Hiam Hamed, Account Manager and Team Leader at the Imago Ogilvy agency, has proven that being “a citizen of the world” is not just a phrase. A girl of Lebanese roots, she was born in Zagreb, grew up across two and a half continents, studied in London and is fluent in several languages, which comes in handy when she needs to untangle communication between the client and the creative team. A testimony to her success is that Imago has continually entrusted her with running big projects, such as putting her in charge of the Tele2 online segment as well as the multi-award winning Boranka project. Despite her relatively short career at the agency, lasting only two and a half years, she has run complex projects for clients from various sectors: from banking, beer and the pharmaceutical industry, to the FMCG sector. In addition to working with clients, she has been entrusted with more than a few in-house projects, which she particularly enjoys. Working for Imago Ogilvy isn’t her first rodeo. She has stayed in the saddle while running various cultural projects, such as the award-winning first edition of the Design District Zagreb Festival. She was interviewed for Media Marketing, below you can find more about it. Enjoy reading!
What inspired you to delve into the world of advertising?
Hiam Hamed: Believe it or not, a few months before I set foot into this world, I was confident I was never going to work in an advertising agency! So I would say that Imago Ogilvy inspired me to delve into the world of advertising (this is not a paid advertisement). I came for an interview out of pure curiosity and quickly got the impression (which was only confirmed over time), that this agency approaches doing business with very high criteria and places great emphasis on strategic communication. From time to time, we’ll do a project where we’re involved in creating a better future (such as Boranka or Dear Mr. President) and I’m sure you’ll agree that there aren’t many things that are more inspiring than that.
When it comes to account tasks at the agencies, we know that sometimes it’s not at all easy to match customers’ wishes with those of the creative team. For you personally, what’s most challenging about your job?
Hiam Hamed: True, it isn’t at all easy to match clients’ wishes with the ideas of the creative team, but I’d say that the most challenging part of my job is to recognize what the client really needs. When we’re focusing on a problem, we often fail to see the forest from the trees, so it happens that the client will tell you what they want, but communicate what they really need between the lines. My job is to help the client define the right questions that we are then able to respond to as an agency with actions that best suit the brand.
What’s the biggest reward?
Hiam Hamed: I know this will sound like a cliché, but my biggest reward is the continuous learning and experience which grows daily. No two days are alike, each client requires a different approach, each project brings its own challenges that need to be overcome creatively. This is one of the advantages of working for the agency – you never end up in the same situation twice, there is always at least one situation you’ve never encountered before. But this gives you the opportunity to witness your own development, which motivates me greatly to show up for work with a smile on my face.
One of the projects you have worked on is the multi-award-winning Boranka project. What inspired you most during that project?
Hiam Hamed: Boranka is one of those projects that brings back your hope in humanity and reminds you of why you do what you do. The campaign has shown that people just need to have the right tool in their hands (in this case, a coloring pencil) and that in those moments, we can bring about tangible positive change together. During the development of the campaign, I was inspired by the client’s approach to cooperation. Whatever seemingly unimaginable ideas the client brought to us, they always gave their best to find a way to realize them. You rarely see this kind of mutual support, and the many awards and a very successful reforestation project that followed have only confirmed that everything’s possible when the cooperation between the client and the agency is based on a constructive partnership.
You have worked with clients from various industries. We know this is an ungrateful question, but what sector is your favorite to work with?
Hiam Hamed: I’m gaining new experience and specific knowledge while working with any industry, so it’s hard for me to opt for just one. However, in any relationship between the client and the agency, it’s not the type of industry that brings you happiness, it’s the people. I try to act while abiding by the idea that the client is not the king, but a key member of the team. On the one hand, what the client brings to the table is open questions, expertise and brand business strategy, while the creative team comes with a fresh view, the latest communication trends, and insights from other industries. When people on the client’s side approach collaborating with the agency with an open mind and think of it as a partnership, there is no greater business pleasure.
Changes are the only constant, and changes in our industry should be spearheaded by young leaders. What would you want to change about our industry?
Hiam Hamed: What I want to change is the attitude towards change, because I believe that every person has the obligation to keep seeking for new ways to improve their environment, private and business alike. In these parts, we tend to give ourselves over to habitual patterns and be reactive. Even though we often feel that we can do better, we still believe that we can’t do much and be the ones to truly instigate change. Attitudes are hardest to change, but it’s not impossible. I believe that stepping out of our comfort zone is the first step – we need to be more positive and courageous, and not be afraid to re-examine the status quo. Even when things “work”, we should always ask ourselves if they could be better. Let’s just say that floppy disks also “worked”, until they didn’t.
Is there anything you really want to achieve in this industry? What are your ambitions?
Hiam Hamed: I don’t have a single goal that I’m striving for; my ambition is to learn as much as I can from others’ and my own experiences (read: mistakes) and then instigate changes that will make a difference and raise the industry to a new level, whether when it comes to communication or business processes.
Do you get enough free time and what’s your favorite way to spend it?
Hiam Hamed: In our business, it’s difficult to find the boundary between work and free time, especially since a lot of communication insights are based on knowledge that is gained outside of working hours. When I’m not analyzing billboards while driving, I enjoy cooking and preparing food. I love getting to know the unknown, so I try to use every vacation to discover Croatia and the rest of the world, which inspires me to experiment (more or less successfully) with various fusions in the kitchen. I always travel with my camera to have an outlet for my creative side.
Original article is available on the link.