Meet the MENA Effie Thought-Leadership Program's speakers.
The pandemic has turned life and business upside down, challenged plans, and tested processes. In this context, companies need to seriously raise their game to be effective and succeed. The MENA Effie Thought-Leadership Program is your chance to Rise and Shine. Two mornings of sessions that will show you how to improve your performance and impress the Effie jury.
Leading up to the event organized by Mediaquest on May 18-19, Communicate presents a series of interviews with the speakers on what effectiveness in marketing means in 2021.
Today, meet Sami Joost, Head of Communications/Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability (PASS) at Bayer Middle East. Sami will be part of a panel discussing "Why organizations with a purpose succeed in tough times."
What has the pandemic changed in terms of marketing effectiveness?
The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered business and consumer behavior. Social distancing, quarantining, and staying home have impacted our lives globally and their influence will be felt for many years to come.
Several businesses and marketers have adjusted their expectations on their marketing activities’ ROI. Some have been put under pressure to chase short-term ROI just to survive; others used a different strategy and opted for the benefits of long-term brand building, believing that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses of an overreliance on short-term tactics.
From a communications perspective, the world’s media consumption has been changed by this shift – we’ve noticed a move away from traditional media models towards emerging digital media as well as dialogue-driven channels. This new digital direction will focus on making sure that organizations are using intelligence in real time to right-size their marketing spend specifically targeting their audiences, with a strong view of maximizing business performance.
I believe that the pandemic has allowed marketers to re-adjust their strategies and plans in a way that enables them to be more effective.
What has been a salient case of creativity and effectiveness in the last year?
When the Middle East went into lockdown, everyone – from manufacturers and suppliers to doctors and patients – had to adjust at lightning speed. In just ten days, we had trained all our personnel on how to use our virtual meeting platform. We introduced the software to our customers, too, and immediately received positive feedback.
We also created virtual rooms and invited world-renowned medical experts to ‘meet’ local doctors. Some of the most fascinating thought-leaders in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and many therapeutic areas, from the US and Europe, have spoken to our customers in Dubai. These extremely valuable sessions provided and continue to provide the opportunity to get close to the world’s most prestigious experts, to share knowledge, and to spark innovation in a way that our industry has never done before.
Being at the front end of digitalization is something that we as a company, and as an industry, need to understand. How can we use emerging technology to best serve our customers? How can we innovate and deliver a more efficient, flexible and cost-effective service? These are key questions that we need to ask in the months and years ahead.
In a crisis, who reaps the biggest rewards and why: the brave or the cautious?
The pandemic has shown that brands need to be flexible and brave, but that every action must be underpinned by customer trust and strong research-led thinking. At Bayer, we like to act bravely, influenced by caution.
We seek to listen, understand, take concerns seriously, and respectfully engage in dialogue, especially where dialogue is hard or inconvenient. We strive to create shared value and achieve win-win situations in everything we do.
Our innovative products and solutions have long leveraged cutting-edge research to address unmet societal challenges. Collaboration and disruptive technology is key to this, driving the digitization of our entire value chain.
This innovation is built on trust, an intangible asset that plays a critical role in Bayer’s business success. Our brand is amongst the most powerful and trusted worldwide. We strive to foster reputation and ultimately deliver greater value for our business and to society.
It is in that spirit that we want to collaborate with our business partners along the value chain and to take accountability. Our goal is to help people and communities thrive by partnering and doing business with us. Moreover, we seek common ground with public policy and regulatory stakeholders. We listen carefully to diverse points of view and engage in thoughtful dialogue. This requires all engagements and communications be truthful and transparent.
What does the new normal mean to you?
Covid-19 has brought great tragedy and economic disruption. Ten years from now, I believe that we will look back on 2020 with sadness but also with a degree of amazement, as we count the sheer number of innovations that the effects of the pandemic have and will continue to spark in the months and years ahead.
Our strategy at Bayer as a diversified life science company remains unchanged, especially in the current situation, with the systemic relevance and resilience of our businesses becoming particularly evident in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated a number of trends, meaning that we need to execute our strategy and implement the transformation of our company at a faster pace.
As vaccine rollouts continue around the world, already people are talking about a return to normal. But never again will we experience normality as we knew it. The world is changing, and ultimately for the better.
How prepared were you for the unexpected and how have you adapted to uncertainty?
Uncertainty has always been present in healthcare. We are facing a growing and aging world population and the increasing strain on nature’s ecosystems. These are among the major challenges facing humanity. As a global leader in health and nutrition, we are able to play a key role in devising solutions to tackle these challenges.
The pandemic has pushed the accelerator pedal on our own ongoing digital transformation at Bayer. To stay ahead of this trend, we have accelerated our momentum to engage with target audiences over digital formats. We are seeing new and highly-engaged audiences as consumers and businesses look to grow their own health education and awareness.
Some argue that limited budgets enhance creativity. What do you think 2021’s creative output will be like?
Audience understanding and engagement continues to be at the heart of the most successful creative outputs, whatever the budget. We operate on a quality-over-quantity approach for our communications, using persona profiling to provide hyper-targeted activations that meet our audiences’ needs. Our teams develop and respond to an entire set of personas to map the needs of target groups as accurately as possible.
The underlying goal of this persona-based communications approach is to ultimately develop channels and formats, which engage in a dialogue-driven manner and help to build trust by underlining the company’s value proposition for society.
It is of utmost importance to constantly measure these communications activities to determine whether the chosen tactics resonate with the respective target groups. For this reason, we base every campaign or initiative on clearly defined KPIs, which helps us to constantly improve within budget.
What are the top three skills the marketer of the future will need?
To attend the MENA Effie Thought-Leadership Program, book your tailored experience now.