Category Archives: Opinion

Winning with heart.

The creative business is a people business – the business of connecting with people through ideas and solutions. It’s sometimes art and other times science. But we all agree that the best communications are those that touch the heart, tell interesting stories and get people to change their attitude or behaviour.

To do that well, we must be able to harness our own empathy and human understanding. Motivations are varied, and if we don’t open up to understand these motivations, we will be less successful in ‘winning with heart’.

At the same time, ‘winning people’s hearts’ requires us to embody and nurture the same values and characteristics (in ourselves, within our companies and relationships) that we are trying to inspire.

What do you do in your daily life that helps you (1) Understand better, and (2) Foster the values you try to achieve in your work?

I challenge you to think positively about the #EtisalatChallenge

The laws of physics demonstrate that “For every trend, there is an equal and opposite counter trend” and I am a firm believer in this principle. There never is an absolute truth, rather there are a series of forces that shape our lives and we each choose what suits us – there is no black and white, but a series of grey.

And so it is with the #etisalatchallenge. For years people have been complaining that the Telco “doesn’t listen” “is old fashioned” and “doesn’t reach out to the community” – and then finally when it does, it gets bagged out on social media.

I know there are only 2 Telco’s in the UAE but that is precisely why the #etisalatchallenge is so bold – because rather than rest on their laurels, Etisalat is trying to show the market that they are serious about offering best in market products and services. And if you check out their web site, they do have offers that are first in market and quite useful for some.

What this campaign has done is create a conversation around Etisalat – it invites people to be part of the conversation either through the #etisalatchallenge or via opinions about the campaign – and that’s what every brand wishes for, to start a conversation.

I think rather than critisizing Etisalat’s move, we should be supporting and encouraging this gesture by a prominent and iconic UAE brand. Maybe it could have been done in a more relevant way (somebody should have told the agency how to develop likeable content that gains traction, or how to use brand ambassadors meaningfully, and how to listen to customers on social media platforms and solve their problems) – but it takes guts to challenge people and live up to the challenge. And, taking a Challenger position is not something usually done by an established player.

Brands that want to stay relevant constantly innovate and challenge themselves. And this is exactly what Etisalat has done. And now Etisalat needs to go further by listening and learning from customer feedback. And I challenge other brands in the UAE to be open and transparent about their products and customer service, and to put in place mechanisms that help identify and resolve customer complaints.

#UAEbrandchallenge

The demise of Sparta. And the rebirth of Greece.

Ancient Greece is a complex topic but from what I can summarise about Sparta, it was a wealthy state with a strong education system called the Agoge where elite boys would take part in physical training to mould them into the strongest and most disciplined soldiers. Spartan girls were also brought up to be strong and supportive so they could provide strong babies to continue the Spartan lineage. But Sparta ruled over the Helots – peasants who farmed the land and provided food for their wealthy Spartan overlords. Over time, resentment between the Helots and the ruling Spartans led to a war. Even though the Spartans won the war, this class struggle plagued and weakened them for a long time until eventually they had a war with Athens over the city of Thebes which led to Sparta’s demise.

Similarly, fast forward a few thousand years to modern Greece with huge levels of inequality and impoverishment leading to the election of Syriza on an Economic platform. Greece is saying “we’re going to be playing by our rules now and we will no longer be subjected to EU humiliation and Economic imbalances”.

To me, there’s a few lessons in Authenticity and Equality that my University Professor Yanis Varoufakis – the newly appointed Greek Finance Minister demonstrates.

  1. We can’t solve problems using established systems and entrenched models of thinking. We must be trailblazers even though it might ruffle some feathers along the way.
  2. The solutions we design must be based on symbiosis and nurturing a win/win scenario. The current mess that the world is in can be attributed partly to the inequality that many feel at the hands of the few.

If we want to improve our situation – or that of a corporation or brand – we should add real value to society, we should be authentic and we need to be fearless. References: Inequality isn’t inevitable, it’s engineered. That’s how the 1% have taken over. By Suzanne Moore

Are we in for another Financial Crisis?

Are we in for another Financial Crisis?

Home Economics and the breakdown of old Structures.

In grade 7 I took compulsory Home Economics class which taught us basic Sewing and Cooking skills. I was pretty good at it and although much fun I wrote it off because in my mind it wasn’t for Modern girls who wanted to use their Intelligence and have a ‘Career’ or who aspired to be more than just a ‘Housewife’ *rolls eyes*. How wrong I was.

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At the time, we were led to believe that ‘girls can do anything’ and trained in ‘girl power’. We weren’t taught to value ‘skills’ because skills were not for the ‘highly educated’ who went to University and studied for years and years and ended up in high powered positions.

Although I don’t disagree with encouraging girls to follow their ambition, what our teachers and career advisers didn’t foresee was the huge cultural and societal shift which has led to the DIY Revolution and the Maker Movement. Independent cafes / restaurants / art galleries, grassroots & community initiates such as urban gardening / food and craft markets, transition towns have burgeoned in the last few years.

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If I had been advised then, that the future would be about self-subsistence, conservation, eco-friendly activities, community, creativity, individuality, taking pride in one’s own work, providing an alternative to the big corporates – in that context maybe I would have paid more attention in Home Eco’s.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the Coffee.

Bootstrapping vs. Funding and the Great Entrepreneur / Tech Deception.

capitalism same as communism

I wonder when the Silicon Valley / Tech bubble is going to burst? It seems to me it is lacking integrity. Although it was touted as the Economic Saviour and Tech. Revolution that will propel humanity forward and create fairness, in reality it’s just hipster Entrepreneurs who claim to be different than the corporates they left but they end up emulating them.

It’s not really their fault though because they are part of an unsustainable global system that sucks them back into the same old paradigms – inequality, unnecessary growth for growth’s sake, unsustainable use of finite resources, imbalance of values.

In this video, Spotfront founder mentions the “Silicon Valley culture of Glorifying Success and ‘Big Exits’ – whilst not focussing on the fundamentals of building a business” – in other words, he’s describing the Silicon Valley PR machine.

And even he goes on an MBA instigated ramble discussing how his start-up is “Business Model Focussed” – what on earth does that mean? And what about “Cost Structures”? For a purportedly Agile Start-up this sounds too much like the overly complicated business language that many start-ups were trying to escape. Why not say “focus on doing things right and minimising your costs”?

bootstrap article

Technology has been touted as the force that will propel humankind forward. But in reality, if people don’t have access to the tools | networks | connections | education for Technology it will continue to divide the world into the Elites and the masses. When the system is so disoriented and imbalanced as it currently is, technology cannot save us until we change our values and move to a more equatable, fair, honest system.

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We’ve seen enough Venture Capital, Hipster Marketing/PR and Techies to realise that it’s mostly cool design used to coerce people into spending more on over priced designer toys and labels.

It’s time to GET REAL. GET HONEST. GET FAIR.

#zeitgeistmovement #occupywallst

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