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Marketing Game Changers 2019: Khaled M. Ismail

Khaled M. Ismail

Vice-president communications – Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa – Tetra Pak;

Chairman, Marketing Society Middle East

Years in current position 1.5

Years with company 18

Size of department 20+

Recent campaigns

Recent achievements

  • Wrote a book (This is What Tickles Me), coming out in October 2019.
  • Promoted to lead two different regions for Tetra Pak – Europe & Central Asia and Middle East & Africa.
  • Appointed chairman of the Marketing Society Middle East.

What is your objective in your current role?

Contribute to and make an impact on the new generation of marketer. I am looking for a legacy.

Do you have a guiding principle?

Life is a journey on a high-speed train. Keep it simple and enjoy the ride.

What is your advice on working with agencies?

Mutual respect. Garbage in, garbage out. Inspire them to give you their best work.

What do you look for in agency partners?

Positive, can-do attitude.

What have you learned from failure?

Over-analysing and complicating things is never helpful.

What work do you wish you had done?

A World Cup theme song.

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

I like confident, pragmatic, open-minded people who have a positive, can-do attitude.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?

How do we take advantage of and keep up with the digital, Amazon, AI, influencer world around us?

What is the next big trend in marketing?

The anti-one-size-fits-all marketing technology (AI) will soon know so much about us – from our childhood – that what I and you will see and get exposed to will never be the same.

What trend do you wish would just stop, already?

The trend of “pretend world” is thankfully fading out already. Showing off and living a fake life is already catching up to people. From FOMO to JOMO, the joy of missing out.

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

From our brand, expect a huge focus on sustainability, building on our global campaign (Planet Positive). We need to do more with less.

From me, I have a book coming out this month, titled This is What Tickles Me. It is a modern diary with a purpose. The book is entertaining, informative and educational for everyone who contemplates. It comprises a little bit of fun and many ‘aha’ moments.


Rapid fire

What are you listening to?
Louis Armstrong – What a wonderful world

What are you working on?
My book, This is What Tickles Me. (I’m super excited).

What are you reading?
Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Who are you following?
Sir Richard Branson, Greta Thunberg

What are you craving?
Common Sense (it’s not so common)

What are you hiding from?
My urges to tell people what I really, really think.

Where are you dining?
Anywhere there is a gourmet burger and fine wine

What are you playing?
My son is an awesome base guitar player. He tried to teach me. I was hopeless.

Where are you travelling?
Sweden, London, Budapest.

What are you watching?
Somm 3 (I couldn’t finish it on my last flight)


Agency reference

Jo Weber, business director, GES Middle East

What are Khaled’s main achievements?

Marketing Society chairman.

Social Media icon – his social following growing month by month.

Releasing his own book; his This is What Tickles Me musings always bring either laughter or a lightbulb moment.

Promoted to vice-president communications for Europe, Central Asia, Middle East & Africa for one of the world’s leading brands.

What collaboration are you most proud of?

Gulfood Manufacturing 2018. Khaled encouraged GES to really push the boundaries and move beyond a standard exhibition design. This enabled us to collaborate to create a beautiful booth design, supported with immersive LED content. We brought the first ever ‘kino mo’ hologram to the region, amongst other tech. We proudly walked away with the Best Stand Award and Marketing Excellence Award.

How would you describe Khaled as a professional?

Firm but fair. Entrepreneurial, dynamic, results-driven with a no-nonsense approach. He takes immense pride in his work.

Khaled always encourages innovation. He gives you room to be creative and think outside the box. He is flexible and open to new ideas. He has great energy and is very dynamic. He is passionate about what he does and loves all things marketing; this comes through in his everyday work.

He also has acute attention to detail.  Nothing will get past him. His standards are always extremely high, which makes you raise the bar. You will always be on your toes working with Khaled.

What have you learned from Khaled?

The importance of staying current and doing things differently. He is also a leader in how companies should treat their partners so that they truly feel like an extension of their own marketing team.

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