Alejandro Fischer, head of strategy & insights, Havas Media
Alejandro Fischer, originally from Uruguay, started his career in Canada working as a digital strategist for UM and Zenith, where he launched the regional social media presence of clients including Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and L’Oreal.
He joined Havas Media in 2011 and has since contributed to the success of clients such as Emirates, Chanel and La Perle. Today, Fischer is responsible for regional strategy across the Havas Media Middle East network, coordinating a unified strategic approach across existing clients and new business ensuring planning consistency and synergies between media and creative.
He holds a Masters in Business Administration from HULT Business School and is a regular contributor and speaker for regional industry publications and events.
What’s the best advice you have received in your career?
“Never make decisions based on fear” is the one piece of advice that has always stayed with me. If you allow fear to take over decision-making, you will always be stuck in reactive mode. Over the years this has taught me to trust myself and make proactive decisions based on strategy, self-trust and growth. Our careers are, at the end of the day, the sum of our choices.
What’s the best advice you have given in your career?
“Focus on quality and the money will follow.” This is something I find myself saying often, and it applies to both the work we produce and when I am asked for career advice. Inevitably, brilliant basics and flawless execution lead to business growth and evolution. From a career path perspective, it’s about focusing less on short-term gains and finding the intersection between passion, mission and vocation (the Japanese call this ‘Ikigai’).
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
Working closely together with a great team, above anything else. A big part of my role is working across disciplines and fueling productive, proactive work. The stronger the relationship between strategy and the agency teams, the more synergies we create together. I cannot think of anything more rewarding than being part of an environment where innovation, creativity and ingenuity are all channeled towards a common goal and you can feel the synapses firing at full speed. Getting it right takes time, but this is how the magic happens.
What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?
When strategy remains strategy. The work we do revolves around understanding our clients’ business, framing challenges and coming up with a strategic vision that translates into tangible solutions and ideas. When we stop short at exploration and recommendation and we are not able to put our approach into action, it’s always disappointing.
If not this, what would you be doing?
A few years ago, I would have said owning a video store, but Netflix took care of that dream, so in this day and age, maybe film blogger or podcaster. Anything that involves watching loads of movies and talking about them for a living.
If you had ten million dollars, what would you do?
I would travel to every restaurant featured on Chef’s Table, go on a shopping spree at Art Dubai and buy a pair of the Back To The Future Nike’s. With the remaining nine million, I would fund some of the great micro-lending initiatives out there that lend money to low-income entrepreneurs and students across the world, whether it’s a loan to build classrooms or pay for materials or tuition fees. These platforms provide financial access to a large population that sits outside of the financial systems we are accustomed to and have an immediate impact on people’s lives.
Finally, why are you (still) in this industry?
Even with all the challenges that have been discussed at length (in-housing, GAFA, transparency), I believe there’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of this industry. There is a renewed focus on client centricity; creative and media are closer than ever; and the toolbox at our disposal has never been fuller. Because we are more data-driven and content-powered, we are able to create meaningful experiences across the consumer’s decision journey in ways that were not possible a few years back. Because we are more accountable, we’ve become more specialized and ROI driven.
It’s not all rosy, we have a lot of work to do: restoring the sense of equal partnership between clients and agencies, ensuring that the next generation feels the same pride and excitement we feel towards advertising, and being even better advocates for the consumer. We are on the right track and I am rooting for our industry.