Digital Agencies in Lebanon: Rana El Baba of The Wonderful Bureau on overcoming challenges and the keys to success
Posted on 2023 Oct,03  | By Christina Fakhry

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It is no secret that Lebanese-born digital agencies have been subjected to enormous, albeit existential, challenges for the past few years amid the country’s ranging crisis climate and full-blown economic collapse. And while many grappled with changing times strictly in survival mode, others were able to turn the odds in their favor by making bold moves that helped them not only stay in the game but also solidify their market share. From expanding the scope of their digital services to occasionally venturing into new markets, both new and existing agencies fought the current to maintain a healthy flow of creativity and adaptability. As the local market continues to bounce back, we reached out to the founders of some of the country’s prominent digital agencies for key insights and impressions, all while discussing the future of creativity. In the following interview Rana El Baba, Managing Director & Creative Director of The Wonderful Bureau, shares her take.

Based on your extensive experience, what is the key to success in today's digital landscape and how can you stand out from the pack in a cluttered digital market like Lebanon?

In today's digital world, success hinges on innovation, adaptability and understanding the local market. To shine in Lebanon's competitive digital arena, we prioritize creativity, personalized targeting, and staying ahead of trends. By crafting unique, culturally relevant campaigns that span across multiple channels, we connect with our audience on a deeper level. Our data-driven insights and transparent reporting ensure measurable results, while our quick response to change and commitment to continuous learning set us apart.


What digital services are brands seeking the most lately according to your agency data? In what direction do you see the local/regional market going?

Based on our agency’s data, brands are mostly looking for digital marketing services lately. Businesses want to connect with customers online through social media and SEO strategies. This trend shows that companies value reaching people digitally, and in our local and regional market, we expect even more growth in digital marketing. More people are using the internet and phones here, so brands want to be where the audience is: online. This matches our agency's focus on staying up-to-date to help our clients succeed in the digital world.


How can you keep up with the latest digital and social media trends in an ever-evolving digital landscape that is moving faster than ever before?

To stay on top of the fast-changing digital landscape, we do a few key things. We learn a lot from attending online events and workshops. We also follow experts and track data about what people do online. We are not scared to try new things and we talk to other players in the industry to get different ideas. Then we work closely with tech partners and keep an eye on what our clients say. Our team is always thinking ahead and we make changes to our strategies when needed.


In what way(s) did Lebanon's crisis climate in the past few years affect your agency business and how do you optimize your internal process to maintain a smooth workflow?

The uncertain situation made local clients more careful about spending on ads, yet we noticed that more clients were using digital marketing and social media because they can reach a lot of people through them. We saw this change as a chance to offer online advertising services, so we learned more about digital marketing and social media management. This helped us give our clients useful services that matched what they were looking for. To keep our team stable and motivated, we were among the pioneers in shifting salaries to USD during the crisis. This helped maintain their job satisfaction and performance. Despite the challenges, as adaptable Lebanese, we're determined to keep delivering strong campaigns.


How would you define creativity in today's digital landscape? And what are the biggest challenges agencies would have to cater to in order to secure a better future?

In today's digital world, creativity means making unique, meaningful experiences using data and stories. To pave the way for a better future, agencies need to deal with challenges like keeping up with change, finding and retaining talented people and standing out in a crowded online space. It's about adapting fast, staying ethical, measuring success, and remaining innovative.

This article is part of an interview series conducted with six Beirut-based Lebanese digital agencies.