The MENA Power List 2021: Challenges are growth opportunities for those who dare, by W Group’s Habib Wehbi

By Habib Wehbi, Chairman & CEO, W Group – Hypermedia, Digitall & RedPegME.

years in role: 24 | other roles: Chairman, W ventures Holding the owner of: W group Holding (Media and Communication); W Invest Holding (Angel Investment); BMI Holding (Industrial Investment ); YPO Member (Dubai Chapter), IAA Member (UAE).

My journey can be summarised in three key words: ambition, passion and opportunity.

Ambition to have a clear vision of where I would want my path to take me; passion to paddle through the waves of difficulties that I came to face; and the right opportunity to make all of this possible.

What started as a small investment opportunity in selling media placements on supermarket trolleys back in 1999, the first in-store media network in the UAE, eventually grew to become W Ventures Holding, which owns W Group, a key player and media powerhouse in the region.

Ever since its inception, W Group’s vision has been aligned with that of the UAE.

It was a strategy that helped our companies grow in reach, engagement and technology, and naturally expand and lead in the media sector in the MENA region.

This strategy set us on an onward and upward path in the marketing, media and communications market and allowed us to further engage with our community through numerous awareness and experiential campaigns.

Internally, W Group strives to provide 360-degree marketing solutions, all under one roof.

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It started with Hypermedia, the leading digital out-of-home (DOOH) media company in the region, that managed – through its several partnerships with governmental entities such as the Road and Transport Authority in Dubai – to display unprecedented growth and return on investment (ROI) resulting from the outcome of the private-public sector partnership.

The recent agreement to take over Dubai Metro’s media assets and provide brands and partners with a unique DOOH experience, raised the bar for our market competitors and delivered an experientially paved journey for its designated target audiences.

DigitAll, on the other hand, the tech arm of the group, provides smart solutions and content management for innovative interactions on DOOH and mobile media, empowered by data analytics and real-time measurements.

The third entity of W Group is RedPeg Middle East, an independent Experiential marketing and brand engagement agency. RedPeg ME brought the concept and the experiential marketing know-how to the region from our sister company, RedPeg Marketing, based in Washington, DC. This allowed us to move the mindset of the market towards a more international outlook on engagements and tailor-made consumer journeys.

In our recent history, we were faced with several global ‘forces majeures’ that put us at an inevitable crossroad. We either had to pack up and go home or adapt and survive. But possessing the challenge-driven mindset, we carved our own third lane and decided to expand and grow.

We drove-in new business opportunities, expanded our team – our biggest asset – and went head-first to tackle our obstacles that ranged from the Covid-19 pandemic all the way back to the global financial crisis in 2008.

One should be a firm believer in the people to face any crisis. When deadlocks occur, they force us to think and look for great opportunities that lie in every crisis.

In this fast-progressing age that we live in, we are forced to be extra creative in our business development process and bring to the table that which only we can cater for.

This is why our next big step will be expanding into programmatic DOOH.

We live in a data-driven era, and data is vital when it comes to smart-targeted media campaigns, narrowing down potential target audiences and maximising on assets and resources, ultimately for a higher ROI.

In such an aggressive market, we need to be ready to venture into new, uncharted territories. We have to keep up with upcoming technologies and solutions that can distinguish us among our peers.

In this transformative phase, DigitAll will be spearheading the charge in revolutionising this industry with the eventual aim of positioning W Group, with its three entities, as the leading tech company in media in the MENA region.

Emphasising on the importance of strategies in the way we do business, we are where we are now – and heading towards where we aspire to be – because our vision has always been aligned with that of this great nation and its visionary leadership.

Eventually, this is the land of equal opportunities, and if you dare to have the ambition and passion to follow through and grind away at your dreams, you will eventually land exactly where you aspire to be.

Professional highlight of the year

To meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, W Group has reacted in agile and decisive ways. As we move into the next phase, we seek out and seize the opportunities emerging in the recovery. This involves more partnerships and more investments in tech solutions for the three entities of the group.

Rapid fire

What are you working on?
Continuous growth and expansion.

What are you worrying about?
Growth of technology and adaptation of the market.

What are you smiling at?
My work competition.

What are you reading?
Economics, technology and finance books and articles.

What are you watching?

What are you eating?
Healthy food, though not at the weekend.

What are you listening to?
Lounge music.

What are you playing?
Starting my golf lessons.

What’s your hobby?
Driving cars, travelling, beach.

What’s your good habit?
Going to the gym.

What’s your bad habit?
Don’t sleep long hours.

Who are you learning from?
Learning every day from life experience.