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Global brands must be led by local creative thinking in PR says Ali Grayeli, executive creative director for Weber, APAC

As messaging grows more hyperlocal, global brands are under increasing pressure to deliver culturally relevant messages to a highly aware consumer base. And in India, as with China, local talent will play a key role in keeping creative thinking in communications on point says Ali Grayeli, Weber Shandwick's regional executive creative director for APAC.

Grayeli, a global citizen himself, who has worked and lived in several great cities of the world including NYC, Auckland, Singapore and Shanghai, says that he was probably among the last wave of outside professionals to enter China in 2011 and take part in the creative communications businesses there.

Today, global brands, need to tap into local talent. Grayeli says that local messaging for global brands is often based on a very detailed view of another part of the world or a watered-down view of a global campaign adapted for local markets.

Grayeli says it is important too, " Let local offices be local for their brand, as long they are not moving away from the brand's DNA.

Pushing creativity in PR and communication

Grayeli says there are sectors such as tech, telecom and mobility that need to push their creativity more in messaging. Grayeli avers that " Very few of these brands have 'heart space', it's more about the 'head space', or the specs and features of the product."

That is not to say that features and pricing does not matter, Grayeli recommends that it must, however, be woven along with the central values of the brand. 

In 2018, 'The Economist' magazine flagged off, 'Techlash' or the conflict between governments and new tech as one of the key communication issues of the year. Agreeing with 'The Economist's assessment, Grayeli explains that in areas such as urban mobility, for example, it becomes very important to engage stakeholders such as the government properly so that you are not seen as a labour disrupter but a valuable contributor to solving key consumer needs.

Grayeli flags off brands such as Durex and Trojan who have pushed the envelope with a difficult conversation, incrementally testing the water without being provocative.


Measurement, better briefs, the future of creativity 

Shining a light on the future of creativity, Grayeli said two important things will matter, measurement and briefs.

Firstly,  says Grayeli, "We need better briefs with better timeframes so that our thinking is not reactionary. Second of all, the ability to measure the impact of creativity on the value of the brand."

Commenting on AI in creative work, Grayeli, quoted Elon Musk on AI, likening it to, " summoning the demons".

While AI in creativity will develop algorithmically Grayeli also warned that AI could play a role in creative processes such as writing as well. While many creative people think this is not possible, Grayeli said we should not rest on our laurels.

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