TBWA\RAAD

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Contact Information

EMAAR Square, Bldg 1 Level 6 PO BOX 40604
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 425 8888
Email:
Website:

Basic Info

Network:

Awards: 370

Creative Work: 6

Network:

Awards: 370

Creative Work: 6

TBWA\RAAD

EMAAR Square, Bldg 1 Level 6 PO BOX 40604
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 425 8888
Email:
Website:

"Authenticity over polish": How TBWA\RAAD leverages social and digital culture for impactful brand communications

TBWA\RAAD
Full Service
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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TBWA\Worldwide
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Global
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Tony Kayouka
Head of Social and Content TBWA\RAAD
 

With the popularity of social and digital media, the expectations and preferences of the modern consumer has shifted from traditional one-way marketing, requiring a significant shift in brand communication strategy. To learn more about this shift, we sat down with Tony Kayouka, TBWA\RAAD’s Head of Social and Content.

 

In what ways are you leveraging new platforms and technologies to engage and resonate with the digital-native nature of Generation Z and younger consumers? Further, what channels and formats are you prioritizing and how are you adapting your content for these platforms?

Engaging Gen Z and younger consumers requires embracing innovation and aligning with their digital-native DNA. Here are some strategies we employ to leverage new platforms and technologies for impactful engagement:

  • Short-form, immersive platforms: Our emphasis is on snackable content delivered through platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and Discord, where engaging micro-videos, livestreams, and interactive experiences thrive.
  • Interactive formats: We leverage augmented reality (AR) filters, 360° experiences, livestreaming, and shoppable formats to maintain active audience engagement.
  • Conversational AI: Implementing chatbots, voice assistants, and personalized recommendations enables us to create personalized one-on-one interactions. 

Regarding content adaptation, we adhere to the following principles:

  • Tailoring language and tone: Recognizing that each platform has its own nuances, we tailor our language and tone accordingly.
  • Understanding trends and challenges: By staying attuned to current trends and challenges, we leverage existing conversations to gain organic reach.
  • Visual storytelling: Recognizing the fleeting nature of online spaces, we focus on visual storytelling to capture attention effectively.
  • Authenticity over polish: Acknowledging that Gen Z appreciates rawness and relatability, we prioritize authenticity in our content rather than excessive polish.

 

How are you tailoring your messaging to align with the values and interests of modern consumers, and how does this differ from your approach with previous generations? 

Tailoring messaging to resonate with modern consumers, particularly Gen Z and Alpha, requires a significant shift from traditional approaches used for previous generations. In this effort, we focus on: 

  • Moving beyond demographics: Today's consumers, especially Gen Z and Alpha, prioritize values such as purpose, social justice, sustainability, and authenticity over mere demographic categories.
  • Focus on purpose and impact: Recognizing that contemporary consumers want to understand how brands contribute positively to the world, we prioritize messaging that highlights purpose and impact.
  • Prioritizing transparency and authenticity: In response to the demands of today's consumers for openness and honesty, we ensure our messaging remains transparent and authentic.
  • Shifting from features to benefits: Understanding that modern consumers seek products and services aligning with their values and enhancing their lives, we focus on communicating the tangible benefits rather than mere features. 

While previous generations valued prestige, status symbols, trusted authority figures, and responded well to one-directional communication, the landscape has evolved. Modern consumers, being digitally native, prioritize experiences and values, value authenticity and diversity, and insist on transparency and two-way communication. This shift reflects a dynamic approach to meet the evolving expectations and preferences of the contemporary consumer landscape.

 

What role does culture, sustainability and social responsibility play in your brand's communications strategy for engaging with younger demographics?

In today's landscape, culture, sustainability, and social responsibility are integral components of our brand's communication strategy, playing a critical and inseparable role. Here's why:

Younger generations place a high value on authenticity and a sense of belonging. To connect with them effectively, we must understand and reflect their diverse cultural backgrounds, interests, and trends. This is where cultural storytelling allows us to tap into emotions, create relatable narratives, and establish meaningful connections. Simply narrating the brand story is no longer sufficient; we aim for a deeper, more resonant engagement.

Moreover, the newer generations exhibit a profound concern for climate change and environmental issues. Before diving into communication strategies—acknowledging that relevance may vary across brands—we ask a crucial question: How can we integrate sustainability practices into the core values and operations of our brand? And accordingly, how can we transparently communicate these efforts? If full integration is challenging, can we consider partnerships with environmental organizations and active participation in initiatives addressing climate change and sustainability challenges?
This not only aligns us with the values of younger demographics but also demonstrates our commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

 

In what ways are do you utilize user-generated content and interactive experiences to connect with younger consumers on a more personal level?

By strategically leveraging user-generated content (UGC) and interactive experiences, we can move beyond traditional one-way marketing, establishing more profound connections with younger consumers. This approach not only fosters brand loyalty but also drives engagement, creating a space for genuine interaction and shared values.

Our emphasis is on prioritizing UGC over heavily produced ads. We maintain authenticity, ensuring the content feels organic and has a low barrier for participation. Additionally, we recognize the significance of gamifying the experience to enhance memorability. To achieve this, we rely on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to provide an immersive interaction that resonates with the younger audience. This immersive approach adds a layer of excitement and engagement, making the connection more personal and memorable for the users.

 

Can you share any examples of successful campaigns or collaborations with young influencers, organizations, or platforms that have helped shape your brand's communication approach for Generation Z and beyond? 

One excellent example of effectively utilizing social platforms to connect with the youth is the "Originals" campaign we developed for KFC. We specifically chose TikTok, known for its vibrant music-centric content, as the ideal platform for our campaign. Why TikTok? Because, in our view, it offered the perfect fit for targeting Gen Z. 

 

By employing a dynamic hip-hop track and accompanying music video, we not only captured the essence of the KFC brand but also ensured that it resonated with the youth in the Arab region. The 'Originals' track ignited enthusiasm, actively involving the younger demographic and inspiring a surge of user-generated content. This not only expanded our outreach but also introduced KFC to new audiences, unveiling a previously undiscovered aspect of the brand for them.

'The Originals' Case Film