The purpose of this blog post is not to test the lengths to which a blogger, who works in digital marketing or communications in general, will go to in order to get clicks to his page. Or is it? Whilst getting lost surfing the Internet is all too easy, it has also been noted how many websites have been built up regurgitating news and opinion about this guy, often with no other purpose than to repurpose existing news in the hope that you will read it through their website and they can use your eyeballs to be paid for carrying random advertising.
Something I have never explored, as someone who believes in organic search engine optimisation and the power of blogging for the sake of putting your own message down, and coming from someone who very rarely looks at print adverts never mind clicking on such Google Ads, but what about you?
If you saw such a site (and I found this Donald Trump-related site earlier today, brand new but hoping to reel you in by jumping on what will hopefully not be a 4 year long hot trend) would you even touch it? In an era of fake news and alternative facts, we must continue to search for believable sources of information, something the Internet itself has made it both harder and easier to do at the same time.
Harder by commercialising your attention.
Easier by democratising the very method of finding information.
Ladies and gentlemen, Google and Bing and Yahoo, and the add-on discovery options offered by Facebook, Twitter and their ilk, have skewed everything in their favour, we the consumer merely encouraged to consume.
Perhaps we can simply bypass this, tear it up and start again.
I hinted at starting the search for prolific CEO bloggers in the Middle East and how this might affect their company and also their individual standing in the business community. I also noted previously that there was a dearth of obviously accessible Best-Of lists on this topic so I would start with the Top CEO awards as selected by Trends Magazine and Insead, the 2016 winners list available for your pleasure here. With this in mind, I wanted to assess the full list of individual CEOs via their digital footprint and present my findings in this blog.
Chapter 1 opens with the winner, Mr Bassel Gamal, CEO of Qatar Islamic Bank.
I always like to begin a reputational audit by Googling the person or company in question: search engines effectively decide which specific pages from the whole of the Internet we see and therefore represents an important indicator on the digital estate in questions. Let’s have a look:
What we can see here is a clean collection of images and articles, both from the media and the QIB website, outlining the profile of Mr Gamal. There are no interviews or insights on page one of Google except for the Oxford Business Group piece of content which is straightforward text Q&A which may or may not have been handled at arms length by a PR agency. A glance over Mr Gamal’s profile on LinkedIn gives no clues as to his deep business expertise or interests outside successfully management of one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East. This, by the way, is not necessarily a criticism, but merely an objective observation.
My purpose here is to try and dig a little and see if the Edelman Trust Barometer findings, that people look even more towards CEOs for brand authenticity, actually holds true but specifically if it holds true here in the Middle East.
On very first glance it appears that a CEO does not necessarily have to blog to be known as the best in his field, in fact he just has to do his job very well. Should we conclude that leaders for lesser-known companies that are not as successful might be the ones in need of blogging and more direct lines of communication?
Taking a brief respite at the welcoming warm wifi haven of Caffe Nero, a few thoughts after Day One:
- The sales team love events, it gets them in front of a wide cross-section of opportunities; feed their passion
- Preparation is hugely important – simple and clean marketing collaterals, business cards, comfy shoes, leadership speaking notes, leave no stone unturned
- DIY – rely on nobody else to get the stuff done important to you
- Stay positive – it opens doors of communication and business
- Dress warm – the air conditioning in there is akin to a Yorkshire winter
Roll on Day Two!
Not just another opportunity to post a Simon and Garfunkel classic, or to reminisce about an incredible ensemble performance from my days in the Mirfield Free Grammar School choir. This post is in honour of my days working in a microcosm of the sales and marketing world.
I have been fortunate to work much more closely alongside clients of varying backgrounds and skillsets since branching out from agency life to form the Ashton and Ashton consultancy you see before you. We are digital communication architects – big agency background without the fees. Contact us today for a brand audit. I have been blessed to experience firsthand the very real business pressures that only an entrepreneur would feel, having taken upon him/herself the requirement to feed, clothe and nurture his growing workforce in pursuit of commercial success.
Perhaps the most important lesson learnt comes in the form of silence. Knowing what to say and when to stay quiet in interpersonal exchanges is the key. I remember in the early days of my junior squash career (aged 10-18 I was rather nifty with a rubber ball inside a glass-backed room) I was lucky to be coached by a slightly eccentric international hopeful, who since those glory days in the early 90s has become a BNP political candidate. Before I go veering completely off topic I should ad that he instilled in his pupils the ability to wait for a beat, just a slight beat, after your opponent plays the ball so you do not anticipate but simply go directly where the ball is going. Avoids being wrong-footed, apparently. I internalised this lesson and went on to be something of a regional champion in my youth. And then teenage life, beer, girls, etc., took over and I left squash behind until very recently.
Along with mothballing my sporting prowess, it seems the same can be said for that instinct to ever-so-briefly-wait-and-see. This is gradually coming back into my professional life, with thanks to my current crop of clients. Thank you!
Now: anyone for squash?
Warning: playful attempt at video content below, not in any way endorsed by Middle East Rail 2016. Nobody was hurt in the making of this video, either.
Just one week away from the largest event of the year so far for the Middle East. I make this statement not just from my perspective as Communications Consultant for a global systems integrator that worked on major infrastructure projects such as Dubai Metro. I was fortunate to attend a presentation last week hosted by MEED in association with Deloitte about the state of the Middle Eastern construction market, where many themes were touched upon. One takeaway for me was that transport, predominantly investment in the development around mega projects likes Al Maktoum Airport (DWC), was going to be the shining light according to MEED/Deloitte predictions for 2016.
The backdrop of uncertainty around oil and gas in the region, a situation almost entirely manufactured by the oil producing countries maintaining unnecessarily high rates of barrel-filling, other sectors are ushered in the spotlight in the hope of diversification. Dubai has led the way in tourism and hospitality for some time and with the Expo 2020 and Qatar FIFA World Cup on the horizon we can continue to exist in the region with something of a purpose and goal. Alongside these regional events and the ripple effect around them, there is a burgeoning population in need of sustainable means to live, both the basics of water, electricity and shelter, but also the “luxuries” of roads, rail, airports and air-conditioning.
I am working closely with companies operating across these areas, with the intention of working to develop the smarter sustainable living infrastructure the region demands and see growing demand just around the corner.
Learn more from Avanceon and Rockwell Automation about their vision of the future at Middle East Rail 2016, next week.