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COVID-19: Navigating the Now, Preparing for the Next

Unlike anything experienced in our lifetime, COVID-19 impacts every person, community and organization on Earth. The implications vary from market to market, sector to sector and person to person, and a lot of uncertainty looms. Still, one thing is certain: We’re united in our care for one another, our commitment to progress, and our optimism for the future.

At ASDA’A BCW, we remain people-first and client-centric as we embrace this ‘new normal’. Like many of our clients, we’ve moved swiftly and with agility to work in new ways, and to deliver work that matters more than ever.

This means helping our clients to navigate the NOW and prepare for the NEXT.

Today, our clients are focused on business continuity. We partner to deliver critical communications – internal and external – to support day-to-day operations in this fast-changing landscape.

At the same time, we’re helping our clients to see around the corner and plan for what’s next. When we emerge from this crisis, the world will be forever changed. People will think, feel and behave differently. Companies will shift into recovery mode, which will require not just rebuilding, but in many cases, business transformation. Rich insights, creativity and strategic communications will be essential to move people. And that’s exactly what we do.

For more information or support during this challenging time, please contact: info.asdaa@bcw-global.com

MENA’s $1billion PR industry set to double in value by 2030

  • Evolution of National Champion companies to global brands will catalyse the growth of the PR sector, observes opening panel of PRovoke MENA Summit
  • Region’s senior communicators present insights on the global success achieved by Emirates, Mubadala, ADNOC and Dubai Holding

Dubai, UAE; February 6, 2020: Fuelled by the rapid growth of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s National champion companies, the Public Relations (PR) industry in MENA is set to leapfrog in value to double its current size of $1billion by 2030,  was the key take out from the PRovoke MENA Summit 2020, held in Dubai today.

PRovoke MENA Summit, organised by PRovoke Media (formerly The Holmes Report), is part of a global series of events that explore the innovation, disruption and evolution of the PR industry that is redefining influence and engagement across the globe.

The Summit opened with an insightful session ‘From National Heroes to Global Brands: Why the Middle East has emerged as a PR Powerhouse,’ moderated by Sunil John, Founder of ASDA’A BCW and President, Middle East of BCW. The panel hosted some of the region’s most respected and influential communicators: Boutros Boutros, Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand, Emirates Airline and Group; Umayma Abubakar, Director of Internal Corporate Relations, Mubadala; Omar Zaafrani, Senior Vice President, Group Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, ADNOC; and Huda Buhumaid, Chief Marketing Officer, Dubai Holding. The panelists explored how the regional PR landscape has grown, mirroring the transformation of National Champion companies such as Emirates, Mubadala, ADNOC and Dubai Holding into global brands.

Introducing the panel, Sunil John noted that the dramatic economic, social and political changes witnessed in MENA position the region as a strategic market for all global industries. The region will be at the centre of the world this year, with Expo 2020 Dubai, the G20 Summit meetings in Saudi Arabia, the upcoming World Bank IMF annual meetings in Morocco in 2021, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and other global events set to contribute to the regional PR industry’s continued growth.

“From US$500million a decade ago, the industry has upped its value to more than double that figure today and will further gain traction to double again by 2030. This will be driven by the growth of global brands that emerge from our region, especially from the two largest economies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” said Sunil John.

Highlighting the growth of Emirates, which today has a total communications budget of US$800 million, a team of 250 communications professionals, and working globally with 85 PR agencies, 100 advertising  firms, and 30 digital and events management companies, Boutros Boutros said Public Relations continues to be the “most valuable, effective and affordable communications medium, which will continue to grow in the coming years.” Boutros said the Dubai office of Emirates plays the role of a, “global inhouse hub to manage all the different agencies, with the strategy and policies originating here.”

Umayma Abubakar said successfully communicating the Mubadala story is also a reflection of the vision of UAE’s leadership. “Their goal of economic diversification has positioned the UAE as more than an oil and gas economy. There is a compelling need to tell our story to the world, to show that you have a lot to contribute and add value. In this, it was important to be transparent, and to be perceived as a responsible investor.”

Omar Zaafrani said the responsibility of national brands goes beyond their organisation and must represent a national perspective reflecting the UAE’s national branding and soft power. With a directional focus on making ADNOC, an oil and gas company, ‘cool’, Zaafrani said the challenge is to address the stereotypical stigma that is attributed to oil and gas sector players. “That takes courage, and a deliberate focus on humanising the story to make oil and gas relevant to the community.”

Dubai Holding’s Huda Buhumaid said there are interesting stories from this region and people are interested in knowing ‘how, why and when.’ “We are here ‘For the good of tomorrow’ and we change the landscape of Dubai through our different ventures. With over 400,000 people living in our real estate communities, more than 3 million people staying in our hotels, and with 11 business parks employing 95,000 people, we are promoting Dubai to the world – to the investors, tourists and residents – across various touch points.”

Concluding the session, Sunil John said communicating to a global audience is different from talking to a local audience. “The strategy needs to be truly global, cultural nuances understood with creativity playing a key role, supported by advanced data analysis. But innovative content and story-telling will continue to be at its heart.”

Arab Youth Survey wins Best Campaign in the Middle East at MEPRA Awards 2019

Agency wins 10 awards at leading regional PR Awards event, including 3 golds, 4 silvers, 3 bronzes

ASDA’A BCW’s pioneering thought leadership initiative, the 11th Annual Arab Youth Survey 2019, was named Best Campaign in the Middle East at the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2019, held in Dubai on 20 November, 2019.

Titled “A Call for Reform”, this year’s edition of the Survey also won gold for ‘Best Use of Data and Insights’,and took silver for ‘Best Non-Profit/Humanitarian/Charitable Campaign’. The largest survey of its kind, the Survey has been providing insights into the hopes and aspirations of the Arab world’s most important demographic – its youth, since 2008. In 2019, the Survey addressed topics such as religion, role of government, mental health and drug abuse. This year’s findings have driven dialogue at special Survey events around the world, including at Chatham House in London, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC, and two events conducted by leading Washington DC publication The Hill.

ASDA’A BCW won a total of 10 awards on the night, including three golds, four silvers, and three bronzes, at a gala ceremony and dinner held in Dubai at the Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah. ASDA’A BCW’s work with real estate developer Marjan in promoting the New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island won gold for ‘Best Real Estate or Construction Campaign’ as well as bronze for the ‘Best Travel or Tourism Campaign’.

The Agency’s work with Ford Middle East for its breast cancer awareness campaign “Warriors in Pink 2018: Stories of Courage” won silvers for ‘Best Healthcare Campaign’ and ‘Best Use of Influencers’ and bronze for ‘‘Best Non-Profit/Humanitarian/Charitable Campaign,’ while the campaign for the IPO of Network International won a silver for the category, ‘Best Financial Services Campaign’ and a bronze for ‘Best Use of Traditional Media (Consumer/Trade)’.

Sunil John, Founder of ASDA’A BCW and President, BCW Middle East, said: “We are delighted to be recognised for the work we do for our clients, and for our own thought leadership platform, the annual Arab Youth Survey. To win Best Campaign in the Middle East and be recognised at the MEPRA Awards is always special, as this is the forum in which we are judged by our peers in the region’s public relations industry.”

MEPRA is the Middle East region’s leading body for public relations and communication professionals and students. The MEPRA Awards provides an opportunity to communications specialist across the region to showcase their finest work and be recognised among peers. The 2019 MEPRA Awards saw more than 70 agencies and in-house communications teams compete in 47 categories.

ASDA’A BCW cements position as Middle East’s leading PR firm with second PR Agency of the Year title in 2019

Consultancy celebrates record 29 awards at International Business Awards 2019

Haul includes 7 Gold ‘Stevies’ for work created for UNHCR, Ford, Network International, Arab Youth Survey

ASDA’A BCW has cemented its place as the leading PR consultancy in the region by winning PR Agency of the Year – Middle East and Africa, at the International Business Awards, its second big win in 2019 after being named Middle East Consultancy of the Year at The Holmes Report EMEA Sabres in May.

The agency won a record 29 International Business Awards – known as ‘Stevies’ : 7 Golds, 10 Silvers, and 11 Bronze medals in the PR Category, including a Gold for PR Agency of the Year for Middle East & Africa, and a special ‘Grand Stevie’ for ranking third among the ‘Top 10 Honoured Organizations’ globally.

‘Reaching out to Refugees’, the UNHCR Refugee Zakat Program, won two Gold Stevies, for being the PR Campaign of the Year in the ‘Multicultural’ and ‘Public Service’ categories, along with three Silver Stevies in the ‘Community Engagement’, ‘Global Issues’ and ‘Non-Profit or Charity’ categories.

Ford Middle East’s non-profit campaign ‘Warriors in Pink’, which focused on spreading awareness for breast cancer among Arab women and creating a community which would serve cancer survivors and fighters, won Gold for ‘Public Service’, a Silver in ‘Healthcare’ and two Bronze Stevies for ‘Community Engagement’ and ‘Influencer Management’.

The 11th Annual Arab Youth Survey was awarded a Gold for ‘PR Campaign of the Year focused on Global Issues’ for the 2019 edition, ‘A Call for Reform’. The Agency’s pioneering thought leadership initiative also took home six Silver awards, for ‘Corporate Responsibility’, ‘Events & Observances’, ‘Integration of Traditional and New Media’, ‘Media Relations’, ‘Public Service’ and for ‘Best White Paper or Research Report’.

The landmark campaign conducted for the IPO of Network International took a Gold Stevie for ‘Financial Services & Investor Relations’ and two Bronze medals for ‘Media Relations’ and ‘Corporate Communications’.

Projects by ASDA’A BCW that earned Bronze Stevies include the #LivingWithEczema awareness campaign by Sanofi; the launch of KitKat Ruby at Sole DXB; and Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the night of New Year 2018-2019.

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards programme, with the 2019 edition receiving 4,000 entries from 74 nations.

Sunil John, Founder of ASDA’A BCW & President, BCW Middle East, said: “The record number of wins at the 2019 International Business Awards is a testament to the dedication of our team and continued trust of our esteemed clients. Our teams throughout the region are proud to uphold and raise the bar for excellence with our work for all our clients. We are delighted to have our hard work and persistence be recognized on an international platform.”

The Grand Stevies are awarded based on a points system, with a Gold Stevie win counting for three points, a Silver Stevie win for two points, and a Bronze Stevie win for 1.5 points. ASDA’A BCW was ranked third in the ‘Top 10 Honoured Organizations’ with an impressive total of 59.5 award points.

This year’s International Business Awards ceremony and gala dinner took place at the Andaz Vienna am Belvedere Hotel in Vienna, Austria on Saturday, October 19, 2019.