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 Nadim Ghrayeb, General Manager Marketing, Customer Experience, and PR at Infiniti International Markets. Nadim will participate in a panel around "Doing lighthearted marketing right."
What has the pandemic changed in terms of marketing effectiveness?
The pandemic has been a challenge for industries across the board. However, it has also been a positive catalyst for change, forcing marketers to pivot and accelerate towards a digital-first approach to reach their audiences. Not only have we been able to reach our customers more effectively as they spend more time online, but we have also noticed consumers becoming more discerning in their purchase decisions. Traditionally, the car-buying process would take place entirely in the showroom but this has gradually moved into a hybrid online/offline model. In the past few years, this has shifted to 50% of the consideration phase taking place online as consumers researched their car preferences digitally and confirmed their purchasing decision in person at the showroom.
Since the pandemic, this has now moved to 80% online and just 20% in the showroom, and we have therefore had to adapt. Standing out in a busy online marketplace has been priority number one and what’s more, traditional product tactics are now being favored for content-rich brand stories - and not just any brand stories; consumers, now more than ever, want brands that align with their core values as the pandemic has highlighted the need for social cohesion. Therefore, consumers are looking more at organizations that are purpose-driven rather than product-driven, making corporate social responsibility a key business pillar in today’s setting.
What has been a salient case of creativity and effectiveness in the last year?
Prior to the pandemic, we launched the ‘Eyes on You’ road safety initiative, which sheds light on parents' on-road behaviors and the impact these have on their children. Through a regional survey that demonstrated the disparity in road safety knowledge amongst parents in the GCC and a series of school workshops that empowered children to become road safety ambassadors, we were able to champion the safety of children in vehicles whilst, as a brand, standing for a very important cause.
During the pandemic, we evolved this initiative and developed an online auction platform that reinvented the traditional car-purchasing model and made it entirely online. Taking place during Ramadan 2020, the online auction gave new car buyers great savings on two QX80 SUVs, with a portion of the proceeds used to purchase infant car seats that were donated to new mothers in Dubai hospitals, in partnership with the RTA.
The auction exceeded our communications KPIs and saw exceptional consumer engagement and exemplary brand health as the campaign was able to establish an emotional connection with car buyers.
In a crisis, who reaps the biggest rewards and why: the brave or the cautious?
In a crisis, it has been proven that those who act boldly and continue communicating with their customers weather the storm. This was demonstrated by luxury brands such as LVMH, that pivoted extremely quickly at the start of the pandemic and was one of the first to produce designer facemasks which quickly became the must-have lockdown accessory. Likewise, brands such as Dyson started producing ventilators whilst others distributed hand sanitizers, showing that those that can diversify and stand for a purpose can earn customer loyalty.
That being said, brands need to continue to appeal to their core customers or risk losing market share to competition in the market. Therefore, it is a balancing act and it is those marketers who turn consumer insights into informed, innovative actions, who reap the biggest rewards.
What does the new normal mean to you?
In today’s market climate, the consumer journey needs to be convenient, seamless, and consistent. Therefore, an omnichannel customer experience will be the way forward in order to ensure brand loyalty and attract new customers in the process.
How prepared were you for the unexpected and how have you adapted to uncertainty?
During the pandemic, we launched the ‘Infiniti Configurator’ across 11 markets in the Middle East, bringing the personalized showroom experience to the customer in their own home through an interactive and engaging platform.
The configurator enables potential car buyers to explore and modify six Infiniti models seamlessly on all devices (pc, mobile, tablets). It also supports the customer in their journey when considering Infiniti products, allowing users to view the car’s exterior and interior in 3D, customize the colors and finishes, hear each car’s unique sound with an engine start-up, and place the model in a true-to-life background to get the car’s perspective in a realistic scenario.
As a result of the brand’s direction to support brick-and-mortar showrooms through e-commerce, we believe that we have been able to adapt to the effects of the pandemic effectively, catering to our customers’ needs by providing a seamless online experience, while providing an intuitive platform for new customers to learn more about the brand effortlessly.
Some argue that limited budgets enhance creativity. What do you think 2021’s creative output will be like?
Although limited budgets sometimes force marketers to think creatively, I would argue that it is consumer expectations that drive creativity. In the current climate, marketers should aim to curate more storytelling in order to forge deeper connections with customers, creatively leveraging social media and digital platforms to drive ongoing conversations with their core customers while aiming to attract new ones. In this way, marketers can measure their campaigns based on consumers engaging and talking about the brand, rather than KPIs alone.
What are the top three skills the marketer of the future will need?
Marketers of the future will need to be able to curate content effectively in order to facilitate multi-channel storytelling. As marketing communication channels continuously evolve, marketers need to be inquisitive in order to incorporate and leverage these channels as part of the marketing tools. Finally, marketers will need to be able to leverage data and insights to use strategically as a north star to develop their campaigns.
To attend the MENA Effie Thought-Leadership Program, book your tailored experience now.