Lea Karam graduated from MSc Strategic Marketing in 2018. She now works as Senior Behavioural Consultant & Scientist at Total Media Group where she has been instrumental in launching the behavioural consultancy Behave.
Time at Imperial
My time at Imperial has been an empowering experience on so many levels. I have always been an “aspiring disruptor”; with a particular vision for the Marketing industry.
In class, with knowledge carried and shared by world-leading faculty members, Imperial has, in fact, equipped me with the competitive skill-set, strategic capabilities, and scientific rigour needed to achieve my vision of pioneering and growing the application and implementation of consumer behaviour in the advertising industry today.
Out of class, it has provided me with the most incredible network. it enabled me to work with, and learn from, brilliant individuals in the cohort, who share a similar enthusiasm and hunger for marketing, for propelling change and for leaving a positive footprint in this world. I also made life-long friends during this time; like-minded and supportive friends who are my support system today and vice-versa.
Studying at Imperial has truly shaped me. From the life-long friends I’ve made, the competitive skills I’ve developed, and the scientific knowledge it thought me alongside practical applications, it has shaped me into behavioural scientist and critical thinker I am today.
As a behavioural scientist in the marketing and advertising industry, I work in understanding what really drives people, in other words, the “unsaid”. I do this to help clients in better understanding their audience, their own brand, and the market the operate in a whole and the state of the world.
Humans are very irrational, driven my emotions; and behavioural science enables us to bridge the gap between intention and actual action; by understanding and studying the otherwise “impalpable” factors that are at a play, and meet people where they are. My expertise therefore helps my clients in making better commercial decisions, ones that mirror real pain-points, needs and behaviours and this translates into more robust consumer-brand relationships; taking into account all the complexities and biases that exist among us.
Almost four years ago now, I had the unique opportunity to join Total Media Group, where I’ve helped the Board in launching and developing behavioural consultancy, Behave, from the ground up. This was perfect for me, and my vision of disrupting the advertising industry through the application of advanced consumer behaviour.
I have built our behavioural tech and solutions from scratch, I lead and train up a team of very talented people, and I take immense pride in having successfully disrupted a whole industry and encouraged better, more effective use of data and insights in advertising. The client success we continuously witness also gives me the opportunity to build my career on the back off something tangible and clearly effective; and having pushed through many obstacles and loops to get there, I now have the reputation I have in the industry because I powered through my belief that behavioural science would improve the industry. There is not one agency at the moment that is not looking to develop their Behavioural Science unit!
We solve our clients’ biggest challenges, ones that keep them up at night, and I also take the most pride in building relationships, both within the company, but also with my clients. People work with people, and people buy from people. This way of working is, for sure, one of the reasons I got this far in my career. My clients and their trust; as well as my team and their trust; are elements I really cherish.
What does it mean to you to be featured on the Campaign Media Week 30U30 list?
That’s honestly incredible. It’s a testament of the power that exists in forging your own path, owning your skills, and having the confidence to propel change. The fact that this happens because I disrupted an industry and pioneered behavioural science globally as a field in advertising is still unreal to me. I am originally from Lebanon, where I was born and raised, so my community’s reaction to this has, hands-down, been the most emotional and empowering reaction once could get. The country has struggled for a while, so it is in those moments that we find some hope in the people that represent us. Showing these little young Lebanese kids that anything is possible, anywhere, has been very inspiring.
My plan is to keep people excited and motivated, both within the company, and externally, around behavioural science and the value it provides. Training up people is essential for this, and also working with the right people, those that embrace ambiguity, novelty, and find growth in change. From an external point of view, I plan to keep on with the thought leadership, share projects and experiences, in order to showcase the value of this thinking. From an internal point of view, my plan is to keep growing the consultancy. Essentially, my plan is to remain a disruptor!