Festival Content Themes

The ten business-critical themes that are setting the agenda on creative branded marketing and communication at Dubai Lynx 2021.

1. Brands in Culture 

The new normal is to maintain relevance and emotional connection in a reality where the “captive” consumer no longer exists. Instead, brands must create compelling content that people will willingly participate in – and authentically insert themselves into popular culture. Our trail-blazing speakers from brands, agencies and the wider creative community will talk about how they are intersecting at significant moments or events in culture and sparking important conversations.

• How can brands enter social and cultural conversations and encourage active participation from consumers?
• What can we learn from the brands that are finding creative ways to reach the ad-blocking, cord-cutting generation?
• How can we create agile and savvy teams who are able to produce content at the speed of culture?

2. Proving creative effectiveness 

We need to find a way to marry short-term ROI with longterm creative strategy. There’s a decision for us to make over whether we should now focus more on effectiveness, and less on efficiency. We hear from local and global speakers on connecting exceptional creativity with commercial results. You’ll discover why proving creative effectiveness is becoming more and more important across the MENA industry. Plus, you’ll see some of the world’s most effective campaigns brought to life and deconstructed on stage.

• How should you be talking about creative effectiveness with your clients?
• Short-term brand activations versus long-term brandbuilding: how do we make effective work long-lasting?
• How can creativity drive true competitive advantage? And what are the world’s most creative organisations doing to instil a belief in the value of creativity?

3. Embracing inclusion, equality and diversity

Hear original and credible perspectives from diversity champions on how to create inclusive workforces where creativity can thrive. In conversations that will move the dial, speakers will outline new benchmarks for brand work that promotes diversity and inclusion and explore the wider benefits for culture and society (and brands).

• What does a truly inclusive creative and leadership team look like and what impact does this have on creative output?
• To what extent is unconscious bias holding us back?
• What are the most creative companies doing today to defy stereotypes, and what ground have they gained in competition, innovation and revenue?

4. Understanding the changes sweeping the creative industry across MENA 

We need to know how agencies and brands in the MENA region are changing. We look at whether MENA’s legacy agencies will need to develop new skillsets and capabilities to survive. And whether big brands need to re-think their business strategies to stand up to innovative D2C challengers.

• How can we build outstanding creative capabilities, whatever our company structure? And where will the best talent be in two, five or even ten years’ time?
• Faster, better, cheaper: in an era of efficiency, can we really have all three?
• Will creativity (once an agency-only currency) move inhouse? Or will in-housing, ultimately, fail?

5. Driving digital and technological transformation 

Hear case studies from some of the world’s largest brands on how they maintain customer relevance in a mobile-first, Amazon-dominated, voice-enabled world. Speakers will outline how brands can survive and thrive in an era of endless digital disruption, where highly personalised communication and seamless customer journeys are expected rather than appreciated.

• What does best-in-class digital transformation look like and how can you practically evolve your business to navigate your way through ongoing disruption?
• How can we use data to anticipate the needs of customers within an on/offline retail environment and provide them with a frictionless experience using the new tools (facial recognition, voice, chatbots) at our disposal?
• Can we create direct pathways to consumers in this new algorithm-driven economy? Who is doing it well and what can we learn from them?

6. Creative strategy and reaching the reluctant consumer 

Understand the ideas behind the idea. We hear from strategists, psychologists, futurists and behavioural economists with unique insights into consumer trends and behaviour. Leaders share the human insights that have changed how we think about targeting, personalisation and reach. Plus, we explore how creativity can solve fundamental business problems.

• Where can data and analytics inform campaigns and lead to real brand breakthroughs?
• How can we take a more intentional approach to creativity which can solve wider business problems and brand challenges?
• What kind of brilliant ideas and strategies are behind some of the world’s most effective creative work?

7. The new rules on brand purpose

Should all brands find a purpose? We hear from leading thinkers with case studies on how purposeful communications can drive brand loyalty and sales – and we examine how a misfire can wreak havoc with a brand’s reputation. You’ll discover the best global and regional practices and develop an understanding of cultural context in specific parts of the MENA region.

• How can brands avoid being superficial and inauthentic when building a purposeful strategy?
• Why do brands in the MENA region need to have a real (brand DNA-driven) reason to be purposeful? Why is it that consumers can see through brands with a ‘fake’ purpose?
• In a polarised society, what role does brand activism play? How can we achieve this authentically and meaningfully – without fallout?

8. Creating connected brand experiences 

We need to look beyond the over-hyped buzzwords and understand how to create exceptional brand experiences to keep consumers constantly engaged. We take an all-encompassing look at multi-channel customer journeys – from the retail and eCommerce landscape to MENA’s emerging eSports ecosystem. You’ll discover the true potential of voice technologies and see practical implementations of AI, AR and VR.

• How can you connect with your consumers offline and online? How can new innovations allow us to merge physical retail and eCommerce (IoT, Computer Vision, Cloud Computing)?
• From campaign messaging to digital platforms, to instore activations – how can we create unified experiences, so that there is no distinction between where one ends and another begins?
• What potential do new technologies like voice and 5G (as well as AI, AR and VR) have for the future of customer experience and how can we exploit them to best advantage?
• What are the new creative and collaborative opportunities for brands in the entertainment industry – encompassing music, sport, film, gaming and beyond?

9. Re-imagining storytelling 

Storytelling: an overused word, undoubtedly. But it’s also the foundation on which this industry is built – great stories have the power to move us. Hear from global and regional creatives, filmmakers, authors and designers on how they conceive of and create work that resonates with consumers across generations. Learn from the people who make audiences laugh and cry with stories across platforms.

• How can we harness new immersive and innovative platforms to deliver traditional stories?
• Where are the big, bold and brave stories that have succeeded across multiple channels?
• What can we learn from the artists, creatives, writers, musicians and film directors who create truly memorable work?

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10. Discovering creative opportunities in Saudi Arabia 

The opportunity for growth in KSA is clear. This year, we look at Saudi in focus. We find out how the industry works and we hear what the biggest brands in KSA are looking for in agencies. We show you how to move in to the market and to plan strategically for social impact. Expect sessions with Saudi’s content creators, regional brands, local creative agencies and government representatives. Most importantly, we look at Saudi Arabia, tomorrow – exploring what really matters to the region’s youth.