|Conference to provide platform for exchange of ideas and creative thinking
|As the local advertising and communications industry matures and progresses at an incredible rate, the need for its professionals to get together for collective thinking on new and bold ways to communicate had become ever more significant.
For that, the International Advertising Association (IAA) – Jordan Chapter is organizing the First Annual Advertising and Communications Conference: Outside the Box, to be held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II on February 21st and 22nd. The conference will promote creative and inventive thinking amongst industry professionals, and allow them the opportunity to benefit from international know-how brought by prominent experts from across the globe.
Sharif Abukhadra, IAA- Jordan Chapter President, said, “Over the past few years the country has witnessed tremendous growth in advertising and marketing communications, with expenditure clearly rising. Businesses more than ever are realizing the importance of communications as an integral part of their success and development, and as a result, agencies have started raising the standards of their services and competing more creatively and strategically.
“With such an evident and rapid growth taking place, the need for a conference became quite essential in order to present the industry’s professionals with a platform for the exchange of ideas and expertise, as well as an opportunity to benefit from renowned international speakers as they share global trends and experiences. This is the first time that such a conference takes place in Jordan, and it is being modeled after international conferences of this type.”
Total advertising expenditure in Jordan has almost doubled between 1999 and 2004. Apart from a recession that took place in 2003 due to the political unrest in the region, the spending has been growing exponentially over the years at an average of 15-25%. In 2004, the growth rate was a record 26% at $121 million, a hefty bounce back from the slump of 2003.
Mustafa Tabbaa, IAA – Jordan Chapter Vice President explained this expansion and said, “The overall increase in expenditure is attributed to an emerging market that has witnessed increased competition with the entry of multinationals. Additionally, the growth was largely impacted by the tremendous surge in telecommunications, and also by the recent development in the banking sector, with banks introducing new products and services that were not available in the past. But most importantly, this steady increase is mostly due to companies realizing the value of communications and viewing the spending as an investment yielding significant returns rather than an expense.
“In the coming years, we expect to see spending increase with the liberalization of licenses for television and radio stations, in addition to the entry of new magazines and publications, giving advertisers further media options. Today, print is the dominant medium, with radio and outdoor steadily on the rise.”
Following at the heels of the advertising boom and in line with the global trend, is the rise of other communications disciplines such as Public Relations and Direct Marketing, and the increased importance of marketing research. A number of public relations agencies have entered the local market offering invaluable services that include image building and reputation management, as well as helping businesses establish different channels of communications with their audience. Similarly, direct marketing has been developing as it provides clients with tools that allow for direct, one-to-one contact with the right consumers.
As for marketing research, it has evolved in recent times to become an essential tool for sound planning, with communications no longer being confined to creativity, but rather, it has become a strategic input based on facts and figures that aims to generate real business results.
“The boom in advertising and marketing communications is a reflection of a booming economy well on its way to achieving real growth. And the more the economy grows, the tougher the competition gets, thus pushing for more innovation and creativity when attracting the attention of consumers in a busy marketplace. That is why this conference carries the theme of “Outside the Box”, to encourage bold creative and strategic thinking that extends beyond ordinary boundaries,” explained Abukhadra.
The two day conference will be held at the Grand Hyatt Amman and is supported by a number of local companies that make up some of the sector’s biggest players including agencies, media, clients and other industry service providers. Al Rai Newspaper leads the list of sponsors as the platinum sponsor, followed by Fann FM as gold sponsor, in addition to many others.
“The success of the conference is largely dependent on the support and involvement of the industry members, and so we extend our appreciation to all our sponsors for lending their assistance and having a clear and important presence at this first of its kind conference,” said Abukhadra.
A line-up of renowned international, regional, and local speakers is scheduled as part of the program, who will tackle interesting topics ranging from branding, public relations, and direct marketing; to account planning, online advertising, and creativity. Some sessions will also share ads from around the world, examining the best and the worst of those works, and offering analysis of them.
Abukhadra concluded, “This conference is truly a golden opportunity for all those who are part of the industry, or anyone who is just interested. Our aim is to achieve considerable results that we can all apply afterwards, and hopefully have this conference develop into a prominent regional event in the future.”
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