Ep. 31 – How to Adapt to Constant Change with Sam Dulka of Dubai Economy & Tourism

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This week Eric talks to Sam Dulka, Associate Vice President of Global Business Marketing at Dubai Economy and Tourism about the pressing need for marketers to keep up with change and how Dubai has established itself as a challenger brand in the last few years through finding the channels for meaningful influence with the audience they are trying to reach.

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Sam: It's not just looking at what we need to do today to enable business, it's what do we need to put in place for the future acceleration of that business, and that that's really proving a huge draw, right.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler. And this is scratch, bringing you marketing lessons from leading brands and brains rewriting the rulebook from scratch for the world today.

Hey, everyone, my guest today is Sam Dulka, who is the Associate Vice President of Global Business Marketing at Dubai, economy and tourism. So we've had a lot of marketers and entrepreneurs on from product businesses, services, businesses, and our city and our region. So Sam, worked for a long time on the consumer side of the marketing organisation for Dubai. And now he shifted to the business side. And it's really interesting to hear, think about how he and the team market Dubai and the brand of Dubai and also how they think about it like a product, he relates it to Apple in a way where there's different kind of products underneath the brand and different features within those products. So I think that's a really interesting perspective shift for a lot of us, and I really loved how he talked about finding meaningful influence within the audience you're trying to reach? What are the things they care about? What's the culture around them? How can you tap into that to create meaningful dialogue that people are actually going to care about. And then lastly, the big takeaway for me is, there's so much change happening all the time. We as marketers, and for the brands that we work for, we really need to make sure that we, our teams, our businesses, or brands, are adaptable to change both of the product and within the world around it. So I will leave it at that. And I really hope you enjoy my conversation with Sam Dulka

Well, listen, it's good to see you, I really appreciate you taking the time to come on the show. I think it's really interesting, like we were talking about a couple days ago, when we did the first take or before we actually did the first take. I think it's really interesting having you on to talk about what you're seeing in the market your perspective as a marketer, but also just, you know, we think of Challenger brands, we think of products and services. But Dubai, as a brand, as a challenger brand is probably one of the most successful examples out there with what's happened, particularly over the last 10/15 years. And a lot of that has come from the work that you and the team have done within Dubai tourism. And I know your role now is a little bit more focused on kind of the business side of it, which we're going to get into, but I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts. And I'm sure people listening are too.

Sam: Yeah, it seems to be a brand that sort of captured people's imaginations, I think, certainly, certainly, I'd say more in the last two years than ever before, and think there's a lot of reasons for that.

Eric: But I think it's definitely gone through challenges status, and hopefully now it's a little bit more, you know, solidified in people's psyche as to being a global hub. Yeah, and in many ways, it's the incumbent, you can argue, and that's kind of how we think about things. Of course, we call them rival brands, successful challengers, but you know, it's a little bit to our own benefit, we're trying to create a term around that. But if you think about it, the term challenger brand is actually a statement of intent, not accomplishment. And when challengers succeed in their intent of disrupting a market, they kind of become not, they become a little bit more mainstream, a little bit more accepted. Maybe you don't hear them kind of as much, at least not in the kind of like certainty, Challenger disruptive type way. And I think that Dubai, probably you could argue now is more of a rival brand than a challenger brand, but being challenged or attempts at challenging it in the region, from Abu Dhabi right next door from everything that's going on in Saudi. So I think it's really interesting, not just that you've been able to do that, but also how quickly it's kind of gone from challenger to rival.

Sam: Yeah, I think, you know, it's one of those. It's like, it's like your 15 year, overnight success, right? It's that kind of mentality, that it's been that it's bubbling, it's just a case of how is the psyche of the public, you know, increased right, and found it more more palatable. And I think, you know, a lot of stuff has happened. And, you know, it's, it's something that we always look at, but it's one of those touch and feel type brands, right, that, you know, you have a perception of Dubai, of whatever it may be, but those that have been here, those experiences have engaged with the city as a whole, you know, leave with a much different perspective, and generally a much deeper and more positive perspective. And I think a lot more people have got into that motion of being here, coming back, learning more, making friends, setting roots, etc. You know, and I think that sort of got to a critical mass where that's now sort of starting to amplify out further and further and further and build momentum as well.

Eric: Amazing. Well, looking forward to digging into that further, but let's start with kind of the intro warm up questions. So first of all, can you tell us about a brand that you are very interested in? Or obsessed with right now?

Sam: Yeah, there's, there's actually a couple.And for different reasons. I mean, for me right now, I'm totally obsessed with channels of influence. And what I mean by that is, whereas people actually make meaningful impact and, and connection with with their audience and their customers, right. So it's going beyond the sort of superficial and it's really like, it's real deep connections. And that tends to be in, in in more unique spaces. Right. And I think a couple of really interesting brands that I've seen do that recently, and I'll give you some more local examples, I think, because you guys obviously have a lot more international chat. In the US and Europe. There's added us here particularly, has done something really interesting recently, and they've been looking at doing a lot of different collabs. And they've done one with Gucci, etc, etc. But the one that's really, you know, really got people talking was they did a collab with a Pakistani street food restaurant called rabbies. Which is, I mean, like, $2 $3, food dishes, you know, hasn't changed the way it's done anything in the last 3040 years? It is exactly what it says on the box, but it's always had a special place within society for those who know. No, right. And it's, it's certainly got a it's got a cult following without having ever actually done anything. Right. So, you know, they collab together, I think there's a long time in the making, you know, and, you know, out of the back of that, you know, did a lot of things but but in essence, you know, created shoe line, that sold out within minutes, you know, in some of the biggest malls in the world. You know, and what was really interesting about that was, you know, this is a restaurant, street food restaurant that has no social media presence that has marketing that has nothing, it doesn't do anything, it just does what it does. And the collab together, I would say, has elevated added as his brand more, right in the public psyche that it has the little street food restaurant, right? Yeah, street progression, it's cool and stuff. But I think people have grown more attached to it added us as a brand for this collaboration. So they've taken in essence, a complete unknown with no presence online or anything. And that has actually elevated added us brand higher, that it has the little street food restaurant, right. So I think that's a really interesting example for me a couple of other ones just run it just to touch on it. I think one that's that I've been really interested in is brands that are focusing in, in what they call modest fashion. There was a brand that was carved out a couple of years ago called The Modus. And then it disappeared through a little bit through COVID. It's coming back again, which focuses purely on what what they call modest fashion. And that's that's fashion that's targeted towards, you know, Muslim women, conservative women, but But it's high end fashion, and really started to get pickup with global fashion brands around the world. It's a huge, multi billion dollar market, and how they're engaging with a community that felt underserved and undervalued, again, is a massive insight into, you know, how a model that might work in in Western markets is completely ignored in markets where it's really needed. And you know, there's a huge growth opportunity for something like that. The last one, I would say, that's really interesting to me at the moment, is what's going on with the game fortnight. And if I'm going back to communities and building that kind of level of engagement, deep meaningful connection, you know, just what I've seen them, do, you know, across everything that they've been doing collabs and where they build their infrastructure and spin out content that comes out of it, and the fan base and everything else. I think it's a really good example of two things. One is how do you build a totally engaged community that is passionate about the brand or the product? And two is probably a good insight into potentially what the metaverse could look like for the next generation of people coming up. Right. And that's, you know, where kids are spending a lot more of their time, it's where people feel that they can be a lot more free, you know, the way they look and how they engage with people. So getting that suddenly was written really interesting to me and saying, How can we take stuff like that and build that level of engagement for for ourselves, right?

Eric: Fascinated by the eSports world, and the gaming world in general, because I think a lot of people, if you're in it, you know how big it is, and how intense it is, and how involved and invested the people are, that are in that world. But if you're not, you don't realise it. And I think it's always interesting, particularly talking to more traditional marketers looking at Esports as an area to build brands or deliver marketing results. There's kind of this disconnect, where it's different from how they would think about other sports. And it's the same at the end of the day. You know, whether or not people choose to watch someone else playing a game, which a lot of people think is silly, or watching grown men and women kick a ball around a grass field like it's just as silly, but it happens to enter and unite people and build community and on all those things, and there's a lot of attention there right now is actually, you know, we're recording this July 14, I almost went down to I think it was Dusseldorf it might have been cologne tomorrow for the Intel Extreme Masters Tournament that's put on by ESL who we've been talking to for a while. And I was interested in going just for the sheer experience of it, because I think people don't realise how big it is. And then just picking up on a couple things that you said and where my mind went, I think the modest fashion trend is interesting, because I think a lot of Challenger brands are really good at understanding where there's an underserved niche within a market. And some of them kind of like hanging on to it. Just organically, like that's where they started, because it was the problem that the founder had, and then they built a business around it. But I think it's a really interesting and helpful exercise to go through for marketers listening of like, you know, your audience, you know, the market you're trying to serve, but where are they underserved? And how can you potentially go into that? And then the it does one is interesting, because we spend so much time as marketers thinking about our product, or our service, and the audience. But actually, there's another layer within that, which is the culture through which the customer experiences your product, service and brand. And so again, I think always thinking about and being aware of, what is the culture around your audience that's relevant to you? And how is it shifting? Whereas it may be underpriced, or people don't know about this cool street food restaurant? And how can you do something with that, so especially lifestyle brands, and fashion brands, that so much of how they build their credibility, and their equity is not just delivering a product, but so much of those are just built on brand. And so they have to come to life in cool and interesting ways by understanding the trends of culture around their audience.

Sam: Yeah, it's great. I mean, there's this women's poetry examples. And I think it's just really, like relevant to the audience that that sitting there is because, you know, this, this part of the work can be hugely different from from place to place, right. And I think, you know, one brand doesn't fit one size, right. And that's just not a concept that's here. And you see, the most successful brands do that, you know, I'll give you another example. Kareem, which is the ride hailing app that Uber bought out for over 3 billion, right, it was one of the first unicorns to come into this region. It was successful, where its competitors wasn't because it adapted its product hugely. To each of the markets, it went into, you know, particularly, let's take Saudi at the time, you know, that they were able to offer driving and freedom to people who couldn't, who couldn't do it on their own right. So I think that's really interesting. I also think the adaptability of culture is an interesting one as well, because I'm not sure if you know that Huda Beauty right, which is one of the biggest beauty brands in the world now. She's based here in Dubai, and especially grow a business. At the same time, you've got a brand like that, that's just going through the roof. And then on the opposite side, you've got like a Revlon, you know, there's just filing for bankruptcy because they chose not to use influence as part of its strategy, right? So so again, there's this hugely changing dynamics, and you're seeing these rise and fall brands, and they can be anywhere in the world, right. So it's not, they have to be in the US, or they have to be here. And then the brands coming from all over the place. And making big challenges statements, because they're finding a niche, right, or a loophole that's not being serviced. And the world that we live in, is fully digitised. Right? And you can you can almost do that from anywhere and start a business and go global.

Eric: Yeah. And that adaptability, that ability, externally, which comes from an ability internally, to be dynamic, to change what the world around you is so important for challenger brands, a lot of what we see in the research and the work that we do now with challengers, is, it's even why, you know, when we do brand development work, it's not a brand book, it's not a brand guideline, we call it a brand operating system, in part to make the point that much like an operating system, of course, there are going to be core components of it that don't change. But it should update and upgrade with the world around it, because that's where the opportunity is. And that's, you know, sitting where we sit in the industry, it's so fascinating being seeing the contrast between challengers and incumbents and of course, it's overgeneralizing. And sometimes the biggest incumbents can be the best challengers. Amazon's always a great example of that, constantly trying to put themselves out of business before somebody else does. But that ability to adapt to the world around it as it changes or as you go into different areas is so key to building a successful challenger brand.

Sam: Yeah, totally agree.

Eric: So let's talk a little bit about what you're curious about right now. So what's your perspective on interesting trends? What are you thinking about these days?

Sam: I sort of alluded to it at the beginning of the call. And I think, you know, the big thing that's keeping us up at night is is where are we able to have the most meaningful, impactful dialogue and engagement with audiences? Right. And, you know, you sort of have two hats or I put two hats on and one is more tourism leisure, which is kind of a more of a mass focus, right. And then on the other hand, you've got your own, you know that the other work that we do, which is much more talking to their global business community investors, high net worth individuals, you know, unicorn owners, startups, scale ups, anything in between right talent, what we've certainly seen is that the global content landscape has become just so saturated, and you know, a lot of people don't necessarily know, even more where to turn for credible information, but equally, you know, information or content that is, you know, really tailored towards them that they know, is, is in essence, you know, trustworthy and ones that they want to get behind and believe it right. So a lot of what we've been looking at is what I call channels of influence, right is where all these very, very specific channels of audience based on very, very specific audiences. So it's not massively, I can't see the social media spaces and things like that really delivering the impact that I want to get right at a level of maturity. And I think that we've got to in our marketing, communications, you know, we're having to look at more, one to one and one to few platforms, or online, offline, whatever it might be, where we can start to actually have meaningful, deeper conversations with people that are coming to the table receptive and want to hear more, right. So for me, it's about finding all of those channels, and it's a huge exercise, and it's a constantly changing, shifting landscape, you know, as to what worked yesterday doesn't necessarily have to work tomorrow. But what I've certainly seen is that, when you put like minded people who are receptive to a dialogue, within a much more enclosed space, you know, in essence, wherever that may be, then then you know, the impact of that seems to be far, far greater than then then, you know, me saying, I've got 11 million views on a YouTube video so that way for me, then that million people love my video. But But does it cause of action or reaction? Yeah. And I think that's the big thing, particularly with everything's going on with data, and everything else is going around it, you know, am I actually being meaningful to my clients, or my, my audiences or customers? And I think that's the big thing that certainly my focus going forward.

Eric: So how are you actually going about that if we take that one level deeper to the extent that you can share within Dubai economy and tourism and your team? Because I think a lot of marketers will, every marketer is probably challenged with the same thing increasingly, nowadays, with the shifts that we've had and the technology in the media landscape around us? How do you attract people's attention? How do you get them engaged?

Sam: How do you find, you know, post iOS 14 For a lot of businesses that were spending a lot of money on digital performance? And that was working very well? How do you find the new channels to invest that's going to deliver that type of return? So I think you touched on it a bit at a high level. But I'd love to hear the next level down of like, how do you work with your teams to actually try to uncover those opportunities and measure them? I mean, I think there's, again, two schools of thought, right? If you're looking at more of a conversion component, right? So I'd say that for your tourism side, you have to build very effective funnels. And then those funnels need to have that conversion component built into them that can then feed back into the cycle, right? So you need to be able to track something from end to end, right? If we talk a little bit more around, you know, when you're talking to business, people who tend to make, you know, much longer time decisions, etc, etc, you know, that that becomes much more trickier. And they're not going to be in a lot of the places that you would traditionally assume as a marketeer. So in essence, a lot of it is sometimes going back into a bit more of an old school sense of space, where it's events, it's networking platforms, it's, you know, word of mouth, right, you know, some of the older marketing tactics are actually proving to be much more effective, because they're coming from a place of trust. And when I say trust is, I'm at an event because I choose to be here, or I'm listening to this person, because this person has trust with me, therefore, I listened to you, right? So what what I've certainly seen is, you know, the bigger the decision, right? Or the more senior the decision maker, right? The level of circle of trust, right is much, much, much smaller. So definitely you need to find different ways to look at it. So you know, we're constantly looking at different juggling of, you know, are we gonna go mass but how do we track mass and is it the right people, but but we can build conversion on the bottom of those under the stress test? You know, there's results that says, you know, this is something that is a slightly new world, you know, we need to talk to different people in different places and things have massively changed over the last few years on The level of trust that they have in a lot of traditional place or traditional marketing places, right.

Eric: So let's shift gears a little bit. Let's talk about your role now. So as Associate Vice President Global Business Marketing for Dubai, economy and tourism,

Sam: What is the day in the life look like? Right now let's start there. It never looks the same. I think that's the, that's the critical part. It's very fluid, very dynamic, right. And I think that, that, you know, being in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, but also being one of the most travelled through cities in the world, right? means that, that setting, a lot of people are coming through so meetings forms a huge component of what what a day might look like, right. But it's never super structured. Right. Yeah. You know, there's, there's so much happening at such speed. Right. It's, it's never mornings will be meetings and afternoon work, but but there's a huge amount of people coming through. I also think that the meeting culture is still very ingrained, you know, within the psyche of Dubai, the UAE, the region, you know, comes back to the Majlis, you know, everyone wants to come around and solve a problem in a meeting space, right. So I think, face to face meetings, and those types of things still form a huge component of doing business here and being successful in business here. So I think that's a, that's a huge component that, that we're that we continue to see. And obviously COVID Put a little bit of stop to that. But but, you know, we were, we were we opened very, very quick, you know, allow that face to face interaction to happen again, you know, you know, much sooner than other places. So, it's very glad that we're able to get that. So what's an average day look like? I mean, it can be anything crazy, I mean, day starts the same, you know, exercise for this huge component of the days, it's got to happen somewhere. You know, a lot of the day is split between meetings. And, and really, where's that moment for deep work? Right? Where can we do that deep work? So it's splitting this sort of time between the two. But uh, you know, we're hugely go global, right. So we'll be doing calls with with the East in the morning and meetings with the East in the morning, if and if they're not here, and then obviously, the US and that in the evening times, right, but we can spend both of them. So from eight to eight, we can talk to the world.

Eric: So I know that you're now more focused on the business side. So how do you get more businesses to do more business in Dubai? But I think this question still stands, and also knowing that you've worked on the consumer side for so long on the tourism side for so long. Be interesting to get your perspective from both the b2c and the b2b. How do you market a city? You know, like, so much of marketing is about product and service? And, you know, is it that you just think of the city as a product? And there's different offerings within that reasons to buy? Or is it something different? When it comes to marketing, a city versus marketing a product or service?

Sam: I, I think we take a lot of inspiration from from marketing product. And certainly the way that Dubai runs the city, it's very much run almost as a corporation as a business, you know, across the board, you know, and I think, you know, we would look at it in a similar way as an apple would, right, and that we have products, we have consumer base, we have an invested group, we want to talk to them, we want to get our different product offerings out to them, you know, we can look at it as business versus leisure versus iPhone versus Mac, right? I mean, it's the same thing, you're trying to talk to a different group that shared interest, but have, you know, different different wants and needs from from, from what they want to take out of the city? Right. So I think, you know, our approach is very similar. But at the same time, you know, how we communicate is, is, is where the big challenge or the opportunity comes, right. So we understand that we're a global city. And I say that in, you know, there's 200 nationalities or more that live in Dubai, but but if you look at where all the audiences are coming from around the world, you know, they're coming from almost as many countries, right, so, when we look at our marketing, we can't do marketing on a only global scale, or a one size fits all scale, you know, it's very, very specific, localised, and, and, you know, finding the right approaches for the right audiences, and sub audiences, at different times of the year, etc, you know, to really sort of tie in with the behaviours and the wants and the needs of, of the individual markets. Right. And I think that's, that's one of the big hallmarks of how we certainly market ourselves globally, but it's done in a very localised level, you know, and you've got to find the balance between making that feasible and impactful.

Eric: So, I want to ask you, and this definitely is not to put you on the spot and I but I do think there's something that people can learn from this. So there's obviously so many amazing things happening do in Dubai. There's also the other side of it when it comes to kind of human rights and gay rights and freedom of speech. So it's not necessarily about that, like, that's not what this conversation is. But I guess what I wanted to bring up is how do you deal with a product that has some negative perception in certain parts of the world? How does that fit into how you think about it?

Sam: Like, I think the philosophy is also twofold, right? One is, we always invite people to experience it and see for themselves, right and not just take what they've read, or seen, right? Because I can tell you hands down, and the majority of people that I've ever met over the many customer years, we're all walks of life and income brackets and geographies have had a hugely different and positive change in perception when coming. Right. I think that's, that's important. I think that comes back a little bit to channels of trust that we talked about earlier. Secondly, I think it's, someone once told me the Star Wars marketing model, right. And it was, you know, you have at the top you have diehard fans, that they're going to, they're going to be engaged with the product and going to the movies, no matter what happens right? At the bottom, you're gonna always have detractors that are never going to change their mind, and no matter what you do, right, and then in the middle, you have this, this, this huge group that I'm interested, I want to know more, you know, convince me, right. And I think the big focus for us really just is really how do we change those people and get those people to come, you know, build them into advocates for the for the city and help them sell further? Right, once they've had a positive experience. So for us, it's really, you know, putting the effort into to where it should be focused.

Sam: And so how's it going on the business side? Now, I mean, for, you know, just personally, I don't know, maybe I Am Your Target Market, I was just thinking, you know, because obviously, we're very early with rival, but we just hired somebody in the Middle East, we're hoping to do more and expand down there. And Dubai, to me is kind of the default of where we might eventually want to set up in the region. And as I understand it, you know, we met when I was at Vayner, and we were looking at potentially expanding down there. So it's been a little while, but I think that Dubai has kind of made, it was, it was relatively easy before, but I think they've increasingly made it easier and more appealing for international businesses to set up. So I'd imagine that's part of what you're doing. But overall, how is it going when it comes to the product of Dubai? For businesses?

Sam: Yeah, it's been, it's been phenomenal. I see. And particularly over the last few years, you know, even drink COVID Obviously, Dubai, was one of the first cities to shut, but it's also one of the first to open, you know, and a lot of people came here during that period, you know, people that that, you know, from, from, from very strong backgrounds, from companies from, from private individuals, wherever they may be, you don't realise that, that this was the city that they could potentially stay in. And then it was a case of business and near this is where I could set up and then, you know, this is where I can live full time.

Right. And we've seen a lot of that transition happen. I think the other component is, is obviously, in Dubai, like you said, it's very, it's very proactive, right? And looking at what needs to be done next, you know, to stay ahead of the curve, right, as you weren't in any, as you said, you know, try and put ourselves out of business before somebody else. That's right. So it comes to constantly changing. So yesterday looking at ease of business, you know, how can we how can we enable business even further, but it's really looking at not what's good, what needs to be done today? It's very much I know what we want to do in five years you want to do in 10 years, you want to do in 20 years? Very, very clear. Right? So that gives a lot of stability, right? But it also gives a lot of foresight into where everybody wants to go. I mean, just this year alone, you know, Dubai was one of the first globally to announce an independent regulatory body for the virtual assets. Industry, right as a whole, right? Completely independent looking at it, we need to solve this problem, right. So that's, that's one thing. They have set out for citywide Metaverse strategy, right, which is already fully committed. And you know, they're gonna start building out an entire Metaverse strategy, and they want it to be 1% of the economy, right in the next in the next few years. So it's not just looking at what we need to do today to enable business, it's what do we need to put in place for the future acceleration of that business? And that that's really proving a huge draw, right? The other big component I'd say is talent. Right? You need talent to do your business, right? And talent is a big buzzword for everybody around the world. And, you know, Dubai is lucky enough to have a it's a great place for businesses to thrive. But equally, it's a really good place for people to live. And I think you're seeing a lot of people choosing that lifestyle, as a place where they want to go and therefore talents coming here the barriers to entry unless you know where others are putting it up. So I think you know, that that's, that's a huge component, because you need the talent to drive the engine of business. Right. And I think that's a huge credible play for us.

Eric: Is there a campaign that you've run recent only that you're particularly proud of, or I think it just be a kind of it makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the strategy, if you will, and what we've been talking about. But when you get into the tactics, I'd be curious to hear like, what does it look like when you launch a marketing campaign? For Dubai to businesses?

Sam: So again, I think, you know, we've done a lot on the business space. And as I said, I think a lot of where we've moved into is much more bespoke. Right? And it's more looking at how do I engage through multiple different one to one or one to few avenues? Right. So we've done a lot of marketing, we've done a lot of above the line, we've done a lot of working with big global media partnerships, etc, etc. But what we started to realise that's great for when you needed to build a brand and get a conversation going. Now, at a lesser level of maturity, you know, is it as effective as it was, and I'm saying now, what we're seeing is that dialogue, you know, on a more intimate basis is a much more effective route to get. So I'd say that on the business side, so to answer your question is we've changed our entire marketing mix away from traditional marketing, you know, that kind of thing into a much more b2b or one to one space type of approach. On the flip side, you know, one of the big things we did as Dubai tourism was launched the Dubai presents campaign. Earlier this year, we shot with Zac Efron and Jessica Alba, which itself is just a phenomenally interesting take on a destination marketing campaign. Right? I don't know if you've seen it, but it's basically it's done in six different film genres. And it's designed to compete like movie trailer, and it's it's spy, it's romance, it's done in the sideways Anderson versus whatever. And we rolled that out globally. And that was a really interesting one, because the amount of effort that went into looking at the incomplete end to end, you know, channelmax, distribution, assets, content, you know, what we were trying to achieve the driving back into conversion, etc. You know, so it's just not only a great campaign that was really well done, but it was one that was, you know, highly successful in achieving meaningful outputs. And I think that, that that was something that was really cool. And the fact that we were able to do it in COVID, was even better.

Eric: Yeah, it's really cool. Well, I'm looking forward to coming down. And hopefully being a business that's come in, if there's a way that I can attribute us setting up and Dubai, to your marketing efforts, just let me know. But yeah, I really appreciate the conversation. Before I let you go. Two quick questions. So the first is, if you had to kind of take a step back, we've talked about a lot, obviously, you know, we're just skimming the surface of your experience and and the value that you could add to our audience. But what is one thing that you would recommend people do differently based on this conversation, and kind of the perspective that you have to offer?

Sam: Again, I have harped on about it a lot. But I think you've really got to understand and know your audience better. I think that that's something that we should all take a step back over the after the last few years, because I'm guaranteeing it's changed. I think it's I think, honestly, people's mentality has changed their headspace has changed their wants and needs have changed, you know, what they feel passionate about has changed. And I think everybody should be reevaluating. You know, in the truest purest sense of the form of what were actually is my audience, what are they really, really want from me? And what should I be giving them, and it shouldn't be really linked to a purpose. And it shouldn't be what I want. It should be what the audience wants, you know, and I think a lot of people have forgotten that it's not, it's not me making that assumption on their behalf. I think it really should be, you go out and do your research. And you really find out what what really makes these people tick. And you got to deliver on that, because they can turn you off in a second.

Eric: Right. And that's the world we live in. I totally agree. And I think any successful product, any successful brand, a successful marketing campaign ultimately stems from a deep and differentiated understanding of an audience need, and finding a way to solve that. So I love that. And last question, who is someone else that we could have on the show if there's someone, someone you'd recommend doesn't have to be someone that you know, but who would you recommend to come on as another guest?

Sam: I have a friend who runs a marketing agency here. And he's been doing some insane stuff in AR VR space, right around marketing and things like that. A guy called Mike Korea to a company called we are tactical. I know Mike very well. Do you know, Mike?

Eric: I saw him when he was in London. When was a couple months ago.

Sam: I've always been amazed that not just what those guys are doing. Right? And they've done a lot of really interesting things, particularly in the world of sport. And how have we looked at how do you bring social media coverage to sport

Eric: Uh, but I just just that sort of passionate philosophy on on a lot of different things I think is is very, very cool. Definitely one you should speak to correct yeah, I've always been a fan of his. I will have to reach out to him about that great suggestion. All right, Sam. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time. Looks like our internet held up this time. So that's great. But yeah, looking forward to hopefully seeing you when I'm next down in town and just watching everything that you're doing with the Dubai brand.

Sam: - and anyone else wants to get in touch they pass through my details. Perfect. We'll do.

Scratch is a production of rival. We are a growth consultancy that builds challenger brands, strategies and capabilities to disrupt categories. If you want to learn more about us. Check out wearerival.com If you want to connect with me, email me at eric@wearerival.com or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it and leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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