Our world is evolving, thanks to technology, at a much faster pace ushering change to most industries. In keeping up with these transformations, a holistic approach has become indispensable, especially when dealing with constantly-shifting consumer needs. In addressing these, ArabAd asked Joe Ayoub, CEO of one of the region’s leading branding agencies, Brandcell, about its new strategy and future plans for the Middle Eastern market.

We noticed in your new website that Brandcell has evolved. Can you tell us more
about it?

The launch of our new website was timed to reflect our evolution to being a business design and innovation consultancy. Previously we were a strategic branding agency and while it is still part of what we do, as a business design consultancy we provide a more holistic approach that fits the needs of today’s businesses better. It is worth noting that while we were the first to bring true branding expertise to the Levant, we are also the first to bring business design to the region.

What are the major factors that pushed you to this evolution?

Today’s market is more dynamic, the rules and consumers are changing, and technology is making all of these changes happen extremely fast. So we need to adapt and provide our customers with new tools and techniques to solve the issues they face today and those of the future.

And what is business design exactly?

Business design is about applying design thinking with tested strategy tools to solve business issues. Simply put, products and services are developed around the users and their needs thereby delivering seamless and memorable experiences. The principal is based on a ‘human-centric’ approach. The business design scope can touch on any service or product offering, redesigning the sales process or pretty much anything that involves a business’s interaction with its customers. Whether it’s about your strategy, organisation, sales, brand or customer service, we can design, with our global partner Livework, very focused and customer centric solutions that have direct impact on your business. That’s Business Design.

What approach is used?

Too many organisations try to address complex, interrelated business and marketing challenges with traditional, isolated ‘solutions’ that merely tackle one issue at a time. This approach neither takes into account the impact across the organisation nor does it offer any insight related to customers’ perception.

We see that measurable business solutions need to work across every part of your organisationto serve your customers and help you build a better business.

The approach is comprised of four steps. The first is understanding and discovering the consumers as human beings in their own context and engaging them to understand how and why they behave this way. The second is imagining how to improve via different scenarios the way they use or consume a service or product. The third is designing and testing a new service journey model and the fourth is implementing it. It’s actually a very scientific and collaborative approach through which we co-create with and for our clients the solutions that suit them best.

Do you think the market in this part of the world is ready for business design?

We believe it is. We have moved very fast from being in an industrial age to a product-based age then to a service age and now to an experience age. Everywhere you go you hear these buzzwords. Apple was the first to realise this and create a seamless experience between the product and every aspect of the consumer interaction with the brand. Now people don’t only want a product or service which is transactional. They want a full experience to delight them and magnify the value of what they’re paying. Let’s not forget that 80 percent of our economy here and in the region is service driven yet service has traditionally been neglected.

Tell us more about your partnership with Live Work.

In order to understand, learn and bring this discipline of business design to a more professional level to the market we looked for the experts in this field. We selected Livework as our partners based on our chemistry and synergies, and the fact that they were the pioneers in commercial service design. They were the first to take this field from an academic to a commercial level. Coupled with their down to earth approach and wide global experience, we could not help but love that about them. They’ve worked with very large, high profile clients including companies such as Orange, Barclays and Transport London. Through this partnership we are bringing knowledge, expertise and best practices to the region and to our clients.

Do you touch on communication?

Actually we are excellent purveyors of content or news-worthy material for our clients’ communication. Once we design a new solution that makes a difference and gives clients a market edge or internally a new way of operating, they in turn would need to communicate these innovations and therefore the ad agency will get more business to work on that is more focused and exciting. So to answer you, yes we touch on it from an all-inclusive angle but we don’t communicate it ourselves as this is the agency’s role.

What are your plans moving forward?

We are now reinforcing our presence in Beirut and in the process of establishing a presence in Dubai to service the GCC. We are currently exploring various forms of establishments there that should hopefully be finalised within the coming couple of months.