Mahmoud Hawaili, founder of SPREAD tells us about communication through video in business.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mahmoud Hawaili: Thank you for the question. I’m actually doing all right, even though it’s some different and strange times. At first, it was a significant change compared to the life I used to live before COVID-19, but I guess it’s the same for most people. We’re all getting used to it.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SPREAD.
Mahmoud Hawaili: So I’ve always loved movies and storytelling, and I have watched ALOT of movies. I don’t have the exact number, but I tried to count the top 250 highest-rated movies on IMDB for fun. I counted that I’ve watched 212, and probably a thousand more, which isn’t on that list. But even though I had a great love for movies, I took an utterly other path and studied International Business, which, let’s say, is entirely different from what we do at SPREAD. I have founded SPREAD with my co-founder Daniel, whom I’ve known for a few years. He had previously worked at an advertising agency, which he left to become freelance. So we started talking about it could be fun to create a creative production company together, which we then did after few months. We decided to start SPREAD in march 2019, and it has been going well since. We’ve been fortunate to work with some really interesting and inspiring brands.
How does SPREAD innovate?
Mahmoud Hawaili: The idea behind SPREAD is to try to disrupt the advertising world by creating high-quality commercials for a fair price. We have direct contact with the customer and are cutting the traditional advertising agencies. It differentiates us from the rest of the market, and we work with the most talented freelancers within each element of the film process. We’re passionate about what film and storytelling can do, and that’s what we want to express through all our projects. All our productions and solutions are based on creativity and have a strategic foundation. We believe that a combination of creativity and strategy can solve most problems. That’s how we create value for our customers, and we want to be top of mind when companies think about commercials.
At SPREAD, we’re specialized in producing commercials and animation, which all have the same purpose – to reinforce communication through video and break through the noise. We take brands to a higher level with commercials that’s different and interesting.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Mahmoud Hawaili: It had a significant impact on our finances because all our projects were canceled or moved when Denmark shut down. We were fortunate that we had filmed a few projects just before, and we were about to start the post-production phase. It helped us get through the first phase of the pandemic, and eventually, we could build up our productions again.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Mahmoud Hawaili: Actually, we did not make any different choices regarding our human resources policies since we’re only two full-time employees in SPREAD. We use freelancers for all our projects, and therefore it didn’t affect us.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Mahmoud Hawaili: We’ve always used Pipedrive as our primary CRM system, and we are, of course, started using more ZOOM and Teams for meetings, which we did not use before. We have figured out a solution where we can connect our international customers through online platforms.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Mahmoud Hawaili: As mentioned before, we had some productions just before the shutdown, but afterward, we had many productions that got postponed or canceled. We got a small amount from the government, which helped us in the most challenging months.
Your final thoughts?
Mahmoud Hawaili: The world crisis is continuing, and I believe we’re all looking for a brighter future. What happened has made many companies think more digital, innovative, and creative to survive this crisis and future. It has also given us an even more vital purpose to exist since we help brands reinforce their communication through video and animation.
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