Joel Rao

Joel Rao

CEO, iProspect East Africa

What's the most inspiring thing you've seen?

The most inspiring thing I’ve seen today is purpose-led business outcomes. It goes to show the work that has been awarded has actually been driven by that. I think for me personally, the most inspiring thing I have seen has also been aspects of diversity and inclusion that has actually come out through the work that P&G have done around widening the screen in order to widen the views that touches on diversity and inclusions.

As the father of three daughters and being mixed race, living in Africa, telling our stories as opposed to having others come to tell our stories on our behalf says a lot. I believe story telling and story-doing by brands are at the very foundation of widening the screen of opportunity and brings around what the space really, really needs and that’s to ensure that we offer economic benefits to those communities that have always been marginalised in this sense.

What surprised you?

I think the session by Nielsen around the streaming eco-system and the fact that SVODs and AVODs are now almost 50% of overall content viewership in the US - and I think this is actually going to spread across the world - is very much female-skewed.

What’s really interesting for me is as far as content creation is concerned, the aspect of each touching on social challenges and going back to that element of diversity and inclusion plays a very big role in what the streaming platforms will be rolling out in the next couple of months.

What work really impressed you?

What really impressed me is tge work that P&G and Cartwright have brought to life around storytelling for diversity and inclusion and how actually they have gone ahead to work very closely with the Unstereotype Alliance to bring storytelling within contexts of communities that have been affected by inclusion challenges has come to life. So for me, that was one other piece of work that I really, really liked.

What have you seen that will have the biggest implications for our industry over the next 12 months?

I’ve seen two things actually. Number one is the aspect of purpose-led storytelling in for-profit environments but specifically from a diversity and inclusion angle. I think it’s going to continually play a role over the next 12 months as we look towards driving certain awarenesses of challenges that are facing communities today within our different markets and brands playing that vital role of not just selling for the purpose of selling but selling with the purpose to be able to actually not just bring awareness but also be some form of remedy within the communities that they exist in.  

That’s one, the second thing is the power of blockchain and the introduction of NFTs in the industry. Not only to amplify the different art forms that come with it, but also to bring to life new forms of digital art forms that would be actually put out there. And so for me, that’s actually really exciting over the next 12 months.