GroupM’s Demet Ikiler: “We Are Precious the Way We Are”

  • News
  • November 22, 2021

In her first visit to the GCC since she was promoted to EMEA CEO of GroupM, Demet Ikiler discusses her (relatively) new role and being a woman in and of power.

What’s the purpose of your trip to Dubai?

I took the job on March 1, 2020, and on March 16, we went into lockdown; I was not able to travel at all. I first started to travel in September, and I went first to Germany and London; this second trip is to Dubai. We have more than 30 markets in our region, so it tells you something about priority.

My objective is to visit markets as much as I can because, without real physical contact, you can’t understand each market’s business. I’m fascinated by the diversity that I’m exposed to. The markets within my region, from South Africa to the Middle East to Russia to Denmark, cover an incredible spectrum for me to understand and to discover the synergies, the similarities so that we built the business on a more regional basis.

I also believe this business is a local business. Being a global company makes us stronger, more sustainable, more competitive, and we’re able to provide better and more relevant services for our clients; but at the end of the day, the most important part of this structure is the people on the ground. The consumer insights, the media ownership structure, the habits, the ambitions in the market… There are a lot of things that we take into consideration and how you package and position yourself will be different because the needs will be different. One service will never fit all. Even if we have a common strategy, implementation will have to be tailored market by market.

In addition, there is a very interesting dynamism in this region. What is happening in Saudi Arabia, the really fast and deep changes, the momentum, the growth… We know that, as a group, we can contribute a lot. We have big markets in Western Europe, but the growth rates in this part of the world are really amazing and you see the recovery from COVID much more quickly. The positivity and the appetite for innovation, that’s all very exciting.

Read more on Communicate here.