The New Industry Dynamic
As ad agencies regain their role as brand and business custodians, future growth takes on new meaning. In discussing this, sat with Managing Director Grey, Doha, to discuss this evolution.
Ours has always been a 360-degree agency with a holistic approach to communication services. We have consistently and continuously expanded on our scope of services and creative products to evolve our clients’ communication and businesses. Possibly the most notable change in the profile of our agency has been shaped by the capabilities we are taking on. In the last year alone, we’ve beefed up our teams to focus on integrating and consolidating our crossfunctional capabilities and, we’ve aligned our talent recruitment with this vision. The industry dynamics are very demanding and require highly polyvalent talents equipped with cross-platform, cross-media and cross-functional expertise. As an advertising agency, we need to evolve our business by evolving that of our clients, which will serve as the springboard to our growth in the future.
Among the GCC countries, the Qatari market had been slowly grappling with the industry change and dynamics over the past decade; partly because the country itself was still in the nascent infrastructural stages. Advertising and marketing were not at the top of the priority list for local and international companies operating in the country. However, since its inception, the Qatar National Vision 2030 mapped out a strategic course for emerging growth sectors and economic diversification, which reverberated in a flock of companies setting up shop in Qatar and launching with full force. For us and other agencies in the country, this translated into ample opportunities for client portfolio diversification and growth, from multinational conglomerates across the oil and gas, banking and real estate sector to longstanding local players that have recognized the need to communicate and advertise their business visà-vis fiercer market competition. Today, we’re looking at an entirely different picture in light of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022 bid win. The country has been thrust into the international spotlight and, as its need to brand itself on a global level has greatly grown, so has its appeal to companies from all over the world. In the face of this change, Qatari companies are becoming increasingly international and, this has positively challenged us and the communication industry at large to push our offering to world-class levels. Advertising without insight is merely just creativity. Unfortunately, Qatar seems to be under-researched when compared with regional neighbours (particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE); most marketing research that has been done in the country seems to be understated. So, we have been relying on data from Qatar’s neighbours and making some educated assumptions to extrapolate any useful information that can be used into our day-to-day work for clients. This is a particularly challenging situation at a time when the whole industry is advocating data-led creativity; and one that is further exacerbated by the major digital and programmatic push across the GCC region – where data and research, as you can imagine, carry the bulk of the weight. Another challenge is the ever-shrinking talent pool, to which we can attribute three factors: market saturation driven by an overwhelming amount of agencies, both local and international, for a country the size of Qatar; the country’s relative short distance from Dubai, a regional creative hub; and the difficulty in attracting new talent to Qatar as Qatar – at least from a creative point of view – is not synonymous with awardwinning delivery. However, we are confident in that as the market continues to mature and attract international brands, it will bolster the creative output and talent in the country. Hopefully, this will also lead to heftier investments into research as the consumer makeup in Qatar becomes increasingly complex and multi-cultural.