visible, But Not Consistently Engaging
For the first time since its inception, Socialising Your CEO examined CEO engagement in addition to online presence. While public, private and Silicon Valley company CEOs excel in online presence, they are not making more extensive use of their platforms. Fewer than four in 10 public and private company CEOs (38 percent each) have posted online within the past year. Silicon Valley CEOs have a slightly higher posting rate (41 percent), but not by much. Engagement levels are also low, with 22 percent of public company CEOs and 34 percent of private company CEOs interacting with other people online within the past year. Silicon Valley CEOs are the most engaging of the chief executives included in the audit (39 percent), just surpassing private company CEOs. It is noteworthy that when private and Silicon Valley company CEOs post, they typically engage.
“Engagement is the new presence when it comes to CEO sociability,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist, Weber Shandwick. “Distributing content online and engaging with stakeholders allows CEOs to humanise the conversation, demonstrate transparency and touchability, forge connections with stakeholders and to achieve the reputational advantage. Social engagement is more important than ever in this highly politicised climate and preparation is key.”
Other findings from Socialising Your CEO IV include:
The Company Website is Home Base for Public and Private CEO Visibility. The company website is the top destination for public and private company CEO visibility with 90 percent of public company CEOs and 66 percent of private company CEOs having a presence beyond just their name and standard biography page. Silicon Valley CEOs are also likely to have a company website presence (65 percent), though social networks are their top platform. One in 10 public (8 percent), private (10 percent) and Silicon Valley company CEOs (8 percent) have a “spotlight” page, or a centralised location of CEO messages, pictures, videos and speeches. One-third of public company CEOs (34 percent) have a presence on the careers page, a rate three times that of private (10 percent) and Silicon Valley company CEOs (10 percent).
“Incorporating the CEO into the careers page is an opportunity for companies to attract talent,” Perry said. “Previous Weber Shandwick research found that a CEO’s reputation affects candidates’ decisions to accept jobs. The talent wars are only going to heat up and promoting culture from the top could make a difference to job seekers.”
Silicon Valley CEOs Lead the Way in Social Network Presence. Social networks are the top platform for Silicon Valley CEO visibility (71 percent), far surpassing the social network presence of public (50 percent) and private company CEOs (59 percent). However, Silicon Valley CEOs do not lead their public and private peers in social network engagement to the same degree (39 percent vs. 22 percent and 34 percent, respectively).
Corporate Video is an Important Component of CEO Sociability. Silicon Valley CEOs also lead in video use, with 65 percent appearing in company video, either on the company website or company YouTube channel. More than half of public company CEOs (58 percent) appear in video, with private company CEOs (52 percent) not far behind. Public, private and Silicon Valley company CEOs are equally likely to appear in video on the company website (46 percent, 45 percent, and 43 percent respectively). Silicon Valley CEOs are most likely to be in a video on the company YouTube channel (47 percent), followed by public company CEOs (40 percent) and private company CEOs (31 percent).
Types of CEO videos found on the company YouTube channel vary. The audit surfaced videos such as repurposed clips of CEO speeches and TV interviews, one-on-one interviews and clips of the CEO speaking directly to the audience. Topics covered in CEO video include customer insights, company news, market predictions and industry outlook.
Eight Tips for CEO Social Engagement
Weber Shandwick recommends that companies consider the following digital and social media strategies for their chief executives to become more effective chief storytellers and strengthen their company reputations.
1. Get online if not already there.
2. Own real estate on the company careers page.
3. Aggregate and centralise CEO communications.
4. Take advantage of video.
5. Regularly author content and content publish.
6. Be more than just visible on social networks. Engage.
7. Establish an authentic voice.
8. Be mindful of risks.
New York Festivals International Advertising Awards® announced the formation of the inaugural Film Craft Executive Jury. For the first time in the history of NYF’s elite Executive Jury, a new Executive Jury panel exclusively devoted to judging Film Craft will assemble in New York City on April 8th during the week of the Executive Jury judging sessions.
The newly unveiled panel, comprised of 10 of the most respected film industry experts, will be chaired by the award-winning innovative creative and technical special effects influencer, Angus Kneale, Chief Creative Officer of The Mill.
“The announcement of NYF’s Film Craft Executive Jury, and the appointment of a Jury Chairman the caliber of Angus Kneale, insures that entries into the Film Craft competition will be evaluated according to the quality of the execution and based on the discerning standards of some of the most creative, technically advanced, and award-winning filmmakers that the industry has to offer,” said Michael Demetriades, Executive Director of New York Festivals. “NYF’s juries have been attracting the best creative minds worldwide, we are proud to announce the Film Craft Jury will offer the same for the Production Community. This esteemed jury will come together to curate a body of film work that is representative of unparalleled creativity and worthy of being called the World’s Best Advertising.”
Angus Kneale, Chief Creative Officer, The Mill said, “The celebration of craft, creativity and innovation within our industry is so important. New York is a real hub of creativity within the advertising industry, and as a New Yorker for over 15 years now, I'm excited to be partnering with the team of judges at the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards to champion award winning film-makers across the globe.”
Angus Kneale brings both creativity and leadership skills to his role as Jury Chairman, with over 3 decades of extraordinary effects-intense experience, working on high-end projects for international brands. Angus is particularly active in pushing the boundaries of emerging technology, innovation and creativity. He is one of the chief architects of the revolutionary Mill BLACKBIRD®, the world’s first virtual car. He is also one of the pioneering forces in the development of Mill Cyclops™, The Mill’s next generation proprietary virtual production toolkit.
Angus helped launch The Mill New York in 2002, and is part of The Mill's Group Executive Board helping set creative strategy for the entire business He has been awarded a wide range of accolades, including VES awards, gold Cannes Lions for both creativity and innovation and multiple D&AD awards. Having overseen many of The Mill’s most highly acclaimed projects, Angus’s leadership has helped propel the Mill to be one of the most awarded and admired studios in the world.
Angus Kneale will convene the Film Craft Executive Jury this April during the 7th annual Executive Jury judging sessions taking place in New York City. This jury of creative global minds dedicated to the quality and aesthetics of the film making process will review all shortlisted Film Craft entries selected by NYF’s online Grand Jury.
The 2017 New York Show℠ creative panel sessions and networking events will take place on Thursday May 18th at the NYIT Auditorium, 1871 Broadway, between 61st & 62nd Street. The annual New York Show awards ceremony and gala will be held that evening at the world-class performance space, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street, New York City.
Committed to assist the large and growing merchant community at every step in their growth in this ever growing e-commerce ecosystem
C1X (Class One Exchange), an independent Advertising and Marketing Technology (AMT) leader has tied hands with two very competent; Dubai and South Africa based ecommerce marketplaces Letstango.com and Zasttra.com, to help them find difficult-to-source audiences directly and transparently.
C1X’s platform called the SOKA helps merchants promote products using native and customised advertisements on its platform- the seller bidding platform to advertise, execute and manage product campaigns. It can immensely boost visibility of products and maximise product views, helping vendors increase their business.
Commenting on the partnership, Pawan Setpal, VP & Head of Business Middle East & Africa said, “We’re extremely pleased to partner with LetsTango and Zasttra to launch SOKA, C1X MarTech offering specifically designed for e-commerce platforms, in Dubai/SA. Ancillary revenue makes up a significant amount of revenue for marketplaces globally, directly impacting their bottom line. SOKA not only helps create ancillary revenue but also helps create a more robust marketplace. In LetsTango/Zasttra we've found a partner that understands the value of creating a holistic marketplace and we're very happy to supplement their existing efforts that'll enable both our companies to grow. With thousands of data touch points, we not only equip platforms and merchants to visualise their inventory capacity, GMV, campaign stats, etc. but also help generate key business insights that allow them to make smarter more informed decisions around their business.”
Expressing his views on the association, Ahmad Naser – GM, Letstango.com - Dubai, UAE said, “C1X is a great platform to leverage native advertisements, we are looking forward a win-win situation for both our sellers and customers. C1X can help Letstango sellers to promote their products in few clicks with a small budget; it can help us to improve the seller engagement & sales on our platform. C1X ad solution can help the Letstango seller to enter the most prominent position in search, category or home page in few clicks.”
“We are looking forward to being able to offer retailers/merchants an alternative method of advertising and selling their products online. Instead of many methods of advertising (price comparison sites, search ads, and display ads), they will have a one stop place to advertise their products and sell while we take care of the digital marketing for the zasttra.com, making selling for online retailers easier and increasing their sales in our growing online store.” Stated Adewale Adejumo – CEO Zasttra.com - South Africa.
He further added “I think C1X has provided a solution to us as an online store, marketplace and an advertising channel. The solution provided by C1X is needed for any marketplace to see growth. I believe that any budget spent wisely on marketing will be recovered through the PPC solution offered by C1X on Zasttra.com. The main benefit is the ability to now compete with price comparison websites in South Africa.”
C1X SOKA, a data-driven digital advertising platform facilitates a friction-free marketplace. It has a solution for any marketplace websites like e-commerce, travel, listings or property sites to have additional source of revenue without actually putting developments effort on a SAAS (Software as a service) based model. SAAS being its unique proposition, it is native to the website and very easily integrates with the existing interface for partners/merchants, the websites have for running the marketplace.
This offer allows the partners/merchants a chance to showcase and up sell their offerings and get heard above the crowd. In general only TOP 10-15 percent of the merchants show up on the TOP, discouraging the others to put in effort to sell their merchandise on the platform. This platform gives other merchants an equal footing and also helps consumers, as these merchants using the platforms may have great offers. The platform helps the merchants, the website and the consumers to grow the overall pie. Also, the overall Business Intelligence C1X platform provides will help Product / Sourcing teams to take call on the categories to augment their ecosystem.
Founded in 2014, C1X is a funded global corporation, headquartered in the Silicon Valley, with offices in New York, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo, Mumbai, and New Delhi, and with development centers in San Jose, Chennai, and Bengaluru, find C1X online at www.c1exchange.com.
2017 Inside NYF’s Radio Awards with Rose Anderson
How have the New York Festivals International Radio Awards transformed since you’ve been at the helm?
Rose Anderson: Seven years ago, even the name was behind-the-times, and the categories were left over from the analog age. So, we canvassed industry leaders to join an Advisory Board and went to work. We had a new trophy designed: one that captures the magic of radio’s past while looking into its future. And the net result has been more entries from more countries – and an ever-increasing year by year superior level of quality in our submissions.
How do you keep NYF’s Radio Awards relevant and on trend with the evolving radio landscape?
Rose Anderson: First, we listen. We listen to our entrants. We ask them what keeps them up at night.
What is your future vision for NYF’s International Radio Awards?
Rose Anderson: So, more and better as we connect with everyone who is passionate about all aspects of audio.
What have been the greatest challenges while running the competition and what was your response that led you to success?
Rose Anderson: The greatest challenge is fairness. Who decides what program is better than another one? It all comes down to who is on the jury, and their depth of experience. What we do is invite the winners to join the next year’s jury…and this year, so far, the 2017 grand jury is made up of 35% women - all award-winning radio achievers – and every one with hands-on experience in creating what people are listing to today.
In your opinion, what are the most exciting categories that you have added to the competition in the past few years and why?
Rose Anderson: Let me list just a few – and you’ll see why these categories made everyone sit up and take notice. Heroes, Music documentary, Music podcast, PSAs, audiobooks, Best Live Sound, Sound Art, Best Innovation, Personal lives podcast, Best Music Program host, Best Interview, Travel & Tourism, Social Issues, Biographies, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Best Live News Special.
What is the ROI for entering the Radio Awards and why should someone considering entering this year?
Rose Anderson: It’s not for the glittering prizes – although our trophy is stunning. It’s not even for the international press coverage we give our winners or the cachet of being around for over thirty years. But when you stand at the podium at the awards gala, surrounded by your peers who know that radio is the universal language – well, if that isn’t return on investment, I don’t know what is.
Talk about the importance of the Grand Trophy Award and the qualities those programs earning this award possess.
Rose Anderson: Grands are the Best In Show, it’s a simple as that – the highest scoring entries in a very competitive field. Those programs have stood out in two rounds of judging – preliminary and medal rounds. They are often compelling in subject matter, ambitious in scope, and off the charts in degree of difficulty. In short, they flat out amaze.
How has technology changed radio entries and what is its impact on content?
Rose Anderson: The tools available today – in sound design, in layering, in transmission – have meant that today’s entries are made on a level of complexity that wasn’t possible in years past. What we have done in our judging platform, which is password protected by the way, is to upgrade the player so jury members all over the world hear programs at that quality – and they can enter that aural landscape easily.
What three characteristics would you say make for a successful Radio Award entry?
Rose Anderson: Storytelling. Passion. Innovation. After all, it is the theater of the mind.
Leading businesses in the UAE are planning to increase their digital investment by 25% year-on-year, according to a study by Omobono Middle East, the strategic, creative and technology agency for global business brands.
With a planned increase in digital investment, the study has also revealed that the UAE has realised the importance of digital, with 66% of respondents saying they are to increase their digital marketing budget over the next 12 months.
Speaking of the importance of the ‘What Works Where’ (WWW) study, Francesca Brosan, Co-Founder and Chairman of Omobono added, “Previous WWW results have proven that integrating digital communications within marketing programmes and the organisation in our data-driven, digitally led world, pays dividends – improving both effectiveness and efficiency for corporate brands. By combining sharp analysis of current digital activity in the UAE with deep understanding of global digital practice, we have produced a road map to help progressive businesses in the UAE to prosper with our innuagural #WWWUAE2017 study.”
Social Media Investment
Of that increased budget, 20% is to be invested in social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Indeed, LinkedIn is to be the biggest winner, with 97% of respondents set to allocate part of their B2B digital marketing budget to the business and employment-oriented social networking service. A further 88% are to allocate funds to Facebook and 69% to Twitter. YouTube is to receive increased investment from 56% of respondents.
LinkedIn is regarded as the most effective B2B channel for 43% of marketers, with Facebook allowing 40% of marketers to reach the widest possible audience.
While the majority of marketers expect to shift their spending priorities in 2017, the percentage to be invested in digital over the next 12 months is noticeably low compared with other markets such as the UK, where digital marketing budgets are to increase by 55% over the same period.
The commitment to digital progression is palpable but the research has also revealed that businesses lack the training to realise their ambitions, with several respondents commenting on the absence of suitable certified courses.
Changing Role of HR
In today’s integrated, multichannel commercial markets, HR is no longer merely the internal voice of the brand, but is rapidly becoming the representative voice of the company for external partners and audiences alike. The WWW 2016 (UK) study revealed that 75% of respondents agree HR’s digital practices contribute to the overall brand profile.
One striking finding from the research is that the employee channel is not yet being used as powerfully by businesses in the UAE as it is in other markets. Ensuring the organization is living the brand comes in as the lowest priority (at 19%) for marketers.
This is in stark contrast to our 2016 (UK) findings, where 28% of marketers surveyed saw increasing value in the channel. Nor are they particularly interested in using digital data to improve this situation. It is a current priority for only 1 in 6 respondents and only 3% identify motivating employees as a future priority.
This subtle shift in digital ownership – from marketing to HR - challenges traditional brand promotion and engagement, forcing many organisations to realise that a truly effective brand presence requires integrated conversations and marketing communications.
Digital cannot remain the responsibility of any single function, or team, but is a resource best involving and best utilised by all. It’s an issue spotted by 31% of respondents who identified aligning their activities with other departments in the organisation as one of their key challenges for the future.
The findings are part of Omobono’s globally renowned What Works Where (WWW) study which has been launched in the UAE for the first time this month.
The study, which was carried out in conjunction with Radius Global Market Research is the result of interviews conducted across 12 industry segments including Banking & Finance; Professional Services; Leisure; Transport; Consumer Electronics; Telecom and Automotive in the UAE. The study combines online, face-to-face and in-depth interviews and open-ended opinions from CMOs, marketing directors and digital marketing heads of leading companies within the UAE such as Du, Fujitsu and Noor Bank to name a few.
Speaking about the study, Hadley Newman, Managing Director at Omobono Middle East said, “ One of the key objectives of the study was to identify how UAE businesses are reaching, engaging and winning customers through digital communications; and understanding how marketers should be working with internal and external resources to drive competitive advantage.
Newman went on to add, “As with marketers the world over, the challenge is no longer about becoming an expert in all disciplines, but in how best to identify, bring together and manage the most qualified digital experts, resulting in teams ready to deliver proven excellence across the board. Something, which may lack immediacy right now, but that in our experience, will become central to the ambitions of any business within the UAE, especially those with further aspirations.”
An empirical look at the efficiency and effect of digital marketing in the business space, the annual WWW study has been produced for the past seven years across markets such as the UK, EU, USA, India and China, helping businesses bridge the gap between what is thought of as influential to what can be shown as truly persuasive within the digital marketing landscape.
MENA has a population of over 300 million and is one of the most digitally advanced markets in the world from a consumer standpoint. With 84% connectivity rate, the UAE alone has one of the highest rates of internet penetration in the world. According to Google, the MENA region has unique opportunities for e-commerce growth compared to the rest of the world. Charbel Sarkis, MENA Head of Retail, E-Commerce, Telcom and Technology at Google delivered the closing address at the annual Retail Leaders Circle MENA that took place in Dubai this week, on what retailers must do in order to succeed in the e-commerce space. He also announced Google’s plans to include product ads from various ecommerce retailers on their search homepage. The feature is currently under beta testing and is expected to improve online shopping experience once launched.
1.Price Strategically – your competitors are just a click away and in the e-commerce space where consumers have several choices, price is still king in their ultimate decision.
2.Experience – Delight the customer with an experience. Today’s consumers are picky and fickle, easily distracted and far too savvy. They demand more than they ever have before, and the market is such that they’re enabled to do so. They want more information, more options, and more flexibility, paired with better experiences, better prices, and better terms. They might like to visit you in-store one day, or online the next, and as the retailer, it’s your job to give them exactly what they want. You have to personalize their experiences and deliver targeted, contextualized offers. Whatever the consumer demands, you must deliver.
3.Speed up checkout process – If shoppers have committed to buying a product, your job is to get them through the checkout as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
4.Bilingual Content – It may seem obvious, but the importance of localising your website for the target language cannot be understated. Currently for the MENA, there is not enough content in Arabic on the internet.
5.Page Speed - "Patience is a virtue" does not apply to ecommerce. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. To keep a customer on your website long enough for them to make a purchase, you have to cater to their impatience – 53% of users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
6.Leverage your retail footprint – Physical stores is the principal channel available to shoppers to engage with a retailer’s brand. Retailers should strategize to maximize the in-store experience by leveraging their physical stores as places of transactions, branding tools and even as fulfilment centers.
7.Own the moments that matter – share your story. Retailers that go beyond selling a product and tell a story to establish a firm brand identity and to build a one-to-one relationship with their customers are more likely to thrive.
8.Drive Innovation – Finally, never stop evolving. Technology, trends and customer tastes will change, and so must you if you want to succeed in such a variable market.
Starting an online business is by no means an easy undertaking. If one wants to learn how to make money online while carrying out their full-time professional job, they need to have a good business idea as well as readily available tools to carry out their business seamlessly. A perfect part-time business would have to be very effortless to begin. It would also ideally require less investment of time and money and no very essentially no technical expertise. Another important factor would be that the business would be easy to maintain and demonstrate a high probability of success.
Here are some companies that help you pursue your online business ideas easily with the most returns:
Singapore based technology company Shopmatic, works by removing the complexities of setting up an ecommerce business. The company solves the e-Commerce mystery by bringing together all the aspects required of the e-Commerce ecosystem on a single platform and creates an ecosystem for millions of entrepreneurs to be an online seller. It handles challenges like managing selling channels, integrating payment and delivery systems.
Driving with Uber is a great way to earn extra cash on an individual’s personal schedule. The more one drives, the more they can earn. It's simple and perfect for those looking for a seasonal part time job opportunity. One can set their own hours, according to their convenience. Even a professional sales person, for example who travels a quite a bit for work can use Uber to enjoy a few hours to make extra cash by making trips.
The company has opened a new life chapter for working professionals by boosting their earning capacity. It has also allowed people to create additional employment, by making them feel like they are their own bosses, which emphasizes some level of independence. The people registered on the platform are a generation of new entrepreneurs who are use their extra hours to make money by putting their skills into action.
If one has a passion for cooking and experimenting with ingredients then they could use their handiness at Innerchef. The platform is home to several talented chefs who use their free time to get their food delivered to several households. The platform provides the individuals with all the necessary equipments and also their in-house kitchen to carry out their cooking tasks. There is no hassle of setting up an online platform to get the food delivered and the cooks are not required to manage the task of maintaining their own website.
Instagram today is not just a niche social networking platform anymore. Sharing photos and videos is what Instagram is all about and now one can use the platform to carry out their business for free of cost. One can showcase graphically amusing and inspiring stories about their business and brand through visuals and also list their products for sale on the platform.
Spontaneity, speed and a willingness to lead with intuition, are key to business success, according to a new book titled - Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future by Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Academic Director of the Deloitte Institute, London Business School, and Jonas Ridderstrale, a renowned business thinker and speaker.
The book contends that in the past big companies relied on the power of information to gain competitive advantage. These days, as access to big data becomes ubiquitous, it can no longer guarantee an extra edge over competitors. In this new era, successful companies are those that will make smart, intuitive decisions, rather than relying on computer generated analyses.
“We argue that the formulae for success that worked in prior decades, offer only very limited insights into what might work in the future. This is because the business context keeps changing: not in the banal sense that we face increasing levels of technological change and higher levels of competition; rather, in the more fundamental sense that every source of competitive advantage carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. This is a version of the famous ‘Icarus Paradox’: the attribute or capability that makes companies successful in one era makes them susceptible to failure in the next era,” the authors write in the foreword of the book.
Fast/Forward presents the big picture of a new approach to strategy and provides the necessary playbook to make companies fit for the future. According to the authors, what is needed is for companies to figure out how to make the rate of change inside at least as rapid as the rate of change outside.
“Fast needs no further explanation – it simply refers to the need for decisiveness and a strong action orientation across the organisation. Forward has two meanings – it is about a direction of travel that looks to the future rather than the past; it also hints at the need for leaders to make a stronger emotional connection to those around them, rather than allowing sterile, Big Data-driven decision-making to dominate their actions, reactions and responses. Fast/Forward companies, in a nutshell, are those that exhibit decisive action coupled with emotional conviction.”
Julian Birkinshaw has authored twelve books and his research and commentary have been featured in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and Bloomberg Businessweek. Jonas Ridderstrale’s diverse client list includes Fortune 500 companies, major government bodies, sports teams, and trade unions. A Visiting Professor at Ashridge Business School, he is the author of four books: Funky Business (2000), Karaoke Capitalism (2004), Funky Business Forever (2007), and Re-energizing the Corporation (2008).
“Fast/Forward does not fit neatly into the usual categories of business books. It is about strategy, but it is about organisation and leadership as well. The whole point of the book is that if you want to create a company that is fit for the future, you need to work across all these levels,” say the authors.