Throughout her career that started in 2006 at BBDO, Marie-Claire has worked with an extensive portfolio of both international and MENA brands. Some notable names include: Mars, J&J, PepsiCo, Essity, Van Cleef & Arpels, Reckitt, Annahar Newspaper, among others and she worked on multiple initiatives and Pro bono projects driven by her purpose to add value and better the life of others, one idea at a time.

Marie Claire’s work has earned numerous awards in most international and regional shows including Grand Prix at Cannes and the only Yellow Pencil by D&AD for the Mena region in 2022. She got ranked as the third Most Awarded Executive Creative Director globally and the top-ranked professional in the region by The Drum World Creative Rankings in 2023 and stands among the top 3 most outstanding women in Advertising and Media in MENA for 2022.
In 2019, she was also earned the esteemed title of ‘Next Creative Leader’ by the 3% Conference and The One Club for Creativity in Chicago.

Presentation Synopsis:

In the dynamic realm of communication, the persistent buzz from brands, especially on social media, poses a significant challenge for both brands and individuals to navigate through the noise. Fueled by AI, the landscape is more and more prioritising quantity over quality outpace people’s ability to comprehend, absorb, or take meaningful action. Join us as we dissect the dynamics of brand communication, exploring actionable insights to transition from a culture of noise into harmonious brand narratives where brand actions speak louder than words.

Main Points:

• Auditory Impact: What does it truly take for a brand’s voice to cut through the noise and resonate authentically with people?
• Distracting Decibels: Why does the overwhelming noise serve as a distraction, diverting individuals from their inner voices and life purposes?
• The Power of Silence: What revelations emerge when intentionally sitting in silence, and what meaningful insights can be gained from this quietude?

Unveiling the Power of Authentic Branding: A Conversation with Marie Claire Maalouf, CCO Edelman

In today’s hyper-connected world, brands strive for consumer attention, resulting in a flood of often distracting, repetitive, and shallow messages. Brand Noise epitomizes this quantity-centric marketing approach, prioritizing content volume over quality engagement. On the other hand, Brand Voice is intentional, genuine, and reflects a brand’s values and promises. It serves as a guiding light for communication efforts, enabling brands to authentically connect with their audience, resonating and fostering deeper connections.

In marketing and advertising, we often focus extensively on what to tell audiences, overlooking the importance of listening to them. This oversight is particularly evident in diverse cultures and countries with non-homogeneous demographics. Target audiences are not mere numbers and will not resonate with a brand if treated as such. Success in my experience lies in being observant, understanding their challenges, and genuinely seeking actionable solutions to add value to their lives through brand acts and an authentic brand voice, fostering lasting and impactful connections.

Globally Duolingo comes to mind. (Shout out to Zaria Parvez and team). They identified their voice, stayed true to it from the app experience, the unexpected brand collabs all the way down to the comment section on TikTok. They are quirky, sometimes unhinged and unappologetic about it. They know their audience well and are not afraid to play have fun with them. On a regional level, I’d like to highlight Annahar, the bold and courageous Lebanese newspaper that truly embodies the voice of its people. It has steadfastly become a champion for the nation. Both brands’ strategies are rooted in standing for something meaningful, resonating deeply with their respective audiences.

Authenticity is the key to any KPI and marketing objective. This is 2024 and Consumers are not a captive audience anymore, they have the true power to make it or break it for any brand by just holding a phone, the click of a button or the speed of their scrolling. They buy from, engage with, support brands they connect with and believe in. Hence, being a trusted and authentic brand pays off on all levels.

With the rapid evolution of digital channels and technologies, how should brands adapt their brand voice to maintain relevance and engagement with consumers across different platforms and touchpoints?

Digital channels and technologies enable brands to be more agile in reaching the right audience at the right time, making a meaningful difference when it’s truly needed. Just consider how digital platforms allow for a more targeted approach compared to traditional media, enabling brands to engage smaller groups of people on topics that genuinely matter to them in a responsive and timely manner. Furthermore, digital channels facilitate consistent interactions across various touchpoints, moving beyond sporadic 30-second ads. This fosters a more human, consistent, and interactive relationship, ultimately leading to a more valuable outcome.

The deep and genuine relationship with consumers that having an authentic brand voice can foster is often referred to as brand loyalty. At Edelman, however, we call it TRUST, which is our guiding principle when working with clients. We believe that authentic actions from a brand have the power to earn the trust of its consumers. Consumers who trust your brand are more likely to act on it, whether through a purchase, interaction, endorsement, or more. Creating actionable brands and building trust among their consumer base is our Edelman Philosophy, and it’s what we strive to do every single day.