"Imitators are never as good as that which they imitate" according to Keith Reinhard, the Chairman of DDB Worldwide who has recently been named among the top 100 industry influentials by Advertising Age. He was referring to the creative potential in the Middle East at the time and basically saying; Don't copy the rest of the world.
"In emerging markets there is a temptation to copy London or New York. That is dangerous. You need to evolve your own culture and your own values. Only then can you be at the top of your game," he says.
His statements got me thinking about other things such as website creativity (or lack of), business structures, the advertising industry, communication models and more importantly, women who try and compete with men and then wonder why they never really succeed.
If we think of women as an "emerging market" and according to Jupiter Research there are more women online today than men, then what a golden opportunity for women to do things their way, to "evolve their own culture", to stop copying the existing male models of how to do business.
Let us reflect on some amazing internet statistics recently released by Jupiter; US women over 40 are devoting more time online per week than running errands, eating or preparing meals, relaxing, or spending time with friends. Their internet time outweighs watching TV, listening to the radio and other media activities.
Then there are the Baby Boomers (technically, those whose age was 40-58 in 2004); they make up the largest generational demographic today. And Boomer women not only outnumber men but also influence as much as 80% of household decisions, from food and finance to travel and technology. They spend more than $ 55 billion on consumer electronics annually in the US alone, out of a $ 96 billion total. Yet they are largely ignored.
Let's face it guys, Baby Boomer women are the greatest market opportunity today. And gals, with this market strength, women really can demand major changes in the advertising industry; They can create their own business styles and permanently alter the way things have been done in the past. But there is a catch, according to Keith Reinhard. He believes that worldwide, most people have not understood the transformation power of creativity, where you can, with one idea, get the whole world talking about your brand. In other words, you have to break some rules and defy convention.
If we were to follow his advice, then we must develop our own style rather than imitate the previous models. We must be prepared to step totally out of the box and not have one foot on either side just in case it gets a bit scary out there. We must be prepared to break some rules and defy convention, to 'look foolish' every now and then and to make mistakes. Most importantly, we must start doing things our way; we have the power, we certainly have the ability and now we know we have the mass behind us.
Penny Archer is a Director of SmartDames FZ LLC, an international List Broker based in Dubai Media City, Dubai. Other articles that she has written can be found at www.smartdames.com