Top Middle East CEOs and their online profiles – chapter 4

When a Google search begins with the search engine giant questionning your spelling you already know there may be some ambiguity around someone’s online profile, intentional or otherwise. Digging down page one as we do, and let’s face it not many people will go beyond that unless they are truly desperate to find something they know is definitely online somewhere if only they could find it, we begin to see a rather solid picture of Mr Khalil Ismail Al Meer forming. Our 4th CEO on the TopCEO list we are using as a starting point for this leadership digital reputational analysis is looking good.

Obligatory screengrab of SERP here:

khalil ismail al meer ceo khaleeji commercial bank ashton and ashton digital reputation analysis google seo

Interestingly Mr Al Meer’s results do not begin with a LinkedIn profile or owned channel, but with 4Traders, a mix of business directory and news portal that manages lots of traffic through clickbait and leadership profiles such as this. I am not sure to this day if this is an approved profile of Mr Al Meer, but, profiel photo and brevity aside, it certainly isn’t doing him any harm.

Next on the list we are served an image selection by Google, showing us how well our subject has been tagged across the Internet in terms of visuals. You can see a full selection of images as the featured image of this post, as usual. It begins well and then descends into a multitude of random people with or without moustaches.

Beyond this we are left with several articles on the Khaleeji Commercial Bank company website, offering slightly more information than 4Traders did earlier, but we are certainly not overwhelmed with details. After some slightly arduous searching on my favourite professional network I did manage to find a clue as to why there was no LinkedIn profile surfacing on Google for our 4th most successful CEO of the Middle East in 2016:

Khalil Ismail Al Meer CEO Khaleeji Commercial Bank Ashton and Ashton Digital Reputation Analysis LinkedIn profile

Need I repeat myself on the importance of a polished and professional profile? Mine is hardly a work of art but has some merits, I hope you’ll agree. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Ashton and Ashton should you need any help or advice on boosting your online reputation, sir!

Inbound Smarketeers

If you are in the market for a communication agency, you could do a lot worse than enquire as to their credentials in terms of Inbound Methodology. All communication rockstars worth their salt work within these parameters, paying mindful attention to today’s consumer who is seriously fed up of traditional approaches – ad blockers are on the rise, spam mail is a massive concern, and who today consumes media in the same way as 5 years ago (think YouTube, iPads, SnapChat, NetFlix)?

Do not fear, as of today I am the proud recipient of a refreshed Hubspot’s Inbound Sales Certification, yet another of their excellent online training courses. The excellence is not just in the price either, but free is definitely a bonus – the value is in the content itself. Inbound is all about customer-centricity and being mindful of the key role the internet plays in arming potential buyers with the information they need to compare and contrast competing services. And I say “refreshed” as these courses are updated annually to ensure we stay on top of latest developments in the digital space.

Essentially, those of us who operate in a sales environment need to tailor and personalize our approach to a customer who has already made certain decisions before you even get the opportunity to present your wares. To rephrase something I have been previously guilty of:

A salesman who assumes his buyer knows nothing makes an ass out of u and me.

The logic behind Hubspot creating such an insightful course is clear – by equipping sales teams with an effective inbound methodology the company will solve your entire sales and marketing – or smarketing if you prefer – needs, reducing friction across departments in the process. The Inbound Marketing team generate the useful content in the form of blog posts, social media content, ebooks, webinars and white papers that the buyer is looking at before the Inbound Sales team step in.

The opportunity to roll this sophisticated and logical communication approach out for clients and see the success in terms of ROI and improved bottom line is incredibly satisfying and, although not a fully signed-up Hubspot afficionado at this stage, here at Ashton and Ashton we are fully commited to Inbound Methodology and content marketing.

Certification as it now stands, July 2016:

Hubspot Inbound Certification 2016

Hubspot Inbound Sales Certificate 2016

To follow: Email Marketing and Growth-Driven Design Hubspot courses – watch this space. And make sure you check your agency or in-house team are up to speed too 🙂

Digital audits are sexy

I think everyone in communications probably had a double-take when they read this headline and are now shaking their head in disbelief. But, like many other things in life, a digital audit is a necessary process to carry out in order to progress to greater things. Like doing your laundry and cleaning your fingernails. From a brand perspective, it is an essential way to keep your online reputation in check and forms the foundation for a forward-looking strategy.

Ideally carried out in-depth on a quarterly basis, but usually undertaken by a new agency to provide clear starting points for all parties to work from, an proper dig should inform a company exactly where they stand in terms of efficacy of message but also what people are saying about them. Are they having any influence on their target market, and if not what/who is? A decent audit often throws up relevant competition as well as examples of effective campaigns that have “moved the needle”.

A great article I just read on the topic, courtesy of Econsultancy, covers off most of the key points here, but perhaps the most important thing to note is this: audits aren’t really sexy at all, that’s why you need a third party to do your dirty work and tell you what needs fixing, conveniently removed from any potential internal politics.

 

Happy Birthday UAE

It is 2nd December 2015, the 44th birthday of the United Arab Emirates, a country I have called home for almost 5 years. I have lived and learned, developed and honed, broadened and focused. At this point in time I am grateful that I am increasingly healthy, not so wealthy but certainly wiser.

I made the decision earlier this year to step away from circumstances that were clouding my professional and personal character. Since that day, following weeks and months of evaluation and discovery, I have been able to realign and recalibrate with the support of my dear wife and various other key people (you hopefully know who you are and also read this blog).

I am proud of the work I produce for clients I am thrilled to collaborate with today and I wish this for everyone. This post may be slightly late for Thanksgiving, but I believe it needs to be written and today is as good as any.

Thank you and a very happy birthday to all our readers.

Cityscape 2015

Last week was one of the biggest trade shows in the Middle East and Ashton and Ashton went along to check on two things: marketing tactics in use by the real estate industry and also to get a glimpse of what Dubai will look like in the near future.

Learnings were as follows:

Big stands with big models are still the norm (no surprise), but there are more engaging elements such as 360 degree video screens and holograms coming into play.

The event hasn’t got any smaller – must wear comfortable shoes, note to self and wife.

Popular stands are the ones who announce in big bold signs that they have low sign-on fees for property purchases – very old school but at the end of the day it is sales that matter!

And here is a small selection of pictures from the event – here

Benchmarking

One thing that drew me into the world of digital marketing, and remains one of the drivers of this area for all marketers, is the ability to see exactly what is working in realtime. Gone are the days when you would simply have an idea that something might work with your target audience and then pump some budget into a pretty design, buy a billboard for a week or hire a poor chap wearing a sandwich board to walk around town with your message on his chest. Now we can activate and evaluate within the time it takes to glance at a Google Analytics or Facebook Insights report and either edit, stop or adjust budget accordingly. The immediacy and transparency is fantastic and perhaps even makes you question why people might still spend so much on the dark arts of mass marketing on TV channels. Perhaps.

But it all starts from a level playing field. We specialise in benchmarking and auditing your existing communications against the industry and direct competitors, then optimising your efforts and focusing your resources directly at your business objectives. At the end of the day if your marketing doesn’t answer your business needs, it is irrelevant fluff.

Before You Go on Vacation…

Unfortunately, we are not revealing an exciting new holiday spot, fantastic prices on airfares or unveiling newly discovered cultural delights. We are however giving a brief overview on the benefits of proper planning before getting on the plane.

Here at Ashton x Ashton, we always seek to deliver actionable consultancy. By getting to know you and your business requirements, most importantly your goals and objectives, we can generally map out a clear strategy, a journey to get you there. A comfortable but efficient extension of your own team, we are as interested in your financial goals as your marketing because at the end of the day we have to boost your bottom line.

Once goals are established we present our recommendations. These will be highly targeted to meet your specific objectives, in order that they are measurable and we can all see how effective an approach is, then have the humility and agility to adapt as necessary. The best laid plans cannot remain firm and the more flexibility available the better. All details, down to  the last tweet, should be subject to A/B testing in the real world, optimum results noted and actioned with immediate effect.

Perhaps the most important step in our process though is the foundational audit. To start any activity before this is in place is like going on holiday without researching your destination, who your are travelling with, what kind of cuisine is available. The audit allows us to benchmark against your competitors, find the keywords people are using in your industry and assess your existing digital estate. From this point onwards we can make educated steps in the right direction to optimise existing tactics and recommend new ones.

Continuing the holiday metaphor: if you go to the same resort as last year, you’ll get the same photos. But please, send us a postcard when you get there as we would love to hear from you. And next time we will help you pack your suitcase more effectively.