Looked around your city on October 10, 2017? There's a good chance you might have seen someone from the McCann Worldgroup agencies in MENA, roaming the streets asking people questions (with their consent, of course) about their shopping habits and local cultures.
On October 10, 2017, for Truth About Street, a global research initiative by McCann Worldgroup, roughly 20,000 employees, in 100+ countries worldwide, left their desks and headed to the streets. In teams of five, they met people, across a cross-section of society, on the streets, and through face-to-face conversations (following a defined guide), they collected truths about culture, shopping behaviour and topical sentiments. All learnings will feed the next wave of McCann Worldgroup’s Truth About Global Brands.
In MENA, over 300 employees hit the streets across 10 countries. It was a historic, first-ever, global local truth hunt in MENA and across the world.
FP7/MENA’s CEO, Tarek Miknas, says, “As the voice of the MENA region, we’re constantly focused on knowing our part of the world better than others. And we take pride in our global network for doing the exact same thing across the world. Knowing our region and its people, better than others, enables us to remain at the forefront of our industry when it comes to work that makes a meaningful difference for our brands.”
Beyond being a proprietary study, unlike anything done by any company in MENA or for that matter anywhere in the world, Truth About Street is an intelligence program involving employees across disciplines (strategy, business management, creative, technology, finance, admin, HR), in mining all that embodies the essence of each city and its people.
Tarek adds, “What’s fantastic is that our entire employee base from countries across MENA (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon, Turkey, Bahrain) has participated. Truth About Street is enabling every employee to understand behaviours, anxieties and trends on the streets, in the real world, and it’s helping them apply these insights to impact our client’s brands and businesses, along with contributing to a very switched-on and curious agency culture.”
Tahaab Rais, Regional Head of Strategic Planning and MENA Director – Truth Central, FP7/MENA, notes: “With Truth About Street, we are engineering ourselves to do what all of us should always do by default - consciously and constantly hear people. Uncovering their unbridled hopes, joys, perspectives, aspirations, needs and anxieties. And developing creative products, content and experiences around them; instead of simply pushing content and campaigns, based on generic insights in our briefs, that we’ve conjured up sitting at our desks, looking at just desktop research.”
The agency has heard its people talk about how when we observe the city like a tourist, the city and its people seem much more interesting. One team in Dubai met a tourist from Saudi Arabia, whom they hesitated contacting, but upon approaching him, they uncovered their most favourite and most insightful conversation; he even treated them to coffee and refreshments!
Tahaab adds, “To learn the truth about street, I went off it for a couple of hours, taking eight Abra rides in Dubai and having more insightful conversations in those two hours than I’ve had over days with focus groups.” The program stands as proof of the unprecedented connectivity of McCann Worldgroup globally and in MENA. It’s helping the agency be more in sync with people in the real world, which is key to enabling creation of more meaningful work in this constantly evolving world. And have a whole lot of fun and create new friendships while at it!