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MENA Power List 2023: Talent and tech, the dynamic duo of success by Publicis’s Bassel Kakish

Bassel Kakish has been the CEO at Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey for 2 years. His favourite hobby is building LEGO Star Wars with his kids.

I’ve had the privilege of standing at the forefront of the advertising and marketing industry, observing its transformative shifts and dynamic evolution. From the rise of digital media to the profound challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and unparalleled global political unrest, our industry has navigated a myriad of changes.

Amid this backdrop, one foundational truth has remained steadfast, the invaluable role of talent. It’s the dedication, creativity and expertise of our professionals that have been our guiding light, ensuring that we not only adapt but thrive in these testing times.

Our strength, our essence is intrinsically tied to the talent we nurture and empower. As we look ahead, it’s clear that the Middle East region holds a pivotal role in this narrative.

The region is having its renaissance moment. With countries like Saudi Arabia expanding their horizons for business, the entire region is buzzing with fresh opportunities and collaborations. The industry is gearing up for a significant shift, driven by a vision of innovation and progress.

Across the Middle East governments are channelling significant investments into a spectrum of sectors. From pioneering sustainability initiatives and envisioning 20-minute city concepts to exploring the vast potential of the metaverse and AI, there’s a tangible momentum propelling innovation. This fervent pursuit underscores the region’s ambition to stand as a hub of growth and innovation on the global stage.

Marketing and advertising in the Middle East is experiencing a robust upswing, fuelled by a demographic that’s young and digitally adept. As we navigate the waters of ground-breaking trends like the metaverse and artificial intelligence, it’s paramount to anchor our strategies in the undeniable value of human talent.

In this intricate dance of technology and creativity, our people remain the heart and soul of our industry.

“It’s crucial to understand that talent is more than a resource; it’s the cornerstone of our success and what differentiates us”

The youthful vanguard of the region, with its median age of just 26, is not just a demographic detail; it’s a dynamic force. These digital natives, who are also natives of the region, bring a unique blend of global perspective and local expertise.

At Publicis Groupe, we recognise the potential of this talent pool. As we’ve always believed, we are merely a vehicle; it’s the talent that drives us forward. These Millennials and Gen Z individuals are the architects of our future, having grown up in a global society, seamlessly blending their tech savvy with a deep understanding of regional nuances.

Their adaptability and desire for meaningful work are setting the stage for the next chapter in our industry’s evolution. To further this vision, at Publicis Groupe, we’ve built an internal AI platform, Marcel, dedicated to continuous learning and connection, ensuring our talent remains at the forefront of innovation.

As we look to the horizon, it’s evident that the tools of tomorrow are already at our fingertips today.

The advent of advanced technologies, particularly AI, offer an unparalleled opportunity, not just as a tool for efficiency, but as a catalyst for continuous learning and skill enhancement. The new era of Web3 is coming which is said to be characterised by three pillars: read, write, own.

Giving full creative power and ownership is the new wave. Challenges and the path forward, we face a set of distinct challenges. Technological advancements are accelerating, geopolitical landscapes are in flux, and consumer behaviours are constantly evolving.

These challenges, however, present opportunities. The strategy lies in aligning individual aspirations with the broader goals of organisations. It’s crucial to understand that talent is more than a resource; it’s the cornerstone of our success and what differentiates us in a competitive market.

As the Middle East prepares to assert its position globally, the synergy between tech and talent is central. This is a period of significant transformation. Our primary focus remains our people, leveraging innovation and recognising the value of talent.

“Do or do not. There is no try”– by Yoda.

The second Campaign Saudi Briefing event of the year will be taking place in Riyadh on 12th October 2023. A variety of panels and speakers will be discussing the themes of media and marketing. For more details, click here.