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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Roger Halaby From an Era to the other: The Journey of an Adman

Mr. Roger Halaby is the CEO of the Hanging Gardens Agency. With over 20 years of experience, he has exceptional experience in business development, corporate leadership, communicating with clients, marketing, and advertising.

Through the Hanging Gardens Agency, Mr. Roger Halaby aims to follow correct communication practices to lead brands towards higher visibility in the online sphere. The Hanging Gardens Agency is a modern-day full-service marketing agency focused on creative thinking and consumer behavior. The agency offers tailored communications, content, and strategies and follow the latest trends to ensure valuable results for the clients. The agency also has social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok.

We got to know a lot about how Roger Halaby works and maintains the Hanging Gardens Agency with his team through our interview. Roger Halaby is focused towards serving clients better and showing brands better results. Learn more about it through our interview below!

Mr. Roger Halaby, would you like to tell us something about yourself?

Entrepreneur, founder, and chief executive officer of the Hanging Gardens Agency, a boutique agency launched in 2019 in Dubai, UAE.

After successfully completing my BA & MBA academics, my career luckily started as an account executive with Memac Ogilvy Riyadh in 2001, until I joined Intermarkets – Menacom Group as a Group account director in 2006. In 2010, I was assigned as Country General Manager at AGAADK until deciding to move to Dubai in 2014 to co-found and manage Quse Qommunications as Chief Executive Officer.

Throughout my journey, I’ve completed several executive trainings related to communications, such as advanced strategic thinking, senior business development, consumer behavior & psychology, and influential skills.

Explain the background of your company in detail.

The Hanging Gardens Agency is a creative concept built on the understanding that today’s most consumed currency is cost-effective creative content, along with brand experience and social media interactions, as it’s never been more critical for a brand, a business, or an individual to stand out from the digital crowd. The agency follows a customer-focused, boutique business model that offers personalized communication solutions and in-depth study of clients’ budgets versus desired return on investment.

We don’t compete with anyone, as what we bring to the table is a complete turnaround on the commercial practice of advertising and marketing solutions available in the market. Our business model consists of profound academics blended with the latest trends aiming to bring value for brands to achieve desired objectives.

Mr. Roger Halaby, What are your goals?

Communication is science. If you don’t study, experience, learn from, build on, and add value to it, it will reach a stage making no sense. Hence, we strictly focus on the goal of asserting that correct communication practices lead to creating a valuable edge for brands in the market clutter. It should be a short or long-term investment but never an expense.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of yourself/company right now?

Resilience. We stay positive in the midst of adversity. We spot opportunities in the driest areas. What differs from one entrepreneur to another is the capability to overcome barriers smartly while calculating risks prudently and steering the wheel of the agency towards new undiscovered territories.

What was the path you/your company took to get to where you are today?

It is a beautiful, interesting hike. We had to face humongous waves of negativity at first. We heard a lot of “you cannot do it, it is hard to do it, there are fierce competitors out there, economy not at its best, many tried before you, you will be crushed, why take the hassle, bla bla bla.”

All this made us stronger and more determined to take the ride. Then we knew our cumulative years of experience and continuous learning would lead us to where we stand today. Bottom line, if you do what you do with your heart, it is impossible not to make it!

Why did you start (or want to be the head of) this company?

I knew that traditional practices and approaches weren’t cutting edges anymore and that a more authentic approach was required. I always believed that clients could be served better, brands could be treated with more care and attention, and more intellectual work is needed to put a brand on top of the pyramid.

In addition, I can never accept the fact that communication is a simple act of strong relations or networking to get business. On the contrary, I believe that professional work and outcome will end up being the winner in such a competitive era.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Ignorance. We’re navigating in the midst of a vast field of under-qualified and ignorant so-called marketers. Not to be generic here, but I would comfortably say that there is a fair number of individuals working in the communication industry (agency and client-side) that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Simply put, this layer of marketers has weakened the role of communication, unshaded the depth of its efficiency, and of course, made the job of real professionals a game of thrones.

What makes you excited about Mondays?

I am a big fan of Bob Geldof, but I must disagree with his song “I don’t like Mondays.” Mondays are the beginning of a new week, and each week represents a new opportunity to start something new, to produce new ideas, and to unveil new challenges.

What do you value most about your culture and vision?

Constantly seeking to acquire new knowledge to stay on top of the digital sphere while being true to ourselves. I always fought for new trends and discoveries but never compromised on the ideology of classics. I mean that without understanding the inception of marketing, the evolution, the renaissance, the vision of Philip Kotler, Michael Porter, Robert Cialdini, David Ogilvy, Noriaki Kano, Steve Jobs, and many other gurus, you won’t be able to understand how to create tailor-made strategies for brands on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube or whatever is going to come up next.

Tell us about a project that forced you to be innovative and creative.

The imposed reality of the pandemic pushed us at the agency to be more creative and innovative to keep up with the accelerated digital pace. We saw a positive opportunity for consumers to be at home during the lockdown. So, we created the first content online platform of its kind that caters to selling exclusive content to brands and individuals anywhere they are in the world. Today, this platform is nominated for a global award; fingers crossed.

What are the strategies of your company, and how do they stand unique from your competitors?

Strategy, Strategy, Strategy. Before starting any project, we always put together a profound tailor-made strategy that guides us to a solid baseline for the whole potential implementation while ensuring brand essence versus competition in the market. This is the hardest homework we internally go through. It drains all our brain’s energy, pushes us to browse the books in the office, test the strategy baseline, and confirm it’s innate from the brand DNA.

The absence of communication strategies is obviously clear in the market. We see massive waves of commercial ads, nonsense solutions, and copy-paste concepts with slight differences for the sake of saying it’s not the same. What works for a brand can never work for the other, even if it is in the same category doing the very same thing. Each brand has a different character and personality; thus, the strategy will be different in that regard.

What are the key values which helped you to overcome the roadblocks/challenges in your career? Tell us something about your memorable incident in your leadership?

Being steadfast. I never compromised my principles or didn’t give in to pressure while persisting and persevering. An incident is no more than a challenge, and when challenges arise, I look for a solution, not a way out. There are countless times when I said: “NO” to big campaigns reflecting very big budgets simply because it was fundamentally wrong from a marketing perspective or did not follow a brand strategy, which falls under the “unethical practice” in our case.

We even got criticized many times for rejecting a whole “big” project because it didn’t fall within our own professional standards. Our fundamental values are validated in our personal ethics and spread into our work practices while conflicting with the formula between doing the right thing and making money in any possible way at the expense of our own being.

How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?

Taking the new trends and shifts in consumer behavior into big consideration, the coming years will witness a rapid expansion of our business in multiple markets. With our exclusive strategic thinking tools, we will be empowering more and more brands through customized communications techniques, day by day, all over the world.

We will be at the first corner for those businesses looking for a real and authentic communication boutique agency to do things right for them, doesn’t matter the size of the business, the category, or the budget allocation, rather than the will to experience the real marketing practice.

Where is your leadership going? What benefits do your clients get from your company in this competitive world?

We want to spread our passion through personalized and tailored approaches to any potential client’s business and needs.

Communication can bring positive change to the world. It can open minds to a different view, stimulates creativity, experience, and engagement, puts people and brands together, and shares information that can change lives. This is where leadership is heading. Breeding a new generation of marketing brains, those who can think in a manner that will positively make the world a better place.

What are the services/solutions or products offered by your company on par with the current industry standards? Tell us something about your upcoming products or services?

We offer A to Z communication solutions based on strategic bricks. First, we offer strategy; then, we offer adoption of marketing plans, content creation, digital solutions, online activations, branding & design, content production, social media management, community management, pro-active listening, and gamification.

Other than the reality of Covid-19 worldwide, we created a new technology that will accelerate on the criteria of producing consumable content in a creative yet fast and cost-effective manner to all brands from all categories all over the world.

The bottom line, the currency of communication today is content. Hence, this content, in terms of creation and production, should be king!

Connect with Mr. Roger Halaby on LinkedIn.

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