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The MullenLowe Corner – It takes change to make change

by Raghda Elmaghrabi, Business Director at MullenLowe MENA.

I’ve worked in the advertising industry for more than 10 years now and I believe that my professional experience has many parallels with changes in the industry.
As we all know, our industry is constantly going through change, and it can be difficult for us as advertising professionals to keep up if we don’t reinvent ourselves to cope with these changes.
In essence, we need to accept to change ourselves, which may mean changing the way we think, the way we execute ideas, the professionals we partner with, the tactics and methods we adopt, and the way we do business in general. The world around us is changing, so we need to adapt and explore.
As much as change is a good thing, it’s not always easy. It often involves a level of risk, unfamiliarity and venturing out into the unknown, which are unsettling for most of us. However, change is also where growth comes. And that’s something we have to remind ourselves when we’re going through a time of transition.
Knowing this and being my restless self who is always hungry for growth, as well as understanding the importance of international exposure for career progression,
I have decided to move to Dubai. I needed to set myself up for a new successful transition by knowing the areas where I excel and add value as much as the areas where I needed to grow professionally for the hope of leading change one day.

Here were the two most important questions that I asked myself before making this move:

1.What do I have to offer?
Throughout my years of advertising I have had my share of exceptional mentors, who shaped and influenced an aspect of my thinking and the way I work. The best part is that these mentors were vocal about what they had to offer. They knew that their expertise is a powerful gift that deserves to be shared, and that passing it on will help them build their legacy. Following in their footsteps, I wanted to be vocal about what I have to offer as well.

Here are the three core values that I live by and I want to pass on:
Work out of love and never out of fear:
Extraordinarily motivated people face discomfort head-on – they never choose the easy route – to get what they want. They push themselves out of their comfort zone and get rid of those internal voices that say, “You are limited in what you can do.” They trust their abilities and know they will use their passion to come out on top. Love is a powerful force in accomplishing anything you set your mind to and in experiencing work and life to the fullest extent possible. Ultimately, loving what you do is the driving force behind success.

Be original and brave:
“The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.”
It is the truly innovative people in our business that manage to speak with their own voice. They don’t care about trends. This means you have to be brave. It is a business of opinions and there is no real right and wrong. What is true is this: the one with the best ability to convey their original opinion wins. So, learn to make your case, be true to yourself, believe in your ideas, respect them and give them a big opportunity to win.

Be fit enough to adapt:
By survival of the “fittest”, Darwin did not mean the toughest will survive, the swiftest will win, the smartest will succeed, or the biggest will dominate. What Darwin meant was something far different. Darwin said that the organism that best fits its environment had the best chance of survival. So, you need to be open minded, willing to listen and carefully observe the truth of the market. The future will need us to be adaptive and reflective of the market and the client’s needs. Only the ones who can adapt will survive.
In short: Advertising is survival of the fittest.

2. What do I want to learn and achieve?
It is no news that the era of “Mad Men”, where advertisers primarily focus only on the creative, idea is long gone. The shift to analytics-driven marketing and technology-enabled business growth has changed the nature of advertising, setting foot into a new era of advertising that we need to be ready for.
Agencies in Egypt don’t rely on data since they’re still so focused on creative, which they are great at, but unfortunately we are at a time where that’s not enough.
The future and the new era of advertising will be about marrying great creativity with data, which means agencies will have to make sure they have staff on board that can dissect data in creative ways.
With Dubai being the centre of now, adopting the latest market analytics in driving all business aspects, I was curious to come and get this learning and eventually be part of this new wave, by finding a way where I can marry the great creativity and talent that is found in the Egyptian market with the new advanced advertising tools and tactics found in Dubai.

So together with  what I have learnt throughout my career and with what the new era of advertising has to offer, i can inspire and lead change in the region.