Piero Poli: The Middle East is digital market developing quickly

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Piero Poli is the General Manager of Havas Worldwide in Dubai, and he came to Rovinj to participate at the 8th Weekend Media Festival in order to present how the communication business looks like in a city that has become one of the new global business centres and power in a very short amount of time.
What are your duties and responsibilities, and what is the difference between Havas Digital Middle East and Spain?
I recently integrated Havas Digital into Havas Worldwide (the Havas creative agency) in the United Arab Emirates. I run the entire agency and I am responsible for the overall agency vision as well as the set up and implementation of the mission. I am also in charge of managing all agency departments, leadership and advice for the older Clients, innovation and development and the implementation of new communication approaches. Furthermore, I am responsible for the Client strategy development, business, agency budget and target groups set up, agency profitability, overall agency quality and delivery, development and management of strategic partner relationships, development of new services and I also serve as a key point of integration between all other Havas companies in the Middle East (media and PR). The Middle East is a fast-developing digital market for Client, consumers and brands. Even though Spain is a much more mature market, the Middle East is making really big advances which is very exciting. Presenting a digital approach in the Middle East also takes a lot more persuading than it does in Spain, but it is always worth to spend additional time on challenges and opportunities.

You live in Dubai. How do you like the people, traditions and surroundings?
I am constantly exploring new things in Dubai. I am also glad that a lot of stereotypes regarding Dubai and the Middle East have turned out to be untrue. Even though it is quite difficult to get “under the skin” of the locals, I enjoy exploring the culture and traditions of Dubai and United Arab Emirates and exploring new ways of how communication and marketing can become more relevant. It is a fast-developing country and a city whose attitude is becoming more global and the energy of the city is simply intoxicating.
What is Dubai’s position on the global digital marketing map, is it ahead or is it trotting behind the global market?
I would say that it is an interesting candidate. It is turning more and more towards the global market, and a large segment of digital management is done by large brands, especially Emirates Airlines who can parry any other large global brand.
What are the three key advices for people who work in digital agencies?
Don’t think about the digital aspect of business. Most consumers don’t think in that way, so neither should we. Ask yourself how digital approach can add to the consumer’s value in the broadest and integrated sense. Be curious. Curiosity is one of the most important characteristics in marketing, especially in the digital segment. Ask yourself why things are the way they are and take it up on yourself to find out how you can improve them, make them more interesting, creative and valuable. Be hardworking and good to people. You can’t do everything by yourself. Create a healthy network of people within the company and show your surroundings the value with your work – not your words. Find constructive ways of cooperating with everyone.
In your opinion, how much is the integration of digital into the brand’s communication approach important?
We have to think in the post-digital mind set. If the integration has not yet happened, then it is too late. It is mandatory and there is no discussion about it. It has to be our starting point regardless of where we have been so far and we must move forward boldly and wisely.
What is the next big thing in the world of digital that agencies should look out for?
Interaction of mobile data and content is becoming more important. There is also a trend of “moving away from TVCs” and turning to brands that are more relevant and meaningful to consumers.