Krikor Khatchikian: 'The world is watching. Let’s get our creativity on show'
Posted on 2022 Feb,07  | By Krikor Khatchikian

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It’s here at last, Qatar’s much-awaited breakthrough year of 2022. With fewer than 300 days until the FIFA World Cup kicks off, and with the eyes of the world on this ambitious nation, now is the moment for innovative thinking and creativity to prepare the ground.

At GREY – both across the region and around the world – we’ve always believed in the power creativity to solve business problems, inspire new products and, most importantly, change perceptions.

By the end of 2022, pretty much everyone on the planet will have a raised awareness, better understanding, and newly formed opinion of Qatar. It’s an unprecedented battle for hearts and minds – and communications agencies are in the front line.

Of course, slick copy and digital trickery are no longer enough. In a social media landscape where leveraging influence is the holy grail, the real trick is to connect with people’s feelings and emotions – creating content that responds to their wants and needs in real time. It’s a good-listening approach that GREY has dubbed the ‘empathy model’.

It’s not by chance that sport and the arts are central pillars in Qatar’s National Vision 2030. These are areas in which deeper connection and passionate engagement are more easily achieved. In November last year, Doha secured its place on the international design map when it was admitted to the UNESCO Network of Creative Cities – being named as the region’s first ‘Creative City of Design’.

This Network recognizes cities and national governments that invest in culture and creativity – crafts, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music – to help advance a sustainable urban development philosophy. Qatar’s cultural credentials continue to grow, not least through the work of Qatar Museums under the guidance of a great leadership.  

Ahead of the World Cup, a programme to install new and commissioned public artworks is already underway, with more than 40 large sculptural pieces by international artists appearing in Doha and across the country – around stadiums, parks, malls, educational campuses and at the airport. From their arrival onwards, visitors will experience the sense of being in a vast outdoor art gallery.

The #QatarCreates initiative is also fueling the local art and design scene. Recently it helped launch and promote the new M7 hub for fashion, design and tech entrepreneurship, located in the futuristic downtown district of Msheireb. The global audience that 2022 attracts is likely to be surprised by the cutting-edge art and innovation on offer in Qatar.

Advertising and design has plenty to bring to the table. Our business must continue to unlock ideas and tell stories, based on cultural intelligence and behavioural insights. Whether in the physical or digital environment, we should aim to build our content at the point where lived experience and modern commerce meet.

At GREY, we’re proud to be part of Qatar’s creative renaissance as we step into the spotlight.