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PHD Challenges You in 10th Brainscape Conference

Events & Awards

PHD Challenges You in 10th Brainscape Conference

Media agency PHD, part of OMG, hosted the 10th edition of Brainscape, its annual thought-leadership event Wednesday, October 30.

This year, the conference focused on the notion of ‘challenger’, questioning the conventional norms and approaches brands usually take and motivating them to adopt a new mindset. A more challenging mindset.

Meaning to convey in a very clear-cut way this idea, the conference’s stage was designed in the shape of a T with a plaster sculpture in the shape of a fist right in the center. ‘Nuff said.

The event began with a keynote address from Luca Allam, managing director of PHD UAE, who walked the audience through the history of Brainscape over the past nine years.

Then followed a line-up of speakers who each addressed challenges in very personal ways.


Malcom Devoy
Chief strategy officer, PHD Worldwide

  • Effectiveness is the extent to which you’ve achieved your goal. Efficiency is a measure of the effort needed to reach that goal.
  • The media industry has used these terms almost interchangeably.
  • You need both but if you don’t focus on effectiveness first, then you’re in trouble.
  • Efficiency is easy to measure but it needs to be in the service of effectiveness.
  • Be likable, be memorable and excite emotions – the three fundamental drivers of sales effectiveness.
  • Digital transformation is not the same as digital media.
  • Focus on getting a share of distinctiveness, not share of voice.
  • The rule-breakers really are ruling.


Ronny Gottschlich
Former CEO of Lidl and founder of Heunadel Retail Advisory

  • As a disruptor, sometimes you don’t invent the game yourself but you just copy.
  • You need to keep in mind that even while disrupting, everything depends on facts and figures. Scrutiny depends on the figures.
  • Be prepared to throw everything, but also be prepared to keep everything.
  • Have a low-ego organization.
  • Have a constant change DNA.
  • Learn fast and don’t make [the same] mistake twice.
  • Being a dramatic disruptor is more than one brilliant idea. It is a mindset of constant change and permanent steps for improving your business growth.

Muatasm Aulaqi
Co-founder of Nomu Hub

  • Establishing a business is tough but sustaining that business is even harder.
  • Have a strong message.
  • Be as purpose-driven as you’re profitability-driven.
  • Build a strong community.
  • Have a purpose and influence others with that purpose.

Natasha Ritz
Former brand lead of Lush, head of comms of Parcelpoint and co-founder of ARNA

  • Create a sense of belonging in the world of branding.
  • Push through fear.
  • Be unapologetic in your cause.
  • Build brand consistency and authenticity from the outset.
  • Create moments of emotional impact with your audience.
  • Make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Go back to your roots.
  • Don’t just accept the status quo; recreate.

Dawn Metcalfe
Executive coach, facilitator, trainer and author

  • If you don’t have challenging individuals in your organization, you don’t end up with challenging organizations or brands.
  • If you want to encourage a challenger mindset in your organization, where people feel safe enough to speak up, you need trust.
  • We are fabulous lawyers for ourselves and extraordinary judges for others.
  • We talk about truth as we perceive them through our different filters of culture, upbringing, etc.
  • We end up talking about our perception of the truth, which is also known as ‘potential.’

Alessandro Lanteri     
Hult International Business School professor, TED-X keynote speaker,  advisor and author 

  • Challenge assumptions.
  • Identify purpose.
  • Make the right decision when it comes to organization culture, style, the kind of talent you hire.
  • If you really are a challenger, take the first step and challenge yourself!


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