Saudi Arabia, UAE lead the way in B2B influencer marketing: Ogilvy

The Middle East and North Africa region has embraced Business-to-Business (B2B) influencer marketing faster than global markets, and there is vast potential to tap this channel for impactful stakeholder engagement.This is a top finding of the first-of-its-kind study on B2B Influencer Marketing by Ogilvy, which covered 550 senior decision-makers across 11 global markets, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, representing diverse business sectors including retail, FMCG, legal, construction, technology and others.What is B2B Influencer Marketing?Unlike B2C influencer marketing, B2B Influencers comprise subject matter experts, influential individuals and key industry leaders, who create content that has a positive impact on the brand perception and purchase decisions of customers. Significantly, they also contribute to fostering an informed understanding of the business landscape, dispel misconceptions about the market, and help drive investor interest and boost market sentiment – all benefiting businesses in the long run.Saudi Arabia and UAE lead the wayThe Ogilvy study finds that Saudi Arabia ranks first globally in terms of interest and appetite for B2B Influencer marketing, with 100% of surveyed businesses utilizing some form of B2B Influence in their communications and marketing strategies. The UAE follows closely behind at 96% while the global average in B2B Influencer adoption is 75%. The two high-growth markets are also pioneers in tapping into the power of Influence, paving the way for neighbouring markets to follow suit.There is increased appetite for B2B influencer marketing with 93% of all respondents saying they plan to increase use. More than a third (67%) said B2B influencer campaigns have more impact on their marketing performance than brand-only marketing. Pertinently, 90 per cent said B2B influencers are an important source of staying up to date with their industry with more than half (57%) citing them as their main source of information. Building authentic share of voiceAshraf Shakah, MENA PR President, Memac Ogilvy, said: “With 75 per cent of the workforce to be digital natives by 2025, it is important for businesses to understand and navigate emerging marketing trends, with B2B Influencer Marketing emerging as one of the most important and yet most untapped opportunity in the MENA region. Our study offers unique insight on how businesses can deploy a robust B2B influence strategy with three key elements at its core – choosing talent wisely, building long-term relationships, and promoting two-way engagement – to build an authentic share of voice.“As the region continues to evolve across all fronts with GCC economies witnessing an unprecedented era of economic diversification and fast-paced growth, the influencer strategy of businesses will undoubtedly help transform their narratives, and set new benchmarks for authenticity, engagement, and impact. This is only the start of the B2B influencer journey globally, and the MENA region is poised to inspire and lead, carving a unique path in the global realm of influence.”Fostering two-way communicationIn other findings, 72% of Saudi businesses said they utilise B2B influence to dispel misconceptions about market health, while 50% believes it fosters two-way communication channels for addressing stakeholder concerns. Moreover, 54% of the Saudi market experts surveyed sees B2B influence as an ideal pathway to build partnership opportunities. The same sentiment holds true among UAE respondents too.This is particularly relevant to the MENA region, where the influencer ecosystem thrives on lasting connections, with influencers evolving into trusted advisors who contribute to strategic decisions and marketing initiatives. Commenting on the findings, Saad Abdullah, GM, Marketing, Al-Futtaim Toyota and Lexus, UAE, said: "Our responsibility as brands is to ensure that we leverage the right voices capable of impacting and delivering results as well as shaping the future of influence."Navigating cultural sensitivitiesThe MENA’s rich cultural fabric brings both opportunities and challenges. Brands must navigate cultural sensitivities, language complexities, and differing customs to ensure their messaging resonates authentically. Successful influencers demonstrate a keen ability to blend their personal brand with cultural expectations, fostering deeper connections with their audiences. The study also underlines that brands aiming to penetrate specific sectors recognize the power of collaborating with influencers who have a deep understanding of those sectors.Catalysts for socio-economic transformationB2B influencers in the Middle East are also assuming roles as catalysts for change. They leverage their platforms to highlight pressing issues, driving meaningful conversations, and inspiring action. The utilisation of influencers by governments to support initiatives such as Saudi Vision 2030 demonstrates the potential of influencer partnerships to drive not only business objectives but also accelerate societal transformation.The study was conducted in partnership with Opinium Research, a global research firm; LinkedIn, the largest professional social network; and Onalytica, a B2B influencer marketing platform. The findings are available on Ogilvy’s Red Paper, ‘Influencing Business: The Global Rise of B2B Influencer Marketing’, which provides a wealth of data on shaping and executing a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy. The report includes case studies and commentary from marketers representing brands such as Al-Futtaim, Dell, EY, and Nokia, among others.The new study follows the launch of an industry-leading Business Influence capability designed to unlock the power of influence through social channels by Ogilvy in 2022. Visit for case studies on how Ogilvy is leading the dialogue on impactful communications in the digital age.

Ogilvy veteran Joe Lipscombe bids farewell after nearly a decade

Joe Lipscombe, Executive Strategy and Creative Director of Ogilvy, has announced his departure from the agency after nearly 10 years. He made this announcement through a LinkedIn post, expressing gratitude for his time at Ogilvy and acknowledging the transformative impact it had on both his professional and personal life. He also mentioned meeting his wife during his tenure at the agency.In his post, Joe thanked specific individuals for their support and mentorship. He writes: “I’ll be brief, but it’s important to recognize some incredible people.Thank you Sami Moutran and Saada Hammad, who took a big risk on a young journalist a long time ago. Thank you both for pushing others forward, putting your trust in people, and relentlessly searching for excellence.“And thank you Ashraf Shakah, my partner, leader, friend, and mentor. A planet of knowledge, a man of great taste (for the most part), and someone who will move mountains to get the best work and people seen. The business is secure in your hands.” Joe also extended his thanks to others, including Patou Nuytemans, David Fox, Samer ABBOUD, and Joanna Oosthuizen, expressing his indebtedness for their guidance, partnership, friendship, and wisdom. The post suggests a strong sense of camaraderie and collaboration during his time at Ogilvy.While Joe didn't provide extensive details about his departure, his post reflects on the positive experiences, professional growth, and relationships he cultivated during his tenure at Ogilvy.

Changes at 82.5: Sumanto bids adieu

Mayur Varma and Anuraag Khandelwal elevated to joint-CCOs.Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of 82.5 Communications, will be retiring later this month, after having been with the Ogilvy Group for 30 years. Chattopadhyay’s journey with Ogilvy and then in setting up 82.5, tracks nothing short of excellence and he leaves behind several proteges and a robust collection of awards from Indian and international award platforms.Anuraag Khandelwal and Mayur Varma will take on the creative leadership role as joint Chief Creative Officers, 82.5 Communications India. Both Anuraag and Mayur are home-grown leaders – seeped in the Ogilvy group culture, part of the 82.5 founding team and amongst the most talented, exciting creative leaders in the country, with a great body of internationally and nationally acclaimed work to show.Commenting on the development, Piyush Pandey, Chairman Global Creative & Executive Chairman India, Ogilvy, said, “Sumanto Chattopadhyay has spent 30 glorious years with Ogilvy and 82.5 and retires after a well-played, long innings. Sumanto leaves with blessings and good wishes from all of us at Ogilvy and 82.5. I am delighted to announce the appointment of two new CCOs who will work together to keep 82.5 shining. Mayur Varma and Anuraag Khandelwal are experienced and Ogilvy-trained creative stars who have international and national recognition for their phenomenal creative work over the years. I am happy that Sumanto leaves behind a solid creative leadership for 82.5.”Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, 82.5 Communications India, added here, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the adventure called Ogilvy, including its 82.5 chapter. Now it’s time for me to seek new adventures. It’s good to know that I pass the baton to capable hands. Mayur has grown up under me in Ogilvy Kolkata, then Mumbai and finally at 82.5. It’s wonderful to see him come into his own. Anuraag is a fabulous creative person who has done 82.5 proud with his work and will, no doubt, shine brighter now. Kapil, my co-chairman, is a man for all seasons. With this leadership, the agency has a great future. My warmest wishes to them, to 82.5 and to all my colleagues past and present.”Kapil Arora, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 82.5 Communications India, said, “I’ve had the privilege of being Sumanto’s partner these last three years and have much to thank him for, including helping build 82.5 Communications into a formidable agency in such a short period of time. Sumanto is well known for grooming fantastic leaders through his career. As is the case with Anuraag Khandelwal and Mayur Varma. They are two of the best new-age, open and fearless creative leaders and I can’t wait for them to bring their ideas, energy and creative vision for the future of 82.5 Communications, to life.”On their new joint roles, Anuraag Khandelwal and Mayur Varma, Chief Creative Officers, 82.5 Communications India, said, “We are super excited to be given the India responsibility of 82.5! Our endeavour is to work towards creating a more collaborative, creative and empathetic culture for our clients and us. With work that is both loved and fearless.”