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Clv14 Jordan Cover Story

Clv14 Jordan Cover Story

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Published by Leo Burnett MENA

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Published by: Leo Burnett MENA on Jun 29, 2011
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11/28/2011

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16I
 
Communicate Levant
 
JUNE 2011 | COVER STORY 
   ©    G  e   t   t  y   I  m  a  g  e  s
 
Communicate Levant
 I17
COVER STORY  | JUNE 2011
 T
he online uture in the region may not be a newpiece o sotware or a social network site, but acountry. Something interesting has been happeningin Jordan, and as a new generation o user-riendly
Jordanians enter the work orce, it might not betoo long beore we see them leading the digitalmarket, like they used to 10 years ago.Figures on Jordan’s Internet penetration tella story heard all over the region. The Internetpenetration rate is still quite low – at 27 percent– but it has been growing steadily and rapidly,
standing at 17 percent at the end o 2007 and then
20.5 percent at the end o the rst hal o 2008,according to the Jordanian TelecommunicationsRegulatory Commission. Plans are to reach 50percent by the end o 2011, but things may moveeven aster as more people take to the streets andare ollowed not only by the security apparatus,but by an increasing number o people on Twit-ter. This growing movement o people using theInternet is bound to induce a shit in Jordanianconsumer behavior.Jordanians' ootprints are visible on a large
number o regional campaigns and online brands
that were developed in Jordan. The kingdom has
quickly, and as early as 10 years ago, caught onto
the act that it has a new natural resource – itstech-savvy, vast digital natives community – soit is putting programs in place to turn this newdigital generation into the crowning glory o its
workorce. And investment in youth’s digital po-
tential is starting to pay o. Not only are public
authorities heavily involved in supporting the digital
industry, but the private sector is also doing its
part and big regional companies are oering their
expertise to nurture Jordanian talent.
However, while the blueprints are in place, there
is evidence that companies are slow to embrace
the new power dynamic, and the oundations or a
solid local digital market have yet to be laid. Theindustry is still waiting or planning permissionrom clients to build the sector. Below, we look at developments, trends, issues and changes thatwill shape Jordan’s digital uture.
ON WHY JORDAN’S DIGITAL INDUSTRY SHOULDN’T
BE OVERLOOKED
Dana Adhami, director digital, Mindshare
“The whole digital scene in the region started in
the early 2000s when the dot-coms began to boom,
and Jordan was the rst country in the region tostart building its own inrastructure, with manyonline ventures establishing their hub there.In the past ve years, Jordan was also the
country rom where some o the most innovative
digital ventures came, in terms o content andcommunication; Maktoob, which was the rst to
oer e-mails in Arabic, or Jeeran, the rst Arabic
blogging website. And Jordan was also the rstmarket to introduce really localized online tar-geting; Jordanians are close to the region, theyunderstand it well.
One o the main reasons or this is the people.
Jordan is a big students country, a high percentage
o the population is made up o students, a lot o whom have a strong interest in IT, the Internet
and digital technologies, and are tech-savvy. This
talent and this eagerness to grow have paved theway or other players in the region.”
Nicolas Geahchan, executive creative director, JWT
“Jordan has all o the right ingredients to lead the
region: it has one o the best and most aordable
Internet services regionally, air Internet penetra-
tion among the population, and the right talent and
knowledge available in the market.”
Wisam Suheimat, managing director, Memac Advize
“The entire range o sophistication is there, rom
simple banners to viral campaigns, UGC and even
CRM and loyalty programs using smart phones,location-based promotions, online advergamingand the ull range o using social networking asa platorm to promote and engage with brands.
We also have numerous companies developing
and launching smart phone apps or brands that
have been pioneering and are quite sophisticated.”
Do Jordanians dream of electric
sheep?
 
How one country strives to stand out in the region's digital landscape
by Samer Zouehid
 
18I
 
Communicate Levant
Sinan Gharaibeh, creative director, Insight Group Jordan
“I think it is a matter o time beore Jordan reachesthe peak o its digital creativity. Jordan was hometo some unique successes such as Maktoob [the
Amman-based portal and rst Arabic/English e-mail
provider, since purchased by Yahoo]. The countryis proactive and adapts quickly to new technolo-gies. We have creative talent supported by propertechnical education and liberal culture. It is worthnoting that Jordanian creativity has its favor orsense o humor such as 3azizi and Emad Hajjaj [aamous Jordanian cartoonist], which are exportedto regional markets.”
Joelle Jammal, managing director, Leo Burnett Jordan
“Jordan is one o the top ve with regards to Internet
usage, while the UAE is leading the way in digital
marketing. The driving orce behind this is the largeyouth demographic ound in Jordan and the Internet
advanced services oered in the kingdom. Digitalmarketing in Jordan is driven by social networks.
Jordan has infuential bloggers who have blogs visited
by thousands o people every day, covering subjectsabout dierent aspects o lie, rom news to society,
business, ashion... This has become a successul
tool to promote Jordan, its culture, tradition, values
and, most importantly, its people.”
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
Wisam Suheimat, managing director, Memac Advize
“Jordan has dozens o IT universities and or the
past 11 years, His Majesty King Abdullah has been
very keen and active in developing a strong ounda-
tion or a digital economy. Unlike Dubai, where a
vast majority o proessionals working in the digitalsphere are not Arabs and a large number o back-enddevelopment is outsourced to countries such as India
and Eastern Europe, Jordan provides a bilingual
ocus and deep understanding o the Arab mindset.”
Wael Barghouti, head of business development,Insight Group Jordan
“There is a ramework to nurture vibrant yet inter-
nationally competitive proessionals. Accordingto Int@j, Jordan’s Inormation Technology As-
sociation, the National ICT strategy (2007-2011)
was created to take advantage o new markets,
enhancing business maturity, investing in researchand development, capitalizing on regional demand,
cultivating oreign investment and improving theICT labor market. Annual sector growth has risen
to an estimated 50 percent over the past ew years,
its generated income representing 12 percent o 
the country's GDP. There is an optimistic determi-
nation not only to position Jordan as the region'sICT hub, but to also service regional markets.”
Dana Adhami, director digital, Mindshare
“The Jordanian government is building the inra-structure and is supportive, but to become a tech-
nological hub, being a good coder is not enough. A
country also needs to have the right economy andattractive inrastructure. The support is there, but
or some reason, it’s not picking up as it should;maybe because much talent moves to the GCC.
I the ocial 27 percent Internet penetration rate
is a reality, it contradicts what the governmentis doing and students’ aspirations. It shows that
people in Jordan are not really adopting what thegovernment is trying to do. Something is missing
or maybe it’s just being delayed.”
ON HOW ADVERTISING AGENCIES APPROACHDIGITAL IN JORDAN
Joelle Jammal, managing director, Leo Burnett Jordan
“All Burnetters have regular training in onlinedigital marketing; moreover, all are encouragedto partake in social networking and micro blog-ging services such as Twitter, and we even haveour own virtual Leo Burnett building in Second
Lie. Furthermore, we have access to Huddle and
Notepad, a collaboration tool used across ocesin the Middle East and North Arica. Extensivecase studies and success stories on digital mar-keting are available rom around the world. Andthis on its own is a wealth o inormation and a
learning well. This is in addition to our LB MENA
blog, where Burnetters share ideas, thoughts, get
inspired by one another.”
Nicolas Geahchan, executive creative director, JWT
“It is our role as agencies to come to our clients
with appropriate digital proposals. A way to do it is
to answer the clients’ needs in ‘traditional media’
and unlock the power o the same idea ‘online’through interactive content that champions theuser’s experience – making the most out o the
latest digital channels (social media, geo-location,
augmented reality, Web and mobile applications,
hardware innovation, etcetera).”
Sinan Gharaibeh, creative director, Insight Group Jordan
“There is a glitch in agencies’ structure. We have
seen it beore in some oerings and are nowseeing it again when it comes to ‘do it all’. Ad-
vertising agencies tend to design and sell digital
JOELLE JAMMAL.
 Managing director, Leo Burnett Jordan
JUNE 2011 | COVER STORY 
   ©    G  e   t   t  y   I  m  a  g  e  s
SINAN GHARAIBEH.
Creative director, Insight Group Jordan

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