George Slim: ‘Staying true to our beliefs & values'
Posted on 2022 Feb,27

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Lebanon has been in a state of emergency since late-2019, pummeled by a crisis after another. On top of everything came the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut on 4 August 2020 followed by an economic crisis that keeps worsening. ArabAd talks to George Slim, CEO of Pimo agency, to know how they thrived throughout such a tumultuous 2021 year.

How would you describe in one word the year that past?


Were you able to find certainty despite all hardships and adversity crippling businesses in the country?

I believe that "certainty" is something that can be overrated, in the sense that even when a sense of certainty exists, it should be challenged in order to always perform better and break new ground; otherwise, we stagnate. That being said, yes, I do believe we found a kind of "certainty" that enabled us to move forward, and which gave us reasons not to lose complete faith and to keep pushing ahead.

Did you feel at risk at some point of getting pulled out of the game? And what helped you reinforce your team’s belief in Lebanon and strong commitment and dedication to sustaining the business?

Well, it’s true that the hits just kept on coming and at times it felt like we were in one of those TV series that never knows when to end! However, I believe that risk is inherent to any kind of business, no matter the times we live in, and for multiple reasons. Yet, it’s also true that the times we are going through in Lebanon are unprecedented and highly challenging and that this has raised a lot of questions about the future. Of course, we are aware that there is now a thin line that we have to navigate to remain a sustainable business and still be in the game. I believe that what makes us strong right now is staying true to our beliefs and our values, which were embedded in the business long before the multi-faceted crisis we are currently facing. And our collaborators and partners are familiar with these values that we embody. This is what is helping us maintain the cohesion of our team, as well as reinforcing our position and empowering us to manage to the best of our abilities. Certainly though, I believe that building resilience into the organizational DNA is more important than ever.

How have you managed to channel your energy into keeping up? 

There was an awareness from the beginning that we are in this together, and by ‘we’ I mean our colleagues and our partners and that we need to support one another to survive. It brought us closer together and brought out the best in everyone. This feeling of unity is where our energy has been channeled.

What has been the most important thing you’ve learned over the last 12 months?

How to unlock sustainable performance in a hybrid world.


“Of course, we are aware that there is now a thin line that we have to navigate to remain a sustainable business and still be in the game.” 


Has your passion and energy remained intact in such a gloomy climate?

The passion and energy are still there, and this is what makes us keep on trying - no matter what. We are here to stay despite everything! And we will keep on believing that a better Lebanon will come.

The Lebanese crisis —and the global sanitary crisis —have challenged managers and marketers to rethink the way they do business and plan the future of their organizations. Where the biggest opportunities lay mostly for you? 

The sanitary crisis forced us into a new reality, where we physically self-isolated yet we remained connected to our clients and the world. There are always challenges, but they are larger today due to the diverse crises, locally and globally, and these are impacting all sectors. However, in Lebanon, there will always be businesses and brands that are able to spot an opportunity to stand out during turbulent times and make the most of it by connecting with their audience and building lasting bonds. In every negative there is always a positive. You just need to find it.

What are the shifts that you foresee taking place in the year ahead? And what do you think will be your biggest challenge in 2022?

It's becoming more and more apparent that digitalization is a must for businesses to adapt at the necessary pace and is definitely a primary driver in this new era. We are most likely in the midst of a generation-defining event that will influence how consumers behave for years to come. Online is becoming the channel of choice as consumers spend more time at home and there’s reason to believe that this behavioral shift will continue to some degree.

As a business, I foresee a focus on our agility, adjusting our business model with extreme speed to keep one step ahead. This means we should act decisively to manage costs and increase productivity. Our priority is always employee wellness and we should be flexible to adapt and change our ways of working to protect this. The biggest challenge will be to plan for the unexpected! We stand ready to counter adversity with resilience.