Roger Sahyoun on the Network's Leap in Lebanon's Advertising
Posted on 2024 Mar,11

“The Lebanese advertising sector, despite facing stagnation since 2019, is showing signs of revival, a trend The Network Communication Group (TNCG) is not only witnessing but actively shaping,” states Roger Sahyoun, CEO, TNCG, who elaborates in this interview on the agency’s approach and other strategic means that help the agency sustain if not level up its market position.

‘Our approach has been multifaceted: retaining our top talent by sustaining their income through revenue generated in Dubai and KSA, and shifting our business focus to Beirut. This strategic decision has allowed us to not only maintain but elevate our market position. The introduction of the 'kitchen hub' concept, fostering creative communities, exemplifies our commitment to innovation and excellence. Despite the economic and political challenges of 2023, TNCG has stood out by winning several key Lebanese accounts, adhering to international standards. However, it's crucial to note that the business environment hasn't fully normalized. Numerous political and trade obstacles remain, posing challenges to a complete market recovery. Like many agencies, we are striving to retain Lebanese talent within the market, but the road to 'business as usual' is still fraught with challenges that need to be navigated carefully.


Lebanon's Market Outlook for 2024

Lebanon's socio-economic landscape continues to present challenges, particularly felt in the banking sector, trade, and tourism. The dramatic reduction in GDP, from 55 billion to 20 billion, has had a tangible impact on businesses, including ours at TNCG. Our success is closely tied to the health of the trading sector, which directly influences marketing and advertising budgets. Despite these hurdles, we see potential in 2024. While it may not be a standout year, it promises growth opportunities for businesses and the economy, dependent on regional stability and the resolution of ongoing conflicts. This cautious optimism is based on the expectation that, although challenges persist, there will be gradual improvements, offering a more conducive environment for business and trade activities.


Reviving the Lebanese Advertising Scene

Playing a role in recovering Lebanon's advertising industry is a vision that TNCG is committed to, but it's a journey that will take time, likely spanning two to three years, hinging heavily on the country's economic stability. Our strategy involves more than just business growth; it's about rejuvenating the industry from the ground up. We recognize the need to bring back our talented workforce to Lebanon, embracing and accelerating digital evolution, and significantly upgrading our technological infrastructure.

By transforming Beirut into a creative hub, we aim to harness the well-informed and tech-savvy nature of Lebanese millennials and Gen Z. This demographic is deeply connected and knowledgeable about technological advancements, making them key players in this transformation. Our vision extends to making Beirut a magnet for regional offices, enticing them to reestablish their presence in the city. This move is crucial for reviving the market and returning it to its golden age of advertising.

As Lebanon finds its footing economically and politically, we anticipate that this stability will encourage regional businesses to return. Such a development would not only boost the local economy but would also revitalize the advertising and marketing sectors, providing much-needed impetus for growth and innovation.


“Our vision extends to making Beirut a magnet for regional offices, enticing them to reestablish their presence in the city.”


AI: The Game Changer in Advertising

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the advertising industry, profoundly impacting creative processes and operational efficiencies. In Lebanon, known for its high digital literacy, AI's potential is particularly exciting. AI's capacity to analyze extensive data sets and generate actionable insights is transforming marketing strategies and campaign executions. This technology is enhancing creativity by offering new ways to generate content, personalize messaging, and predict consumer behavior. Moreover, AI streamlines delivery processes, making campaign executions more efficient and cost-effective. AI's predictive analytics capabilities are opening up novel avenues for business growth, making it an indispensable tool in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. AI-driven tools are becoming a cornerstone in the advertising industry, fostering innovative approaches and leading to more successful, data-driven campaigns. This shift towards AI integration is a significant step in keeping pace with global trends, ensuring that the Lebanese advertising sector remains competitive and forward-thinking.


What’s in Store for TNCG?

As we step into 2024, our primary focus is to guide our clients through the digital transformation. The current economic climate has led to budget constraints, pushing businesses to seek more cost-effective solutions. TNCG is poised to educate and assist traders in adopting digital models, such as e-commerce and digital marketing, to ensure their survival and growth in a budget-sensitive market. This shift is not merely about adapting to limitations but about opening new doors and exploring innovative advertising practices within these constraints.

In summary, TNCG is navigating Lebanon's challenging advertising landscape with resilience, innovation, and a forward-looking approach. The integration of digital trends and AI, coupled with a focus on creative community building, positions TNCG as a key player in shaping the future of advertising in Lebanon. This article reflects on these strategies and TNCG's vision for the future, offering insights into the evolving world of advertising.’