Semia Azaiz – The Trendy Frenchie – Interview
French entrepreneur, Semia Azaiz has grown her business empire with firm belief and determination. Her venture, The Trendy Frenchie Communication Agency is a platform that connects brands with influencers and celebrities. Semia also heads the Luxsure Magazine Dubai which is based in Paris with international editions in United States, United Kingdom, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Born and raised in the South of France, Semia had an eye for fashion and creativity from a young age, she has always been inspired by the dynamics of the world around her, the mechanism of things and the art that exists in all. Now residing in Dubai, UAE Semia believes in the unexplored talent in the Middle East. With her belief of sharing the essence of French luxury to a wide range of readers looking for relevant and high-quality information, Semia laid the foundation for the Luxsure group that focuses on perfecting communication and dealing with the topmost influencers and celebrities. She aims to grow in her position connecting brands with the right kind of influencers, celebrities, and audience. We talked to Semia about her line of work, her busy lifestyle and the talent management.
What does your usual day look like? How do you juggle between various roles?
Semia Azaiz: I usually wake up around 7 am, have a big cup of coffee, before hitting the gym. When the above had been achieved, my day then becomes a marathon. From catching up on my emails to meeting with clients, putting the proposals together and briefing talents, the day just goes by and by the time I’m on to end-of-day conference calls, the day has already passed by. Running activations for brands, while managing my online luxury fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine “Luxsure Magazine Dubai” (Luxsuremagazine.com) and being a social media influencer, can be challenging at times as it is always a race against the clock but I love it! I feel blessed and so very grateful to the universe for allowing me to do things I love in life.
But I will say that the most important, significant and valuable thing I try to achieve on a daily basis, is to do something nice to somebody, whoever that person is. From a close friend to a colleague, passing a family member or a random person. Every day, I make a point in doing something nice to somebody, no matter how small it may look. It doesn’t have to be anything exceptional but I have made a mission of being that way and it has become part of my daily routine. It feels good to do something for somebody other than yourself!
As Oprah Winfrey says: ” To whom it is must given, much is it expected!”
What is the importance of a talent management specialist?
Semia Azaiz: The importance of talent management is crucial when it comes to influencer marketing. When celebrity endorsement can have such a positive and powerful impact on the consumer perception as well as a brand/product/service, the opposite can also resonate just as truth.
Using social media influencers, creators, celebrities will definitely give any campaign a wow effect but it won’t bring the correct brand relevance or impact on the sales if it isn’t handled properly. A Talent Manager’s responsibility isn’t just to find deals for talents and connect the brand with the celebrities; it is much more than that. As a Talent Manager, you must know your talent inside-out and make sure he/she is relevant to the campaign/brand. You also need to fully understand the company brief and what the brand stands for. Profiling is the most important task as a Talent Manager and it will make a big difference between a talented one and one that only cares about closing a deal and making serious cash out of activation.
Talent management agencies are here to serve their clients in the best possible way in order to help them develop and strengthen their brand identity, increase brand awareness, generate sales while bringing a wow factor to the brand and matching the brand with the right talent. The bottom line in using celebrities is to help create a holistic brand experience and focus on the customer touch points by partnering with the relevant talents that will speak to the target audience and while representing adequately the brand. Everything has to in harmony.
To our readers, what are the skills required to be in this industry?
Semia Azaiz: In order to make it in this industry, you must demonstrate great emotional intelligence, have a good attitude, demonstrate a great deal of patience, be persistent and possess excellent negotiation skills.
Having said that, I’d say that the number 1 quality to have is to be a “People Person”. This isn’t something you can easily fake as you usually are such type of person or you’re not. Having this kind of personality allows you to be able and deal with different type of personalities. The ability to be likable to most people, even those hard to get through, is what will help you get through the gates. Again here, you can fake it as much as you like and pretend you get along with people, but unless it really comes from a genuine and natural place, people will see through you. Celebrities are especially alert with this type of people, being constantly solicited at every point.
In your experience, is this region more popular when it comes to your line of work?
Semia Azaiz: The phenomenon of influencer marketing is may more prominent in this region and it kept on evolving creating, a safe haven for social media sensations as well as talent managers. Brands, especially here do understand the importance of social media influencers and do master the practice of influencer marketing.
The advertising scene in the Middle East has seen an important surge in influencer marketing advertising campaigns, making it a must for any brands that want and make a splash in the market. When partnering with social media influencers was seen as unconventional before and innovative at first, it has now become the new normal and it is imperative for brands to team up with talents if they wish to build decent brand awareness and engagement on social media. The power of social media campaigns driven by talents is undeniable and a good campaign matched with the right talent can easily go viral in no time. In the region, people are much more influenced by their idols and truly value their opinions. They see it as peer recommendations they trust and as you know, no marketing tool yet is more powerful than our good old “word of mouth”.
If a brand wants to be remembered and resonate with the public expectation of the product/service, they’ll have no choice but to align their campaign with the right talent and let the celebrity do the talking for them and help them take their brand to the next level.
Some of the talent management vendors are trying to tap into this emerging field of collaborations. What do you think about his?
Semia Azaiz: More and more talent management agencies are seeing light every day, trying to tap into this social media influencer marketing/advertising era and for good reasons. As we have already established, the importance of social media influencer is major around here so it is only natural that media companies, brands, advertisers, and publishers are looking to explore business opportunities.
The region is heavily digitally driven, most of the companies have cut their offline marketing budget and shifted it to online/digital advertising, using influencers, as the Gulf region has one of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate with one of the most active media user community globally. For all that reasons, the business opportunities for talent management vendors are really high, especially if you deliver a great customer experience to the brand you are serving. The new media consumption has turned digital, and talent management agencies are taking advantage of this, putting forward their best talents to brands in order to get them to endorse major brands while trying to build strong relationships between their talents and the brands, securing more business opportunities for the talents as well as themselves.
Can you tell us more about the most fun and creative project you have been involved in?
Semia Azaiz: I had the chance to work on so many exciting projects throughout my career, abroad as well as in the region, that were highly funded and rather creative, so not sure which one I should tell you about so instead I’d rather just tell you about my most memorable project one in the region, which was the launch of “The Tower” by Emaar.
I choose to talk about this project as it is so to say, my baby project, being my first big and highly successful project in the region, that featured 13 majors influencers while revealing the UAE’s new global icon. This project will always have a special place in my heart. Working for Emaar Group, being of service to Mr. Alabbar, the founder and Chairman of Emaar Properties and working alongside Sonja Neuber, one the most respected Digital Guru in the region has been one of the most fulfilling professional experiences I ever had. I’m so very grateful to the both of them for believing in me and entrusted me with such responsibility.
Finally, from your experience, what are some things influencers and celebs should consider when they are working?
Semia Azaiz: I believe influencers and celebrities should always remember that they are public figures which means that regardless of their liking, they must be careful and always bear in mind that their actions can greatly impact or tear apart a brand, the same way they can positively or negatively impact people’s lives. Also, influencer marketing can sometimes come across as overrated and slightly too commercial when a celebrity or influencer endorse too many different brands.
Additionally, partnering up with a company that has a wrong reputation or endorsing the wrong brand for an influencer can also have a terrible impact on the talent itself as well as on the company. If the talent’s target audience starts to get confused with their idol’s endorsement choices or actions, they will lose trust in them and the celebrity will see his/her credibility damaged, which will certainly result in a consequential loss of followers on social media.
Furthermore, my main take on your question, is that no matter how popular and successful you are, you should always treat people in a nice way and be respectful of others, no matter if you think that a task you’ve being asked to perform is beneath you. You should always stay professional and treat the office boy the same way you treat any other professional peers. Nobody likes to deal with a diva or any celebrities with a bad attitude, because believe me when I say that even though the celebrity in question will keep on getting deals, they’ve still lost many brand endorsement opportunities without knowing it. Reputation is everything, especially in such industry in the region.