MediavataarMe News Desk
Mindshare, an agency dedicated to innovative brand development for its clients, recently announced the appointment of Riham El Sawy as Managing Director of its Egypt office.
El Sawy has amassed a wealth of experience in challenging areas in the industry including youth marketing, content development, and digital strategies. Her impressive client portfolio spans a wide selection of goods and services. Prior to joining Mindshare, El Sawy has worked at Zenith, MCN and Ingredients.
El Sawy graduated from the American University in Cairo with an academic background in economics, mass communications, and business administration. She quickly established herself in the advertising and media field locally, and then expanded her horizons to regional companies that span a diverse array of industries.
Speaking on the occasion, Mindshare MENA CEO Samir Ayoub said, "We are delighted to appoint Riham El Sawy as our new MD of Mindshare Egypt. With her specialized insight into the Egyptian market and successful track record, we strongly believe that Riham will make a big difference and boost significantly our market position in Egypt.
Mobile has emerged as the most multi-dimensional channel available to marketers, enabling customer interaction on a personal level with new forms of engagement and rewards while providing retailers with valuable and exciting new marketing and advertising opportunities, according to TNS MENA one of the world's largest custom market research organisations.
The company's CEO, Steve Hamilton-Clark was citing the recent 2013 TNS Annual Mobile Life Report, which draws on consumer behaviour, motivation and attitude responses from 38,000 people in 43 countries to help companies develop a mobile business and marketing strategy.
The study reveals that the UAE enjoys a 73% penetration of mobile internet usage while MENA and global figures remain at 41% and 51% respectively. The study also shows that 83% of users in the UAE agree that mobile "is an extension of me — I feel lost without it" with 81% stating their mobile is their most important piece of technology.
"As more people gain access to smartphone technology, they are eager to use new content and multiple functions as long as they deliver convenience, experience, reassurance, relevance and independence," explained Hamilton-Clark.
"Saving consumers time, effort, and delighting them with simple convenient solutions is key for a brand to remain in the mobile circle of trust."
The study also highlights that customers want to interact with the world around them as they look for brand experiences that engage, entertain and remain top of mind.
"We found that consumers want to take the risk out of decision making and have the reassurance of assessing products and offers with relation to sources that they trust to make an informed, independent decision," added Hamilton-Clark.
"Furthermore brands that deliver relevant and timely solutions, linked to a location or topics of interest hold greater potential for consumer uptake. However customers seek freedom and independence to make choices and conduct activities when and where they want to."
Hamilton-Clark stressed that as mobile engagement grows, consumer brands must be ready to manage a full spectrum of customer services, from assisting pre-purchase research, through to product selection, purchase, delivery, as well as a slick after-sales service.
"While we continue to choose diverse ways of seeking purchasing reassurance, an integrated approach that meets customer needs at all touch points is essential," he concluded.
McDonald's UAE announced the launch of the brand new Share Box, giving customers across the country a reason to share.
With three delicious Share Boxes to choose from, in Chicken, Beef or Bites, families and friends can now enjoy a selection of McDonald's favourites, all in one box.
Mr. Rafic Fakih, Managing Director and Partner of McDonald's UAE said: "The McDonald's Share Box is a brand new concept and proposition for our customers in the UAE, and indeed throughout the wider GCC. McDonald's has always been a family restaurant, and the Share Box truly embodies the idea of coming together as a family, or as a group of friends to share a meal and an experience together. It's about giving our customers more opportunities to share in a simple, enjoyable, affordable way, and we feel the Share Box truly delivers on this."
The McDonald's Share Box offers a little something for everyone. Chicken lovers can enjoy the Chicken Share Box, offering a delicious collection of two Chicken Big Macs, two Spicy McChickens, nine pieces of McNuggets, two Large Fries and four regular soft drinks. Beef fans may opt for the Beef Share Box, which offers two Big Macs, two McRoyales, nine pieces of McNuggets, two Large Fries and four regular soft drinks. Those looking for a little variety will enjoy the Bites Share Box that packs a punch with eight pieces of McWings, eight pieces of Spicy Chicken Strips, nine pieces of McNuggets, two Large Fries and four regular soft drinks. McDonald's Share Box is available from May 28th across the UAE.
McDonald's operates in more than 375 restaurants in the GCC, all of which are locally owned and operated by entrepreneurs. McDonald's is the world's leading food service organisation serving 69 million people each day at more than 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries.
Vital for economic growth but facing serious challenges, Middle Eastern small and micro businesses are displaying unwavering entrepreneurial spirit, according to new research commissioned by Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces.
Even though some might have fallen into business ownership through redundancy, a staggering 78% of Middle Eastern entrepreneurs reported that given the chance they would do it all over again. Globally, this rises to 85%.
This latest Regus research, canvassing over 26,000 business managers and owners in 90 countries, confirms that nimble and flexible Middle Eastern entrepreneurs regard lack of access to credit (75%) as the biggest deterrent to setting up a business today. The state of the economy (70%) and red tape (69%) followed. Nearly two-thirds of Middle Eastern entrepreneurs also cited lack of government support and market domination by large corporations as serious hindrances.
Commenting on the findings, Kory Thompson, Country Manager UAE at Regus says: "Thank goodness for the Unstoppable Entrepreneur! Who knows what state the economy would be in if they decided to play safe and downsize like a lot of their larger and arguably better resourced competitors. Despite the best efforts of the government they still face challenges."
Julius Po, Managing Director of Design Image in Dubai said, "Running my own business was the best decision I've made, and becoming a Regus customer three years ago allowed me to keep my overheads low which was a priority for my business. There are always challenges you face in a start-up but Regus played a big part in ensuring my life was made easier - I also have a better work life balance now."
SMEs are "engines of growth" accounting for up to 99% of businesses and 40 to 50% of GDP. Globally, 50% of all jobs are generated by SMEs, yet, in spite of this, they attract just a tiny proportion of overall investment across the G20.
Regus' Kory Thompson adds: "Entrepreneurial firms will need to remain nimble to navigate choppy waters and succeed. The lack of institutional support means that business owners will continue to increasingly favour flexible working in order to avoid lengthy leases and free up their working capital so they can concentrate on growing their business."
"Already globally, more than half of entrepreneurs are using flexible working locations for most of the week, compared with 39% for those that do not own their businesses."
In line with the company's ongoing expansion and growth in new geographical markets, Souq.com has recently launched its first regional advertising campaign and established its new positioning statement as 'happiness in every box'.
The new campaign, which was launched in May into the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt markets, was rolled out across a variety of platforms including online and TV.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, Souq.com's Chief Executive Officer, said: "As Souq.com is the Arab world's favourite online shopping site, we wanted to highlight the feeling our customers get when they receive their much-anticipated products, direct to their door. This is why we went with the theme of 'happiness in every box'."
"We rolled this advertising campaign out across key regional markets in which we now operate and are continuing to see growth in these areas, as increasing numbers of consumers in the region realize the convenience and benefits of shopping online."
The advertisements are a two-part storyline and showcase the unexpected reactions of some entertaining characters, as they get interrupted by a Souq.com delivery. They also highlight a number of value-added services Souq.com offers, such as cash-on-delivery and free returns.
Along prime time TV, the campaign is making innovative use of online video advertising capabilities, letting the audience decide how the story ends.
Edelman is one of a number of firms that has been hired to support the 2015 Cricket World Cup, taking place in Australia and New Zealand.
The firm's Australian operation has been selected to handle the public relations component of the tournament's overall marketing communications programme, in tandem with New Zealand affiliate Acumen Republic.
The firms secure the global assignment following a competitive tender that began earlier this year.
In addition, the Local Organising Committee for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has also selected CHE Proximity Australia and Clemenger BBDO New Zealand to provide marketing services, while OMD will oversee media buying.
The 2015 World Cup marks the first time the tournament has been held in Australia and New Zealand since 1992. ICC general manager Campbell Jamieson noted that the agency roster's international reach would be "crucial to support the tournament and our commercial and broadcast partners' objectives."
The event is expected to draw a TV audience of almost one billion, and has sold the TV rights to ESPN Star Sports and Star Cricket for $2bn.
"The appointments are an important step forward for the tournament," added ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 chief executive John Harnden. "These agencies will work closely together to ensure we provide our fans with the very best experience across both host countries and globally."
MHP Communications has been charged with providing global communications support for the multibillion dollar Riyadh Metro project, which aims to radically transform public transport in the fast-growing city.
The agency was selected following a competitive tender by the Saudi capital city's government planning body, the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA).
The brief is thought to be worth at least $1m, encompassing a public relations programme that supports the Riyadh Metro’s current global procurement process through to its construction and development.
The communications effort aims to drive behaviour change and encourage uptake of the planned metro system among Riyadh car users, who are regularly subject to chronic traffic congestion. In addition to Saudis, MHP will also aim to generate support among regional and international audiences.
The Riyadh Metro project will introduce six metro lines, a city-wide bus system, and park and ride facilities into a city with little existing public transport infrastructure. Zaha Hadid has been appointed to design a key interchange station.
The project is overseen by the ADA, which has shortlisted four consortia to build the system, although one of these - Australia's Strabag - pulled out of contention last month.
The communications programme is being led by MHP head of corporate Mark Cater, overseeing an agency team that includes media relations, political advocacy, digital and social media, design, marketing, advertising and strategic planning.
"Our communications programme will help maximise understanding amongst local communities and regional and global influencers of the unprecedented opportunities brought by this world-class public transport system," said Cater.
MHP will run the business from offices in Riyadh and London.
Source:The Holmes Report
The 2013 Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey, conducted by Bayt.com, the Middle East's number one jobsite, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, has revealed that 67% of UAE respondents believe that their current salary is lower than that of other companies in their industry, with only 3% stating a high level of satisfaction with their current remuneration.
Eight in 10 believe that the cost of living will continue to increase.
About the Respondents
A quarter of the survey's UAE respondents (25%) have been in their current career path for up to three years. Almost a third (29%) have spent up to one year with their current employer, while 30% have been with them for four-seven years. Four in 10 (38%) have one-five people currently reporting to them, and 37% oversee six or more employees. The majority of survey respondents are either midway (39%) or fairly senior (31%) in their position.
Most UAE respondents have held either one (26%) or two (38%) jobs in the past five years. The majority claim that they spend on average between one-three years in a job, though 23% held a position for at least six years.
The preferred pay structure in the UAE is 100% fixed-pay, according to 63%, with the more preferable incentives being those that are performance-based (62%), or professional training and development courses (41%). Commission for business or revenue generated (25%) and holiday allowances or foreign trips (25%) are also popular.
Respondents' Current Package
In terms of their current salary, a fifth of UAE respondents (20%) receive their basic salary only, while 65% receive their basic salary plus benefits. A third (33%) state that 51-75% of their salary package is their basic monthly salary. Additional benefits received from UAE companies include personal medical insurance (50%), personal annual air ticket (46%), and gratuity (33%).
The majority (50%) of UAE professionals state medium satisfaction with their current salary, with only 3% claiming high satisfaction.
Salary Comparisons and Expectations
The overwhelming sentiment in the UAE is that the salaries received by respondents in their current companies are lower than other companies in their industry (according to 67%), with 44% claiming that they did not receive a raise in 2012. The majority of those who did receive a pay increment were given 1-5% (21%), but 48% are unhappy with the amount received.
In 2013, UAE respondents are torn with regards to receiving a raise: 27% expect to receive up to 15% and 21% expect to receive more than 15%, while 28% do not expect anything.
Cost of Living and Savings
More than half (53%) of UAE respondents state that their cost of living increased by more than 15% in 2012. They believe this is mostly due to increased rents (80%), rising food and beverage costs (69%), and education fees (38%). Eight out of 10 (78%) believe that the cost of living will continue to rise in 2013.
Four in 10 (37%) UAE respondents save up to 15% of their monthly personal income; a third (32%) repatriate 15% or more.
"The results of the 2013 Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey suggest that salaries are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living in the UAE. This is a general trend across the Middle East that companies must begin to address; in doing so, they will be able to contribute to building employee loyalty and satisfaction, and will have the opportunity to reduce the number of employees looking to change jobs within the next year," said, Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com. "The Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey is an annual study that reveals the levels of satisfaction and factors effecting as much across the Middle East and North African region. This information is vital for employers and job seekers in the region, in order to gauge individual country situations and make informed, empowered career and life decisions."
"Drivers of loyalty in particular are areas that employers in the region should consider, in order to slow what would seem to be a very transient workforce. Employees across the MENA region seem overall dissatisfied with their current packages and the rising cost of living; if the two do not draw closer, then there could be potential economic difficulties in the coming years," said Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.
Perception of Salaries in the Country and Quality of Life
When asked whether salaries are increasing or decreasing in their country of residence, 28% of UAE respondents said that they are 'increasing marginally', with an additional 28% stating they are 'increasing moderately', and 19% state that they are staying the same. Factors causing salaries in the UAE to increase are considered to be inflation and the rising cost of living (54%), growth in opportunities and economic growth (39%), and good corporate performance (17%). Reasons for salaries not increasing are seen to be the poor economy (29%), poor corporate performance and profitability (23%), and more top talent than available jobs (23%).
UAE respondents believe that they enjoy a standard of life that is mostly either on par with or above the standard of other residents in the same generation; 39% state that their standard of living is 'about average', 27% claim to be 'somewhat better off', and 17% are 'much better off'.
Six in 10 (60%) respondents intend to look for a better job in the same industry in the next 12 months, while 42% will look for a better job in a different industry and a fifth (18%) will look to other Middle Eastern countries for better jobs. This is likely because 31% of respondents believe that there is an excess supply of talent in the UAE.
Drivers of Loyalty
Loyalty to their current company is mostly driven by the salary UAE respondents receive - 47% believe that their loyalty is 70-100% linked to their remuneration. Other variables that strongly drive loyalty in the UAE are opportunities for long-term career progression (35%), the respondents' line manager (32%), and colleagues and work environment (32%).
Data for the Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey, May 2013, was collected online from April 28 - May 5, 2013. Results are reported on a base of 15,247 respondents. Countries that participated are UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
Within less than two decades, social media has revolutionised the way people interact with each other. ICDL GCC Foundation, an organisation that promotes digital skills and cyber safety across the Gulf region, believes that while the technology is here to stay, people must continue to exercise caution in sharing personal information online so as to avert cyber threats.
"Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Tumblr are social media tools that have now become household names and their influence as a communication channel continues to increase. In the Middle East and North Africa, we recently saw how social networking sites can bridge communication gap. However, we must remember that despite being effective vehicles of social interaction, social media can also be abused and exploited by people with malicious intent," said Ezzo.
According to the Arab Social Media Report published by the Dubai School of Government, Facebook usage in the Arab world has almost tripled in the last two years to reach over 45 million as of end June 2012 - about 50 per cent higher than the 37.4 million recorded in January of the same year.
Out of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), those in the GCC posted the highest Facebook population in the region. The report also noted that youth (those between the ages of 15 and 29) represent the majority or 70 per cent of Facebook users in the region, a number that has been holding steady since April 2011.
Ezzo said the figures point to a widening adoption rate of social media technology among young people. Users, who are often not aware of the security or privacy setting of various social networking sites, are more prone to fall victim to cyber-attacks.
"Facebook has undoubtedly been a major game-changer in the social networking sphere. Globally it is reported to have over one billion users. According to an independent survey, if Facebook was a country, it would have the world's third largest population, more than twice the size of the United States," Ezzo explained.
"This gives us an idea of how vast the social media community is growing and how potentially dangerous it can be for young users. However, parents can help their children use social websites more safely by first talking to them about why they have to be cautious online, and how they can protect themselves from cyber predators."
Oftentimes, according to Ezzo, many children find it difficult to distinguish between real life and virtual life. However they use social media - whether to play games, interact with friends and family or post videos and photos - they should understand that the Internet is full of billions of people who can access their personal and private information with just a click of a button.
In a bid to protect children from cyber threats such as addiction, bullying and exploitation, ICDL GCC Foundation has partnered with law enforcement agencies as well as educational and other concerned government organizations across the GCC countries, to visit schools as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the subject amongst teachers and parents.
"We encourage parents to talk to their children about social networking. They can even make this a family affair. By being their children's 'friends' online, parents can monitor their activities and list of friends while networking," he said.
Most importantly, however, children should be trained to be able to recognise potential threats or messages that make them uncomfortable and to step up and call their parents attention whenever this happens.
"Some of the information children post on their social network pages, such as age, can make them vulnerable to scams and cyber-attacks. Parents should also warn them against divulging personal information to strangers and setting house rules, such as the length of time one can use the Internet, can go a long way in securing your children from the possible dangers of social media," he commented.
Ezzo concluded "Internet and handheld devices have removed all geographic boundaries and conventional discipline. By giving our children unrestricted access to the world for good intention, we are also exposing them to the world's lures and dangers. Hence, protecting them from being exploited is an individual and institutional responsibility by raising awareness among them on the responsible and safe use of technology.
Visa's latest Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 has revealed that global cross-border tourism is thriving and that travelers intend to increase budgets for their next trip by an average of 5% - with some holidaymakers even suggesting that they would more than double what they spent on their previous trip.
Visa's regular barometer of travel trends indicates budgets are no longer among the top three reasons behind why travelers choose their next holiday destination.
The pull of attractions, scenery and rich culture are stronger reasons for travel.
According to the Study, which surveyed 12,631 travelers from 25 countries, the average global travel budget of $2,390 per trip is set to increase to $2,501. Top spenders abroad in the past were the Saudi Arabians, spending an average of $6,666 per trip, while Australian ($4,118) and Chinese travelers ($3,824) were not far behind.
Future travel budget increases are especially high amongst Asian markets with a predicted increase of 46% - travelers from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong all plan to at least double the budget of their last trip in the future.
Additionally, it was found that Egyptians plan to travel more than the global average of respondents along with Saudi Arabians, Brazilians, and Chinese. According to the survey, top choices for intended travel destinations among Middle East and African respondents were Egypt, Turkey, Spain and France.
"17% of travelers from the Middle East and Africa say Egypt was their top choice destination, making it the highest ranked destination for that market," said Tarek Elhousseiny, General Manager for Visa North and Francophone Africa.
"It's very encouraging to see that Egypt still ranks among the top destinations in the region following political unrest. The study also showed us that the majority of travelers who visit Egypt prefer to arrange packaged tours (48%) as opposed to booking their own arrangements. Further, according to the survey, 55% of Egyptians traveling abroad would prefer to pay extra for someone to arrange their holidays for them," he added.
Commenting further, Elhousseiny said, "Visa has been running the Travel Intentions Study since 2006 and is committed to using the results to identify changes and developments to better understand the travel and tourism environment, contributing to the level of information the industry can use to make informed decisions which benefit the traveler and the industry at large."
Ross Jackson, Head of Cross-Border in Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa, also commented on the findings, "Global economic woes have been well-documented over the past few years but our Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 hints at a change in both the financial landscape and consumer mindset, suggesting either economic recovery or a growing appetite for larger travel budgets. Both provide excellent news for everyone involved in the global travel and tourism industry."
United States remains the top choice destination
Visa's Study revealed the United States ranked as the most popular destination choice for global travelers, both for trips taken in the past two years (17%) and for intended travel in 2013 (10%).
Other top destinations in 2011 and 2012 included the United Kingdom (UK) (12%), France (12%) and China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong (all 10%). Looking ahead, regional travel is set to increase, especially in reflection of the growing popularity and economic strength of Asia Pacific (APAC).
31% of global travel is expected to be to Asia, and new APAC destinations such as Australia (4%) and Korea (3%) are making it on to the latest list of most preferred destinations for future travel.