Hala Tfayli: ‘Eying on the Middle East’
Posted on 2022 Feb,19

Listen to the article

Lebanon has had very difficult years, following the Beirut port blast, the many lockdowns and an economic crisis that keeps worsening. ArabAd talks to Hala Tfayli, founder/MD of Beirut-based The Channel, to understand how the agency and team have managed to thrive throughout such a tumultuous time.

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

The survival year for all remaining agencies in town. The year where all eyes are on projects from the Middle East.


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

The only certainty came from our business from the region mainly Kuwait and UAE. While we remained committed to work with Lebanese talent as much as the situation allowed.


What helped you reinforce your team’s belief in Lebanon and strong commitment and dedication to sustaining the business? 

The hardest part was to keep the team motivated and keep them in Lebanon to start with. The majority of our creative team started looking for bases outside Lebanon and they actually did leave the country, and remained with us on a remote agreement basis.


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

When you start an agency or a new business, keeping your energy and keep moving are not an option. They are embedded into your system. It is not the lack of energy that would have killed us, the problem is in the external factors that were completely out of our control.


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

Agility and talent are the most important factors for a successful business; talent who don’t show agility and agility without talent are killers to any business. We were lucky to enjoy both despite the very difficult circumstances. 


The hardest part was to keep the team motivated and keep them in Lebanon to start with.


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

I hate low days, but being supported by an amazing team and clients who believed in us, were the main two drives that helped keep the positive spirit up.


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 does “new business” typically come from today? 

We discovered that some industries are more immune than others when it comes to business continuity such as food, FMCG and retail business. E-commerce proved to be a basic as well and an opportunity for the majority of the business including automotive. 


What are the shifts that you foresee taking place in the year ahead? And what do you think will be your biggest challenge in 2022? 

2022 will be the year where businesses who survived the pandemic and the crisis will actually be under a real test to continue making a difference, offering new innovative solutions to clients so they can maintain their presence and grow.