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Marketing Game Changers 2019: Abdulwahed Juma

Executive vice-president brand & communications, du

Abdulwahed Juma

Executive vice-president brand & communications, du

Years in current position 2

Years with company 2

Size of department 40

Agencies MSL, TBWA, Hearts and Science, Socialize, Start Design

Previous jobs

Chief commercial officer, Abu Dhabi Media

Head of corporate affairs, First Gulf Bank

Chief commercial officer, Arab Media Group/DMI Publishing

Recent campaigns

Be More You, Post Wisely

• Power Plan

• It’s Good to be Home

• Business is Trust

Recent achievements

I was fortunate enough to recently have the opportunity to work more closely with and represent my country, making me immensely proud.

I am excited to see where the new brand positioning will take du, lifting this great company up to another level.

What is your objective in your current role?

To be the brand voice of all EITC (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company) trademarks, humanising the brand and adding personality that represents it in each transaction with each customer.

Do you have a guiding principle?

Yes: Customer first.

What is your advice on working with agencies?

Treat your agencies as partners. Their success or failure reflects on you.

What do you look for in agency partners?

Creativity, problem solving, flexibility and out-of-the-box solutions.

What have you learned from failure?

You only fail when you stop trying. Failures are accumulative experiences that we should use in our future strategy.

What work do you wish you had done?

The campaign called “Great” in the UK, tailored to international visitors

Who inspires you professionally?

Locally, HE Noura Al Kaabi and HE Saif Ghobash. Internationally, Sir Richard Branson.

What qualities do you look for when deciding who to work with?

Honesty, the ability to learn and a humble character.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?

Everyone thinks he is a marketer without having the basics of Marketing 101.

What is the next big trend in marketing?

Customisation of messages to individuals and anticipating demand based on current behaviour.

What trend do you wish would just stop, already?

Social media influencers who claim to be experts in everything without adding value to core business.

What can we expect to see from you and du in the next year?

We will be closer to you.

Rapid fire

What are you listening to?
Ray Charles

What are you working on?

What are you reading?
The Secret (for the third time)

Who are you following?
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid

What are you craving?
A peaceful vacation

Who are you hiding from?
I confront, I don’t hide

Where are you dining?

What are you playing?

Where are you travelling?
The Alps

What are you watching?

Agency reference

Joe Lahham, general manager, TBWA\RAAD

We live in a complex customer journey where nothing is constant, and the pressure on brand leaders is increasing to stand out from the clutter. Abdulwahed Juma plays a crucial role in orchestrating that complexity with a brave attitude. He truly embraces bravery, saying, “We are in for brave ideas together”. He has a passionate disruptive personality and is a truly challenging partner, pushing for the best outcome from the agency. He is an inspirational leader with strong attention to improving creativity while maintaining du’s brand purpose to the fore. Finally, I can say that he is a true enabler for transformation.

What collaboration are you most proud of?

You can learn from every single project and interaction with Abdulwahed. I am particularly fond of the collaboration on refreshing du’s brand identity and redefining du’s brand purpose, “Be more you”. The new brand campaign emphasised empowering people’s passions and was a result of an in-depth strategic workshop between du and TBWA\RAAD.

How would you describe Abdulwahed Juma as a professional?

He has a brave and bold leadership attitude. He also has a remarkable sense of humour, combined with his professional results-oriented personality, in addition to his active-listening leadership style, honesty, and his continuous aim for perfection.

The best thing about working with him is his determination and his strategic direction for commercial, corporate and channel communications, communications planning and performance. His trust towards the agency allows us to work together and create solutions that enable growth.

From Abdulwahed we have learned the importance of transparency, transparency and transparency.

What are you working on next?

Lots of great confidential collaborations, but it’s never about the next project; it’s about the partnership spirit.