Marketing Game Changers 2022: E&‘s Noreen Nasralla

Group SVP brand & communications, e&

Additional positions

Active member of e&’s sustainability committee

Years in current position: 1

Years with company: 1

Size of department: 300+

Previous jobs

Marketing and media advisor, Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport

Director of marketing and comms, Modon Properties

Regional GM, marketing and activations – mixed-use real estate, Al Futtaim

Recent campaigns

Earlier this year, we embarked on a new and exciting chapter in our group’s growth journey to create a digitally brighter future while empowering societies with the dynamic evolution from Etisalat to e&. In support of the company’s transformation, we had to reflect this growth in the transformation of our group brand hierarchy. This branding exercise was a monumental one as it set the scene for developing our new corporate storytelling and narrative for the group and the various business pillars.

What is your objective in your current role?

I’ve seen the group’s adoption of a growth mindset and progressive outlook to transform from a telco to a global technology and investment conglomerate by exploring and employing new technologies for the benefit of customers. It is my aspiration to continue championing the vision the e& brand has in digitally empowering societies and developing new opportunities for ESG campaigns and initiatives that directly affect the communities of our operating markets, bringing positive changes in our sector.

Do you have a guiding principle?

A successful leader can bring the vision of the company to life only when surrounded by hardworking team members who are dedicated to their work. The chain is strongest only at its weakest link. Empathy and great team spirit are an absolute requirement if we are to make a difference. It is not particularly easy for women to lead in our culture, so I believe in ‘making possible’, backed by having a clear vision in mind and going forward with passion, perseverance and purpose. Once an individual aligns their vision and purpose to that of the organisation within which they serve, it is a lot easier for work to flow easily.

How do you make agency relationships work? 

Through continuous communication and collaboration when it comes to trends, benchmarks and performance.

Who inspires you professionally?

My late father. He taught me the ethics and passionate endeavours of delivering and running forward like a horse with blinkers on its eyes so that it is focused on what lies ahead when racing to the finish line. Through his dedication and passionate achievements, I was inspired to believe in myself further and grow up as an empowered female in a family that thrives on accomplishments.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment? 

Studies show that hiring top talent is about to become the biggest challenge in marketing in 2023. Hiring top talent takes time and energy and must be a well-thought-out process, especially in light of the changes the pandemic brought in terms of remote and hybrid working models. Finding creative talent that is diverse and keeping them motivated in a fast-paced environment is a key challenge. 

What is the next big opportunity in marketing?

We’ve already seen how technology is transforming the marketing industry. Martech tools will become the norm. Extended reality (XR) is here to stay, where augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MX) will have massive attraction power for customers, while also improving consumer perception of the products and services. These are exciting times in the marketing industry as we explore what’s possible through delivering immersive virtual experiences to our customers. In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are fast becoming valuable marketing tools, especially in their use cases for predictive marketing analytics and digital insight reporting. 

Recent achievements

I am humbled to be amongst a handful of women who take a seat at the leadership table, garnering respect and confidence from peers to drive e&’s communication strategy in line with our long-term development and strategic plans. At e&, our leadership has seen a 50 per cent increase in women in leadership positions since 2021. Aside from my daily responsibilities, I am also happy to be a member of e&’s sustainability steering committee to oversee the group’s sustainability strategy initiatives. 

Rapid fire

What are you working on?
Continuous learning and personal development. Balancing the mind, heart, body and soul.

Who are you following?
The leadership of our country.

What are you craving?
Lifting weights.

What are you hiding from?
Negative energy.

What apps are you
glued to?
Calm and Adidas.

What are you playing?
Strength-training exercises.

What are you listening to?
Abdul Majeed Abdallah, Amr Diab and Adele.

What are you reading?
Leaders Eat Last.

What are you watching?
Cooking shows.

Where are you travelling?
Always to London.

What is your good habit?

What is your bad habit?
Carrying my portable juicer in every trip.

Agency reference

Ramzi Sleiman, regional managing director, Saatchi & Saatchi MEA

We met Noreen during the pitch phase and have known her for most of 2022. Noreen has been instrumental in introducing the e& mother brand and launching ‘Make Possible’. The vision is to evolve Etisalat from a telco to a purposeful technology conglomerate that strives to empower societies all around the world. Together with the Publicis Groupe and Saatchi & Saatchi ME, she has been driving the subsequent transformation of the Etisalat brand while orchestrating and streamlining all the e& entities to work together to deliver on this narrative. During this period, some key initiatives have been the complete rebranding, launch of the e& Money super-app, signing on as a founding partner for the F1 Abu Dhabi GP and leading the e& COP 27 main net zero announcement and schedule of communication. The collaboration I am most proud of is the introduction of the e& mother brand to the world, positioning it as a tech conglomerate and driving that transformation from big campaigns and launches all the way to guidelines and internal branding. There was a big challenge around retaining and building on the legacy of Etisalat while positioning the new mother brand. Although this task is not yet fully complete, it has had a promising start.

Noreen has a strong vision for where she wants to take the e& mother brand and is able to bring that to life through meaningful initiatives, not just new products and services. She puts emphasis not only on what we are selling but, more importantly, on how we’re helping. She has the unique ability to take a big-picture approach while also being able to cascade that down to her team and create purpose-driven actions. She has a strong sense of purpose and a resilient and persevering mindset that encourages her team and agency to help her overcome all obstacles. This is only possible because she has a very human approach and operates both intuitively and with transparency.