For The Times They Are A-Changin: MEC @DubaiLynx: Day 1

create tom

This year’s Dubai Lynx promised more. The theme for the festival, ‘Create Tomorrow’ was in itself inspiring. We are in the midst of an ongoing cultural and technological renaissance and marketing communications efforts need constant reappraisal to be ready for tomorrow. I, therefore, went to the Festival with an open mind to soak in the collective wisdom of speakers, attendees and participants. The first day did not disappoint.

The schedule of events at the festival can be overwhelming and like millions of consumers today, I decided to use my smartphone for a better experience of the festival. Download Dubai Lynx App, Check, Follow @Dubailynx Twitter ACCOUNT, check. Armed with the app, I was ready to take on and enjoy the Festival.

Day 1 coincided with International Women’s Day and what better celebration than the fact that there were more women speakers on day 1 than the entire festival. In this context, I must mention the rather inspiring talk by ‘young gun’ Nur Amer. Nur talks about breaking down stereotypes when it comes to women in hijab. She urges a change in mindset from showing women in hijab only in cooking and cleaning environments. This change needs to happen not just in the context of creative but also in message delivery, channel selection and content creation.

Today’s Arab women are coming to the fore in the society and are more than holding their own. They are more discerning and perspicacious and digging deep into their values and motivations can give enriched insights which should be the bedrock of planning. MEC has been able to harness these insights to create memorable content driven activations such as MAGGI Diaries which is a journey of discovery for Arab women breaking societal boundaries. May there be more such insight-driven content.

This brings me to the common theme across many sessions on Day 1 – Content. While it is an undisputed truth that content is king in today’s day and age, it was interesting to listen to the perspective of the speakers on how to amplify storytelling. Easily the best session by a distance on Day 1 was by the clairvoyant David Shing ‘Shingy’, widely touted as the closest thing the communications INDUSTRY has to a fortune teller. In a mesmerizing session, he alludes the audience today playing a triple role – a creator, a critic and a curator. How we harness these qualities of the audience will determine the success of a content strategy.

He talked about ‘attention’ being the only currency of engagement. To get the attention, it was all about owning the breaking news. BRANDS face the challenge of owning the ‘Content Now’ in engaging with the consumer who is always on, always with and always logged in to get his attention.

Data will increasingly play a key role in adapting content and conversations in a dynamic manner. Communications practitioners and brands that are willing to constantly adapt ‘on-the-go’ will emerge winners.

I would sum up Day 1 with the same words of Bob Markey that Karim Khalifa of Digital Republic summed up his session on ‘Adapt or Die in a Digital Age’ — “If your time to you is worth savin’. Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changin’”

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