We chat with Lauren Brush, Senior Communications Consultant at Active DMC, who talks about her current role and offers her thoughts on the marketing industry in the Middle East.
Name: Lauren Brush
Age: 30 – I just celebrated last month!
Current job title: Senior Communications Consultant
When did you first arrive in Dubai? September 2016
Where did you work prior?
Prior to joining Active DMC, I was with APCO Worldwide where I was the Deputy Manager of the communications team seconded to Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. Before moving to the UAE in September 2016, I worked as the Media Relations Manager for the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), representing more than 129,000 of the USA’s physician population in the States. At the AOA, I was responsible for everything from promoting the associations peer-reviewed journal studies to helping launch the organisation’s new brand campaign and leading media training workshops for physicians around the country. Prior to the AOA, I was on the agency side working at Public Communications Inc in Chicago, supporting clients in the healthcare, non-profit, culture and tourism sectors. I give a lot of credit to PCI – this is where I learned my foundations in PR. Many of the things I learned at PCI as an intern up until a Senior Account Executive, I still practice today!
What were your first impressions of the marketing industry in the Middle East?
My first role here was in the government sector, so I was fascinated with how global the Middle East is. One day I was part of the team hosting Prince Charles, the next I was a part of the UAE delegation travelling to COP22, the global conference on climate change.
Has your opinion changed much?
Not at all. Especially with Active DMC being the Middle East partner to Hotwire. Together, we work across just about every market daily as more and more large corporations set up shop here in the Middle East.
Tell us about your current role…
On top of leading an incredible team on half of the agency’s accounts, I also work closely with our MDs to oversee agency growth, team training and mentorship and new business development – plus whatever else the day throws at me!
What challenges do you face?
The UAE and MENA market in general is very different from the rest of the world in trillions of ways – from journalism, to consumer behavior to even working hours! This can be a challenge when working with global clients and their communications hub teams – typically headquartered in the UK or US. What resonates there doesn’t always work here and vice versa. But this is an opportunity for us as consultants to be able to educate clients and tailor our marketing strategies here.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Watching my team move mountains! I’ve never left on a Thursday without thinking “WOW! I’m so proud of everything we accomplished this week.”
Have cultural differences in the region created limitations or an advantage to the PR and marketing industry?
I’d say both. While we have different requirements and skill sets here, the cultural differences forces us to see things in a new light and be more creative in the way we reach people.
How has social media in the region evolved to become an integrated part of the PR and marketing industry?
Social media has evolved from once being a “nice to have” campaign to an absolute necessity. With more than 88 per cent of the Middle East’s online population using social networking sites daily, marketers can’t afford to exclude social media in their plans.
What are the common digital marketing mistakes companies make?
Assuming just because a campaign worked elsewhere in the world, it will work here.
Describe yourself in five words…
Fearless, curious, passionate, grammar police
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?
By far, the most exciting and rewarding career achievement was being named PRCA’s 2018 Rising Star of the Year.
Who inspires you?
My team. I’m surrounded by passionate, driven and curious professionals who push me to be better every day.
What’s your most overused saying?
HELP ME HELP YOU!
Five things you can’t live without?
My family, iPhone, fitness (I also teach spin class at MOTION cycling!), music and candles – our office is full of them!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A math teacher – I know, strange.
What’s your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?
All of the above! I could never choose just one – I’m a media junkie
What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in PR and marketing in the UAE?
Don’t give up! It took me two years before finding a suitable job that would justify me uprooting my career from the states. You need to be relentless in going after what you want and deserve.