Serviceplan hires Rawida Saadé Maksoudian as Client Servicing Director

Dubai: Serviceplan Middle East has appointed Rawida Saadé Maksoudian as the new Client Servicing Director. With over 15 years of experience in brand management, Maksoudian is a seasoned communications and brand expert with expertise in advertising, shopper marketing, and digital media. She was born and raised in Dubai, and her portfolio includes working with some of the prominent brands such as BRF, Nakheel, Arla Foods, Unilever, P&G, Emaar, Mondelez International, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Al Alali, and more.Natalie Shardan, the Managing Director of Serviceplan Middle East, expressed her excitement for Maksoudian joining the growing team, saying that she has a wealth of experience in the industry, and her skills will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of the client servicing department and help to grow clients' businesses. Shardan added that she looks forward to Maksoudian's contribution to achieving their goals.Rawida Saadé Maksoudian also expressed her excitement about joining the Serviceplan Middle East team, stating that she is eager to contribute her extensive knowledge in advertising, shopper marketing, and digital media to the largest independent advertising agency group in the world. Maksoudian shares the agency's passion for developing captivating brands that resonate with consumers and leave a lasting impact. She feels honored to be part of the dynamic and innovative team and is looking forward to helping their clients achieve their strategic goals.

From graphic design to communication: A fulfilling journey for Romy Abdelnour

Romy Abdelnour, the Head of Communications at TBWA\RAAD, talks to Adgully's BF Firos on her role in storytelling and communication at the agency. She talks about her passion for creativity, how she moved from graphic design to communications, and the biggest challenges she faced in her role as Corporate Communications Director. Abdelnour highlights how TBWA\RAAD stays ahead of the curve with the launch of NEXT, a creative-led innovation consultancy, and the annual NEXT Innovation Festival. She also shares her thoughts on the importance of female representation in the advertising industry and her advice for aspiring women. She also talks about the emerging trends in advertising and communications in the UAE and how TBWA\RAAD is exploring these innovations to create strategies that resonate with clients' target audience. Excerpts:Congratulations on your recent promotion! Can you tell us a little about your new role as Head of Communications at TBWA\RAAD?Thank you, much appreciated. My main role involves telling the TBWA\RAAD story: the story of its creative products, the different brand experiences the agency creates for its clients, as well as the stories of our people, culture, key milestones, and achievements.How did you initially get involved in the creative industry, and what inspired you to make the shift from graphic design to communications?I've always had a passion for creativity, and since I was a child, I knew that I would choose a creative path. Initially, I had imagined pursuing a career in fine arts or interior design. However, as I grew older, graphic design was gaining popularity, and I became curious about how brands come to life and the vast world of design. After many years in the field and behind the computer screen, I realized that I needed more interaction with the outside world, more opportunities for exchange. I craved connectivity. I chose to complement my design background with communications, to learn how to better bring creative ideas to life through storytelling and communication.As Corporate Communications Director, you oversaw the agency's internal and external communications, media relations, partnerships, and more. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in this role, and how did you overcome them?The main challenges are related to the amount of work and the need to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. However, these challenges provide an excellent opportunity to learn, grow and gain enriching experiences that make the journey worthwhile. Effective time management is crucial, which includes setting priorities and breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks. Moreover, it is essential to build a structured, consistent, relevant, and timely narrative that enhances the brand image and reputation, and resonates with the target audience.TBWA\RAAD has been recognized for its innovation, earning the title of The Middle East's Most Innovative Company in Advertising by Fast Company Middle East. How does the agency stay at the forefront of innovation in the industry, and what role do you play in this?Today, more than ever, brands need to elevate their game. Consumers in our region are tech-savvy, passionate about innovations such as the metaverse, and hungry for impactful, meaningful, and memorable experiences that utilize creativity and storytelling.Last year, TBWA\RAAD launched NEXT in the Middle East, a creative-led innovation consultancy designed to shape the future of brand experiences and help brands elevate their customer engagement to the next level. Powered by TBWA—The Disruption® Company—NEXT connects emerging technology with a deep understanding of culture and brands to disrupt traditional approaches to customer experience thinking and unlock business and brand opportunities. NEXT is supported by an ecosystem of tech and business experts, creative leaders, and strategists who combine culture with a strategic approach to technological change to identify innovation and growth opportunities for businesses.In addition to customizing innovation opportunities for its clients, TBWA\RAAD shares its knowledge and expertise in innovation with the community through its annual NEXT Innovation Festival, which serves as a platform to showcase and discuss the latest trends and technologies in innovation, and identify the different opportunities ahead for our region.My role in all of this is to highlight NEXT's offerings and the latest trends identified by NEXT and share the insights in thought leadership pieces or panel discussions attended by our leadership team. Additionally, I organize the annual festival and oversee all communications and marketing related to the event.You were recently recognized in Communicate's list of Women to Watch for 2022, which celebrates women in the Middle East who are driving change in the industry. How important do you think it is to have strong female representation in the creative industry, and what advice do you have for aspiring women in the field?I strongly believe that women have a vital role to play in our community and particularly in the advertising industry. Their unique perspectives and insights, based on their personal experiences and criteria, can contribute to elevating the creative product. Additionally, women have significant purchasing power and are crucial decision-makers in households. Therefore, they should be involved in crafting messages and telling brand stories from their own perspective.My advice to aspiring women in advertising is to be bold and courageous in their thinking. Challenge biases and conventions, push boundaries, and have fun while doing it. Make sure your voice is heard, advocate for equal representation and opportunities, and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Lastly, it is essential to build on your ideas and make them bigger.As someone with over 15 years of experience in the industry, what trends do you see emerging in the world of advertising and communications in the UAE, and how do you see TBWA\RAAD staying ahead of the curve?Currently, there are several key trends in the advertising industry. Personalization is a crucial one, with consumers increasingly expecting brands to offer personalized experiences and products that cater to their individual preferences and needs. As a result, companies are leveraging data-driven marketing strategies and artificial intelligence technologies to create tailored campaigns and product recommendations.Another trend that has been on the rise for some time now is purpose-driven campaigns, which are sensitive to social and environmental causes. Immersive experiences, enhanced by gamification, AR, and VR, are also gaining popularity among consumers.The advertising industry is constantly evolving, and there are endless opportunities now available with the evolution of new generative AI tools. At TBWA\RAAD, we are always on the lookout for the latest trends and technologies. Our main goal is to explore these innovations and create strategies that resonate with our clients' target audience.What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment to date, and how did you achieve it?There are many accomplishments that I am proud of at TBWA\RAAD, but there are a few that stand out to me. Firstly, I take pride in organising successful events such as our International Women’s Day events and regional meetings like the ‘Cairo Exchange’. Additionally, I launched the agency’s first mobile application “Pirates” in 2017 which brought all the different agencies together under a single platform and unified communication. I also find it gratifying when the agency receives global recognition. However, I consider the launch of the agency’s insights microsite during the pandemic in 2020 to be my greatest achievement to date. It was a challenging initiative, but with hard work and collaboration, we were able to create an interactive platform that housed the latest insights, tools, and predictions about culture and industries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also organized weekly live sessions to discuss the latest trending topics. This experience taught me a lot about the importance of teamwork, creating meaningful work, and making a positive impact in the community.How do you see TBWA\RAAD's vision for Disruption® evolving in the coming years, and what role will you play in this evolution?In 2021, we upgraded our operating system to Disruption X, a modernized version of our Disruption® approach that focuses on driving commercial impact and growth for our clients. Disruption X provides us with tools to apply Disruption® upstream to our clients' businesses and downstream to all customer touchpoints, enabling us to generate innovative solutions to their problems. At TBWA, Disruption® is always evolving and adapting to the ever-changing landscape and cultural shifts. Our role in communications is to share the Disruption® story with the world and showcase its impact across every touchpoint of our agency. We strive to embed it within our culture and narrative, not just within our client work, to ensure that we continue to push the boundaries of what's possible and create meaningful experiences for our clients and their customers.