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Ask the expert: Head of Business Development Mohamed Abouzaid discusses Digitalis’s work in the MENA region

January 2024
 by Mohamed Abouzaid

Ask the expert: Head of Business Development Mohamed Abouzaid discusses Digitalis’s work in the MENA region

January 2024
 By Mohamed Abouzaid

Abou leads Digitalis’s operations and business development in the Middle East and North Africa, advising government and corporate clients and law firms on issues of reputation management and strategic communications. On the first anniversary of the opening of our Dubai office, we ask him a few questions about the unique challenges and opportunities for clients in the MENA region, and how he and the Digitalis team are able to help.

  1. Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to Digitalis. How does your experience enable you to help Digitalis’s clients in the MENA region?

    I have honed my skills in strategic communications and government advisory over the years, working in government, strategic and crisis communications, public affairs, investor relations and reputation management, and advising on large financial transactions.

    What drew me to Digitalis was its innovative approach to online reputation management, and its reputation for excellence and forward-thinking solutions – it is an organisation at the forefront of shaping the online reputation and narrative management landscape.

    Having worked in three continents in communications and reputation management, I was well-placed to help Digitalis establish its presence in the MENA region. My understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities in this dynamic market has enabled me to tailor our solutions to meet the specific needs of businesses operating in the region, so that they can successfully navigate the complexities of digital reputational challenges and thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.

  2. What types of clients do you work with, and what unique challenges and opportunities are there for them when looking to manage online risk and reputation in the MENA region?

    We work with a diverse range of clients across various industries in the region, each of them presenting a unique set of needs and objectives. By working closely with organisations of different scales and complexities, we gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that define the online reputational risk landscape in the region.

    The digital environment in the MENA region is dynamic and rapidly-evolving, with distinct challenges and opportunities. Cultural sensitivity is a key challenge faced by our clients, and the diverse cultural landscape requires a nuanced approach to online communication. Understanding and navigating cultural sensitivities is crucial to maintaining a positive reputation.

    The Middle East is also a region with multiple languages, which poses challenges in maintaining consistent messaging across diverse online platforms. It’s essential to communicate effectively in various languages, while ensuring brand integrity is maintained.

    Despite these challenges, the MENA region offers unique opportunities for our clients to enhance their online risk management and reputation strategies. At Digitalis, we tailor our solutions to address these challenges and leverage the opportunities.

  3. Digitalis is celebrating the first anniversary of the opening of its Dubai office. What has led to the increased presence for Digitalis in the area, and how are you able to help those in Dubai in particular?

    The Middle East, and Dubai in particular, is undergoing a rapid digital transformation, and companies in the region are seeking innovative solutions to stay ahead in the digital age. Dubai serves as a strategic gateway to the broader Middle East market, and having a physical presence in the city enables us connect with local businesses, understand their unique needs, and provide tailored solutions.

    Our Dubai office was also opened in response to the increasing demand for our services in the region – with an office here in Dubai, we can better serve our existing clients and engage with new ones more efficiently.

  4. What changes and trends are you seeing in the digital space, and how are these affecting clients who are looking to manage their online reputation and risk?

    The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and staying abreast of the latest changes and trends is crucial for effective online reputation and risk management. Several key developments are shaping the digital space at the moment.

    AI and machine learning are revolutionising online risk management. Automated tools can analyse vast amounts of data to identify potential risks and help businesses proactively address issues before they escalate. Leveraging AI and machine learning tools, businesses benefit from predictive analytics that identify potential risks and allow for pre-emptive action.

    The fast-paced nature of social media and user-generated content demands real-time responses, and today’s businesses need agile strategies to address issues promptly and capitalise on positive moments. Our software is able to identify these opportunities and measure activity across platforms, and our team can advise on the best course of action to maximise positive sentiment and minimise the threats caused by negative online activity relating to their business.

  5. Finally, what big changes do you predict in the digital future, and how is Digitalis positioned to monitor and respond to these?

    The digital landscape is poised for continued evolution, with several transformative changes anticipated in the near future. The concept of the metaverse is gaining momentum, and the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies could redefine how individuals and businesses interact in the digital realm, resulting in an impact on their digital profiles.

    Blockchain is anticipated to play an increasingly central role in digital transactions, providing enhanced security and transparency. Its application may extend beyond cryptocurrencies to areas such as supply chain management and digital identity verification.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) will also continue to advance, enabling more sophisticated personalisation of user experiences. Businesses will have opportunities to leverage AI to deliver highly-tailored content and services, enhancing customer engagement and satisfaction.

    At Digitalis, we proactively monitor and respond to the changing digital landscape to remain at the forefront of technological advancements. Our investment in research and development ensures our solutions remain cutting-edge and aligned with emerging industry developments. The digital future demands agility, and our adaptive strategies enable us to pivot quickly in response to new technologies and market dynamics. We prioritise flexibility in our approach to meet the evolving needs of our clients.

    Digitalis maintains a client-centric approach, actively engaging with our clients to understand their evolving needs. By fostering close relationships, we can tailor our solutions to address specific reputation management challenges and opportunities arising from digital advancements. We are well-prepared to respond to changes in the digital landscape with innovative solutions that enable our clients to thrive in the digital future.

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