Page 1

Issue 1 Abu Dhabi edition

All About Brands

magazine Brand Revival page 09 Working with Creatives page 11 Tell a Story, Win an Audience page 25

Abu Dhabi Rising Visionary Urban Planners Meld Future and Heritage


Chairman’s Letter Introducing All About Brands magazine / 01

Cover Story

Jean-Philippe Coulaud: Branding The Vision / 02 Brands The Ins and Outs of Brand Revival / 09 Guru Working with Creatives / 11

Crisis Sense Communicating in a Crisis / 15 Work: How to Work Better with Clients / 17 Social Networks Social Networking Goes Mainstream / 19 Workforce It’s About Attitude. Not Age / 21 Lazy Lexicon “Leader” and “Exclusive” / 23

Online Online Advertising’s Digital Coming of Age / 13

Abu Dhabi edition

All About Brands



chairman’s letter

Dear Readers Welcome to the first edition of All About Brands magazine. Over the coming months and years, we hope that this publication will stimulate debate and become a vehicle for sharing best practice across the fields of marketing and communications.


ll About Brands is a group of

international companies collectively dedicated to building business value for clients through the effective development and management of their brands. We believe that in today’s fast-moving environment, organisations must continually evolve to stay ahead of the game and that brands drive commercial performance better than any other corporate asset. We therefore seek to bring an innovative approach to value creation in all aspects of a brand’s life and whenever it impacts business or people performance. All About Brands is also a holding company that acts as an incubator for creative entrepreneurs. We provide funding, management support and expertise to allow the next generation of creatives and marketeers to establish tomorrow’s leading agencies. In a whirlwind four years, we have established, backed and developed some of Abu Dhabi’s most successful agencies.

“This publication is not really about selling All About Brands and its fabulous group of companies, but it would be remiss of me not to direct you to our group website,”

We have undergone a steep learning curve on how to do business successfully in Abu Dhabi. In this and future issues, we hope to share some of our insights into the business culture, the bureaucracy and the key learnings and experience we have acquired. This publication is not really about selling All About Brands and its fabulous group of companies, but it would be remiss of me not to direct you to our group website, www.aabplc. com, where you can see for yourself the talent we have on offer to assist you with making your brands and your businesses more successful. I hope you enjoy the first issue of the magazine. If you would like to contribute an article or opinion for a future edition, please contact us at Alan Biggar Chairman

branding the vision



Few branding professionals have had Jean-Philippe Coulaud’s current career opportunity. As corporate communications director for the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, he has not only witnessed the branding of a visionary government initiative, but has been intimately involved with the successful implementation of that branding effort.

An Interview with

Jean-Philippe Coulaud Branding The Vision by Andrew Mackay




branding the vision

t is unusual to find governments that think of their

“I have always worked with brands, most notably

nations as brands, much less to find a government

in the luxury car sector,” Coulaud says. “The

with the resources and foresight to proactively plan

creation and management of brands was integral to

and implement a national rebranding effort.

building success in the luxury car market, and my

For the past two years, Coulaud had devoted

expertise in this area was recognized by H.E. Falah

his professional life to one of Abu Dhabi’s more

Al Ahbabi, general manager of the Urban Planning

challenging and strategic branding exercises and to

Council. He tasked me with creating a branding and

explaing the government’s long-term vision for the

communications strategy to build awareness and


support for the Vision 2030 urban master plans.”

Until arriving in Abu Dhabi, Coulaud’s career –

It was the professional challenge that the

apart from a year doing PR for Jacques Chirac’s

launch of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 represents

presidential campaign - was connected to the

and the opportunity to discover the Arab culture

automotive industry. The peripatetic Frenchman

that enticed Coulaud from the world of high-

worked for General Motors in France, the United

performance cars. He also saw that the chance to

States, Germany and Switzerland, then the BMW

build a team from scratch: “I had the full support

Group in France and Belgium, and Bentley in the

of my general manager, who really gave me the

United Kingdom before moving to Ferrari Maserati

feeling – from the first time I met him - that the

in Italy. Along the way, he held various positions in

communication department he was asking me to

various marketing and communication departments,

build and the Vision 2030 branding development,

including a stint as a brand communication specialist

would play a vital role in the strategy he was

involved in the rebirth of venerable and prestigious

intending to put in place to assert the council’s

brands like Cadillac, MG, Bentley, and Maserati.

strategic role. I was also interested to go back to the field of institutional communication, where there were distinctive challenges.”

branding the vision


“The Vision 2030 master plans were created to capture the government’s vision for Abu Dhabi’s development within the context of sustainable and controlled development policies and a resulting positive impact on lifestyle and communities throughout the Emirate. Alongside communicating the overarching vision for the Emirate, we also promoted dedicated master plans for Abu Dhabi city and the Al Gharbia and Al Ain regions,” he said. Along the way, Coulaud said that securing the buy-in of communities was vital to build support for the government planning initiatives. Abu Dhabi is diverse in terms of both geography and culture. Small fishing and farming communities co-exist with bustling metropolitan environments, which in turn have to be sensitive to the needs of delicate coastal The Vision 2030 master plan identities created to capture the government’s strategic vision for Abu Dhabi’s urban development.

and desert ecologies. “At the same time, it was vital to protect the Emirate’s heritage, traditional values and way of life – in other words, to maintain a sense of our national identity,” he said.

The Vision 2030 brand needed to be aligned with the Abu Dhabi brand to ensure they worked with each other seamlessly.




branding the vision

The Abu Dhabi national brand which promotes the Emirate regionally and internationally as a tourism, cultural and business destination


n a parallel initiative, the Office of the Brand of

“The reason we chose to create a brand strategy

Abu Dhabi had just created and launched a national

for these initiatives was to ensure that we

brand for Abu Dhabi to promote the Emirate

could create an emotional connection with our

regionally and internationally as a tourism, cultural

diverse audiences from the outset,” he said.

and business destination.

“While people think about things rationally, it is

“Through their work for the Office of the Brand of

generally their emotions that move them to act or

Abu Dhabi, Brand Faith had become heavily involved

change their behavior. Branding is a proven tool

in the roll out and implementation of the Abu Dhabi

for achieving this. By creating clear brands for

brand,” Coulard said. “Their experience was

each initiative, all reinforcing and related to each

instrumental in guiding us to build and implement our

other, we were able to create the perception that

branding strategy and roll out our related brands.”

this was a series of well-conceived and robust

Coulaud said that the brand for the Vision 2030

planning projects that would guide the future

plan needed to be aligned with the newly created

development of the Emirate built environment for

Abu Dhabi brand to ensure they worked with each

generations, and lead people to identify with the

other seamlessly.

overall vision.”

branding the vision


“Mindful that planning brings certainty, we consulted widely with all stakeholders at every level in order to avoid the pitfalls of piecemeal development that have tended to characterize and define perceptions of other Middle Eastern countries,” he said. Coulaud said that the approach was supported by proactively communicating key messages, including the positive impact that long-term planning would have on the lifestyles of residents as well as the next generation, while protecting the national identity. He said that planning was deeply rooted in the need for sustainability. “While our communications and outreach programme were critical, what set us apart – possibly uniquely – was Estidama. Estidama means ‘sustainability’ in Arabic. We believed the brand would benefit from promoting the existing link between future planning and the principle of sustainability, to preserve and promote Abu Dhabi’s environmental, economic, social and cultural heritage,” Coulaud said, adding that Estidama gave the Urban Planning Council a powerful communications platform that provided further linkage to the overall Vision 2030’s guiding principles and Abu Dhabi’s future urban environment. “Our conscious effort to involve the community helped to articulate the leadership’s vision and imbued the brands with much more than the design of some new logos,” he said. “By marketing the brands to the community and other stakeholders to make it more accessible, we kept everybody engaged right from the start. We then supported this effort with a proactive PR and media relations campaign, which was quite unusual, and I suppose a bit of a departure for a government department.” The impact has been hugely positive, Coulaud says. “It helped raise the new council’s profile by

While people think about things rationally, it is generally their emotions that move them to act or change their behavior. Branding is a proven tool for achieving this.




branding the vision

highlighting our joint role in the shaping of Abu Dhabi and our willingness to engage,” he said. “Second, I think we have been able to instill a sense of ownership and therefore pride in Abu Dhabi’s future development. The brands are now firmly established in the nation’s psyche, with both Vision 2030 and Capital 2030 mentally connected to the overarching national brand of Abu Dhabi. This has given the process a sense of cohesion.” “Finally, the rebranding has allowed Abu Dhabi to reassert its status as the United Arab Emirates’ capital city,” he said. “The economic downturn has shifted the focus regionally towards issues such as sustainability and long-term planning; this has helped the council position the rebranding as much more than a cosmetic marketing tool and given us the platform for a more considered approach to what future generations want from their city.” Coulaud says that he hasn’t needed to modify his approach to brand building in Abu Dhabi, but has been influenced in the way he operates. “Communication between people always played a vital role in Arab culture,” he says. “The result is a certain maturity of the communities in the way of grasping the messages they receive. It’s all about a certain subtlety that asks for the right ‘dosage’ of the substance you are intending to convey. I learn a lot every day, especially from my team.” “I really feel comfortable in this country. To a certain extent, it reminds me a lot of my experience in Italy,” he said. “There was not the ‘culture shock’ some might expect, perhaps due to my Mediterranean roots. Especially within the Urban Planning Council team, I feel the same warm atmosphere I shared with my Italian friends. In fact, while working with my Emirati colleagues, I have discovered that we often have a similar sensitivity to interpret things and ‘Latin’ subtlety to analyze situations and decide how to address specific concerns.” “Overall, I like the pioneering spirit promoted by our general manager,” Coulaud continued. “In the communication area, it’s important to be allowed to take risks and develop innovative concepts. It’s the only way to succeed in carving your own brand communication territory and remain ahead of the game.”

Andrew Mackay is director of All About Brands. He can be reached at

branding the vision Vision 2030 and Capital 2030 communication materials are firmly established in the nation’s psyche and mentally connect to the overarching national brand of Abu Dhabi. This gives the process a sense of cohesion





The ins and outs of brand revival. Tapping into an insight about what made a brand special or loved in the first place is critical to a successful revival – you may establish that a brand has relatively strong latent equity but unless you exploit or capitalise on it in the right way, it stands little chance in such a competitive market.

by Amy Frengley



iving in an environment where the pace of change is so


The decision to offload a brand onto someone else can often

fast and the emergence of new brands and new technologies so

come down simply to profit and size. What’s not a viable

constant means that we are increasingly seeking out those things

proposition for a larger company can be quite the opposite for a

that have some sort of genuine meaning to us or have marked our

small company. Indeed, when evaluating the merits of retaining

lives in some way.

Angel Delight, Kraft determined it to be not worthwhile – however

Against this backdrop, brands of a time past and those that

its sizeable profits and nostalgic quotient made it an appealing

we thought were on the decline, or even dead and buried, are

purchase for its buyer, Premier Ambient. Revival may also be

enjoying the fruits of revival. Yet it takes skill to identify those

propelled by the simple power of protest. Cadbury Wispa and

worth bringing back to life, and even greater skill to do

BBC Radio 6 demonstrated beautifully that mobilising popular

so successfully.

public opinion and taking a grassroots approach to saving a

Indeed, while our growing appetite for nostalgia has been key

brand is not to be underestimated. That said, the same efforts

to fuelling this movement, there are two real markers of successful

were attempted with the Asian Network and ultimately failed. This

reinvention. The first is the level of latent equity in a brand: does it

underscores that that successful revival is ultimately about the

still have a meaningful and useful proposition to make?

commercial imperative – if the audience is falling, if it’s not a viable

Does it have or could it develop a strong customer base?

proposition for its owner, or the investment can’t be justified on the

Does it fulfil a genuine need in today’s world? The second is

P&L, a brand is not going to represent a great target for revival, no

the leveraging of that equity in the right way, staying true to its

matter how much it reminds us of good times past. We can conclude then that the future of an ‘old’ brand can

heritage but making it relevant to people’s lives today. Tapping into an insight about what made a brand special or

generally be determined by four key elements: the product has to

loved in the first place is critical to a successful revival – you

be right; some equity must remain; one shouldn’t stray too far from

may establish that a brand has relatively strong latent equity but

what made the brand great initially; and it must be contemporised

unless you exploit or capitalise on it in the right way, it stands little

in the right way. A final reminder of the interplay of these principles can be seen

chance in such a competitive market. The jury is still out, but arguably MG’s recent foray into town

in the example of Woolworths. Having hit the wall two years ago,

cars has seen it move away from what people loved about the

Woolies recognised that retail had all but gone online, but that it still

brand in the first place – a serious, sporty road car – to something

had a useful proposition to make, albeit to a more defined market

that now looks urban and metro.

– so it became more targeted on younger families, re-formed as an

“The product has to be right; some equity must remain; one shouldn’t stray too far from what made the brand great initially; and it must be contemporised” MG’s senior management noted that the union with Rover meant

online business, focused its offer on the core areas of need for their

that while there is a shareholder imperative to achieve volume,

audience, established the right price point, and hauled itself into the

care needs to be taken to ensure that the heart of the brand is not

21st century. Digital, fresher, brighter, better.


A revival success story? We hope.

By contrast, Mini, and to an extent the Volkswagen Beetle, serve as examples of perfectly executed brand revival. Both correctly identified what was great about the brand in its original form: zippy, small, easily manoeuvrable, a great town car. Then they showed that these attributes were equally relevant today, if not more so, by delivering a style makeover and increasing internal space to create a model bang up to date for contemporary urban life. It’s worth remembering that one business’ albatross may be another’s golden goose.

Amy Frengley is brand strategy director at All About Brands. She can be contacted at



Working with creatives


ure, they’ll listen to you, but you can tell that they secretly think you’re an idiot. If you insist on them doing things your way, they get upset and pout to the point that you want to throw them out of the window. Creative people are also experts in the art of time wasting. They are curious by nature and are easily distracted from the task in hand. In my experience this is something you have to live with. Trying to manage creatives like you manage other members of your team will just not work. Over the years, I’ve worked with a whole range of talented creative people and I’ve learned how to work with them rather than against them. If you get it right it can actually be an enjoyable experience.

We have all had to deal with them – they’re the art directors, designers, writers and marketing consultants who have their own ideas about how everything should be done. Think child genius with a petulant streak, and you’re not far off the mark. They call themselves Creatives, and you have the job of bringing the best out of them.

by Mark Rollinson

1 Work with the cleverest people. If you’re putting together a team, don’t be afraid to be the dumbest person in the room. I have regularly been the dumbest person in the room and actually felt completely undaunted. Great creatives aren’t just good at coming up with brilliant ideas. They’re good at explaining them, debating them, and also seeing other people’s points of view. The creatives who give you the most headaches tend to be the ones with limited talent who can’t string a sentence together to back up their thinking. They tend to sulk at the slightest challenge to their creative genius. My advice: Shoot them! There is also another advantage to being the dumbest person in the room: I usually find that smart people don’t have as much common sense as I do. They come up with great ideas and can debate the brilliance of their ideas for hours, but at some stage you are going to need to create a practical plan. Suddenly, you will find all eyes turning to you for direction. The trick is to let them exhaust themselves of ideas and burn themselves out in debate. This is the stage when they become compliant and obedient, and you can easily bend them to your will.



Great creatives aren’t just good at coming up with brilliant ideas. They’re good at explaining them, debating them, and also seeing other peoples’ points of view 2 No such thing as a bad idea. Rule Number One of brainstorming is, “there is no such thing as a bad idea.” No notion should be too far out, and no idea too crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve participated in brainstorming sessions where someone blurted out a crazy idea, and someone else followed the thread until it led to the idea we all decided to implement. Occasionally getting the dumb ideas out of the way serves to clear our minds so that a really great idea can come bursting forth. And sometimes one stupid notion becomes the inspiration for an innovative, groundbreaking plan. This kind of thinking can only happen in an environment where all ideas are welcome. Bear in mind that ideas are fragile at birth, so let them breathe a while and avoid shooting them down when they are first born, no matter how outrageous they sound.

Work as a team, not individuals. If you’ve handled the brainstorming right, you end up with a long list of concepts to explore. Some are hopeless, but others may be diamonds in the rough. It may be tempting to decide on your own which concepts to develop. Don’t do it. The trick is to let the whole group decide what’s useable and what’s not. It will take a bit more time and there may even be some heated arguments, but commit to coming to a consensus and you will be better off. Your end product will be stronger because of the range of ideas you’ve brought together, and most importantly your creative teams’ egos will still be intact. They’ll feel valued and respected. 3

4 Look for the positives. This is sometimes harder than it sounds. You’re looking at the creative output that the team has placed in front of you. Allegedly it’s based on the brainstorm you were part of. Try as you might, you don’t recognize it. At this point it is quite easy to lose your temper and throw your toys out of the pram. Don’t do it. Search for something positive you can say at first, even if it’s the colour, the typeface chosen or even the paper. You need just one small positive comment and then you can really lay into the rest of the concept. This small crumb of comfort is key to preventing your creative team from either punching you or bursting into tears. It’s sometimes useful to repeat the positive at the end of the meeting, “I love the paper you used to draw that on.” 5 Stroke them. It’s important for creative types to feel wanted and valued. You will find you have to praise them more than you scold them. Creatives don’t really like being told off. They like a nice secure, stable environment. The only chaos they like is in their own heads. Make sure they feel valued and make sure no matter how small a role they may play, they feel like they have contributed and that their contribution is valued. Follow these rules and you may find that mad world of the creative helps you and your business thrive.

Mark Rollinson is board member of All About Brands. He can be reached at



Advertising’s digital coming of age



By Graham Anderson


he economic environment has penalised the marketing services sector, knocking advertising particularly hard. But online marketing is bucking the trend and quite significantly. Spending on internet advertising in the UK topped GBP 35 billion in 2009, and for the first time outstripped television adspend. It was a first not only in the UK but internationally. And this capped an extraordinary decade when in 2000, internet adspend topped GBP 153 million. In other words, online advertising grew by 2,200%. What does this mean for businesses? Well, the simple truth is your money goes a lot further, and you’re able to target audiences more precisely through online advertising than other more traditional means of advertising. It’s certainly no coincidence that we’re seeing a significant uptake in online campaigns for our clients, especially in a straitened economic times when digital campaigns can provide better return on investment. If nothing else, this recession, like others before, is helping to sort the chaff from the grain. The demise of established, but struggling, brands is one impact. Another is the unleashing of technology. This is the first recession of the digital age and the solid increase in internet adspend tells us that some quarters of the media arena are holding up. This has not been a transition that traditional marketing agencies and media players have managed well, let alone businesses and clients who turn to agencies to help navigate them through the marketing landscape.

Those who were slow to understand and respond to the changing technologies and consumer habits are being punished severely. Take Britain’s ITV, for example: ITV is a truly great brand, and it made a play in the new digital world by buying Friends Reunited, but it failed to have a compelling vision for the social networking site and sold it on in 2009 after just four years, losing a cool GBP 100 million in the process. Adam Crozier faces an enormous challenge in trying to turn around the fortunes of ITV as it prepares for the fight of its life. While his tenure at the Royal Mail was controversial, if anyone can do it, he may be the man. He no doubt has a pretty strong understanding of the media landscape having started his rapid rise at Saatchis before dealing with the prickly issue of broadcasting rights at the Football Association. Internet adspend is only set to increase. Those who have been skittish about apportioning their advertising budgets will now become much bolder in chosing the web over other channels. This will put into long-term jeopardy traditional marketing agencies and media providers, like ITV. The internet has truly come of age.

Graham Anderson is a director of All About Brands. He can be reached at


crisis sense

Five golden rules on how to communicate in a crisis


s a communications specialist, i have had a career of stepping in to help clients in crisis. That experience spans a spectrum of sectors and issues and includes working with corporates which include equitable life, dow, altria and unilever. So here are my five golden rules on how to get a grip on a crisis and how you communicate. 1

Acknowledge the problem and take ownership.

In the first few hours after a crisis, a huge amount of misinformation can appear. A friend of mine in one of the world’s leading mining companies tells me that in the event of an incident at one of their operations, the company has a policy of issuing a statement within the first two hours. That was the view internally of how quickly news could carry – especially in high risk industries such as extractives. So the rule here is to communicate early and often. Equally, it is important that you are sure of your facts before you do begin communicating. For example, it’s better to acknowledge that you don’t have all the facts than to try and adopt a message which is unfounded. 2

Be sincere and demonstrate understanding.

If your industry is affected by a crisis – whether or not it’s your company’s fault – you need to acknowledge the impact at a human level and express empathy quickly. I have seen many big corporates resistant to communicating at an early stage of an incident or crisis in fear that it implies culpability or liability on their part. To not express sympathy, opens you and your business to accusations of being uncaring or unconcerned and silence is often read as guilt. But your first and overriding message must be to share your thoughts with those impacted by the incident (internal or external stakeholders) and you will lend every effort to the authorities in addressing the problem. If the fault clearly lies at your hands, acknowledge and accept that as soon as is possible.

By Allan Biggar

Some of the UK’s biggest and best known businesses have faced crises and major reputational issues this year, including BP, British Airways and British Telecom. Reflecting on a career of helping clients to communicate in crises, Allan Biggar, chairman of All About Brands, shares his five golden rules on what to do in a crisis.


transparent and accessible.

Honesty pays, even if you don’t have all the best-in-class systems in place. Being transparent demonstrates confidence in you, your leadership team, your product and your manufacturing and distribution methods. Following a crisis, the spotlight will fall on the way you operate and it is better that your business is allowed to be scrutinised than for the media or other interest groups to tell the story for you. You can control how that probing might be conducted, but make yourself open and accessible. It is critical to the process of rebuilding your reputation.


Leadership in communications.

You need to appoint someone to serve as the public face of the company in the crisis, who is equipped to deal with the challenges that might involve. If you don’t provide a public face early on, the media and other stakeholders will decide on one for you – and who may not be the best placed person to help you. Ideally the public face will either be your most senior manager or someone from the leadership team. She or he will need to accept the role of taking the flak and be prepared to face the ire of stakeholders – which may not be a comfortable role.


Prepare, prepare, prepare.

It is no good having a public face of the company, if that individual is untrained for the role. Equally your communications team need to be prepared. If there is one thing that can be guaranteed, your business will face an issue or crisis at some point – and the only way to know how to deal with it, is to prepare and train in advance. That way, you’ll see where your team can deal with an issue, and where they can’t; where communications worked, and where it didn’t; who performed well and who didn’t (and there’ll be some people on your team who simply don’t have the strengths to deal with crisis situations). Those are all lessons you want to learn before a crisis and not during one. Allan Biggar is Chairman of All About Brands in London. He can be reached at

crisis sense

Six ways to combat rumors By Roman Diukarev


ithin the universe of rumors, there


Information is vital. Determine if the

exist bothersome, but harmless, gossip tales,

rumor has the potential to spread.

little white lies ferried forth by clothesline

If it is localized and has been contained,

conversation, and the whopper of a fib that can

don’t cast your response to the entire

land a genuine crisis on a company’s doorstep.

country. By definition, a rumor can be a

How is a company to deal with them? Common sense is a good start.

falsehood, a half-truth or reality. Attempt to source the rumor, and then to isolate it. 5

In emerging markets due to the black art of even blacker PR, competitors often crank up rumors to gain a competitive advantage. Most stay in the brackish backwater of localism, never gaining steam. However, others can lead to the loss of money, jobs, reputations and more.

sure it is a measured response.

Don’t kill an ant with a sledgehammer. However, if it is a monster rumor with the danger of spreading and causing a business catastrophe, haul out the communications’ equivalent of a nuclear weapon.

We have our own formula for staying one step ahead of the commercial gossip mongers: 1

Inoculate your company by having sound media monitoring in place.

Media monitoring serves as a second line of defense to squelch rumors early. The first line of defense? The company employees who can serve as rumor scouts. 2

Stay ahead of rumors by acting on them early.

If there is a need to respond, make


Finally (and this might be the most

important of our six rules), consider

whether the rumor is based in truth. It could be about something that really

happened or something that could happen. The best way to abolish the rumor is to fix the problem. Then, be honest with your constituencies (the public, press, employees, government, and others). Admit that you had a problem, but explain that it has been fixed. Show evidence of the remediation. In other words, combating rumors takes

Don’t let a rumor that has the consistency

judgment and its cousin, common sense,

of gelatin explode into a full grown crisis.

along with a strong dose of finesse. Combating

Take the pulse of the rumor, and make

rumors can be challenging, but the alternative

decisions on the potential danger to the

– doing nothing – can be disastrous.

company if the rumor were to spread. 3

Don’t overreact, but don’t

Roman Diukarev is president of Willard

underreact, either.

Public Relations in Moscow. He can be

A rumor is not a crisis – though it can be a crisisin-waiting. If it has an immediate possibility of having a significant business impact, the decision to react quickly and strongly is imperative. However, if it is the proverbial tempest in a teapot, don’t risk spreading the rumor further and creating a genuine crisis.

reached at





how to work better with clients O

f course, the rolling stones sing it the other way: “You can’t always get what you want.” However, talking about advertising agencies, we should forget this rule. They believe in other things. Agencies believe they actually can reach the desired goals. In the ad business, getting what the client wants is not only a nice motto for a corporate mission, but a daily routine. To ensure that the advertiser’s message is properly perceived by the customers is the agency’s job. An advertisement message is information your audience will get in the half minute they’ll spend on your ad. So, a good advertising idea should be represented clearly, briefly and elegantly. The main principle is as plain as a pikestaff. If you’ve drawn an apple and someone recognizes that it actually is an apple, you’re on the right path. But if you’ve drawn an apple but everybody says it is a sliced alligator pear, something has gone wrong. The result of an advertising campaign should be relevant to your intentions and actions. An agency and a client need to coordinate with each other in order to reach this. In this case, the agency CAN get what they (clients) want. But how can you promote the coordination? Here are some tips.


UNDERSTAND First of all, ascertain the aim of a campaign accurately. You should do it during the first stage of your work on the project. Go slow. Try to understand your client: Clarify The Rules Of The Game. Define the goals a client wants to reach with his ads. State these aims precisely and even write them down. Using first the client’s task brief, create a basic document that will outline the direction of your work. You should follow the document’s instructions when making any decisions concerning the project. Introduce this guideline document to each member of a creative team – the more information you give them, the more effective feedback you’ll get. This is the basis of all further development. Find Out More Information About Your Client. Make sure you properly understand the positioning of the company you work with. It is a rare occasion to advertise a company from the ground up. Most of the clients already have some history of promoting their products. Analyze it thoroughly in order to be aware of advertising traditions and preferred work methods. Set Up You Priorities For Certain. Never pursue your own creative or business goals which could be detrimental to the client’s interests.. If you’re simply more interested in getting piles of awards for yourself, you’d better switch to charity. There you’ll bring more benefit and sooner satisfy your desire.


Evaluate The Project From The “Final Product” Point Of View. And bear in mind that the consumers will not find everything that the advertiser likes appealing. Have the courage to tell the client about this and explain the possible consequences of such actions. Companies and consumers always find themselves on opposite banks. Agencies are like bridges between them. Therefore, make sure that you are open for both sides. Anticipate Each Other. Do not turn work like a game of table-tennis, with documents, briefs and comments playing the role of a ball. Always remember that you and your client are on the same side of the table. External activity doesn’t always mean productivity. Make your joint meetings as effective as possible: prepare a list of questions, which you would like to discuss.

a good advertising idea should berepresented clearly, briefly and elegantly

Don’t Skip The Preparation Work. Even though it looks unnecessary, it will help you save lots of effort in the long run.

COOPERATE In you have chosen the direction for the advertising campaign, make sure that there would be no problems along the way. Therefore, cooperate with your client: Listen Carefully To The Client At The Early Project Stage. Prepare a few conceptions and let the advertiser decide which one to take. Let him know what you think about each one to make his choice easier. This way, you’ll create foundations of trust for the future work and help the client to understand his needs better. Many clients don’t know clearly what they want, so help them make up their mind.

APPRECIATE Establishing a close cooperation with your client is very important for developing a successful advertising campaign. Therefore, appreciate the client’s efforts. Every advertising agency constantly tells its success story. Everybody is happy to show their portfolio. Everybody boasts of the names of their clients. And very few are really proud of them. Remember: you not only sell your skills to the clients, you also gain experience with them. And since you work side by side, victories in the field of advertisements should be split at least among the two.

Combine Your Knowledge And Skills. Advertisers have the most insight into their own product. Take advantage of that: try to get as much information as possible. It may help you find some creative solution. On the other hand, you have a broad knowledge of advertising techniques. So use it

Lee Iacocca, one of the most successful managers the automobile industry has ever seen, made the representatives of the advertising agency members of the Chrysler marketing department not long after his arrival at this company. It was a clever decision, which is, however, not always possible and appropriate. The main thing that one should remember: cooperation between the agency and its clients is the most important thing. Since both of you are in the same boat, it is necessary to row in the same direction together. The opposite will take you down the stream, toward the waterfalls.

Keep Focused. There is a temptation to start working on a number of concepts at once. Clients always have a lot to tell about themselves. Nevertheless, the message that consumers receive, should be effective and easy to understand. Therefore, do not let the discussion deviate substantially from the chosen direction.

Viktor Nikolenko is senior copywriter at Willard in Kyiv. He can be reached at


social networks

Social networking goes mainstream

social networks


S with most trends, on-line social networking for businesses started in the tech field. The tech side simply better understood the concept and how it could work for their brands. But that was so yesterday. More advertisers of everyday household goods are adding social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the tactics they use to reach current and potential customers. As familiarity with the social media becomes more mainstream, companies like CocaCola, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble have added a new dimension to their marketing arsenal. For example, a company called Land O’Frost has established an online community called Land O’Moms. It’s housed on a website where consumers can exchange recipes and parenting advice, download coupons, read articles from women’s magazines and communicate with popular mommy bloggers. They also have presences on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. “It’s a whole revolution,” David Van Eekeren, president at Land O’Frost in Lansing, Ill., says of the social media. “We need to be part of it, obviously.” This was quite a leap for Land O’Frost. Started by Van Eekeren’s grandfather, the company only decided two years ago to venture into television. But with its “prime consumers, moms,” increasingly devoted to the social media, he adds, it was time for Land O’Frost to figure out how to join in. In discussions with executives at Henson Consulting, a public relations agency, in Wheaton, Ill., “they told us we should be tying all we’re doing” to a single Web site, Van Eekeren says, where mothers “can come and spend time and we can engage them on a different level.” The idea, he adds, is “to be a resource” to them and “not a sales pitch,” the better to “build loyalty from a product perspective.” That “takes a little swallowing,” Van Eekeren acknowledges, recalling that when he looked at an early version of the Land O’Moms Web site “I said, ‘Where’s Land O’Frost?’ ” Van Eekeren soon realized he didn’t want his company “to be a commercial splashed in someone’s face.”

More advertisers of everyday household goods are adding social media like facebook, twitter and youtube to the tactics they use to reach current and potential customers.


Is mobile marketing turning the corner? Could it be that the promise of mobile marketing is catching up to the hype? Every year a few trendy forecasters declare that advertising on mobile devices is poised to become the next big thing in marketing. But every year, the results point to a belly flop. But maybe times are changing. This year, with technology powerhouses like Apple and Google introducing whole new mobile devices and buying up ad firms specializing in the small screen, the forecasts may finally be right. The sales pitch is a familiar one: The mobile phone offers advertisers all the benefits of traditional Internet ads, including the ability to track their effectiveness. It also lets marketers reach consumers on the go, on a gadget they clutch intimately. However, the fact is, according to Juniper Research conducted worldwide, spending on mobile advertising amounted last year to only $1.4 billion. That’s less than one third of one percent of total ad revenue! Some marketers remain wary about trying it, for fear of annoying consumers by intruding on their personal space. A technical toolbox poorly equipped to work with small screens has also hurt; after all, banner ads the size of thumbnails don’t make a big impression. However, industry analysts say that now, with the introduction of Apple’s iPad tablet, an entirely new approach to mobile ads could be near. This is because the iPad, a cross between a laptop and an iPhone, looks more like an iPhone from an ad perspective. It does not support Adobe Flash, the software used for much PCbased advertising. So, to make their ads available to iPad users, marketers may have to develop new kinds of ads, rather than simply adapting existing web ads. “It’s a pretty exciting time for the market,” said Oliver Roxburgh, managing director of the British operations of YOC, a mobile ad agency. “It’s starting to grow up a little.” Mr. Roxburgh’s enthusiasm has been buoyed by the efforts of Apple and Google and is shared by a growing chorus of industry experts. Indeed, Windsor Holden, a principal analyst at Juniper Research, predicts that mobile ad spending worldwide will more than quadruple, to $6 billion, by 2014. And he does not shrink from the prediction.



It’s about attitude. Not age. By Michael Willard


urviving professionally after 50 is all about attitude, not age. But sometimes it is hard to convince the 35-year-old boss in the corner office whose historic frame of reference is Aerosmith – not Elvis. When I was in my 20s, I looked at someone approaching 35 as middle-aged, slightly mildewed; someone at 50 as definitely over the hill and someone my age, close now to mid-60s, as a fellow who plays checkers all day and waits for the Grim Reaper’s visit. These days, if you are looking for a job at 60, you have about the same chance of landing one as being caught in the crossfire of a terrorist attack. It’s not easy out there. I think the same perception – versus the reality – carries over to older professionals who have jobs in advertising and public relations. There is a feeling they have lost a step, and probably need to retire or take a less challenging or less creative job in the agency. This stereotype is sometimes reinforced by people in the industry, such as Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, or even business philosophers like Charles Handy. Sorrell, himself 65, recently said that ad agency management is too old to really understand new or digital media. Business philosopher Charles Handy, nearly 80, once wrote that creative directors are less creative as they grow older. This is nonsense.

The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright did his best work after 60; world-renowned heart surgeon Michael DeBakey helped oversee Boris Yeltsin’s bypass surgery in his 90s, and the famous fried chicken man, Col Harland Sanders created a fast-food empire, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), when he was a pensioner. In my view, Picasso, Matisse, and certainly Monet, did their best work after age 60. And then there is Harold Burson, PRWeek’s Man of the Century a decade ago. His creative and strategic advice is still sought by Fortune 500 companies. He’s 88. But what I find is that many older professionals simply don’t know how to handle themselves, whether in job interview or even when approaching potential clients who just might be younger than their children. For this reason, I put together my list of pointers for professionals who have already journeyed into what some of us call the “yellow leaf” period of our lives and careers: Remember – tattoo it on your arm or somewhere – survival in the business world is about attitude and not age. Steve Jobs will, we all hope, one day be 65. My guess is that no one will think Spanish moss is hanging on his persona. Live in the present. Corporate war stories are great around the bar but make you sound stale in a job interview or when being interviewed by a perspective client about your agency’s services. Don’t get into the “been there, done that” syndrome. In most businesses, particularly the ad and PR business, it isn’t about what you have done but what you know you can do in the future. Give the person sitting before you a glimpse of how you are going to increase his or her business.



6 Tips For Thriving in Tight Markets Whether the challenge is an economic downturn, growing competitive pressure or merely a seasonal lull in business, every business faces slow times occasionally. It may not be as important to analyze what caused the slump in sales as it is to address the issue of recovery. Here are six solid suggestions that should stimulate turnaround thinking: Don’t be tone deaf to current culture. Yes, I watch MTV and VH1 on occasion and subscribed most years to Rolling Stone magazine. This doesn’t mean one is trying to recapture youth. It does mean that one’s frame of reference is something other than the 1960s. Bring different dimensions of your personal brand to the table. In other words, continually add to your professional portfolio new talents – talents that will impress a job interviewer or a potential new client. We’re not talking about the ability to do magic tricks here. We live in a technical world. Introduce yourself to it if you haven’t already. Don’t brag that you once stood in front of the printer waiting for a fax to come out, or that you are lost in any other computer program than “word”. As a corollary of the foregoing, be technically social. We once heard of an agency in New York not being hired because those making the pitch were not on Facebook. Be familiar with social networks, and use them. Don’t be yourself. Be your re-invented self. This goes contrary to a lot of business wisdom out there. However, if you are consistently adding to your portfolios, you will be an interesting subject for a job interview or a client interview. What can we say? It’s a jungle out there and getting tougher. You need to learn to play the game with finesse, or settle for an under-funded retirement and a shuffleboard court in Sun City. Michael Willard is chairman of Willard and international vice-chairman of All About Brands. He can be reached at

1. Take chances. While others are hunkering down, take strategic risks that have a reasonable chance of success. 2. Let the cream rise to the top. Stretch your people. If you can’t motivate them to work harder now to put food on their table in a downturn, they are probably not keepers in the long run. 3. Emphasize service. Service can be a great differentiator. People want to work with people who appreciate their business. Don’t just say that you offer great service, go the extra mile for client and they’ll do the talking for you. 4. Get noticed. If you are an advertiser, advertise and promote. If you are an agency, advertise and promote. When others are in retreat, digging in and ‘saving money’ – that’s when the marketplace will hear your message most clearly. Charge! 5. Think long term. Eventually, the storm clouds will pass. Now is the time you want to position yourself for future growth. 6. Learn new things. You have the time. This is not the time to take a long vacation. It is the time to think seriously about your company, your product, your agency.



Lazy Lexicon

We occasionally examine the words used, misused and abused by the advertising, marketing and public relations business. In our “Lazy Lexicon” feature, we highlight a word that more often than not doesn’t mean what it says.

“Exclusive” E

XCLUSIVE is one of the most misunderstood words in the business. In a media context, an ‘exclusive’ can be a story developed by an enterprising reporter that no one else has, or it can be an exclusive interview given to a particular journalist or publication that appears nowhere else. Every journalist, of course, would prefer that all of his or her stories flowed from brilliant investigative work and developed from information that competing reporters either couldn’t ferret out or simply did not pursue. In the PR business, it is common for a company, politician or institution to feel that there will be better, more complete coverage of a story if the facts are handed over exclusively to a single publication or broadcast outlet. And, to be honest, companies that give exclusive stories feel that this will ensure more favorable treatment, particularly if a PR professional is guiding the story. Exclusives can be dangerous, though.

By giving one reporter favorable treatment, there is a possibility that other reporters covering the same beat will feel slighted. There is also a good chance – if the story is not a real bell-ringer – that other media outlets will ignore the story once it is out. On the other hand, most publications are sufficiently mature to know that exclusives are given from time to time, and that the PR professional probably had a specific reason for letting one journalist know a story before releasing it to others. One scenario that should be avoided, however, is releasing information as an exclusive when, in fact, the news value does not rate “exclusive” status, and is merely a common, garden-variety story. Many journalists, on the other hand, aren’t too concerned about how exclusive the story really is. Often, they equate a private, one-on-one interview with exclusivity – even if the interview is one in an assembly line of such interviews being conducted on the same topic and on the same day.

By giving one reporter favorable treatment, there is a possibility that other reporters covering the same beat will feel slighted



“Leader” Q

uick, what company do you associate with this statement: “We are a leader in the nation’s mobile phone sector.” Are you thinking T-Mobile? Orange? Etisalat? If you named any company at all, you’d be right. The fact is that any one of these companies would have occasion to lay claim to the ‘L-word’ in some regard, but mobile phone companies aren’t alone. Every business refers to itself as a ‘leader’ in one way or another. So, what’s the problem? The sad fact is that we can’t all be leaders. To lead, there must be followers. If nobody’s following, nobody’s leading. Worse than that, ‘leader’ has become a weasel word, a lazy way to claim you’re number one, even when you are quite aware that you are not. It would be preferable to state that “Ajax Chemical sold

more agricultural defoliants last year than all other companies combined.” That’s an accurate and defensible statement. It’s specific, while the bare assertion that “We’re the leader” is a barren boast, devoid of value to the inquiring consumer. The truth is, most firms probably are better at some aspect of their business than their competitors. We live in a ‘niche’ world. That’s why the so-called consumer choice awards have so many subcategories: By carving out tiny segments (“Best Uzbeklanguage newspaper in Poltava”) we can all be winners. Real leaders aren’t lazy, and they are honest. Before carelessly asserting that your company is a leader in its field, think of a more accurate, more informative and more specific claim, and use it instead. That would be showing real leadership!

The sad fact is that we can’t all be leaders. To lead, there must be followers


the presenter

Tell a story, win an audience By Scott H. Lewis


love to see people improve their speaking skills. Over the years, I learned that desire has a lot to do with eventual success, and practice is certainly an element. There is, however, a secret to delivering an interesting presentation. It’s a remarkably simple approach, and one that leaves the speaker coming across as relaxed, friendly, and above all, competent. The secret lies in the phrase, “Tell me a story.” If you ask me to describe how the internal combustion engine works, I’ll first have to research the topic (I’m one of the few men with little interest in, much less understanding of, mechanics). Once educated, I’ll probably still fumble around a bit in an extemporaneous presentation on the topic, because it’s an alien subject to me – one with which I have neither familiarity nor interest. Ask me, though, for a description of my last vacation, and I’ll enthusiastically paint word pictures. I’ll provide details of the people I met and places I visited, and tell a story or two that will bring my trip to life in your mind. Perhaps it will leave you wanting to see these places as well. As a former journalist, I know that the best way to get anyone to talk about anything is to first get them talking about themselves. I am my favorite topic of conversation, just as, probably, you are yours. Forget charges of egotism – the truth is, we like to talk about ourselves, our families, our friends, our jobs and our travels because the subject matter is both familiar and interesting to us. I can ask about four questions to almost anyone and prime their linguistic pump. That’s usually all it takes to find that “sweet spot” or “hot button” that loosens tongues.

the presenter

Once I have a subject rattling away on a favorite subject, they become relaxed. That’s when, as a reporter, I’d start asking my ‘real’ questions – and getting answers that would normally have been guarded under mental lock and key. Sometimes, the wrong people make presentations – or rather, the presenter doesn’t match the presentation. We see this when the head of a department presents findings developed by a group of subordinates. The people who have the expertise deliver information to the boss, who lacks an intimate (much less enthusiastic) understanding of the data. Then everyone – including the boss – is surprised when the presentation falls short of expectations.

As a former journalist, I know that the best way to get anyone to talk about anything is to first get them talking about themselves. Sometimes the mark of a leader is to introduce a subordinate, then step aside and let the person who actually worked on the project make the presentation. They will be more at ease with the information, and will make a more natural presentation. This does not mean that if you may understand the material completely, you cannot make a bad presentation. Never underestimate our innate ability to construct roadblocks to our own success! Our preconceived ideas as to what the audience expects, what graphs or illustrations are required, and the degree of formality necessary all work to impede creation and delivery of a great presentation.


Rather than opening Power Point and starting to build slides full of data, text, graphs, charts, and the other flotsam and jetsam of corporate presentations, go into a quiet room with a tape recorder and ask yourself this question: “So, what’s your presentation about?” With the recorder running, tell your story, just as you would if a colleague had asked the question. You’ll find that telling someone about your project is easy, and that you automatically organize your thoughts pretty well. Also, because it’s natural to tell others about what we’re doing, there will be no stress involved. Your palms will stay dry, and your heart won’t race. When you’re finished, review the tape. You’ll hear a confident, organized and compelling speaker – you! Transcribe the tape. It’s the bulk of your presentation. Add the necessary charts and graphs, a short introduction and a shorter conclusion. As you practice giving the presentation (yes, you will still need to practice), you’ll find that you feel comfortable and much more confident, whether you’re speaking to a tape recorder or an audience. After all, you’re no longer making that dreaded important presentation, you’re just telling your listeners a story – a story that you know better than anyone!

Scott H. Lewis is an executive vice president at Willard. He can be reached at

FACTFILE Jean-Philippe Coulaud worked on Jacques Chirac’s presidential campaign and the auto industry before joining the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.

All About Brands magazine, Abu Dhabi edition, is published by All About Brands PLC, 77 St. Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4AA, U.K. The magazine is distributed without charge to corporate executives throughout the United Arab Emirates. The magazine is produced by Willard, a full-service advertising, public relations and publishing firm headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine; an All About Brands Company.

The best way to combat harmful rumors, crisis expert Roman Diukarev writes, is to investigate, determine the truth and fix the problem.

Publisher: All About Brands

Reviving a flagging brand may feed a nostalgic need, but if the product’s audience is shrinking, it probably isn’t a worthwhile idea, says Amy Frengley.

Designer: Denis Khaibulin

Mark Rollinson says that, when working with creatives, it’s OK not to be the smartest person in the room. Work with the cleverest minds you can find, he recommends.

Chief Editor: J. Michael Willard Editors: Scott H. Lewis, Oksana Yerofeyeva Illustrator: Ruslan Brygar Contributors: Graham Anderson, Roman Diukarev, Amy Frengley, Viktor Nikolenko, Mark Rollinson, Andrew Mackay, Michael Willard, Scott Lewis, Allan Biggar. Please address correspondence to: To advertise, contact:

Spending on internet advertising topped GBP 35 billion in 2009 – surpassing TV ad spend for the first time. Publication Office: Willard, 3/4, Malozemelna Street Kyiv 02132, Ukraine Fax: +38 (044) 353-1026 Printed in Ukraine. ISSN 2220-542X

Welcome, All About Brands magazine! Willard is proud to welcome All About Brands magazine to its collection of publications. As a new member of the All About Brands group of companies, we are delighted to produce this exciting and colorful new periodical.

Watch for new issues five times a year. To contribute or advertise in our Abu Dhabi, London or Mumbai editions, contact:

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