Thursday, July 2, 2020

Thinking long term will get us through in Lebanon

Scars mean you survived - Hussein Hajj
(Artwork by Tarek Chemaly)

I shall begin with the old adage: "This too shall pass". Well, I did survive the Lebanese war, several family financial crises as my late father was a government employee which meant at times his salary became peanuts when devaluation occurred in 1988, or when we were three kids at university concurrently or when this or when that. My own life was not a straight arrow either. I jumped ship from a very stable government employee career and a flourishing consulting gig to work in advertising and communication. The practical definition of insanity. I took too many gambles, some paid off and some did not. 
I know telling someone who does not have enough food on the table or money to go to the end of the month to think long term is hypocrite and basically careless. But, believe it or not, this is the only way to get through. Taking the long aim is the only way. And to do that - paradoxically - is to try to make it one day at a time. 
Considering the blog is focused on communication, brands should think the same. It is often said that brands that invest in advertising in downturn will reap the rewards later. But to survive this, perhaps brands should continue to think day to day, cultivating their links to consumers online through social media. Yes, the times are very bleak. Inflation, devaluation, riots, COVID, capital control, haircuts, you name it, it is there in a gigantic perfect storm. Are we paying the price of living above our means as Lebanese? Of course we are. But - step by step, day by day, keeping the idea that we will pull through is the only way to go.
One day we will talk about this in the past tense.
"Scars mean you survived" as Hussein Hajj said. We will survive this. Scarred. But, hopefully, wiser.