5 Minutes With…Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, CEO, Flip Media

Flip Media’s CEO says the most important skill anyone can learn is how to sell – to your customers, your employees and even to your boss.



Name: Yousef Tuqan Tuqan
Job title: CEO
Company: Flip Media
Years in company: 7

What will your company be focusing on this year?
Since our acquisition by the Publicis Groupe in February, our main focus has been on integrating with our sister agency Leo Burnett. We now have access to the region’s best advertising network and their people, and our focus has been on seeing how we can use our digital expertise to amplify Leo Burnett’s capabilites, and how we can tap into their creative and strategic capabilities to enhance our own offering.

Are you concerned that the current volatile global economic climate will affect your strategy?
I’m not overly concerned. The GCC is insulated from much of the world’s economic uncertainty, and digital investment is key to every business, whether they are consumer-facing, business-facing or governmental.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?
We are seeing a lot of investment in the development of content creation and standalone platforms. Rather than invest all their money into Facebook pages, many of our customers are now investing in their own platforms and their own communities. For example, twofour54’s Creative Lab portal allows them to inspire, guide and connect with aspiring Arab creative entrepreneurs through internships, casting calls, forums and inspirational content.

What new products will your company launch this year?
We’re currently ramping up our capabilities to support Microsoft SharePoint. With so many of our customers moving to this platform, it’s essential that we’re able to cater from them. We’ve hired specialists from the UK and India, and are upskilling our staff to be completely ready for this by Q4.

Will you be expanding into new territory?
We’ve been fortunate that with the integration of our agency into the Leo Burnett MENA network, we now have access to a network of offices across the region. We are already engaging new clients in Qatar, Kuwait and KSA, and that is where the majority of our outward focus will be this year.

What will be the biggest challenges for UAE businesses in your sector in 2012?
We work in a very competitive sector, and the procurement process continues to infuriate all of us. We consider ourselves to be consultants, but often find ourselves competing on a purely price-driven basis with no consideration for our experience or the added value we can provide.

Will you be hiring this year?
Yes.

What’s your leadership style?
As my father, a 20-year IBM veteran, once gave me the advice “be yourself, at least you’ll always be consistent.” My leadership style is a reflection of my own personality. I expect our people to work hard, to play hard, and to do everything to the best of their abilities and have fun while doing it.

What makes the perfect employee?
A sense of discovery. If you’re not constantly learning, exploring and discovering new things about your industry and the larger world around you, you will never improve yourself.

Define success in five words…
Balancing life, work and play.

Three tips for becoming the boss…
1. Selling: the most important skill anyone has is to learn how to sell – because beyond the obvious need to sell your product to customers, you are always selling – to your employees, to your own boss, to the media, to anyone who has to work with you.
2. Responsibility: The easiest way to get the job above yours is to actually do it. If you take more responsibilities and act like a boss, people will assume you are a boss.
3. Personal branding: Make a name for yourself by writing articles and speaking at conferences on the topics that matter to you. It will greatly increase your profile, show you to be an expert in your field, and force you to study and understand new trends and topics.


When I’m not at work I like to…
 Run. It’s the easiest way to disengage from my mobile phone & emails, and it’s the perfect antidote to my desk job & carbohydrate-rich world. I’m training for the Beirut Marathon this November, so training through the hot Dubai summer will make for an interesting challenge!