Assaad Kassis: 'We will survive this period'
Posted on 2022 Mar,02

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Lebanon has been in a state of emergency since late-2019, pummeled by a crisis after another. On top of everything came the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut on 4 August 2020 followed by an economic crisis that keeps worsening. One year later, ArabAd wanted to know from the ad agencies in town how they thrived throughout such a tumultuous 2021 year. Here is what Assaad Kassis, General Manager of UM MENAT, had to say.

How would you describe in one word the year that past? 

2021 was the year of crisis management. All the challenges we have faced, including the political and economic turmoil on top of the Covid situation, have reshaped our industry and our behaviors .

Were you able to find certainty despite all hardships and adversity crippling businesses in the country? 

With an agile strategy and the right talents to execute it, we will survive this period.

Did you feel at risk at some point of getting pulled out of the game? 

The repercussion of the country's situation made the people dough the future in this country, but looking at our history, we believed that this one too shall pass. The Hub is the primary driver for our team, working for GCC clients and gaining the international experience that will help them once they change their country.

How have you managed to channel your energy into keeping up? 

My team are the main drivers of my energy; they are hungry to work and learn, they want to prove themselves.

What has been the most important thing you’ve learned over the last 12 months? 

We learned to be agile in our plans; we always need to be ready for the unknown. Nothing last!

Has your passion and energy remained intact in such a gloomy climate? 

The agency vision and the plans are my main drivers. Based on that, We do our work with passion; energy fluctuates depending on the day, but we have a great team that supports each other 

The Lebanese crisis —and the global sanitary crisis —have challenged managers and marketers to rethink the way they do business and plan the future of their organizations. Where the biggest opportunities lay mostly for you? Where does “new business” typically come from today?  

The global situation has accelerated the digital transformation across most industries. At UM, we worked closely with technology partners two years ago on the digital marketing transformation framework; the latest situation helped us accelerate the work and prepare our clients for the future. As a result, we are witnessing many new businesses coming to us for their e-commerce solutions and regional expansion.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge in 2022? 

As global uncertainty persists, the agency will expand the role of Beirut Hub, therefore talent retention is our biggest challenge in 2022, along with new talent acquisition and upskilling that we definitely require in order to cater for future businesses.