Mohamed Salah… A Rising Egyptian Ambassador

Egypt’s former minister of communications and information technology, Hani Mahmoud, expressed his admiration to the Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, during…

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Egypt’s former minister of communications and information technology, Hani Mahmoud, expressed his admiration to the Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, during the Narrative PR Summit 2017 which was organized by CC Plus PR Agency, claiming that the standout player has done to Egypt more than what a whole cabinet did.

A Dose of Inspiration ➤ 6 Insightful Key Lessons by The Aspiring Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian international player was in the top headlines worldwide after he scored both of Egypt’s goals in a home win over Republic of Congo, sending the country to this year’s World Cup in Russia and ending a near 30-year wait for Africa’s most successful team.

Egypt’s name has been mentioned in countless news reports applauding the Egyptian’s journey in Europe – from Swiss side Basel to Chelsea, Italy’s Fiorentina and Roma and more recently Liverpool, where he is having a wealth of success becoming the Premier League’s top scorer.

The Liverpool star, who has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year for 2017, has gained a wide acclaim for his stellar performance with top European clubs and more recently due to reports about him being a transfer target for Real Madrid.

Some believe Salah is being excessively celebrated. But, isn’t it enough that Egypt’s image had been associated with the Pyramids, Sphinx and the 7000-year pharaonic civilization? Aren’t we today in real need of modern achievements to re-shape and establish a positive image of the country overseas?


While there are hundreds and thousands of success stories in different fields, it’s not every day that people manage to become immensely influential at local and global levels alike. Salah has continued to pull off one success after another, forcing media–a major tool for every brand name– to talk about him everywhere.

We may well need to create inspiring examples that can help promote a positive image of the country abroad, the likes of Salah and, previously, Olympic champion Mohamed Rashwan who won a silver medal in Judo at the Los Angeles Game in 1984.

Rashwan was on the verge of clinching a gold had he played on what he deemed was the weaker side of his Japanese opponent who had been favoring his right leg after an injury. Following that incident and after the Japanese heard about this benevolent act, the number of Japanese tourists visiting Egypt rose three-fold.

Egypt needs a role model who young people can look up to and follow—one who can enhance the country’s positive image across the world.

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Lamia is one of the pioneers in Political Communication in Egypt. She has been involved as a communications strategist in many of the most highly visible campaigns in Egypt.

Featured Stories, Interviews, Opinions

Consumer Insights: Mega trends that will rule the next 5 years

Think Marketing sat down with Dahlia Zayed – A long time Brand strategy & Consumer Insights practitioner. She gave us…

Think Marketing sat down with Dahlia Zayed – A long time Brand strategy & Consumer Insights practitioner. She gave us a sneak preview of the insights from her upcoming Innovation TALK to take place in Cairo Dec 21st, 2017.

You just came back from a few back to back International forums, tell us more?

Dahlia Zayed
Dahlia Zayed

Consumers preferences are evolving so fast. Brands are hardly able to keep up . In food and  Beverage industry for example consumers are developing an appetite for bold new flavors, healthier and more eco-friendly options. Consumers are empowered. They expect more control over how their food gets served, delivered, and made.

Catalyst to this are smart phones where there are no borders and full exposure to every culture. Expectations are high to personalization and relevance. Not too many brands are able to keep up .

At Brand week Istanbul , there was so much about millennials which are talked about very often but also mushrooming new sub segments like Kidult who are 20-30 yr old, have a fear of moving out, have money to spend on their self-indulgencies and they associate themselves with child-like brands and behaviors.

So twisted color candies, multi-color smoothies, shiny jeans and flashy mobile covers were only the start. Some of these are high street brands and can only be afforded by Kidult not teens on a budget.

You also mention shoppers and retail?

‘Small is beautiful’. A shopper trend that is picking up as an example.

Big players like Target are re-thinking their format strategy where Millennials are dictating new rules.

Skipping long aisles and big shopping catalogues to a more intimate in store experience. You are looking at millions of new investments needed to tap into this segment.

How do we really make use of trends in our local market? Some seem far-fetched?

The trick is to first differentiate a trend from a fad. A solid trend- that will stay -is that which builds on a genuine consumer insight that can travel. A need gap in a life context not within a category or a brand world.

Localizing trends and breaking them to subs has a process out of which you choose which is a good match to your business and brand fit and then start generating innovation ideas.

For example, years back, the sub-trend was ‘a need to de-hydrate ‘. Something Nestle Waters picked up and created the category. Packaged and bulk water continues to be the one category that is still growing post the devaluation. Further the trend now is moving to a need for premium functional water. Consumers are seeking ‘a water experience’. They don’t want boring water. That is for sure a clear go-ahead trend that can easily be rolled out in our markets. I’ll flash more on this in the TALK.

We get lots of feedback from non-FMCG brands that trends are useless for them?

By default FMCG are always in the ‘know’ to keep up with consumers changing needs but, if you think about it other industries will sure benefit from understanding trends.

Let’s take a furniture manufacturer, if they want to stand out in their product design, they can leverage 2 current trends a- Back to land b- Texture. The latter is building up heavily in the last 2 years where cupboards are best having a rugged rough matt -look and feel to it. This is what consumers are looking for not smooth flashy.

Back to land is about feeling grounded. Consumers need to connect to something meaningful. This can be reflected in material choice as well as positioning – playing on the emotional gratification.

Not to mention packaging designs !

What’s the top innovative launches in 2017 ?

In FoodMatters Expo in London I sampled a few interesting brands.

For example – ‘Quench your hunger’.

UK brand U FIT has 225 gm high protein as well as vitamins & fiber to support an energetic life styles . Consumers expect a one stop shop for their nutrients in an on-the-go format crossing over a drink/snack/pick-me up meal.

There is also a lot innovation in the area of how we produce our food and what ingredients we use in an attempt not only to provide healthier options but combat world hunger like meatless sausages and Pasta made of chick peas.


I’m excited about the future. There is so much opportunity to grow. I hope Egyptian businesses pick up on them , think strategically so as not to be left behind.

You can reach Dahlia Zayed via d.zayed@fwdegypt.com

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5 Reasons to build friendly relationships outside of the workplace

As we work more than 30 hours a week, 8 hours a day, our lives become centered around the people…

As we work more than 30 hours a week, 8 hours a day, our lives become centered around the people in our work space. Whether you are in an open office plan, or hiding in your own corner office, sometimes being at the office can be a lonely experience.

In a 2014 survey, Globoforce stated that 65% of people want to have memories and stories from their co-workers. 94% said that people stated they liked the feeling of being recognized at work from their peers.

And while there have been many pushes for companies to ensure their teams build relationships, in and outside the office, there are still many that simply want to keep the status quo.

It is important to look at the fact that we spend most of our fully adult life at work. Building relationships with the people you see the most, as many of us only see family and close friends rarely compared to our everyday co-workers, helps build the support system we need to feel happy.

So, why is it important to create meaningful relationships outside the office?


1- We need it

As human beings, we have a psychological need for a sense of social belonging.

This need comes from survival instincts, when staying in groups would help us survive long winters and predators. Now, the sense of belonging continues but it is now needed to keep us motivated and satisfied with our lives.

Even the most introverted person still needs a little bit of a friendly chat.

As mentioned earlier, we see our co-workers more than our closest friends and family. It only makes it natural that we would need to build relationships within our workplace to keep happy and satisfied.

Many studies have shown that relationships at the office have become as detrimental to job satisfaction as is salary and other circumstances.

Happy co-working relationships have been proven to improve so many aspects of a job, including increasing job satisfaction and loyalty.

“While having friends shouldn’t be the main reason why you love your job, it definitely makes the work day run a lot more smoothly when you have a workplace buddy.” – John Rampton, #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine.


2- Building an encouraging environment

Co-workers who work well together, work harder together.

Allowing or encouraging friendly bonding between your employees, or between yourself and your co-workers, ensure positive office vibes.

The reason why the team building business has been booming lately is simply due to that understanding. Team-building activities, or even a casual hangout, can bring workers together for a better and stronger work flow and environment.

By building an encouraging, supportive and friendly atmosphere, you are guaranteeing a better workplace.

A better workplace, and feeling happy where you work, provides people will encouragement to work harder and better together.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” Simon Sinek, motivational speaker and marketing consultant, author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.


3- Easier communications and free-flow of ideas

Getting to know one another also leads to being at ease with your co-worker. Being comfortable enough to have a good laugh outside of work, also means it becomes comfortable to talk more freely at work.

One of the constant challenges that any company or organization has is their flow communication.

The flow of communication has always been a biting and serious issue to all companies, starting or established. One of the main ways to start building a stronger and free-flowing communications routine is through building relationships.

Not only that, but building relationships also produces a more comfortable feeling for many employees, making it easier for them to speak up with ideas and suggestions.

Talking and communicating outside of work helps create a better sense of comfort, as well as being able to talk more freely to one another. Being outside of work when building working relationships help in this matter.

So, get them out of the office for some casual relaxing, and avoid talking about work for a while.

“Team members should definitely hang out outside of work. It makes working together more enjoyable and helps co-workers stay motivated during crunch time. These types of relationships fuel open communication, a good work ethic, flexibility and a better understanding of each person’s roles and expectations. “

—Stephen Ufford, Trulioo.


4- Building ownership

As a CEO, or even a manager, creating a relationship with others in your company can lead to creating a feeling of ownership.

By making them feel like they are part of the company and not just an employee, through casual interactions and hangouts, you can inspire loyalty and motivate through inclusions.

Becoming familiar with managers and co-workers can have positive effects, such as it can encourage closer working relationships, as well as making them feel that they are a part of the company’s work and history.

Building ownership with employees make them more likely to enjoy working on projects that benefit the company. People are also more likely to share responsibility in different parts of the company, including projects that they aren’t assigned in.

Creating this feeling is much easier when outside of the office. Keeping it casual, fun and light can make the building of the relationship easier, as well as affirming that it isn’t simply a business thing.

All because they feel they are a part of history in the making, a part of the company, and not someone that simply works there.


5- Building value and self-worth

Money and perks can only do so much in keeping employees happy, motivated and hardworking.

While these are powerful motivations and incentives to start with, things such as in-job challenges and recognition from peers have been known to create more satisfaction in employees.

Outside office relationships can make them feel that they add value to the team and the company, enough that they would be invited to an outing by the company or CEO/manager.

It also feels as a sort of quiet recognition of their value and efforts, especially more when it is mentioned during the outing. These are some of the things that employees look for when really falling in love with a company.

“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” – Thomas J. Peters, American businessman and speaker.



Remember, there is a thin line between a great working relationship and getting too close.

Yes, there are times in which people meet their best friends, or even their forever partners, but remember that these are the exceptions to the rule.

Office drama from people getting too close, frustrations exploding and anger flaring are all things that will disrupt the delicate office balance you are hoping to build.

As someone who is of a higher level of management, this becomes doubly important. Remember to keep a thin line that keeps them from thinking you are their complete peer.

Sooner or later, you will have to make decisions that will not be enjoyed by others in your office, but it has to be done for the betterment of the company. Getting too close may make it feel more offensive for some of your employees, and may creating some friction within the office.

Create a relationship but stay consistent, you are a confidant but still holds the power on company/project decisions. Inconsistency is what can create the most friction, so always make sure to keep your line clear.


Do you think it is important to create relationships outside and inside of the office? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ania Jakubowski: To be a Great Marketer, You Need Also to be a Great Leader

In 2015, at the first edition of the Marketing Kingdom Cairo, Ania Jakubowski, then General Manager at Coca-Cola for Poland…

In 2015, at the first edition of the Marketing Kingdom Cairo, Ania Jakubowski, then General Manager at Coca-Cola for Poland and the Baltics, was voted the event’s best speaker. She is back in Egypt this October to speak at the third edition of the Marketing Kingdom on the topic of marketing and leadership.


Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional journey. What has been the most defining part of your career?

My parents met in Canada as Polish post Second World War refugees.  Our mother a nurse, our father an engineer. I am the youngest of four children. Travel was in my blood from birth, having moved as a family to India for several years as a result of a contract our father was commissioned for. The better part of my childhood, upbringing and studies however were back in Canada in the Toronto area. I was always passionate about sport, often you could find me in a gym or on a court instead of my ‘head in the books’ studying. That said, I graduated university with honors having studied business administration.

There have been a few significant moments in my career, however the most defining moment was very early when I took the opportunity to move to Poland for the first time with P&G. It may not sound like a bold move, however it was just post the fall of Communism, so things were still very unstable and unknown. I had just been promoted, so everything suggested that the future was bright in Canada. And then there was the fact of being a single woman venturing off, far away from family and friends.

What I always appreciated about that youthful bold decision to go to Poland was the fact that I knew deep down that I couldn’t really go wrong. I could always return to Canada, which in the end never happened. When I coach/mentor people today, I always encourage them to lean forward on decisions and commit to them. Worst case, they don’t work out and you make the next decision.


During your career at Coca-Cola and P&G you have worked in different roles and different markets and locations. What are the main challenges and benefits of this range of experience?

The things I have been particularly grateful for during my career are, firstly the fact that I have lived in six countries and worked in dozens more. I believe a key attribute of strong leadership is to have a learning mindset and be adaptable. None of us have an exclusivity on knowledge and change is constant. Experiencing different cultures and market situations continues to sharpen those skills.

Secondly, I have always tended to choose roles where the opportunity or challenge – depending on how you looked at it, required “fixing something” or “building something new”.  The intrigue in these roles is that they kept me on the ‘edge’, a little out of my comfort zone and offered up the opportunity to have a high impact. In essence, ‘intrapreneurial roles’ within a corporate culture. The potential downside is that these roles did not always fit the traditional career path on traditional timings.  Therefore at times in my career I didn’t have all the ‘boxes’ checked off in terms of traditional experience required for promotion – so it took me a little longer to get to certain levels then had I chosen more traditional roles.  I don’t regret the choices and know that each one has made me a stronger leader, coach and mentor as a result.


Coca-Cola and P&G are ultimate examples of well-executed Marketing Strategies. What would make them unique in terms of employee engagement?

I have always said that an outstanding corporate culture could be created taking the strengths of P&G and Coke and combining them, one being more ‘right brain’ the other being more ‘left brain’.  When it comes to HR approaches, what they have in common are a commitment to diversity among their workforce at all levels of the organization, their commitment to training and development particularly early in one’s career, and the role of HR itself being a “business partner” to the leadership.


At the Marketing Kingdom Cairo 3 you will be discussing the role of leadership in marketing. Can you give us a bit of insight on your topic?

I referenced earlier the idea of a leadership gap, this gap is permeating society; politically and economically.  It is easier today to politically be polarizing and divide people to get noticed and garner votes rather than to unite them and find solutions to tough problems.  In business, short term decisions often win out to please analysts and investors versus taking the tougher road for what is the right long term action for sustainable growth.  I believe the leadership gap is rooted in the fact that the pendulum has swung to the point where “what” we achieve is more important than “how” we achieve it.   I want to challenge this.

Environments where people are highly engaged are environments where the “how” is even more important than the “what”.  Results count, but how you achieve those results is critical.

I will share my principles and practical examples of how I have had the fortune of creating engaged teams and organizations that consistently not only deliver, but often exceed expectations.

To meet Ania and 20 other marketing experts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, P&G and Rolls Royce Motor Cars, make sure you get your ticket today for the Marketing Kingdom Cairo 3 on the event’s official website.

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Explaining Affiliate Marketing as emerging market in MENA region

In an office in agency filled Mohandessin, Araby Ads prepare to expand as they move into their new and larger…

In an office in agency filled Mohandessin, Araby Ads prepare to expand as they move into their new and larger office. As the people behind the growth of Affiliate Marketing in Egypt, Araby Ads is also preparing for its first paid Arab Affiliate Summit, where freelancers and companies come together to discuss the market’s growth and trends.

Sitting down with CEO and co-founder of Araby Ads and the Arab Affiliate Summit, Think Marketing learns more about Mahmoud Fathy and this new emerging market.


All right, let’s start slowly. From Physics to a niche marketing industry, and by 26 already a founder of a large company (Araby Ads), how was the transition from a Physics major to marketing then entrepreneurship?

At first, it was all about trying to build my career. With universities in Egypt, I felt unsure about my future, so I tried to make money. I tried to build my own business.

When I thought about my studies in physics, I realized it wasn’t the perfect or greatest match for me, so I decided to make money online.

When searching through the internet, under how to make money online in Arabic, you will find a lot of scams, a lot of spam. I kept searching until I found some articles on Affiliate Marketing, which I studied for 2 years.

I first worked at Bayt.com, where I soon became their top performer, and I was paid around 200k USD in the first year. I also worked at the region’s first performance marketing agency called IKOO.com, it was also the regions first affiliate network. I also became their top performer by the end of the year.

Soon, I felt like it was time, so I started building my team, some of them are still with me, and started to work as a small media buying team, working with clients such as IKOO and Bayt. And from there, we built.

Now we [Araby Ads] have over 70 employees, and I believe we are the leading affiliate network in the Middle East.


So, your company, Araby Ads, is aimed towards Affiliate marketing. Could you quickly elaborate on what is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a type of Performance Marketing.

The main goal of an Affiliate is to make money online, so how do they do it? They can approach companies, such as Amazon, and tell them they would like to work for them. They will most likely be told that they can work as a freelancer. If they are able to promote their products or send them users that are willing to buy something, they will pay the freelancer [affiliate] around 10% of the Sale.

This process is called Affiliate Marketing.

So, the advertiser, Amazon, will pay for any conversions received from the freelancer’s website.

If you are an influencer, and have a following on Facebook or etc, your audience is listening to you. So why not make a video talking about Amazon’s new iPhone?

Let’s say, I am an influencer, and I want to make money from my audience. So I can make a video talking about the new iPhone and its features, that it can be found on Amazon, and here is a special link to a discount from me.

Your audience trusts you, so they will click on the link and buy the iPhone. Now I have helped Amazon make a sale, so Amazon will now pay me for every conversion around 10%. This is one example of how affiliates can make money.

So how does it work?

Can you write a blog post, can you make a video, can you convince your audience to buy something from this special link?

The main things to think about are does your audience trust you? Will they interact with your content?

It is all about targeting your audience correctly, and having them trust you and your content.


Tell us then, what made you venture into Affiliate marketing? It’s a tight market that most don’t think of in the MENA region.

As a start, it was purely about making money, to be honest.

But after a while, what was my goal? I already made a lot of money as a freelancer, and I can work at any time as long as I have internet and a computer. So, I thought to myself, why not enjoy what I am doing?

It became not about being an affiliate, but building a business. As a young businessman, I wanted to introduce the concept [of affiliate marketing] to the market here.  I wanted to build a business from a local Egyptian one to an international one.

I wanted to become the one place where people know, if you are looking for Affiliate Marketing in the MENA region, there is one destination, Araby Ads. If you want to make [or attend] an event, there is only the Arab Affiliate Summit.


So, tell us about the Arab Affiliate Summit, which was created by your company 4 years ago. What made you decide that we needed a place to meet, learn, connect and start talking about Affiliate marketing?

We have a lot of opportunity with Affiliate marketing here in the Middle East. There was no competition, no market, we created the market. So, we said to ourselves, how about we invest in the market? To educate the market.

Most freelancers don’t know a lot about Affiliate Marketing, so we want to educate them. When it comes to advertisers, when it comes to affiliates, and connect all of them in one place.

It was, honestly, also about leaving a legacy. That was our hope.

We already had money, I personally was already rich from being a freelancer, and so was my partner. So, we thought, what about giving back to our industry?


And how did that go?

Our first summit was actually free. The first year was the hardest for us, we tried to introduce a new concept to the market. We heard a lot of “no, this isn’t right. No, you have a hidden agenda!” I mean, guys, come on! It was a free event, we didn’t need anything, just attend.


Well, we Egyptians don’t accept free.



Let’s talk Affiliate marketing in the region. Worldwide, this particular marketing industry makes over $7 Billion dollars a year, just how much of that is made in Egypt and the MENA region?

Egypt made around 100 million USD last year, and the MENA region market is around 300 million. The growth rate in Egypt is around 100%.

This year, my company alone, will make around 200 million USD, so the overall market would be around 300 million. We are also trying to expand in Algeria, Sudan, and other countries.


How has the industry affected the economy? Has it helped the local economy through ways such as self-employment, increase in GDP, etc?

I enjoy helping both sides, I am trying to help the freelancers just like me and you, or anyone in this country who wants to make money online with a trusted company.  We are trying to get them jobs to help with unemployment.

They contribute to the economy by putting their money in the bank at the end of the day.


What are the current ways for affiliates to serve ads, sponsorship or product placement? Are there any new trends that we should look out for?

Influencers because they trust them now, they follow them and their recommendations, and online ads such as Instagram and Facebook ads.

Unfortunately, influencers don’t have as much effect here as they do in the Gulf countries, because Egyptians lose trust in influencers when they start doing ads.


What other type of content do you believe will explode in the near future?

A kind of blogging called comparison websites.


Should Affiliate marketing be something both small and large companies focus on? Does it make a difference for both sides, or only for certain players?

In the end, both types of companies can benefit from [Affiliate Marketing], because in the end of the day, they want revenue.

For me, big companies are easier to work with because people already trust them, know them and their products well, but they prefer the traditional way of marketing.

But I prefer to work with small companies, because I believe it is more challenging, and I really like to grow with my clients.


Who are these affiliates? Who are they, why do they enjoy or prefer this type of work, and are they actually making enough?

All of the are like you and me. Most of them are jobless, they are looking to make a family, but they all face the same issue? They finish college and they ask themselves “what do I do now?”

They want to make something of themselves, they believe in the internet and that it can make great things. Most of them hate their full-time jobs, they love to be free.

Statistically, around of 80% of the affiliates are male. I do think that this model would be perfect for the females in this country, since both genders are already looking for jobs, but females in our region have a lot of issues, aside from cultural issues.

I believe that working from home is the best option for them, to live the lifestyle they are looking for without issues from men and cultural norms in closed countries.


Lastly, how would you advise those who are interested in joining the industry as an affiliate?

To be committed, and don’t think it is an easy job. You have to build a good and diverse profile, learn marketing and use your money effectively when it comes to online ads.

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