Chief marketing officer, NEOM
Years in current position: 1
Years with current company: 1
• Amazon EMEA, marketing director
• Cisco EMEA, marketing director
• McKinsey, engagement manager
• The Line
• NEOM Beach Games
What is your objective in your current role?
Communicating the inspirational, multi-layered and complex narrative of NEOM – targeting B2B and B2C audiences globally. We are constantly looking for innovative ways to communicate the NEOM story and keep our audiences engaged. We want to provide a customer experience and journey that is rich, rewarding and meaningful, and represents a fair value exchange for our customers.
Do you have a guiding principle?
Well, whatever we do has to be tightly tied to our evolving business objectives. That’s something that was ingrained in me during my time with my erstwhile employer Amazon. The construction is moving at rapid pace and spinning up many new NEOM subsidiaries. We will start to show the world more of the progress that we are making. Our research clearly tells us there is a hunger for this and our teams working onsite here at NEOM can see the gigantic construction effort going on all around us. We will begin to peel back the curtain for the outside world, as we know there is still work to do when it comes to showing people how our ambitious vision is turning into reality.
How do you make agency relationships work?
It’s very much about treating our agencies as partners by enabling them and trusting them to do great work. This is crucial and, because that has happened, they have won many awards for the work they’ve done for NEOM. I will concede that we are not the easiest client to work for because of the scale and complexity of the project, which brings tight timelines and tests creativity to the limits. However, everyone believes in the vision so we have the type of buy-in that means our agencies will go beyond to help us deliver something special with every campaign.
What work do you wish you had done?
The Droga5 Superbowl campaign ‘Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home’ was truly ingenious. That sort of work changes the game, but then again Droga is someone who has done it time and time again. That’s the reason he is perhaps the best ad exec in the history of the industry.
Who inspires you professionally?
The work by the Nike marketing team is always inspiring and thought-provoking, combining big ideas with creative effectiveness. That has been the case for decades, and achieving that quality and consistency over such a long period of time is something all of us in the industry naturally aspire to.
What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?
It depends on what the product and market is. For example, in Europe or the United States it might be navigating the cost-of-living crisis and reaching the target audience with sensitive and nuanced messaging, using smaller budgets. In Asia, it could be about making the biggest bang because new companies and products are jostling for market dominance in a high-growth region. Here at NEOM, we have very different challenges to navigate. A significant investment from a visionary leader and government managing the fastest growing economy in the world, to build the most ambitious project the world has ever seen. All by 2030. Marketing challenges certainly don’t come much bigger than this.
What is the next big opportunity in marketing?
The metaverse is obviously coming down the line, but it will take some years yet to mature and become business-critical. In the meantime, the low hanging fruit is probably still the marrying of creativity and data to inform the work for it to have the biggest impact possible on your business.
Major uplift in NEOM’s brand awareness, website traffic, social media following and lead generation and nurturing.
What are you working on?
Many exciting NEOM developments, including a new corporate brand campaign.
Who are you following?
Marketing professor Scott Galloway.
What are you craving?
Time with family during the festive holidays.
What are you hiding from?
The cold British winter.
What app are you glued to?
I spend too much time on WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Instagram.
What are you playing?
Learning to play tennis.
What are you listening to?
Many podcasts. I particularly enjoy the Digital Marketing Podcast and Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review.
What are you reading?
Slough House spy novels by Mick Herron.
What are you watching?
Ozark, Succession and House of the Dragon
Where are you traveling?
Australia, where my wife is from.
What is your good habit?
Getting up early to work out.
What is your bad habit?
Going into the office on weekends.
Sailesh Jani, Global business lead, McCann Worldgroup
I have worked with Tim for eight months. He has immersed himself in a very intricate and complex organisation with marked global and regional pressures. He’s quickly taken on implementing his foundational principles for not only current challenges, but also the future of marketing for NEOM – no small feat. He proactively assesses evolving needs, builds his teams and implements key changes,
while also delivering a strong battery of cross-funnel work with a clear direction for the future.
NEOM is a blank canvas for a new era of sustainable living. Our ‘Made To Change’ platform brought this idea to life, launching across TV, cinema, social and OOH. Beginning at the dawn of mankind, the film charts significant moments of change from history, before traveling through a series of vignettes to represent a sector within NEOM, each framed by a simple ‘Let’s Change…’ proposition. Designed to inspire, it offers a tantalising glimpse of what the future could look like. With Tim’s backing, the platform has since inspired 12 different campaigns, helping to double global awareness and increase investor leads by 361 per cent.
As NEOM gains global appreciation, engaging and sustaining the audiences’ interest to be part of NEOM becomes essential. Our CRM and data approach is the key to that success and takes clearly defined audiences on a journey to ultimately, live, work and be part of NEOM.
Tim is smart, collaborative, incisive, considered and dedicated with a relentless drive and passion for excellence across all areas of business.
From him, I have learned that it is possible to build a plane while you are flying. NEOM demands a steady hand and a clear, firm vision in the face of dynamic needs and communications challenges, both of which Tim displays daily, under incredible pressure.