10-Questions-with-Alex

#1 How long have you been in your position and what led you down this path?
I’ve worked in marcomms in the region for over a decade now, and I’ve been with Procter & Gamble for around three and a half years. I started out as a journalist and researcher a long time ago when I was in university, and I slowly made my way into the communications industry. As a marcomms professional, we need to be good storytellers, and my grounding in media helped me in developing my ability to take information and weave it into a compelling story.

#2 What inspires you creatively?
I love what I do, especially the opportunity to engage with others and talk about issues that we all care about. I’m fortunate to have worked with companies and organizations who do care about the local community, and they’ve provided me with a platform to open a dialogue with others and support local causes. What I particularly care about is making sure that any dialogue is culturally appropriate and effective, which is a challenge considering the diversity of our region.

#3 What’s your favorite city and food and why?
It has to be London, a city that is full of history at every turn and yet which is so alive with culture. And London is a city for walking, which I miss when I’m in the Gulf. As for food, it has to be Gulf cuisine, especially Bahraini dishes such as machboos, balaleet and khorest sabzi. Nothing beats my wife’s family’s cooking during Eid.

#4 What’s the best professional advice you have been given?
Work hard, prove yourself and the opportunities will come knocking.

#5 What is your top tip for creating a successful social media strategy/marketing strategy?
Make sure that you know who you want to communicate with and why. What are you trying to achieve. Don’t try a catch-all approach, but be measured and specific.

#6 What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love spending time with my daughter who just became a toddler – she has an amazing character. I also support volunteering and professional bodies that promote communications and marketing. I’d like to see the industry step up its game in terms of training and development, so we keep getting better.

#7 What trends should we look out for when it comes to social media and online platforms in MENA?
When it comes to social and online platforms, the key will always be content. Video is especially powerful in markets such as Saudi. Content creation and curation will be key to brands looking to grow online.

#8 What’s your favorite movie and actor/actress?
I used to love The Goonies when I was a kid, it always made me laugh. I’m a big fan of David Lean’s work. At his prime, Omar Sharif was mesmerizing. There’s some good movies being created in the region – West Beirut brought tears to my eyes – and I’d love to see more work being produced locally that tackles tough issues.

#9 What is the coolest social media/marketing campaign you have worked on and why?
I am proud of the work that my team did when I was at ABB on student engagement in Saudi when we introduced our scholarship programme in 2009. The level of interest that we helped to create was phenomenal, and our partnerships with universities in Saudi goes to show that through collaboration we can greatly amplify reach.

#10 What are your favorite publications or blogs to read?
I love to read info about the comms sector, so the Holmes Report is a must read. I’m also interested in the regional marketing sector, and regularly go to Campaign Middle East and Communicate. I do write on marketing issues myselfat my own blog, and I would like to see more specializations when it comes to blogging and a move away from the general topics of food and fashion. There’s so much happening in our region, and it’d be great to have access to what is going on.

To know more about Alex, follow him on @alex_malouf

Read here our 10 Questions with Nadia Zehni, Head of Marketing at dubizzle.