RBBi wins Seamless Award

Digital marketing agency, Red Blue Blur Ideas was recognised at the Seamless Awards that took place on April 15, 2018 at JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai. The agency secured the award for Best Use of Big Data after completion of their work for Al-Futtaim Automotive, which showed off their talents as a data-driven consultancy.

“To receive industry recognition in a category representing the future of our industry is an achievement we are immensely proud of,” says Byron Gavin, Head of Data & Analytics, RBBi. “With vetted panellists, tough criteria, and a shortlist of five strong nominees, we are honoured to be recognised for the work completed with Al-Futtaim Automotive, and for the opportunity to flex our digital analytics solution to deliver an award-winning campaign.”

In The Hot Seat – Caroline Dickin

We chat with Caroline Dickin, CEO at Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi), who talks about her current role and offers her thoughts on the digital marketing industry in the Middle East…

Name: Caroline Dickin

Age: 33

Nationality: UK

Current job title: CEO, Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi)

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

In 2014, exactly four years ago

Where did you work prior?

I previously worked with LBi in the UK, where I held the role of Senior Digital Search Manager and later PPC Strategy Leader. I later moved to the UAE and joined RBBi as Director of Media and most recently held the role of Managing Director – Performance Marketing & Analytics.

What were your first impressions of the digital marketing industry in the Middle East?

In a lot of ways, there are a lot of elements that are very different from Europe. In particular, I found a greater spectrum of the level of knowledge – there are some really smart people here, but also I found that I was working with a lot of businesses whose understanding of digital was minimum. The proportion of the budget spent on digital was also lower vs offline.

Has your opinion changed much?

It has changed – but mainly because I’ve seen a lot of change in these four short years. Digital budgets are growing, and more and more companies we deal with have a proper digital strategy in place, which is great.

Tell us about your current role…

As the CEO of a Digital agency spanning UX, research, SEO, media and analytics every day is different – one moment I might be meeting a client to discuss their digital challenges, to scouting out the next rbbian to join the team, to even reviewing the balance sheet and developing our own marketing strategy.

What challenges do you face?

Working with businesses who don’t fully understand or appreciate the digital landscape means we spend a lot of time on education. Also, the market and therefore the talent pool is smaller – finding the right people can be a real challenge.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Knowing that we are making a difference. We strive to partner with our clients to really understand their business challenges and objectives. In turn when we help them take steps to achieve their goals you really feel like their success is also our success.

How has consumer behaviour in today’s digital community influenced the marketing industry?

To be successful in this day and age you need to have a user-focused approach throughout the business. Marketing is now more about conversations not pushing out messages. Attention spans have also reduced – if you aren’t engaging with your audience in the right way, or have less than optimal online experience, you are going to lose them.

Has user-generated content taken over brand promotion and marketing campaigns in the Middle East?

It’s growing, but I wouldn’t say it’s taken over. Many businesses are cautious about negative sentiments, which often causes a roadblock.

Has the role of marketing professionals changed in today’s digital community?

Absolutely and it’s continually evolving. Gone are the Mad Men days of working on a single ad campaign for days at a time. Deadlines are tighter and with the plethora of data available, results are more readily available and therefore, expectations more demanding. It’s no longer just about having a great creative campaign, it’s more about understanding the technology, knowing how to turn data into action and having a strong strategy to personalise your message across your audience.

What role does social media play in building a brand’s reputation today?

These days, most people use social media to some extent – so it’s become a critical element for most businesses. It’s also blurred the lines between marketing and customer service in a lot of ways – meaning that businesses cannot afford to not monitor what conversations are taking place on social channels.

What are the most common digital marketing mistakes companies make?

Trying to do what their competitors are doing rather than what is going to drive their business. I’ve heard too many requests such as ‘We need 50,000 YouTube views because our competitor does, or 100,000 website visitors. These are often not the KPIs that will drive your bottom line. And they can cause more damage than good – if you end up with thousands of followers, for example, without the strategy in place to be able to generate engaging content – you could end up with a less than favourable experience of the brand.

How would you describe yourself at work?

RBBi is more than just a job for me – it’s an integral part of my life and I’m acutely aware of the importance of trying to do the right things to help us realise our goals. Therefore, I try to stay disciplined. I’m also constantly looking for ways we can do things better – I’m always open to chatting with anyone in the business who has an idea or suggestion.

Who inspires you?

So many people – I tend to be more inspired by people I know than celebrities. My family and friends have been a huge inspiration to me and I’d have to also say that I’m inspired every day by everyone here at RBBi. It’s such an awesome group of people from so many different nationalities who, when they all come together, are able to do really fantastic work.

What’s your most overused saying?

“It will be fine”

Five things you can’t live without?

My mobile phone, my laptop, my pet bird, my bed and my friends

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

I think moving to Dubai and RBBi has been the most exciting thing. Experiencing a new city while joining a younger agency (RBBi was just 2 at the time), which I could really help grow was an immense challenge but also insanely rewarding.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I’d love to say something really interesting like travelling the world, but I don’t think I’m the kind of person who could be content without a project or challenge. I’d see myself in another small to medium business where I could really make an impact.

What’s your favourite form of media (i.e; TV, radio, print)?

Depends on what time of the day it is – in the morning I’m most likely to be listening to things, on my commute to work reading and TV in the evenings.

How do you see the digital marketing industry changing in the Middle East in the coming years?

As budget weight continues to move towards favouring digital I think there will be increased focus on data – understanding results, customer segments and moving towards more data-driven marketing strategies. Most brands and organisations want to ensure that they are squeezing the most bang for their buck from their marketing activity and becoming more data-led is the way to really achieve this.

RBBi appoints new CEO

Digital marketing agency, Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi) has promoted Caroline Dickin to the role of CEO. With over 12 years of experience in the digital and marketing sectors, Caroline joined RBBi in 2014 as Director of Media and most recently held the role of Managing Director – Performance Marketing and Analytics, where she drove a widespread digital transformation agenda across the UAE. In her new role, she will be responsible for the continuous growth and development of the agency and will report directly to RBBi’s board of directors, which includes the company’s founders, Devesh Mistry and Amol Kadam.

“I look forward to working more closely with the team at RBBi and to lay the foundation for continued digital excellence with a user centric approach,” says Caroline. “It’s an exciting time for RBBi and I welcome this opportunity to be part of its growth.”

RBBi to launch Digitalks

Digital marketing agency, Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi) is set to launch a new digital-focused conference series, Digitalks on January 24, 2018 at the Novotel Hotel, World Trade Centre, Dubai. Digitalks aims to address MENA’s online market, while focusing on e-commerce and the challenges it faces in the region. The conference will also include presentations by Sofiane Haddadi, Head of Media at L’OREAL, Abdelaziz Mohammed, Regional Head Digital Marketing at SOUQ.COM and Amol Kadam, Co-Founder at RBBi, to deliver new perspectives of the digital industry as well as on e-commerce in MENA and the different ways to increase investments around the Middle East.

“The cutting-edge conference covers a wide range of topics that influence business decisions and will demonstrate the best in corporate digital strategies and tactics,” says Naguib Toihiri, Organiser and SEO Department Lead, RBBi. “With the e-commerce market estimated to be worth up to $10bn by next year, the topics are set to revolve around new innovative ways of thinking and formulating cutting edge digital strategies.”

RBBi welcomes Ryan Garner

Digital marketing agency, Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi), has appointed Ryan Garner to the role of Head of Paid Media. With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems from the University of Limerick, Ryan worked in Dublin with iProspect as Paid Search Account Director and most recently held the role of Head of Paid Search before moving to the UAE. In his new role, he will be responsible for the media offerings and in delivering regular improvements to drive media performance.

“At RBBi our mission has always been to do the right thing and to help promote digital excellence in the region,” says Caroline Dickin, Managing Director of Performance and Analytics, RBBi. “We are really excited to bring Ryan on board with his wealth of experience and insight. We are confident that he is going to play a pivotal role in helping our current and future client partners drive their media performance.”

What makes a good agency an award winning one?

Andrew Tonks, Managing Director for Performance and Analytics at RBBi offers his thoughts on what makes a good agency an award-winning agency and touches on how they can benefit from awards…

“Like Hollywood, agency life is filled with an array of talent that has not been recognised by its peers. Whilst this lack of recognition is not necessarily a sign of quality, a few would argue that Brad Pitt or Glen Close are poor actors for never winning an Oscar – however, within the industry awards can actually bring benefits to both parties; the agencies and their clients.”

Having worked hard these past 18 months, driving digital performance for our clients and growing an amazing team of specialists, our recent wins have resulted in positive changes at the agency. Not only has it created new business, but it has also increased morale and exposure for our clients. In the case of an agency looking to gain industry recognition, there are a few areas of business that is recommended to focus on in order to build an award-winning environment.

The first area of focus should be passionate people. I strongly believe that the greatest asset that agencies have are its people. An agency can have a fantastic sales team and the best intentions for its clients, but if they don’t have a team to back them up they will ultimately fail. Building a team takes time, patience, trust and ultimately money. Once that team has been built, expect there to be competition to keep them with you. Investing in your team takes many forms one of which is training to ensure they have the knowledge needed to perform, but also trust them and allow them to truly take ownership of a campaign.

Secondly, agencies should focus on client relationships. No successful agency can be built without the input of clients consistently following through on your promises and genuinely caring about delivering results – this is the quickest way to build clients’ trust. A trusting client is more likely to give you the freedom needed to push the boundaries and react quickly, which will help deliver that extra bit of performance needed to make a campaign standout during an award submission.

And lastly, there should be a focus on regional understanding. Using regional insights effectively within a campaign can often be the difference between a good campaign and an award winning one. Too often campaigns are still run with little to no language expertise, especially Arabic. If you’re running campaigns in Saudi Arabia for example, it might be a good idea to actually have an Arabic speaker managing that work. Better still, someone who has experience in the market and a cultural awareness of target users.

Benefits of Awards

If you’re in the fortunate position to ultimately bring home an award, there are some benefits that your agency is likely to see in the subsequent months. An award win will raise the benchmark to help set a new standard for work internally as well as give your team recognition to help drive for further excellence. It can also help your agency stand out from the crowd during a pitch and give your clients visibility internally as well as within their industry.

Tips for awards submissions

In building a potential award-winning environment, the submission is another aspect that is fundamental to winning. I’m going to give a few tips on how you can improve your chances of possibly winning.

  • Demonstrate performance: It might be tempting to talk about the work done and how challenging it was to deliver on time, with a tight budget. However, most judges want to see results so be sure to fully communicate the change you brought and what return was realised.
  • Less is often more: Be truthful with yourself and only submit work you really believe is award-winning. Do yourself a favour, spend more time submitting less work and then invest that time in creating fantastic entries that give the best possible chance of winning.
  • Stick to the facts: Whilst it might be tempting to be a bit creative with the numbers, ultimately the truth catches up with you and most awards request you to sign a release form confirming the data is accurate. If it’s found you have submitted false work, chances are it will look extremely bad for you, the agency and not to mention, your client.
  • Be realistic, be on time: Manage an award submission just like you would any other project. We have learned this the hard way, with many late nights in the office working on an entry. Also, don’t underestimate the time needed to put something together that truly stands out.
  • Creativity: Remember that award judges are viewing multiple entries, sometimes even hundreds. Just like any other form of advertising, use your creativity to stand out from the crowd and complement your entry with a video or an infographic.
  • Creditability of awards: Keep in mind that not all awards have the same value – some are clearly created with the sole aim of making money. Before deciding to submit an entry, do your research and understand who is running the awards and why. What process will be followed and most importantly, who will be judging your work.

UX NXT to be held in the Middle East

Digital solutions agency, RBBi, is set to host the first UX NXT conference in the Middle East from March 8-9, 2017 at the Conrad hotel. With over 500 people expected to attend, the focus of the conference will be on user experience design tools used to improve usability and accessibility in interacting with products for an enhance users satisfaction experience. The conference will also include keynote presentations from guest speakers, case studies, workshops and a moderated panel of discussions to deliver the latest research and trends that will shape the future of UX, usability and accessibility across the region.

“Dubai is known to spearhead innovation and new trends and we are proud to host the region’s first user experience conference,” says Amol Kadam, Co-Founder, RBBi. “The conference will welcome the best professionals from the industry to share with us their experience and knowledge about UX, Service Design, usability and accessibility and will provide organisations with a single view of information, allowing them to make smarter business decisions.”