The age of digital transformation is here with people at the heart of any digital transformation strategy and while it advances, finding the right talents for this digital-native era is becoming a challenge for brands of today.

The mantra of MCN Mediabrands embodies a generation thunderbolting towards a new age of marketing and continuous transformation. 

We’ve exclusively interviewed Rasha Rteil, Regional Director of People Development at MCN Mediabrands, on how can brands orchestrate an internal digital transformation strategy for talent and culture.  

BB: The most critical element of any digital transformation process is ‘people’. How can people stay relevant in a digitally-connected world?

RR: It was late 2009 when I left Y&R as a communications strategist for a thrilling digital role at a succeeding digital boutique. Back then, digital marketing was an outlandish industry with extremely niche proficiency, and funny enough to the ancient madmen of this region, it was the most intimidating too. How does one defuse mastered skills and capabilities in building mainstream marketing strategies and pivot into an ‘outlandish industry’? How could one design a new pathway focused on future of media and communication? 

Rasha Rteil – MCN Mediabrands

Today our clients, competition and talents are facing the same scenario as we alter our people’s mindsets to thinking, talking and enabling data and analytics driven solutions in our marketing and media capabilities. This nature of change is not comfortable to many people as it builds our agencies and people to become fitter set to lead the media industry’s advancement. 

To stay relevant in this industry change, amplified organizational collaboration and embracing new skill sets are formidable to stay relevant, strong and indispensable towards an organization like ours. For our readers who are experiencing digital transformation in their organization, my advice is to be ‘always be curious about the destination’- why is transformation happening, where is it leading to, how can my current skills be of use to accelerate change and most essentially what technical and digital acumen skills do I still need to enable our transformation? 

BB: MCN Mediabrands has been at the center orchestrating digital capabilities for people. Can you shed some lights on the building blocks of your digital transformation strategy internally with the people inside MCN Mediabrands? How is it impacting the overall business outcome of your agencies?

RR: The keel keeps the boat from tipping over and plays a crucial role in moving the boat forward. Similar to leading people towards transformation, when people know where the ship is sailing, they act as the wind. In this case the leadership is the keel, so when gears are shifted, the acceleration is faster and steadier, and the momentum operating people’s skills to lead in the age of data & technology driven marketing becomes smooth sailing.

Brands are undergoing overwhelming but stimulating challenges. The wave of digital transformation has altered our client’s ecosystem in two ways: First, how they distribute their products or services, how they prioritize distribution and measure the performance of their distribution channels (e-commerce and omnichannel). Secondly the impact of our media and marketing work; Our offering as people & skills come into play and essentially deliver on both challenges.  

Collaboration with an open mind-set will have drastic impact on how we do business. We are focused on four areas of transformation across service excellence, accountability as industry leaders and emphasizing on results. This is why the first genuine step we took as sponsors and as enablers of transformation across agencies’ is connect efficiency of skills with performance to deliver digital service excellence to our clients.  

BB: The age of digital transformation increased the need for ultra-skilled people with AI, cloud computing, machine learning and big data, the imperatives which will transform people, teams and organizations to better align technology to business objectives. How would you upgrade an agency’s talent strategy for a digital world?

RR: We are an industry driven by people and skills. It is illogical to prioritize technology and tools as part of the transformation before focusing on the talent’s capacity to drive the transformation. While we believe these digital innovations and computing skills add exponential value to our business and to our clients, I do not consider digital upskilling to be a byproduct of digital transformation, but rather institute skills as the grounding prework which facilitates the onboarding of new technologies and innovative service offerings to clients.

With a sturdy and substantial vision in place, the first step is to cross check the status quo (talent’s skills capacity and capabilities) versus ‘the destination from transformation’. One way to do it is getting the organization to undergo a top down skills audit (designed to factor future capabilities & key focus as enablers). 

Education and learning have never been so stimulating. It all boils down to the connection amongst the organization’s culture of empowerment, technology for access, and foundations of skills growth. We believe in driving mobility with less focus on attendance and more effort towards embarking people on self-paced pre-designed development.

But with abundant learning options, we tend to get lost corroborating our skills roadmap with accurate topic experts and academic nano-degrees. For digitally bred talent, we find verticalization necessary for the near future. The demand is no longer for digital marketing only, but for explicit skills which enable clients’ digital transformation journey with the use of data, technology, content and performance. We see this as an approach for our citizens to grow as find themselves with what they love to do, and stand out. 

BB: With digital transformation advancing, acquiring the right people remains a challenge and making your current people difficult to retain. Can you mention some ins and outs for talent acquisition professionals when dealing with current and potential talents?

RR: People transformation is a new prophecy in some organizations. The transformation is contingent to our talent experts’ blueprint as they bring on board the talent and skills pairing with transformation. When it comes to our people and growth plans in a performance driven culture, we empower people with the right access of tools to test, fail fast, remodel, and teach. Our organization is clear on the value extracted from our talents which is to highly empower our agencies with a culture of cross learning. 

These are exciting times to set the ‘new pace’ of future skills as we challenge the industry’s status quo of what is a ‘talent to keep and talent to bring on board’. We should sway from impressive academic degrees, and focus on intellectual programs the talent has underwent and the experience and business achievements they dealt with. 

BB: You’re leading digital transformation capabilities and people for MCN Media brands in the region. Can you weigh on how are you using data-driven actions to cultivate better engagement with employees and achieve better business results for your clients?

RR: Today everything is measurable. The times of ‘assumption’ and ‘simulation’ are over. There’s a galore of people experience technologies out there. What I can announce today is that we are able to put our money where our mouth is and lead by example by placing our most valuable assets, our people as part of the transition and operate into a data and measurable ecosystem.  

Our clients value transparency. When clients verify the skills, they’re paying for to drive their business, we are then able to stray away from a ‘media space’ buying scenario. We can foresee a relationship where clients can correlate their investment with a skill set preposition focused on delivering results and service excellence.  

Invest in the people’s skills and talent, and they’ll grow the business.My moonshot is measuring skills accountable for such business growth.

Let us inspire our most valuable assets, our people to drive agenda of transformation and be part of the narratives and essentially drive our organizations and our client’s digital transformation plan.