Emirates revamps leadership team for future growth

Emirates Airline has announced a strategic reshuffle of its executive ranks, appointing two deputies to President Tim Clark and promoting 19 senior leaders, as the airline gears up for further expansion, according to reports. The new team, effective March 1st, 2024, features a diverse mix of eight UAE nationals and six women, reflecting Emirates' commitment to inclusivity and regional representation.The two key appointments see current Chief Operations Officer Adel Al Redha and Chief Commercial Officer Adnan Kazim taking on the additional role of Deputy Presidents. Both have been with Emirates for over 30 years, bringing extensive experience and leadership to the new positions."These changes strengthen our executive bench and support our ambitious growth plans for the next 15 years," said Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group. "They mark a significant step towards aligning our business and operations effectively to achieve our ambitious goals."The promotions also recognize the expertise and dedication of long-serving leaders across various departments. Notable appointments include Steve Allen becoming CEO of dnata, Michael Doersam assuming the Chief Financial and Group Services Officer role, and Boutros Boutros heading Marketing, Brand, and Corporate Communications.Overall, the revamped leadership team reflects Emirates' commitment to diversity, experience, and future-oriented growth. With a strong team in place, the airline appears well-positioned to navigate the dynamic aviation landscape and achieve its ambitious expansion plans over the next decade and a half.

Du appoints Jasim Al Awadi as the Chief ICT Officer

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (EITC), has appointed Jasim Al Awadhi to lead its ICT unit as the Chief ICT Officer. He will play an important role in supporting du’s customers on their digital transformation journeys by providing end-to-end solutions and services. Al Awadhi will also be responsible for the development of the right ICT solutions that will enable the UAE and its communities to thrive and prosper in the new digital economy. He will be working closely with the ICT team to drive the telco’s vision of becoming a more purpose-driven, performance-focused and customer centric organisation.Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO at du, said: "We are thrilled to have Jasim Al Awadhi leading our team as our CxO. With his extensive experience in ICT and proven track record of success within du, Jasim brings a wealth of knowledge and strategic vision to the table. His ability to execute major initiatives, drive operational excellence, and forge strong relationships with our valued clients makes him the ideal candidate for this role. We look forward to the impact he will undoubtedly make in driving du's growth and innovation in the UAE’s telecommunications industry."Al Awadhi possesses an extensive background in ICT with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Joining du in 2007, he has demonstrated his leadership capabilities through various senior roles within the company. Prior to assuming his current position as Chief (CxO), Mr. Al Awadhi excelled as the Senior Vice President - Service Operations, overseeing crucial operational functions. Additionally, he successfully led major, strategic projects for some of du’s most prominent clients as Head of Government & Key Accounts Segments, underscoring his strategic acumen and client-focused approach.

Pfizer unveils AI platform Charlie for pharma marketing

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, has unveiled "Charlie," a groundbreaking generative AI platform named after its founder. Charlie aims to streamline content creation, improve marketing effectiveness, and enhance regulatory compliance within the company.Charlie assists in creating, editing, fact-checking, and legally reviewing marketing materials, crucial in the highly regulated pharma industry. Integrating with media analytics, competitor insights, and various platforms, Charlie provides comprehensive marketing insights and actionability. Charlie analyzes data across therapeutic areas to understand customer needs and tailor messaging accordingly. Generating content variations and optimizing ad performance, Charlie promises significant cost savings and efficiency gains. Pfizer ensures data collection and use comply with internal and external regulations, prioritizing accuracy and privacy. Benefits:  • Faster content creation and approval: Charlie can expedite content creation and regulatory review, saving time and resources.   • Increased marketing effectiveness: Personalized content and insights can lead to more targeted and impactful campaigns.   • Improved regulatory compliance: Automated fact-checking and legal review reduce the risk of errors and non-compliance.   • Reduced costs: Efficient content creation and ad optimization can significantly lower marketing expenses. Industry implications:  • Generative AI adoption in pharma: Charlie showcases the potential of AI in transforming pharma marketing, potentially influencing other companies to follow suit.   • Ethical considerations: Ensuring data privacy, avoiding bias, and maintaining brand authenticity are crucial aspects to address in AI-generated marketing.   • Potential for broader applications: The technology behind Charlie could be adapted for other industries beyond pharma. Overall, Pfizer's "Charlie" represents a significant step forward in leveraging AI for marketing within the pharmaceutical industry. Its impact on content creation, regulatory compliance, and marketing effectiveness will be closely watched by the industry and could pave the way for wider adoption of AI in various sectors.

Galadari Automobiles launches first-ever ‘Mazda CX-60 & CX-90’ models in UAE

Galadari Automobiles Co. launched the highly anticipated first-ever MAZDA CX-60 and CX-90 models during the inaugural ceremony of the all-new Mazda Showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, marking a momentous milestone in the 50-year partnership between Galadari Automobiles and Mazda Motor Corporation, Japan. This demonstrates the company’s commitment to excellence as well as successfully meeting customers’ needs, in line with the UAE’s vision to become a leading automotive hub.With meticulous precision, the first-ever Mazda CX-60 and CX-90 models have been built to embody automotive perfection, striking an ideal balance between performance and finesse. Both the CX-60 and CX-90 models are offered with a powerful and responsive 3.3L Inline-6 Turbocharged engine, combined with a 48V mild hybrid system. This combination delivers an output of 284 hp and 450 Nm of torque in the CX-60, as well as a peak output of 345 hp and an impressive 500 Nm of torque in the CX-90. Furthermore, the fuel efficiency of the CX-60 is 15.4 km/L while that of the CX-90 is 14.3 km/L, which in itself is best-in-class. These key specifications distinguish the two models within the automotive landscape in terms of power and efficiency.The all-new state-of-the-art showroom serves as a true reflection of the global brand identity of Mazda, a brand renowned for its sophisticated design and exhilarating performance. The showroom showcases an impressive line-up of the brand’s luxury vehicles with its spacious and minimalistic design. It further exemplifies Galadari Automobiles’ unwavering commitment to providing customers with a seamless and exceptional automotive experience.Mohammed Abdullatif Ibrahim Galadari, Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Galadari Brothers commented: “Galadari Automobiles Co. has played a pivotal role in the success of Galadari Brothers Group, holding a prominent position in the UAE’s automotive industry. With more than five decades of partnership with Mazda, the company has remained committed to consistently making the customer’s experience of owning a car as exciting, enjoyable, and value-added as possible. At Galadari Brothers, we seek to make a substantial contribution to the UAE’s vision and developmental journey. Our overarching objective is to become a key driving force in the country’s technological, economic, sustainable progress, in line with our relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence.”He added: “The inauguration of our all-new Mazda showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road symbolises our unrelenting commitment to excellence in the automotive industry. We are further pleased to launch the first-ever Mazda CX-60 and CX-90, which are the epitome of innovation, performance and style. Beyond presenting a fine selection of Mazda’s revolutionary new models, we have completely redesigned the showroom with state-of-the-art facilities, to enrich customer experiences. We look forward to working together with Mazda Corporation, to continue influencing the automotive industry in the years to come.”The UAE’s top-notch infrastructure and convenient roads offer an ideal environment for car owners to enjoy the vehicles’ luxe features, leading to a rising demand for comfort and opulent features among the population, coupled with a preference for upscale and luxury products. Galadari Automobiles Co. has strategically positioned itself at the forefront of innovation to effectively meet the demands of the UAE automotive market.Axel Dreyer, Chief Executive Officer at Galadari Automotive Group Co. Ltd. stated: “The exclusive launch of the first-ever Mazda CX-60 and CX-90 in UAE, together with the opening of our all-new showroom, exemplifies our commitment to delivering the best possible services and models to the country. We look forward to providing customers with an exceptional driving experience, and setting new standards in the premium vehicle segment, solidifying our position in the automotive industry.”The first-ever Mazda CX-60, positioned as a Sports Utility Vehicle, is a blend of luxury and elegance, with the capacity of 5 passengers, featuring an advanced face recognition technology that identifies the owner/driver of the vehicle and customises the car according to their tastes and preferences. It further entails numerous cutting-edge technologies, which are carefully designed to safeguard drivers and passengers.Furthermore, the first-ever Mazda CX-90 is a powerful three-row family luxury car that demonstrates a seamless blend of innovation and high-quality craftsmanship. Every single detail of the CX-90 model has been designed in unison, starting with the driver’s seat to the other parts of the vehicle. The model has been engineered to provide customers with the most immersive, performance-focused driving ever created in a three-row Mazda SUV, setting forth a front-engine, rear-biased, all-wheel-drive experience. In the UAE, the CX-90 is available in both 6-seater and 8-seater versions.Galadari Automobiles Co. has established itself as a leader in the UAE’s automotive sector for more than 50 years. The company has several showrooms across the UAE, boasting a workforce of over 500 professionals across 14 facilities, who ensure top-notch products and services. As the automotive sector continues to evolve rapidly, the automobile company is well-poised to effectively satisfy the demands and requirements of the market through its best-in-class services and products.

New Balance x Miu Miu drop 530 SL: A fusion of sport and style

The collaboration between New Balance and Miu Miu brings forth a fresh interpretation of the iconic New Balance 530 running shoe, now known as the 530 SL. This collaboration blends the performance-driven ethos of New Balance with the avant-garde fashion sensibilities of Miu Miu.The campaign featuring Peris Adolwi, Julie Hoomans, and Florine Wildeboer captures stolen moments against a backdrop of domesticity, inviting viewers to project their thoughts and dreams onto the serene setting of white walls, blank phone screens, and crumpled white sheets. The mood exudes intimacy, relaxation, and playfulness, echoing through movement, gesture, and attire.Originally launched in 1992 as a performance shoe, the New Balance 530 gained a cult following among sneaker lovers due to its minimal design and premium materials like suede, leather, and mesh. In line with Miu Miu's disruptive spirit, the 530 SL reimagines this classic silhouette with a deconstructed approach, introducing an ultra-flat sole and reinvented proportions while retaining its essence.The 530 SL comes in two versions: one featuring distressed suede in a warm, natural color palette, and the other combining unprocessed suede and mesh in classic black and white. Both versions exude a lived-in, aged aesthetic, offering laces in various materials such as leather and sailing cord for wearers to personalize according to their style preferences.Comfort, character, confidence, and ease are at the forefront of this collaboration, seamlessly blending the heart and history of both brands into a cohesive and stylish offering for sneaker enthusiasts.Campaign credits: Photography: Alessandro Furchino CapriaVideography: Lucca LutzkyStyling: Lotta Volkova

BTC Fashion partners with MarTech innovator WebEngage

BTC Fashion, the retail arm of the Business Trading Company (BTC) and the promoter of brands such as Matalan, Miniso, Superdry and Balabala in GCC and Levant regions, has partnered with MarTech company WebEngage to engage its vast customer base with personalized and exceptional experiences. The integration with WebEngage’s award-winning, patent-pending marketing technologies, which are powered by a customer data platform (CDP) and AI, will help BTC Fashion to understand its customers better and deeper and strike meaningful, personalized and contextualized conversations with them across offline and online channels. BTC Fashion’s robust omnichannel retail presence, including outlets across the region and its successful e-commerce arm bfab, is an ideal opportunity to deploy AI and automation and advance customer-centric retail outcomes. “As one of the largest investment firms in GCC, we represent some of the most inspirational global brands. Our aim is to provide unique and consistent experiences to each shopper whenever and wherever they engage with any of our brands. Partnering with WebEngage, we will be able to understand our customers better and fulfil their needs in a more personalized manner. WebEngage’s proven experience in transforming retention marketing for leading fashion and retail brands in the region is an added advantage,” said Hasit Kakkad, General Manager, BTC Fashion.BTC Fashion will integrate its back office, loyalty platform, data lake, and e-commerce channel with WebEngage’s Retention Operating System. That will help build unified customer profiles. The resulting “customer 360”, powered by deterministic AI, will help BTC Fashion’s marketing teams and product managers of all brands to optimize customer journeys across SMS, mobile, web, digital, paid media, WhatsApp, email, and offline. Based on shopper behaviours, purchases, psychography, and real-time intent, BTC Fashion will deliver personalized omnichannel experiences.  BTC Fashion’s partnership with WebEngage to deliver tailored experiences draws upon the broader consumer sentiment in the regional fashion retail industry. A recent study by Oliver Wyman revealed that GCC consumers’ expectations for tailored experiences are 30% higher than those of their global counterparts. Additionally, 87% of GCC customers are using both online and offline channels to shop. By driving omnichannel personalization, BTC Fashion is hoping to cater to such customers meaningfully and reinforce its position as a leading retailer in GCC and Levant. “We are so honoured to associate with a family group of BTC’s calibre. Since its inception, the group has played an integral role in the region’s socioeconomic transformation. We will deploy our latest innovations in generative AI, seamlessly integrate with all their systems, and empower their marketing teams to build 1:1 customer engagement. Our regional business managed services team will ensure we maximize the value of their customer data, boost marketing impressions, and improve CLTV,” said Hetarth Patel, Vice President - Middle East & Africa and Managing Director - UAE.

Starcom Middle East appoints Amir Antoun as Head of Levant

Starcom Middle East, a leading media agency under Publicis Groupe Middle East, has promoted Amir Antoun as the new Head of Starcom Levant, effective immediately. Having been an integral part of Starcom since 2007, Amir brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role. “Amir has been a phenomenal leader overseeing some of our key accounts in the Levant region. I am proud of the way he has maintained and grown our business. I am certain the team will benefit from the breadth of his expertise and dedication to delivering an outstanding client experience”, said Ramez Zeineddine, CEO, Starcom Middle East. Throughout his professional journey within Starcom, Amir has played a pivotal role in spearheading operations in Iraq and cultivating senior client relationships. He has collaborated with some of the top names in the industry including Asiacell, Samsung, VISA. As a strategic leader, he focuses on aligning products and services with market opportunities, while powering team-building and talent development. Transitioning into his new role as Head of Levant, Amir will now assume additional responsibilities, including overseeing the growth of clients in the region, meeting regional client requirements, and driving operational excellence and efficiency.Commenting on his appointment Amir said “I’m excited to take the helm for Starcom across Levant and I eagerly welcome the chance to guide our team to new heights of success. Returning to where it all started sixteen years ago holds special significance for me, underscoring Starcom’s commitment to fostering a culture of development and recognition. I am determined to channel our passion into achieving greater excellence together.”

Etihad heralds a new era for its loyalty programme

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is relaunching its award-winning Etihad Guest loyalty programme in June 2024, to make life even better for its members. The enriched programme couples rewards for members even more closely to their journeys, reflecting the airline’s desire to thank customers who choose Etihad. It also gives members even greater control over their experiences, enabling them to select different benefits to suit their travelling preferences, and sees the introduction of a new elite Diamond tier to reward the airline’s top flyers.  More rewarding  "We are excited to announce a new era for the Etihad Guest programme with the experience of being a valued member about to reach new heights," said Mark Potter, Managing Director of Etihad Guest.?“The enhancements renew our partnership with our Etihad Guest members around the globe, meaning the more time they invest with us through flying and through our lifestyle partners, the more rewarding and personalised their experiences become, so Guests can journey on their terms, not ours. “Today, we have revised the pricing for our GuestSeats and reduced the miles required for some of our most popular destinations in both Economy and Business classes to provide our members with more rewarding opportunities when booking flights. “Examples of GuestSeat price reductions include: Abu Dhabi to London in Economy Class down to 30,000 EYG Miles and taxes; Milan to Abu Dhabi in Economy Class down to 25,000 miles and taxes; Jeddah to Abu Dhabi in Business Class down to 20,000 miles and taxes; and Abu Dhabi to Istanbul in Economy Class down to 15,000 miles and taxes. “Members will earn the same amount of Tier Miles and Etihad Guest Miles on bookings made from June. Therefore, the higher fare brand they book, the more Tier Miles and Etihad Guest Miles they will earn. So, treating yourself to a little luxury will help you reach higher tiers and unlock exciting extra benefits in no time. “We are also further rewarding our Platinum Tier members, who will now enjoy 100 per cent Bonus Etihad Guest Miles when flying with us or any of our eligible airline partners, to bring their next rewards closer. “And we will be enabling Etihad Guest members to upgrade to The Residence, our luxury three-room suite in the sky, using their miles.”  Personalised privileges  Alongside their Core Benefits, tiered members will be able to select from a range of extra privileges to suit their lifestyle, making Etihad the first airline in the region to offer this flexibility. As they progress up the tiers, so does the range of benefits and options. In addition to their Core Benefits, Guests will be able to select from a range of fantastic Custom Benefits to be unveiled closer to the June launch date. Silver members will get a choice of two Custom benefits, Gold will get four and Platinum five. “And Etihad Guest is delighted to introduce a new elite tier, Diamond, recognising the airline’s top flyers with experiences that truly go beyond,” said Mark Potter. “Diamond and Platinum members will be able to choose their own, personalised membership numbers.” “We are also introducing Beyond Benefits for our Gold and Platinum members as they progress through their tiers. These benefits can be gifted to friends or family, and include rewards such as Silver or Gold tier status or lounge passes for them to relax in style before their flight, as well as Etihad Guest Bonus Miles.”  Making it easier “To move to a higher tier and unlock more benefits, Etihad Guest members will still need to earn a set number of Tier Miles, some of which must now be earned from flying,”?explains Mark. “We’ve simplified the way members reach their new tiers by removing Tier Segments, creating a simpler way for Guests to track their progress to the next level.” All Etihad Guest members will be able to earn and spend their miles on flights with the airline and more than 20 airline partners, which would extend the validity of their Etihad Guest Miles by 18 months. They will continue to collect miles when they fly and also with 150+ partners including restaurants, hotels, car hire and retailers. Etihad Guest Miles can continue to be redeemed for a wide range of rewards whether that be a free flight, a cabin upgrade, a special experience or one of 3,500 products in the Reward Shop.

Phillippa Kennedy joins Brazen MENA as Account Director

Phillippa Kennedy has joined the team at Brazen MENA as an Account Director from L’Oréal UK.In her new role, Phillippa will oversee some of the agency’s key clients, ensuring the excellent results the agency has become synonymous with. In addition, she will spearhead the luxury division, which has grown over the last few years with clients including Atlantis Royal, Signor Sassi and Veuve Clicquot.Phillippa, who has more than a decade in the PR industry, joins Brazen MENA from L’Oréal UK where her most recent work includes the launch of Prada Beauty, brand growth and PR for MUGLER, overseeing all social and press for Viktor & Rolf and previous PR work with Laura Mercier at Shiseido.A luxury brand expert, Phillippa has worked in PR on both global and local scales with companies such as YSL Beauty, Viktor and Rolf, Loewe and Maison Margiela.Alongside PR, her additional expertise is advocacy and influencer analytics, honing-in on social trends across Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, with knowledge on how to best utilise social platforms to enhance results, pivotal in an everchanging media landscape.Louise Jacobson, Managing Partner Brazen MENA comments: “As Brazen MENA strives to lead the GCC's lifestyle PR landscape, securing top-tier team members is paramount. The addition of Phillippa, a standout talent with a rich background in global luxury, fashion, and beauty brands, is a strategic move for us. This marks a pivotal moment as we enter a dynamic and promising phase, where Phillippa's expertise will play a key role in steering Brazen MENA further growth in the region.”Phillippa Kennedy added: “I am thrilled to be part of the leadership team at Brazen MENA to work on some incredible accounts and add value to our exceptional client roster. My commitment to maintaining high standards of work and crafting engaging brand concepts aligns seamlessly with the agency's vision, and I am confident that together, we will drive continued success.”

Cultural convergence: Khalid Al Ameri's content creation odyssey

In the realm of digital content creation, Khalid Al Ameri, an Emirati content creator and YouTuber, stands as a prominent figure, weaving together humour, cultural exploration, and relatable experiences that transcend borders. Over the years, Khalid has amassed a diverse global audience.In a recent interview with Adgully, Khalid Al Ameri delves into the intricacies of content creation, his unique approach to storytelling, highlighting the importance of experiencing its renowned street food and the impact he aspires to make on social media.Khalid opens up about his current visit to Mumbai, expressing eagerness to explore the vibrant city’s energy and, most notably, its diverse culinary landscape. His emphasis on experiencing the essence of Mumbai reflects his broader approach to content creation – finding common threads that connect people worldwide. Khalid shares, “I always look for opportunities to bridge gaps between communities. It is about focusing on the universal aspects of human experiences.”In response to showcasing Mumbai’s unique culture, Khalid shares his intent to explore the city’s renowned Bollywood culture and engage in local experiences. “I expect it to be very energetic. For us, a lot of times when we film, we film during the day, but in Mumbai, we want to experience the city in the evening and showcase various aspects,” he states. From trying a train ride to immersing in the bustling Bollywood hotspots, Khalid aims to capture the diverse essence of Mumbai.Reflecting on his travel experiences, Khalid highlights the significance of understanding and sharing stories from various perspectives. He mentions his phone-free exploration of Iceland. The warm welcome in Kerala during his first trip to India holds a special place, where he felt a profound connection with the Indian community in the UAE.Discussing challenges, Khalid recalls the complexity of producing a documentary in Sri Lanka, where time constraints and the desire to capture the nation’s essence presented hurdles. Overcoming challenges, he notes, requires finding motivation and a deeper purpose. In this case, the overwhelming support from the Sri Lankan people fueled the project, highlighting the power of connecting with a community’s aspirations.Khalid’s content is intentionally crafted to resonate with a diverse audience. Drawing inspiration from global figures like Mr Bean, he focuses on universally relatable situations. “I like to make content that everyone can relate to,” he shares, emphasising the importance of creating shareable content that transcends cultural boundaries.In the grand tapestry of content creation, Khalid strives to leave a lasting impact. “The message that I want to leave is that the world and people’s lives were better because of the work that we did,” he affirms. Khalid’s vision extends beyond entertainment, aiming to contribute positively to the lives of his audience.As we navigate the digital landscape, Khalid’s journey serves as an inspiration, reminding us of the power of storytelling and the potential for global connection through relatable, heartfelt content.Watch full conversation here:<div class="video-container"><iframe src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></div>

Choithrams marks 50 years of goodness, ready for a golden run into the next 50

Community-favourite supermarket brand Choithrams announces the celebration of its golden jubilee anniversary in the UAE.In 2023, Choithrams opened 10 new stores in the UAE, solidifying its position as a leading supermarket chain in the region. Looking ahead, the company, which is currently exhibiting at Gulfood 2024, aims to continue its expansion with the ambitious goal of opening 5-6 stores annually both in the UAE and across the region.Choithrams opened its first outlet in the UAE exactly 50 years ago. The business traces its origin story in West Africa going back 80 years and was founded by Thakurdas Choithram Pagarani. Today, it is a household name in Dubai and a go-to destination for everyday needs.Lekhu Pagarani, the Chairman of Choithrams group and the son of the founder, says his father had a vision of not only growing the business, but also giving back to society. “In 1959, he created his first trust, the Choithrams Remembrance Trust, it set in motion a lifetime of philanthropic work transforming millions of lives. We are cognizant of the fact that none of this can be achieved alone, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve. We thank the leadership of the UAE for the continued support and guidance, we thank our partners, stakeholders and customers for the trust – it gives us strength to continue on our mission of creating meaningful social impact for the next 50 years and beyond.”Choithrams CEO Rajiv Warrier revealed a special edition 50-year logo that will be seen in all Choithrams corporate literature during the anniversary year, “When you have a powerful legacy such as Choithrams’, and when you have an ambitious path ahead thanks to the support of our customers, our partners, and stakeholders, how do you bring it all together in one graphic? We circled back to that one enduring value that continues to move us every day: Goodness. Choithrams’ 50-year infinity logo is the sum of 50 years’ worth of Goodness and care, and we hope it inspires you as much as it motivates us on our golden jubilee year.”The brand offers a truly hybrid shopping experience to customers with more than 50 outlets at strategic locations in the UAE, a robust online presence at, and an optimised mobile-first delivery network to reach customers through Instashop, Talabat, Deliveroo, El Grocer, Noon.Apart from a significant retail footprint in the UAE and the GCC region including Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, Choithrams integrates an impressive global network of distribution channels and manufacturing bases under one roof. Choithrams has built its reputation on the strength of decades-long relationships with leading suppliers and brands, representing category-leaders Rainbow, Mentos, Coca Cola, Quaker, Weetabix, Dabur, Amul, Betty Crocker, Haagen Dazs and many others.On behalf of Al Rais Group Mr. Mohammad Ibrahim Al Rais said, “We have vivid memories of Choithrams from the 1970s. Its outlets on Wasl road and Bur Dubai buzzing with excitement as customers shop for their favourite imported grocery items and fresh produce, always seen first in its stores. Choithrams supermarkets hold an enduring place in the hearts and minds of UAE residents since that time. We cherish our partnership with Choithrams that became part of our family legacy and culture. We wish Choithrams more success stories for years to come.”Choithrams is known for bringing Britain’s Tesco range of products, and Ireland’s SuperValu to the retail stores of UAE. It has now tied up with retail Sainsbury’s products as a preferred partner in the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar.Behind every moment of customer delight in the UAE and the region, there is an efficient system of trade support that Choithrams has grown over the past 50 years into a business advantage for partners, leveraging significant presence across trade channels.Highlighting Choithrams’ manufacturing credentials, Rajiv Warrier said, “Our home-grown brands Goodness Foods and Leone are known for their reassuring quality.’’ Goodness Foods offers more than 500 products, including fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, dry fruits, groceries, and ready-to-eat meals. Leone Tea, blended and produced by an in-house team, makes its way to delight thousands of customers every day across more than 2000 cafeterias.Choithrams’ decades-old Planet 7 Sustainability framework has led to the adoption of technology to sustainability goals while fostering the principle of Goodness. It has helped to create positive social and environmental impact, to reduce waste, to harvest clean energy, and to stand next to communities in vulnerable situations. Interventions to bolster social inclusion and gender parity is already shaping into one of the biggest success stories of the retail sector.Rehana Raj (Operations Head- Retail) says “We are extremely proud of our superwomen team and welcome you to visit our all-women run store in Dubai Marina, a-first-of-its-kind initiative in the UAE. This success story will only get bigger and become a benchmark operating model for the retail industry.”

iCubesWire Appoints Mazen Bahnassy as Assoc. Business Director, MENA Influencers

iCubesWire, a leading global AI & ML Mobile Marketing Platform, has announced the elevation of Mazen Bahnassy to lead Influencer Marketing business across the MENA and GCC regions, focusing on UAE, KSA, Qatar, Egypt. This move aligns with the company’s upcoming expansion plans to strengthen its grip in the region. Mazen has more than 8 years of professional experience across marketing roles. His expertise spans across the marketing industry, including influencer marketing, campaign strategy development and partnerships management. Mazen’s leadership skills and multifaceted experience make him a valuable asset to the leadership team. His earlier tenures and solid ground coverage is marked by long-term client relationships and exceptional campaign management for notable brands.Commenting on the elevation, Sanjeeda Khan, Co-Founder & Chief Growth Officer, MENA region, iCubesWire, states, “With Mazen’s addition, we have created another pillar for the company’s leadership team. His expertise across industries and ability to see marketing endeavours from a wide perspective will prompt our growth plans for influencer marketing in key regions. We are confident that the team will continue to excel under his leadership.” Adding further, Mazen Bahnassy, Associate Business Director, Influencer Marketing, iCubesWire, said, “I am super excited to take on this responsibility of driving the influencer marketing business. With the dynamic team at iCubesWire, I am certain we will continue strengthening our position in the region and drive sustainable growth for the company.”

Gartner Forecasts 295 Million AI PCs and GenAI Smartphones Worldwide by 2024

Worldwide shipments of AI PCs and generative AI (GenAI) smartphones are projected to total 295 million units by the end of 2024, up from 29 million units in 2023, according to a new forecast from Gartner, Inc.Gartner defines AI PCs as PCs that are equipped with dedicated AI accelerators or cores, neural processing units (NPUs), accelerated processing units (APUs) or tensor processing units (TPUs), designed to optimize and accelerate AI tasks on the device. This provides improved performance and efficiency in handling AI and GenAI workloads without relying on external servers or cloud services. GenAI smartphones are designed smartphones equipped with hardware and software capabilities that enable seamless integration and efficient execution of GenAI-driven features and applications on the smartphone. These smartphones are capable of locally running a base or fine-tuned AI model that generates new derived versions of content, strategies, designs and methods. Examples of this include Gemini Nano from Google, ERNIE from Baidu and OpenAI’s GPT-4.“The rapid adoption of on-device GenAI capabilities and AI processors will eventually become a standard requirement for technology vendors,” said Ranjit Atwal, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner. “This ubiquity will pose challenges for vendors in differentiating themselves from competitors, making it harder to create unique selling points and drive increased revenues.”Gartner estimates 240 million GenAI smartphones and 54.5 million AI PCs will be shipped by the end of 2024 (see Figure 1). This will represent 22% of basic and premium smartphones and 22% of all PCs in 2024.The integration of AI into PCs is not expected to drive end-user spending beyond anticipated price increases. Business device buyers will demand compelling reasons to invest. However, it will take time for software providers to harness the power of on-device AI and clearly demonstrate its enhanced benefits.The PC market returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2023 after eight consecutive quarters of decline. Gartner estimates overall PC shipments will total 250.4 million units in 2024, a 3.5% increase from 2023.On-device AI should rejuvenate the marketing of PCs through 2024 and help sustain existing anticipated replacement cycles, negating some of the negative effects of a disruptive socioeconomic environment.Smartphone Market to Return to Growth in 2024Like AI PCs, GenAI smartphones will not bolster smartphone demand until 2027. “The enhancements to smartphones evolve the current experiences with cameras and voice integration, but these capabilities are expected by users rather than demonstrating a new groundbreaking functionality. Users have the same expectation for the functionality of GenAI on their smartphone,” said Atwal. “They are unlikely to pay a premium for GenAI smartphones without the availability of any groundbreaking applications.”The catalyst for transformative shifts in user experience lies in the advancement of smaller versions of large language models (LLMs) specifically tailored for smartphones. This evolution will transform smartphones into even more intuitive companions capable of comprehending and responding to human language and visual cues, which will elevate the overall user experience to new heights.The smartphone market recorded its first quarter of growth in 4Q23 after nine consecutive quarters of decline. In 2024, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to grow 4.2%, totalling 1.2 billion units year over year. “We should not interpret the growth in smartphone shipments as a full-fledged recovery,” said Atwal. “It is more accurate to view it as a stabilization of lower level of units, which are nearly 60 million lower than in 2022.”

ThinkPR celebrates new contract wins and team growth

Leading PR, marketing, and design agency, ThinkPR is celebrating the start of the year with several new client wins and receiving award recognition for its work in the third sector.Marking its 20th year of business, ThinkPR further strengthens its position as an energy-focused marketing agency with client wins including TWMA, Reactive Downhole Tools, Interocean, and Houston-based PipeSense, in addition to a contract extension with Spirit Energy. The PR specialists have also led a series of Aberdeen-based Emergency Response projects and handled the media launch of the recent Helipets initiative with Scottish Charity, Canine Concern Scotland Trust. The ThinkPR team has expanded to 10 with Amy Cassie and Erin Ingram joining at the end of 2023 as Junior Designer and Account Executive respectively. Also contributing to the already impressive year for the company, ThinkPR has been shortlisted as a finalist of the Northern Star Business Awards' Marketing Magic award in recognition of its ongoing marketing support with charity partner, Autism & Neurodiversity North Scotland (A-ND).   The ThinkPR team has provided support for A-ND since last February including strategic marketing campaign support, social media support, and led the process to the charity’s first fundraising dinner, which was such a success that it received a parliamentary motion. Returning for 2024, the ‘Think Different’ dinner has already received sponsorship from Global E&C, Envoy Group, Stork and Serica Energy.Focusing on its specialist marketing support within the energy transition including supporting clients in the CCUS landscape, the marketing and design specialists also launched the inaugural ‘Women in New Energy: W.I.N.E’ event in partnership with industry professionals which is set to take place again in 2024. Commenting on ThinkPR’s success, CEO Annabel Sall, said: “2023 was an incredible year for the team – from supporting long-standing clients with their growth and success, to welcoming new businesses who have started their journey with marketing. Our ‘Think Different’ dinner was a highlight for us, and we are so excited to be recognised for our success by the Chamber of Commerce this year too. “I’m extremely proud of the team, led by Leigh-Ann and I, and the quality of work we continue to provide our clients globally. Our strength lies in our team being able to offer a range of insight and skill sets with marketing services including media relations, brand development and management, crisis comms, website design, and business awards – we become a true extension of our client’s teams. As we celebrate our 20th birthday this year, the new business wins and recognition for our work is a proud moment and chance to reflect all we have achieved.” ThinkPR offers services across the full communications mix, including media liaison, news release and feature writing, design and marketing, digital, website and social media support and emergency response planning and training. Established in 2004, ThinkPR represents a variety of businesses - from SMEs to global organisations industry membership bodies and not-for-profit societies - in the UK and internationally.

Saudi media ministry embraces digital transformation with Google

The Ministry of Media and Google have announced a powerful collaboration to accelerate the digital transformation of Saudi Arabia's media landscape. This collaboration aligns with the Kingdom's vision of 2024 being the "Year of Media Transformation," as declared by Minister of Media Salman Al-Dosary.Key Goals:Empowering media professionals: Specialized programmes will be launched to upskill local journalists, content creators, and media professionals in crucial digital skills.Building digital knowledge: The partnership aims to foster a strong foundation in digital knowledge across the media sector, driving progress towards Vision 2030 goals.Sharing best practices: Google will share its expertise in media-related AI tools and global best practices, enhancing the capabilities of Saudi media organizations.Supporting young talent: Dedicated training programs will nurture young Saudi journalists and media professionals, boosting their innovative and digital skills.Promoting online safety: The "Internet Heroes" program will be expanded, educating children aged 7-12 on online safety practices, reaching 50,000 students across the Kingdom.Enhancing content creation: YouTube will offer training courses on video creation strategies for content creators and news outlets, empowering Saudi content creation.Optimizing media revenue: Collaborations with Upskill Digital will equip media professionals with skills to increase advertising revenues, analyze audience segments, and improve website ranking on Google Search.This collaborative effort marks a significant step towards a more innovative and digitally proficient media landscape in Saudi Arabia. By empowering professionals, promoting online safety, and nurturing young talent, the partnership lays the groundwork for a vibrant future of media in the Kingdom.

After 40 years, APCO sheds 'Worldwide' in bold brand refresh

After 40 years, APCO throws off the "Worldwide" label in a bold brand refresh. Get ready for a future-focused APCO, built on deep connections, creative problem-solving, and a legacy of driving progress through "un/common ground." "This brand refresh signifies our forward-thinking approach," APCO explains, focusing on guiding clients through intricate issues and fostering "un/common ground" to drive progress. The centerpiece of the new identity is the "Uncommon A," a distinctive element within the logo.This symbol embodies APCO's journey. One side reflects its traditional roots, while the other, missing a leg, represents its commitment to adaptability and creative problem-solving.The name change is not just aesthetic. It conveys the agency's belief that its global reach and deep connections speak for themselves. As clients often highlight, APCO has a unique ability to operate as a unified entity with strong international relationships, providing crucial connections for their success."Our 40-year track record, diverse expertise, and integrated approach speak volumes," says Founder and Executive Chairman Margery Kraus. "Our special culture and character, fueled by our incredible people, shape our perspectives and work. I'm proud of our achievements and thrilled that our new brand reflects our heritage, embraces the future, and embodies the legacy we're building."By embracing change and highlighting its core values, APCO positions itself for continued success in navigating the ever-evolving global landscape.

MCN appoints Lizzie Dewhurst as Chief Communications Officer

MCN, a part of IPG, has appointed Lizzie Dewhurst as their new Chief Communications Officer. Dewhurst, formerly the Head of International Communications & PR at Publicis Groupe, will join MCN's leadership team, reporting directly to Ghassan Harfouche, Group CEO MCN MENAT and President McCann Worldgroup APAC.In her new role, Dewhurst will oversee the brand profile, reputation management, and marketing efforts for MCN and its extensive portfolio of agencies. This includes well-known entities such as McCann Worldgroup and IPG Mediabrands, along with several others including FP7McCann, MullenLowe, UM, Magna, Initiative, KINESSO, MRM, McCann Health, Momentum, Craft, Weber Shandwick, Commonwealth//McCann, Jack Morton, Octagon, and Current Global.MCN operates in 11 markets in MENAT and boasts approximately 2,000 employees. Their agency brands offer integrated marketing solutions aimed at fostering enduring brands and driving business growth for their clients.Dewhurst brings a wealth of experience from her tenure at Publicis Groupe, where she played a pivotal role in overseeing international corporate communications, media relations, executive profiles, crisis management, and reputation management. Her contributions were instrumental in Publicis Groupe's recognition, including being named Ad Age’s Holding Company of the Year (2022) and Adweek’s international agency of the year (2021). Notably, her involvement in initiatives such as the launch of Working with Cancer earned accolades like the Health Grand Prix Lion (2023).With a background spanning the US, Europe, and the Middle East, Dewhurst leverages her international experience gained from leadership roles at renowned agencies like Publicis Worldwide, Leo Burnett, and Saatchi + Saatchi. Additionally, she has contributed to global communications teams at TBWA\Worldwide and AKQA. Dewhurst's expertise extends to judging PR categories at industry award shows and serving as a guest lecturer at universities.Ghassan Harfouche expressed his enthusiasm about Dewhurst's appointment, citing her extensive multinational communications experience across agencies, holding companies, and brands. He believes that her addition will bring added value to MCN's agencies and clients, further enhancing their strategic communications efforts.

The Romans appoints Joe Lipscombe as Partner to lead MENA

Joe Lipscombeb has been appointed as a Partner at The Romans, a creative communications agency. Lipscombe's appointment signals The Romans' commitment to expanding its presence and delivering exceptional creative solutions in the dynamic MENA market.Lipscombe brings with him a wealth of experience from his background as a journalist and his tenure as Ogilvy's executive strategy and creative director for PR in MENA.Under Lipscombe's leadership, The Romans aim to continue delivering award-winning creativity to the market, with a renewed focus on growth creation, reputation management, and cultural influence. His track record in spearheading creative success at Ogilvy is highlighted, positioning The Romans as a key player in the region's PR landscape.Joe Mackay-Sinclair, CEO of The Romans, emphasizes the strategic importance of the MENA region to the agency's business and expresses confidence in Lipscombe's ability to match the region's creativity and dynamism. Mackay-Sinclair praises Lipscombe's sharpness and connections within the industry, positioning him as an ideal leader for the agency's expansion in the region.Lipscombe's career highlights include involvement in transformative projects such as Expo 2020 Dubai, the Qatar FIFA World Cup, and various launches and inaugurations across the region. He brings a wealth of experience working with global and local brands, further enhancing The Romans' capabilities in delivering strategic, creative, and media representation services.In his statement, Lipscombe expresses his admiration for The Romans' achievements and aligns the agency's ambition with the transformational pace of the MENA region. He emphasizes the agency's role as a creative growth partner and looks forward to bringing the unique Romans experience to the market, leveraging a blend of regional talent and a global mindset to meet the demands of innovative clients.

Floward unveils new brand identity and becomes a House of Brands

Floward, the go-to online flowers and gifts delivery destination in MENA and the UK, has announced the roll-out of its new brand identity in 2024. The company has undergone a complete transformation, with a new logo, visual identity, packaging, and digital experience with a strategic shift towards becoming a house of brands. It also announced the launch of its global brand platform, “Unwrap your heart”, that aims to uplift everyday expressions and inspire people to build stronger relationships through meaningful gifts and simple acts of kindness. This shift towards becoming a house of brands represents a crucial step towards the company’s vision of becoming the world’s most innovative and reliable destination for all gift-givers. Floward’s new brand identity reflects the company’s commitment to further cementing its position as an elegant, expressive, and creative brand. The wordmark is carefully designed to exude a sense of subtle elegance, celebrating the company’s brand name, and highlighting its unique identity. Furthermore, a custom Arabic font was created, embodying a harmonious fusion of modernity and cultural heritage. This font serves to emphasize the company’s commitment to authenticity and pride in its culture.  The company’s new emblem, made of thin lines and graceful loops, features intricate and symmetrical intertwining ‘F’s that resemble a knot, creating a refined and minimalistic aesthetic reflecting the elegance of the brand. As part of its strategy of shifting into a house of brands, Floward will also be focusing on partnering with local and international brands that champion different categories across various industries by offering exclusive collections for its customers, in addition to investing in its own line of gifts and becoming more stylish. This will not only expand Floward’s products portfolio but also increase its market reach, making it a dominant player in the gifting vertical of e-commerce.  Floward Chairman and CEO Mr. Abdulaziz B. Al Loughani, commented: “We are thrilled to announce our new brand identity and our repositioning as a house of brands. This is a significant step towards our goal of becoming the world’s most innovative and reliable destination for all gift-givers. We are committed to providing our customers with a wide range of high-quality products and services, and becoming a House of Brands is the right step towards that direction. We are also excited to support local brands and contributing to the growth of the e-commerce industry in the MENA.” Established in 2017, Floward is a full-fledged e-commerce solution that offers prime fresh-cut flowers sourced from the best growers and farmers around the world and arranged locally by a team of florists and designers. Floward also offers cakes, chocolate and perfumes curated by the region’s most exciting designers bundled with its flower arrangements and manages last-mile same-day delivery to ensure the best customer experience.

Archie Rudyuk on Takefluence's role in MENA's creator economy

Mitgo Group, a global tech company focused on delivering innovative marketing solutions and promoting entrepreneurship, has recently launched Takefluence, a platform connecting content creators and social media enthusiasts with brands in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.With this launch of Takefluence, Mitgo Group aims to strengthen its position in the MENA influencer marketing industry, which experts estimate at more than $1 billion.In this interview with Adgully Middle East, Archie Rudyuk, Regional Director of Mitgo Group in MENA and Co-founder of Takefluence, discusses the recent launch of Takefluence, aimed at connecting content creators and social media enthusiasts with brands in the MENA region. The platform is designed to facilitate influencer marketing activities in the MENA region, which is estimated to be worth over $1 billion. Rudyuk also highlighted the importance of Takefluence in strengthening Mitgo Group's position in the MENA influencer marketing industry. The platform seeks to tap into the growing market of content creators and social media influencers in the region, providing them with opportunities to collaborate with brands and monetize their online presence.What personal or professional values guide you as the CEO of Takefluence?Working with Takefluence has been an exhilarating journey, fueled by my passion for innovation and dedication to building strong connections between content creators and brands. As CEO, my guiding principles are integrity, creativity, and teamwork. These core values are the heartbeat of our company culture, influencing every decision and strategy, propelling us towards fostering a vibrant ecosystem where both creators and brands can flourish together.Mitgo Group, a global tech company, has announced the launch of Takefluence in the MENA region. How, according to you, will it change the creator economy and social landscape in MENA?The launch of Takefluence in the MENA region marks a significant shift in the creator economy and social landscape. With experts estimating the MENA influencer marketing industry at more than $1 billion, the significance of the content economy in the region is on the rise. This growth is further supported by the announcement of a Dh150 million fund by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.The MENA content economy is expanding rapidly, and with projections indicating a steady rise in creator ad spending, Takefluence's strategic debut aligns perfectly with these trends. We aim to empower creators and forge genuine connections between brands and their audiences, enhancing the region's creator economy.What sets Takefluence apart from other companies in the creator economy space?Takefluence stands out for its innovative approach to collaboration with content creators. Our platform offers unique campaign types based on various actions like conversions, reposting, making a post/story, leaving a product review, and more.Furthermore, it streamlines the entire process for brands — from on-boarding and reporting to payouts offering unparalleled efficiency and effectiveness in social media campaigns. This efficiency, coupled with our collaboration with over 150 brands including Noon, Namshi, and Huawei, positions us to significantly impact the MENA creator economy by enhancing engagement, fostering authentic connections, and boosting brand visibility.How do you envision the future of the creator economy evolving in the MENA, and how is Takefluence adapting to these changes?I see the future of the creator economy in MENA moving towards a more dynamic, collaborative ecosystem that values authenticity and the power of micro and nano influencers. At Takefluence, we're constantly innovating our platform to meet these evolving needs, providing brands and creators with the tools necessary for success. We aim to stay at the forefront of trends and leverage our partnerships to drive impactful engagement and long-term achievements.What can be some of the challenges that you may have to face in MENA, and how will you overcome them?Navigating the MENA market comes with its set of challenges, including cultural nuances, regulatory hurdles, and stiff competition. Our strategy to overcome these obstacles involves building strong local relationships, deeply understanding the cultural landscape, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Innovation and strategic partnerships will also be key in maintaining our competitive edge.Can you discuss a particularly successful campaign orchestrated through Takefluence in the Middle East? What made it successful?One particularly successful campaign orchestrated through Takefluence involved a collaboration between Truegamers and their loyal audience.Truegamers, a leading gaming club in the region, partnered with Takefluence to create an innovative ambassador programme leveraging the influence of their dedicated followers and attracting new participants by rewarding loyalty and invitations. This campaign showcased the power of user-generated content and rewarding audience engagement.Truegamers' ambassador programme encouraged content creators to share an exclusive promo code with their audience, offering 1 hour of free play at Truegamers for every new user sign-up using the code. Additionally, creators earned up to 35 AED for every new gamer joining True Gamers with their exclusive promo code. This incentive-based approach not only attracted new users to Truegamers but also incentivized content creators to actively promote the brand, driving engagement and brand loyalty.True Gamers are going to open 150 new gaming clubs in Saudi Arabia, and we are planning to extend our collaboration there to empower local gaming talent and creators.What advice do you have for brands looking to collaborate with content creators more effectively?Consider leveraging the power of nano and micro creators, whose campaigns have been proven to be up to 4-5 times more effective than those of mega influencers.One effective strategy is to embrace the brand-formance format, which incorporates Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and hybrid campaigns. This approach offers diverse campaign options tailored to your specific goals and objectives, ensuring optimal performance and ROI.Platforms like Takefluence offer streamlined processes for launching campaigns, automating tasks such as onboarding, reporting, and payouts. By leveraging such platforms, brands can save time and resources while ensuring efficient and effective campaigns.What innovations or developments can we expect to see from Takefluence in the Middle East after partnering with Mitgo?Looking ahead, we're excited to expand our brand partnerships, enhance our platform features, and introduce new initiatives to support creators and brands in the region.We've recently launched our Ambassador programme, offering content creators access to special offers. We are committed to driving innovation and fostering meaningful connections between content creators and brands to reshape social commerce in the MENA region.How does Takefluence stay ahead of emerging trends and changes in social media platforms?We keep our finger on the pulse of the industry by closely monitoring trends, engaging with experts, and leveraging data analytics. Valuing feedback from our community of creators and brands allows us to evolve our platform in line with their needs. This proactive approach ensures we stay agile and continue to lead in the creator economy space.

Metropolitan Group Ranks Third in Great Place to Work™ UAE Index

Metropolitan Group, a leading real estate group in the UAE, was recognized as the third Best Workplace™ in 2024 in the Large sized business category by the Great Place to Work, a global authority on workplace culture, at their annual awards ceremony last Thursday.  Metropolitan continues making history as the first and only real estate brokerage to ever make the list. The official index ranks the UAE’s best employers based on the confidential feedback of all employees and an audit of management practices and culture at work.  In 2023, the Group ranked sixth Best Workplace in the UAE moving up four places from 2022. The Group was also recognised as the #1 Best Place to Work for Women in the GCC in 2022 and achieved the Best Workplaces list for millennials in the GCC two years running.  One of the key catalysts for the Group’s success in 2023 was its investment in Human Resources (HR) and the re-structuring of the function to a new People, Performance and Culture Team to prioritize employee needs and foster a high-performance workplace culture. Mike Fleet, Metropolitan Group’s Deputy CEO said: “In 2023, we created a new standalone HR brand to promote internal company culture and drive external brand awareness positioning us as a destination employer for top talent. We designed the new HR operating system to be cross functional, collaborative and flexible. We are shifting from providing basic HR employee services to having a more visible and present offering that provides people insights, enables decision-making and builds capabilities to enable greater business strategy and growth. Our wider HR function is also becoming more data driven which helps us get a better understanding of our employees functional and emotional needs.”  The Group introduced a new HR Business Partner (HRBP) role in 2023 to address employee needs and concerns and strategically align HR with the Group’s business priorities. The HRBPs partner the business to understand and positively influence people, performance and strategic priorities. Through HRBPs, Metropolitan listens to its employees and this month HR launches Metropolitan Minds; a new online facility for all employees to share ideas, give feedback and suggestions for improvements, with the best ideas being rewarded by incentives and prizes.    Nikita Kuznetsov, CEO Metropolitan Group said: “The Metropolitan Group has a clear vision to being recognized as #1 brokerage for real estate services in the UAE and an employer of choice for the real estate community. 2023 was a year of transformation for us as we focused on streamlining business processes, improving employee workflows and operational excellence. These changes boosted productivity, collaboration and enhanced retention as our employees were given management support to become more effective in their roles. We believe that professional workplace positively influences health, wellbeing, employee satisfaction and performance. As we continue to grow, we wanted to provide our employees with optimal working conditions so opened 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art offices in five locations across UAE.”  One of the Group’s most important and successful HR initiatives is the dedicated Sales and Training Academy, designed to increase employee performance and enhance customer experience and satisfaction. Services include comprehensive induction programs for new joiners, system trainings, product knowledge materials/packs, coaching, team building activities and regular assessments for all employees, The Metropolitan family has over 700 employees and 66 nationalities speaking 41 languages. The Group continues to focus on delivering a brilliant client experience; achieving hundreds of five-star Google reviews every year; winning The Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2022 and 2023 and this year the company was awarded the coveted Feefo Platinum Service Award 2024. The Metropolitan Group includes three full-service real estate agencies:?Metropolitan Premium Properties?(Dubai),?Metropolitan Capital Real Estate LLC?(Abu Dhabi) and?Luxury Immobilien GmbH?(Vienna). The Group also includes Metropolitan Consulting FZE, providing personal and business legal services in the UAE. In 2022, the Group established Metropolitan Homes, a one-stop real estate agency providing the full cycle of brokerage services to Dubai's secondary property market sellers and buyers. Also, in the same year, the Group introduced its luxury division - powered by Metropolitan, to cater to the discerning needs of Ultra High-Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) who require a bespoke real estate experience in the UAE.

Sociowash secures Tide Arabia’s digital mandate to revamp the brand’s presence

Sociowash, an integrated advertising agency, has secured the digital mandate for Tide Arabia, the leading laundry detergent brand in the UAE.The agency will be responsible for elevating the brand's digital presence through the formulation and execution of strategic creative approaches.The account was won as Sociowash's successful management of Tide India's account stood as a testament to the agency's capabilities. The quality of work delivered reflects the high standards and expertise that Sociowash consistently brings to its clients. The account will be managed by the agency’s Mumbai team. As part of this strategic partnership, Sociowash will be responsible for increasing the digital share of voice of the brand by executing campaigns that will increase engagement and brand recall. The agency will amplify the brand’s digital presence while resonating with its target audience and help the brand achieve its business objectivesWhen asked about the win, Raghav Bagai, co-founder of Sociowash, said, “Tide is the most prominent name when it comes to laundry detergents, globally. We are elated to have been chosen to manage the digital landscape for Tide Arabia. We are confident that our team's extensive experience and expertise in FMCG brands will help redefine and elevate the brand's digital positioning in the region. Together, we can create an impact that goes beyond what has been achieved before, reaching new locations, setting new benchmarks, and adding genuine value for the brand.”Arushi Sethi, Brand Director, Tide Arabia, said, “With Sociowash, Tide Arabia looks forward to leveraging new technologies and tactical digital strategies; to further cement our position as a leading laundry detergent brand. We are excited to collaborate and craft engaging campaigns, increasing audience engagement and elevating our overall digital presence.”

Dubai Lynx announces the Annahar Media Group as the Advertiser of the Year 2024

Dubai Lynx, MENA’s leading platform for creative excellence and effectiveness, has announced the Annahar Media Group in Lebanon, as the Advertiser of the Year for 2024 today. The Award recognises a brand that has distinguished themselves through innovative marketing and embracing creative work produced by their agencies.The Advertiser of the Year Award will be presented to Annahar Media Group representative Nayla Tueni, CEO, Annahar Media Group at the Dubai Lynx Awards Ceremony, taking place at the Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday 6 March.Speaking about the Award, Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS & Dubai Lynx, said: “The Advertiser of the Year Award recognises creative excellence, demonstrating the business value of creative communications. We are delighted to present this year’s Award to the Annahar Media Group, who are responsible for a body of work that has created significant impact across business and tangible social change. They have truly raised the creative bar for the region.”The Annahar Newspaper, a renowned outlet for upholding freedom of speech and democracy in Lebanon, has taken home the Grand Prix in the Print & Publishing Lions for their bold and courageous campaigns for the past two years consecutively at Cannes Lions and previously in 2019. ‘The Blank Edition’, which took the Grand Prix in 2019, was an entirely blank edition to highlight the Lebanese people’s frustration with political inactivity. After the release of the blank edition, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief encouraged citizens to use it to write their own headlines and send messages to politicians, over social media. 2022 saw ‘The Elections Edition’, by IMPACT BBDO, Dubai win the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in the Print & Publishing Lions, followed by the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix at Dubai Lynx the following year in 2023. The Annahar Newspaper achieved a consecutive second Grand Prix in the Print & Publishing Lions at Cannes Lions for ‘Newspapers inside the newspapers edition’, by IMPACT BBDO, Dubai, in 2023 after taking home the Grand Prix for the Print & Publishing Lynx at Dubai Lynx that same year. The campaign saw a different local newspaper that had ceased to exist in the last two decades in their daily edition, publish the news for one day in celebration of press freedom.Nayla Tueni, CEO, Annahar Media Group, commented: "We are deeply honored to be named 'Advertiser of the Year' at Dubai Lynx. This recognition underscores the relentless dedication of the entire team. Having garnered multiple Grands Prix at both Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions, we take pride in being pioneers, as the first brand to bring a Cannes Lions Grand Prix to the entire Middle East. Beyond accolades, our unwavering commitment to truth remains our guiding principle. This award is a testament not only to our efforts but also to the enduring spirit of the Lebanese people. We share this triumph with them and eagerly anticipate further elevating industry standards.”Ian Fairservice, Vice Chairman, Dubai Lynx, added: “We are delighted to award the Annahar Media Group for 2024 and celebrate their groundbreaking creativity. Their campaigns have challenged the status quo and harnessed creativity as a force for progress for people, business and society. We look forward to honouring them at the Awards Ceremony in March.”The presentation of the 2024 Dubai Lynx Advertiser of the Year Award will take place during the Dubai Lynx Awards Ceremony at the Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday 6 March. For further information on the Festival and Awards Ceremony passes please visit dates:Tuesday 5 March: FestivalWednesday 6 March: Awards Ceremony & Dinner

Aline Santos to leave Unilever after 35 years

Aline Santos Farhat, a key figure in Unilever's marketing and diversity efforts, has announced her departure from the company after 35 years. Serving as both Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Santos held a unique dual role within the FMCG giant.She wrote on her LinkedIn: "I am leaving Unilever at the end of March to embark on a whole new adventure (details of which are unknown even to me!). Am I nervous? Yes! But I am also so ready to embrace the Unknown! For I know that I am so abundantly blessed in so many ways."Santos joined Unilever in 1989 as a marketing trainee and steadily climbed the ranks, taking on positions across various regions including Brazil and Latin America. In 2015, she was appointed Executive Vice President for Global Marketing, showcasing her impressive leadership skills.With Santos' departure, the global marketing team will now report directly to Chief Growth & Marketing Officer Esi Eggleston Bracey, while the global equity, diversity & inclusion team will be integrated into the HR department. Unilever has yet to confirm if they will seek a direct replacement for Santos' multifaceted role.This news arrives amidst a period of change for Unilever. CEO Hein Schumacher recently acknowledged the need for performance improvement, shortly after expressing intentions to move away from forcing a purpose-driven approach onto its brands. Santos' exit adds another layer of evolution to the company's future direction.

Amsaan partners with MOTIONGATE Dubai for a deaf accessible theme park

 Amsaan, a pioneer in accessible IT solutions developed by Gulf People of Determination Information Technologies (GPDIT), has joined forces with MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, the flagship theme park of Dubai Parks and Resorts™ part of Dubai Holding Entertainment, to enhance the theme park experience for Deaf visitors. This partnership highlights a significant leap towards inclusivity in the entertainment industry, with Amsaan leading the charge in making theme park experiences accessible to everyone.Traditional methods of communication, such as printed signs or verbal instructions, are challenging for the local Deaf community and can lead to misunderstandings. This initiative introduces on-demand Emirati sign language for ride descriptions, safety guidelines, and park instructions, allowing local Deaf visitors to easily access essential information by scanning strategically placed QR codes linked to Amsaan's dedicated platform with Emirati sign language videos. Deaf visitors will be able to navigate MOTIONGATE™ Dubai independently and make informed decisions about attractions, enabling a more self-reliant, barrier-free, and enjoyable experience. This project is not static; based on feedback from the Deaf community and park visitors, there will be continuous enhancement of these Deaf-friendly features.Vitalii Mykhalchuk, CEO of AMSAAN, stated: “This partnership is not just about making a theme park accessible; it's about fostering a culture of inclusivity. By combining technological innovation with a commitment to the Deaf community, Amsaan and MOTIONGATE™ Dubai are leading the way in transforming entertainment spaces into truly accessible experiences for everyone, setting a precedent for other industry players. With over 11 million Deaf individuals in the Middle East alone, this step will pave the way for more organisations to embrace inclusivity, creating a world where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully experience any entertainment."The implementation process was a collaborative effort between MOTIONGATE™ Dubai and Amsaan, with local Emirati Deaf employees playing a crucial role in translating the text into Emirati Sign Language. Additionally, a quality assurance process was implemented to review and verify the accuracy and relevance of the interpretations videos before generating the QR codes. Though there were complexities, Amsaan guided and trained the MOTIONGATE™ Dubai team to foster a mutual understanding of sign language nuances optimising their accessibility and effectiveness.Al Anood Al Hashemi, Vice President - Organizational Culture and Impact, Dubai Holding Entertainment, commented: "The collaboration between MOTIONGATE™ Dubai part of Dubai Holding Entertainment, one of the largest diversified entertainment groups in the region, and AMSAAN with this initiative, marks a significant leap towards inclusivity. By providing QR codes on the signboards of our theme park into sign language videos, we're bridging worlds, making communication effortless for the deaf community. This initiative showcases the power of technology and is a step toward a more inclusive world”.This collaboration showcases Amsaan's capabilities in innovative QR code integration and highlights its role as a leader in promoting inclusivity in the entertainment industry. The success of this initiative will be measured through user engagement, increased visitation by local Deaf visitors, heightened accessibility awareness, and the utilization of accessibility features.Looking ahead, Amsaan and Dubai Holding Entertainment plan to expand the QR code system and upgrading the accessibility of further destinations including LEGOLAND Dubai Resort.Amsaan is committed to transforming tourism as it recognises that overlooking accessible tourism has led to a staggering loss of US$150 billion globally. By making numerous facilities Deaf-friendly, the company is fostering a safer, barrier-free communication infrastructure, benefiting both the business ecosystem and Deaf travellers while syncing with the UAE government’s Dubai Team for Accessible Travel and Tourism.

Eywa & Flick Join Forces for Luxury Kiosk at Dubai's DWC VIP Terminal

Eywa, a real estate project focusing on sustainable living, has announced a partnership with Flick Advertising. This collaboration marks a significant move in targeting high-profile clients in luxury settings.By setting up a direct sales kiosk at Dubai's DWC VIP Terminal for private jets, Eywa aims to leverage Flick Advertising's extensive media assets to reach VVIP travelers effectively. This strategic collaboration underscores Eywa's commitment to sustainable living and luxury lifestyle, aligning with its motto of "In 5 Dimensions With 7 Senses," as highlighted by CEO Alex Zagrebelny.With over 54,000 VVIP travelers annually passing through DWC VIP Terminal, Flick Advertising's dominance of media assets in the terminal provides a prime opportunity to engage with this affluent demographic. The targeted advertising strategy ensures precision and minimizes waste, essential for effectively reaching a market characterized by high purchasing power.The strategic partnership between Flick Advertising and Eywa marks the convergence of innovation and creativity in the realms of marketing and real estate. Flick Advertising, known for its cutting-edge and dynamic promotional strategies, joins forces with Eywa, a pioneering force in the real estate industry. This collaboration promises to revolutionize the way properties are showcased and marketed. By integrating Flick's expertise in digital advertising and Eywa's commitment to architectural excellence, the partnership aims to create compelling narratives that bring real estate projects to life.Furthermore, Flick Advertising's expansion plans beyond Dubai to locations such as Abu Dhabi, London, Paris, Oman, and Morocco demonstrate the scalability and potential global impact of this partnership. This expansion indicates a broader reach for Eywa's message of sustainable living and luxury lifestyle, positioning the company as a leader in the niche market of high-end real estate development.

FedEx Invests AED 1.3 Billion in New State-of-the-Art Air & Ground Regional Hub

FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, is expanding its footprint in the Middle East with its new Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa (MEISA) state-of-the-art hub at Dubai World Central (DWC) Airport in Dubai South. The facility was officially inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, along with Raj Subramaniam, FedEx Corporation President and CEO, HE Khalifa Al Zafin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South, Richard W. Smith, FedEx Express President and CEO, Airline and International, and Kami Viswanathan, FedEx Express MEISA President.The launch of the hub marks a long-term investment of more than USD 350 million (approximately AED 1.3 billion) into the UAE’s economy through infrastructure and technological advancements in the facility. This investment reaffirms the company’s commitment to the UAE’s economic growth, in line with the ‘National Agenda for Non-oil Export Development’, which aims to increase the nation’s foreign trade.In his comments, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “The inauguration of the FedEx MEISA hub in Dubai South is a strategic milestone for Dubai’s aviation and logistics sectors, consolidating the emirate’s robust infrastructure, strategic location, and our ongoing efforts to enhance global connectivity. As we continue to strengthen Dubai's position as a leading business hub, this new facility underscores our commitment to supporting the growth of trade and commerce, aligning perfectly with our vision for economic diversification and innovation-led development.”“The establishment of our new hub in the UAE is a strategic move that significantly boosts our presence and capabilities in the MEISA region. This investment is not just about expanding our network; it's about enhancing the region's connectivity and playing a key role in facilitating trade and commerce across the world,” said Richard W. Smith, FedEx Express President and Chief Executive Officer, Airline and International. “Given the UAE's current status among the top five countries in global re-export operations , our regional hub not only aims to serve the MEISA region, which accounts for approximately 45% of the world’s population, but is also a crucial part of our global air network that connects 220 countries and territories.”“At Dubai South, our mandate is to support the government’s economic diversification efforts through the different services and solutions that we provide to local and international companies, complemented by our state-of-the-art infrastructure. We are delighted to welcome the new FedEx facility, which will serve as a regional hub contributing to the growth of the emirate’s top sectors, aviation and logistics, while catalyzing its role in the wider development of an economy centered on innovation and technology,” said HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South.“The new FedEx hub marks a pivotal stride in our growth strategy to build a more flexible, efficient, and smart network, to deliver outstanding services that fit our customers’ needs. Harnessing cutting-edge technology, our hub at DWC in Dubai South exemplifies our commitment to transforming our operations through automation and building a smarter and more sustainable logistics network,” said Kami Viswanathan, President of FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa.The 57,000 sq. m facility incorporates advanced technologies that includes automated sort systems that enhance the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of package processing and distribution from the facility. The hub also boasts two automated high-speed x-ray machines equipped with artificial intelligence, to efficiently scan goods and enhance security. Additionally, a 170 sq. m cold storage area caters to a wide range of temperature-sensitive shipments.The new FedEx hub is also a testament to the company’s commitment to sustainability and our goal of achieving carbon-neutral operations by 2040. The facility adheres to Dubai Municipality Green Standards, featuring a solar power project, and a building management system that helps ensure efficient energy use. In addition, FedEx is leveraging electric ground service fleet along with electric charging stations for pick-up, delivery, and employee vehicles.Situated in DWC, at the heart of Dubai South, the hub forms an integral component of the region's aviation and logistics ecosystem. This strategic location is further enhanced by a comprehensive multi-modal transportation network, seamlessly connecting air, land, and sea.

Liminal Custody to offer GDPR-compliant wallet infrastructure

Liminal Custody Solutions (Liminal), the fastest-growing digital asset custody and wallet infrastructure provider in the APAC and MENA region, today announced a major milestone: achieving General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. This accomplishment underscores the company's unwavering commitment to data security and user privacy, setting a new standard for trust and transparency in the rapidly evolving digital asset ecosystem. Achieving this standard with an unqualified opinion serves as third-party industry validation that Liminal (First Answer Pte Ltd) provides enterprise-level security for customer’s data secured in Liminal’s System.A Commitment to Responsible Data Practices:Dhruvil Shah, SVP of Technology at Liminal said, “Liminal's GDPR compliance is not just a legal obligation, but a reflection of our core values. We recognize the sensitive nature of user data and are committed to upholding the highest standards of data protection. This commitment is further substantiated by Prescient Assurance LLC, confirming our adherence to established data security and privacy practices.”Introducing GDPR-Aligned Wallet Infrastructure:Liminal is a CCSS Level 3, SOC Type 2 and ISO 27001 & 27701 certified organisation. Taking user privacy a step further, Liminal is now proud to offer GDPR-aligned wallet infrastructure. This means users can enjoy the added protection of personal and financial data under stringent and established regulatory practices. Our GDPR-aligned wallets incorporate features such as:?   Enhanced data control: Users have complete control over their personal data.?   Transparency by design: Clear and concise information is provided on how data is collected, used, and stored.?   Robust security measures: Industry-leading security protocols and technologies safeguarding user data.Significance of GDPR Compliance and Aligned Infrastructure:The digital asset industry is characterised by rapid innovation and evolving regulations. Achieving GDPR compliance and offering GDPR-compliant wallets establishes Liminal as a trusted provider, particularly for institutions and individuals seeking a secure and compliant environment for their digital assets. This milestone solidifies Liminal's position as a leader in fostering trust and transparency within the industry.Liminal remains committed to upholding the highest standards of data security and privacy. The company will continue to invest in compliance efforts and adapt its practices to evolving regulations, ensuring a secure and trustworthy environment for its users.

Thmanyah and Al-Thaqafeyah sign agreement to broadcast documentary productions

 In a significant step towards broadening access to Arab cultural and documentary content, Thmanyah has signed an agreement with Al-Thaqafeyah to broadcast and distribute its documentary production on the Al-Thaqafeyah broadcast channel and Shahid platform.Under the agreement, Al-Thaqafeyah, a new Saudi cultural channel launched by MBC group in the last quarter of 2023, will broadcast selected documentaries produced by Thmanyah. "Tha Qal," Thmanyah’s latest documentary production, which means “he said” in the Saudi dialect, will be the first broadcast under this agreement. The series, presented by Saudi content creator Khaled Oun, one of the most prominent literary critics interested in poetry, documents the history of popular and eloquence of Arabic poetry in a unique narrative and visual style. Consisting of ten episodes, the first episode will be broadcast to commemorate the founding day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 22nd. The remaining episodes will air during the holy month of Ramadan and will be available simultaneously on Al-Thaqafeyah, Shahid, and Thmanyah’s digital platforms. Abdulrahman Abumalih, founder and CEO of Thmanyah, commented on the agreement, saying: “One of Thmanyah’s key pillars is to present to the world our stories and culture in an authentic and fresh perspective. This cooperation will help us reach a new audience and develop the documentary content produced by our team.”Additionally, Malik Al-Ruqi, director of Al-Thaqafeyah, stated: “The mission of the channel is to support cultural production in Saudi Arabia and spread Saudi culture to the whole world through Saudi voices. This partnership with Thmanyah is an important milestone in achieving this goal.”Thmanyah is the largest Arabic podcast network in the Middle East and North Africa region, in addition to being the largest producer of documentaries in the Arabic language in Saudi Arabia, with more than 250 diverse documentary titles with hundreds of millions of views.

Stc Group extends multi-year partnership with Formula 1

stc Group, engine of digital transformation, and Formula 1®, have today announced a multi-year extension of their strategic partnership, which is set to take the FORMULA 1® STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX into a new era of innovation.The agreement will see the Group continue as the title sponsor for the FORMULA 1® STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX, and transform the race experience with high-speed connectivity through its fifth-generation networks. stc Group is ushering in the technology of the future at the FORMULA 1® STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX,, with fixed mobile 5G communication towers and 5G internet speeds of up to 1.5 gigabytes per second. These cutting-edge digital offerings will connect racers, teams and fans under the theme “limitless drive”. Olayan Alwetaid, stc Group CEO, commented, “The extension of our strategic partnership with Formula 1 will take the FORMULA 1® STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX into the future. We look forward to continuing to provide seamless, world-class connectivity at the race this year under the theme “limitless drive”, and we are proud of our support for Formula 1 over the last three years. With our suite of innovative products and solutions, stc Group is driving digital transformation across different sectors. The extension of this partnership reinforces our commitment to delivering world-class connectivity at major events and ultimately connecting the world through technology.”Stefano Domenicali, CEO Formula 1, said, “Formula 1 fans at the race weekend in Jeddah can expect high speeds on the track and fantastic fan experience off it. As we continue to grow our sport around the world, the support of high quality technology partners is invaluable, so we are delighted to extend our relationship with stc.”

Dutch investment pioneer launches Sharia-compliant digital asset fund

Netherlands-based investment firm, The Growth Capital, has partnered with Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) as its Sharia advisor to oversee its investment activities in digital assets, particularly cryptocurrencies, through the TGC Trading Fund.Established with the aim of providing faith-centered investors the opportunity to invest in digital assets, The Growth Capital views digital assets as catalysts for revolutionary changes in global finances. Omid Rahimi, CEO, emphasized the company's commitment to leveraging its full licensing in the Netherlands to bring about positive transformations in the financial investment community. Obtaining Sharia compliance certification is a significant milestone for The Growth Capital, enabling the company to offer the Muslim community exposure to digital assets with regulatory adherence and Sharia assurance.In the Netherlands, cryptocurrency transactions are permitted, and there are minimal barriers for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) entering the market. The Growth Capital has proactively established a fund dedicated to investing solely in Sharia-compliant cryptocurrencies, employing a long-term appreciation strategy. Omid Rahimi highlighted the collaboration with SRB, citing their extensive experience working with asset managers, blockchain, and fintech companies as a strategic move to focus on private Islamic investors and provide them exposure to Sharia-compliant digital assets.SRB, renowned for its end-to-end Sharia advisory solutions, offers centralized services for Sharia supervision, functionality, and swift product certification. This approach not only streamlines the process for global Islamic financial establishments and fintech startups but also reduces overheads associated with Sharia scholarly tasks. Yasser S. Dahlawi, Founder and CEO of SRB, acknowledged the growing trend in the investment community towards alternative investments in the digitized asset class, emphasizing how SRB's Sharia assessment of the assets, controls and audit services align with the unique nature of non-traditional products. Dahlawi concluded by expressing how their collaboration with The Growth Capital supports the firm in maintaining focus on critical investment functions while ensuring ongoing Sharia compliance.

Saudi Arabia, UAE lead the way in B2B influencer marketing: Ogilvy

The Middle East and North Africa region has embraced Business-to-Business (B2B) influencer marketing faster than global markets, and there is vast potential to tap this channel for impactful stakeholder engagement.This is a top finding of the first-of-its-kind study on B2B Influencer Marketing by Ogilvy, which covered 550 senior decision-makers across 11 global markets, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, representing diverse business sectors including retail, FMCG, legal, construction, technology and others.What is B2B Influencer Marketing?Unlike B2C influencer marketing, B2B Influencers comprise subject matter experts, influential individuals and key industry leaders, who create content that has a positive impact on the brand perception and purchase decisions of customers. Significantly, they also contribute to fostering an informed understanding of the business landscape, dispel misconceptions about the market, and help drive investor interest and boost market sentiment – all benefiting businesses in the long run.Saudi Arabia and UAE lead the wayThe Ogilvy study finds that Saudi Arabia ranks first globally in terms of interest and appetite for B2B Influencer marketing, with 100% of surveyed businesses utilizing some form of B2B Influence in their communications and marketing strategies. The UAE follows closely behind at 96% while the global average in B2B Influencer adoption is 75%. The two high-growth markets are also pioneers in tapping into the power of Influence, paving the way for neighbouring markets to follow suit.There is increased appetite for B2B influencer marketing with 93% of all respondents saying they plan to increase use. More than a third (67%) said B2B influencer campaigns have more impact on their marketing performance than brand-only marketing. Pertinently, 90 per cent said B2B influencers are an important source of staying up to date with their industry with more than half (57%) citing them as their main source of information. Building authentic share of voiceAshraf Shakah, MENA PR President, Memac Ogilvy, said: “With 75 per cent of the workforce to be digital natives by 2025, it is important for businesses to understand and navigate emerging marketing trends, with B2B Influencer Marketing emerging as one of the most important and yet most untapped opportunity in the MENA region. Our study offers unique insight on how businesses can deploy a robust B2B influence strategy with three key elements at its core – choosing talent wisely, building long-term relationships, and promoting two-way engagement – to build an authentic share of voice.“As the region continues to evolve across all fronts with GCC economies witnessing an unprecedented era of economic diversification and fast-paced growth, the influencer strategy of businesses will undoubtedly help transform their narratives, and set new benchmarks for authenticity, engagement, and impact. This is only the start of the B2B influencer journey globally, and the MENA region is poised to inspire and lead, carving a unique path in the global realm of influence.”Fostering two-way communicationIn other findings, 72% of Saudi businesses said they utilise B2B influence to dispel misconceptions about market health, while 50% believes it fosters two-way communication channels for addressing stakeholder concerns. Moreover, 54% of the Saudi market experts surveyed sees B2B influence as an ideal pathway to build partnership opportunities. The same sentiment holds true among UAE respondents too.This is particularly relevant to the MENA region, where the influencer ecosystem thrives on lasting connections, with influencers evolving into trusted advisors who contribute to strategic decisions and marketing initiatives. Commenting on the findings, Saad Abdullah, GM, Marketing, Al-Futtaim Toyota and Lexus, UAE, said: "Our responsibility as brands is to ensure that we leverage the right voices capable of impacting and delivering results as well as shaping the future of influence."Navigating cultural sensitivitiesThe MENA’s rich cultural fabric brings both opportunities and challenges. Brands must navigate cultural sensitivities, language complexities, and differing customs to ensure their messaging resonates authentically. Successful influencers demonstrate a keen ability to blend their personal brand with cultural expectations, fostering deeper connections with their audiences. The study also underlines that brands aiming to penetrate specific sectors recognize the power of collaborating with influencers who have a deep understanding of those sectors.Catalysts for socio-economic transformationB2B influencers in the Middle East are also assuming roles as catalysts for change. They leverage their platforms to highlight pressing issues, driving meaningful conversations, and inspiring action. The utilisation of influencers by governments to support initiatives such as Saudi Vision 2030 demonstrates the potential of influencer partnerships to drive not only business objectives but also accelerate societal transformation.The study was conducted in partnership with Opinium Research, a global research firm; LinkedIn, the largest professional social network; and Onalytica, a B2B influencer marketing platform. The findings are available on Ogilvy’s Red Paper, ‘Influencing Business: The Global Rise of B2B Influencer Marketing’, which provides a wealth of data on shaping and executing a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy. The report includes case studies and commentary from marketers representing brands such as Al-Futtaim, Dell, EY, and Nokia, among others.The new study follows the launch of an industry-leading Business Influence capability designed to unlock the power of influence through social channels by Ogilvy in 2022. Visit for case studies on how Ogilvy is leading the dialogue on impactful communications in the digital age.

Six Egyptian startups and one from Middle East shortlisted for Underdog award

inDrive, a global mobility and urban services platform, announces reach six Egyptian startups from different tech sectors to the shortlisted of underdog award after launching the 1st edition last september to support successful technology startups that are thriving despite facing challenges such as limited resources, a lack of access to funding, and an inability to attend important industry events, due to their location.Ekaterina Smirnova, Head of The Underdog Tech Award commented: “The Underdog Tech Award is a business award for the ‘underdogs’ of the tech startup world, which is what inDrive once was. All too often we hear about companies from the same global capital hubs and their founders, who have graduated from the same Ivy League universities. With this award we want to support companies from other regions and empower founders, who might not have graduated from Harvard, to believe in themselves and to know that they too can change the world. Together we are building a more diverse and inclusive world, which takes into account the interests of many different communities and people, including those living in some of the world’s most remote places.”The Underdog Tech Award recognizes winners with cash prizes of $30,000, $20,000, and $10,000 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places respectively, as well as other assistance, including training from industry experts and PR support. The winners of the 2024 Underdog Tech Award will be announced on April 1st, 2024 at panel of judges will include prominent tech entrepreneurs, members of academia and industry experts. Members of the jury include Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Corporate Operations at Wasoko; Sean Kim, President and Chief Product Officer at Kajabi; Charles Eesley, Associate Professor and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University; Daniel Gándara, Vice President at MercadoLibre; Damla Buyuktaskin, Senior Regional Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Officer for Asia Pacific Countries in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and Arsen Tomsky, Founder and CEO of inDrive.The Underdog Tech Award 2024 shortlistOmar Ahmed Abdelwahed and Ibrahim Karim Eid from Egypt: Co-founders, and CEO and COO respectively, of Valify Solutions, an Egypt-based RegTech company specializing in digital identity infrastructure technology. Currently the market leader in Egypt, Valify offers its services to financial institutions, telecos, e-commerce platforms, as well as companies in many other industry sectors.Mostafa Dawoud from Egypt: Co-founder and CEO of Dentolize, a fully-customisable dental practice management solution that scales with clients’ needs and enables dentists to streamline their financial, clinical, and operational processes. Dentolize can also be used for managing patients, employees, other associates including insurance companies and suppliers, inventory and much more, without the need for additional software.Ashraf Bacheet from Egypt: Co-founder and CEO of O7 Therapy, a startup revolutionizing access to mental health services through its digital platform and mobile app. O7 Therapy offers online therapy, corporate wellness programs, and psycho-educational resources, empowering Arabic-speaking people by building the Middle East’s largest mental health institution.Akhlad Mohamed Alabhar from Egypt: Founder and CEO of Egrobots, an agritech platform that enables farmers to produce more with fewer resources. Through data and analytics, their solution improves farm sustainability, reduces costs, and addresses food security challenges. Egrobots minimizes resource wastage, optimizes water and pesticide usage, and reduces chemical runoff.Mohamed Tarek Mohamed Abdelzaher from Egypt: Co-founder of P-vita, an innovative startup recycling agricultural waste to produce raw material for the cosmetics and food industry.Abdelrahman Rashwan from Egypt: Founder and Head of Product at Credify, a startup empowering digital lenders with alternative data insights, optimizing creditworthiness assessments at the point of application and driving hyper-personalized marketing post-onboarding.Basima Abdulrahman from Iraq: Founder and CEO of KESK, a startup building the first green energy platform in Iraq. KESK synergizes solar power and cloud computing technologies to build alternative energy projects and generate new revenues.[1] Victor Juarez from Guatemala: Founder of TuConsejeria, a startup focused on providing comprehensive psychological and mental health support to the Hispanic community, specifically women and young people, tackling issues such as socialization, family, citizenship training, sexual education, prevention of violence (bullying), gender equality, and education, and helping users to open up about their mental health issues.Elmira Safarova from Chile: Founder and CEO of Rarus Health, a digital ecosystem that helps to improve diagnostics, assist the families of children with rare genetic diseases and generate data to accelerate the development of drug and gene therapies.Carlos Andrés García Iguarán from Colombia: Co-founder of Numera, a platform enabling companies to automate their accounting processes, simplifying everyday tasks such as sending and receiving invoices, settling taxes and payroll, and generating timely and reliable managerial reports from centralized data.Amos Muthoni Kimani, from Kenya: Co-founder and CEO of TausiApp, an application providing on-demand beauty services to customers that don’t have time to go to a salon or spa. With TausiApp, beauticians carry out treatments wherever suits the customer best, whether that be at home, work, or elsewhere.Roikhanatun Nafi'ah from Indonesia: Founder and CEO of Crustea, a startup leveraging eco-friendly aeration technology with smart IoT to support advanced aquaculture ecosystems, helping increase pond farmers’ productivity and reduce operational costs.Chandramouli Samatham from India: Founder of Caare, a company on a mission to make basic healthcare accessible to rural and senior communities by offering a full spectrum of healthcare services via its online platform.Royford Mutegi from Kenya: Co-founder and Head of Programs at Vermi-Farm Initiative, which provides smallholder farmers with sustainable and innovative agri-tech solutions to help increase crop yields and reduce water usage, while creating routes to market for surplus produce.Sadman Sadek from Bangladesh: Founder of Digital Innovation for Impact, a startup empowering smallholder farmers by providing them with valuable meteorological, agricultural, and technological insights to help them mitigate their exposure to climate risks.Julian Garcia from Argentina: Co-founder of Wiolit, a startup on a mission to reduce food waste from institutional canteens by providing companies with a platform through which they can monitor their food consumption and adjust production accordingly to help meet CSR objectives.Biplab Karki from USA: Founder and CEO of Hyperce, a startup providing innovative and personalized e-commerce solutions to businesses of all sizes, with a goal to address the challenges of traditional e-commerce technology by offering scalable, cost-effective, and highly customizable modern suite solutions that are easy to manage.Felipe Castañeda from Chile: CEO and Founder of GLIBER, a fintech providing financial services to gig economy workers, helping them to better reach their financial goals while enabling employers to reduce employee turnover.Constantine Fedosev, based in the USA: Co-founder and CEO of Visionary, an energy storage plus cloud service for power grid companies that operate low-voltage distribution power grids. Visionary’s solution helps companies to reduce their capital and operational expenses by as much as 2-7 times, increasing the effectiveness of local renewables by up to 8 times and helping to manage distributed energy assets.Saúl Paniagua-Lapenta from Bolivia: Co-founder and CCO of VAKA, a platform connecting farmers with investors, helping investors more easily finance agricultural projects and farmers to boost production capacity through access to increased funding and technical advice.

Presight enters strategic partnership with UAE Team Emirates

Presight, the region’s leader in big data analytics powered by AI, has announced a strategic partnership with UAE Team Emirates during the UAE Tour, solidifying its commitment to supporting and driving sporting excellence in the UAE and on a global scale.Ratified at a signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi between Mauro Gianetti CEO of UAE Team Emirates, and Thomas Pramotedham, CEO of Presight on 20th February, the partnership forges a collaboration to further enhance UAE Team Emirates' top-tier status and build on last year’s record-breaking season across the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) calendar of events in 2024.Presight will work closely with UAE Team Emirates using Generative AI big data analytics to help enhance athlete performance, training methodologies and strategic decision-making throughout the season, which will also see a number of events and activations of the sponsorship around the world.Presight is also the stage 2 sponsor of the 6th edition of the UAE Tour which starts on Monday, 19th February and concludes with a summit finish at Jebel Hafeet on Sunday, 25th February.Thomas Pramotedham, CEO of Presight, said: "We recognize the vital role that big data plays in driving performance in professional cycling, and this partnership provides a platform to support the team and the wider ambitions of the UAE by leveraging cutting-edge analytics powered by Generative AI.Mauro Gianetti, Team Principal and CEO of UAE Team Emirates, added: "Presight's expertise in big data analytics powered by AI aligns perfectly with our commitment to innovation and enhancing performance. Together, we aim to retain our position as the number one cycling team in the world and take our success to even greater heights in 2024."

Abdul Aziz charts Cyber Cultr Media's course in the UAE's digital landscape

In this interview with Adgully Middle East, Abdul Aziz, the Founder and CEO of Cyber Cultr Media FZE - LLC, outlines the company's strategic direction in the UAE's digital landscape. Emphasizing a holistic approach, Cyber Cultr aims to expand its services, establish specialized verticals, and maintain competitiveness through white-label programmes and all-inclusive packages. The company's market positioning leverages a unique methodology, "The Trifecta," focusing on platform, audience, and content. Cyber Cultr stays ahead through continuous innovation, leveraging technological advancements, strategic partnerships, and client-centric strategies. With a commitment to client satisfaction and robust cybersecurity measures, Cyber Cultr Media aims to thrive as a trusted partner in the evolving digital industry. Excerpts:How do you envision Cyber Cultr Media's strategic direction in the dynamic digital and communications landscape, and what initiatives are in place to maintain competitiveness in the UAE market?At Cyber Cultr Media, we envision our strategic direction as a journey toward becoming an all-encompassing media empire that caters to the diverse needs of brands in the dynamic digital and communications landscape. We are committed to offering comprehensive services ranging from initial brand conceptualization to content production, growth marketing, and beyond. Our goal is to establish multiple specialized verticals under the Cyber Cultr umbrella, each dedicated to fulfilling specific niches and industry requirements.To achieve this vision, we are actively expanding our team with a combination of versatile generalists and specialized experts. This ensures that every project receives a holistic and tailored approach, backed by the precise expertise needed for execution. We aim to create a network of specialized verticals that collectively offer a wide array of services, enabling us to cater to the unique needs of diverse industries and clients.In order to maintain competitiveness in the UAE market, we have initiated several strategic initiatives. One key approach is launching white-label programmes tailored for the B2B agency market. These programmes enable other agencies to leverage our expertise and resources while maintaining their brand identity and client relationships.Additionally, we have introduced all-inclusive packages designed for the B2C market. These packages offer brands the convenience of fulfilling all their marketing requirements through our carefully curated team and trusted network of vendors. By providing end-to-end solutions, we empower brands to focus on their core business objectives while we handle their marketing needs efficiently and effectively.Overall, our strategic direction is driven by a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and client-centricity. We are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving digital landscape, while continuously adapting our approach to meet the evolving needs of our clients in the UAE market and beyond. Through establishing specialized verticals, we aim to create a comprehensive media empire offering unparalleled expertise and solutions across various industries and sectors.What is Cyber Cultr Media's market positioning in the UAE, and what unique value proposition or competitive advantage distinguishes the company in comparison to others in the region?Cyber Cultr Media's market positioning in the UAE is rooted in our commitment to transforming businesses into brands through expert brand-building exercises, strategic content creation, targeted paid advertising, and the ability to scale into new markets effectively.While our leadership team boasts experience working with globally renowned brands, we've oriented Cyber Cultr to be the agency of choice for businesses aspiring to elevate their brand presence and market influence.With a portfolio comprising over 60 brands spanning across 25+ industries, we have developed a unique methodology known as "The Trifecta," which serves as the cornerstone of our approach to every client engagement.The Trifecta encapsulates three critical components: Platform, Audience, and Content.The PLATFORM component focuses on selecting the most suitable channels, whether it's out-of-home, social media platforms, Google, or influencer marketing, to maximize reach and engagement.AUDIENCE represents the precise targeting of the campaign towards the intended market segment. Accurate audience definition is paramount, as it directly influences the efficacy of the other two elements.CONTENT encompasses the design and communicational aspects of the campaign. We ensure that our content is not only visually appealing but also resonates with the target audience, thus driving optimal performance across chosen platforms.Our steadfast commitment to implementing The Trifecta methodology in every project gives us a competitive edge by enabling us to approach each brand holistically while maintaining rigorous quality standards for maximum impact and effectiveness.Another competitive advantage lies in our extensive utilization of creative testing in both content creation and advertising. By rigorously analyzing the results of these tests, we continuously refine and optimize every aspect of our campaigns.Backed by over 25 years of local market knowledge and expertise, we possess the agility and insight needed to navigate the nuances of the UAE market landscape, anticipate trends, and capitalize on emerging opportunities. This combination of strategic methodology, creative innovation, and market intelligence positions Cyber Cultr Media as a trusted partner for brands seeking to achieve sustained growth and prominence in the competitive UAE market.In the fast-paced digital and communications industry, how does Cyber Cultr Media stay ahead of technological advancements and foster innovation? Can you provide recent examples of successful adaptations or innovations?At Cyber Cultr Media, we cultivate a culture of continuous learning and exploration within our team, ensuring that every member remains up-to-date with emerging technologies, tools, and trends through ongoing training programmes, industry events, and collaborative knowledge sharing.This commitment enables us to equip our team with the latest insights and skills, allowing us to effectively leverage new opportunities and stay ahead in the fast-paced digital landscape. Moreover, we invest heavily in cutting-edge technological infrastructure and resources, empowering us to deliver innovative solutions to our clients.Whether it's harnessing AI-powered analytics platforms, or gathering accurate marketing intelligence data, our dedication to staying at the forefront of technological advancements ensures that we provide unparalleled value and results to our clients.Our client-centric approach lies at the heart of our innovation strategy. We prioritize understanding our clients' unique challenges, objectives, and target audiences, tailoring our strategies and campaigns accordingly. By fostering close partnerships and maintaining open lines of communication, we anticipate our clients' evolving needs and adapt our strategies proactively to deliver impactful results.A recent example of our commitment to innovation involves the use of expert marketing intelligence tools and AI-powered technologies to improve the quality of insights we generate and increase the efficiency of our efforts. For instance, we recently advised a client on market focus based on data generated through intelligence research and competitor analysis. By analyzing competition and demand, we recommended a shift in strategy to a market with better profitability prospects and expansion opportunities.In addition, our strategic partnerships with leading technology providers, creative agencies, and industry influencers enable us to harness collective expertise and drive innovation. Through collaborative initiatives and joint ventures, we explore new avenues for growth and differentiation in the competitive digital landscape.In essence, Cyber Cultr Media remains committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and delivering exceptional value to our clients in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Our proactive approach, dedication to excellence, and client success position us as a trusted partner for businesses seeking to thrive in the digital age.How does Cyber Cultr Media ensure client satisfaction and retention in a service-oriented industry? Can you share a specific instance where the company met or exceeded client expectations?At Cyber Cultr Media, ensuring client satisfaction and retention in a service-oriented industry is ingrained in our approach to operations and client management. We prioritize maintaining strict quality control throughout our agency workflow and operational processes by utilizing comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These SOPs serve as structured frameworks that facilitate smooth workflows, uphold high-quality standards, and ensure consistency in service delivery.Our detailed frameworks and SOPs cover every aspect of our client engagement process, including client outreach and discovery, research, audits, proposals, client onboarding, project management, brand consistency, messaging strategy, copywriting, creative thinking, campaign planning and implementation, optimization, growth, reporting, and analysis. By meticulously documenting processes and procedures for each touchpoint, we guarantee 100% quality assurance for every client while empowering our team to work with accountability and efficiency.A specific instance where Cyber Cultr Media met and exceeded client expectations involves our work with event-centric clients seeking a high volume of event registrations for success. By enforcing our creative testing strategy, we were able to surpass the expected number of event registrations while achieving a lowered cost per lead. This success was attributed to informed decision-making based on the right creative elements, demonstrating our commitment to delivering tangible results that exceed client expectations.How does Cyber Cultr Media foster a positive work culture, and what strategies are employed to invest in the professional development and well-being of employees, contributing to a high-performing team?Fostering a positive work culture is integral to our ethos, as we believe that a supportive and nurturing environment is key to cultivating a high-performing team. We employ various strategies to invest in the professional development and well-being of our employees, ensuring their growth and satisfaction within the organization.One of our core strategies involves regular team training sessions, where we provide opportunities for skill enhancement, knowledge sharing, and staying updated with industry trends. These sessions enable our team members to expand their expertise, collaborate effectively, and stay ahead in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.In addition, we offer an unlimited supply of study materials, resources, and books for self-enrichment and upskilling. By empowering our employees with access to valuable learning resources, we encourage continuous learning and personal development, fostering a culture of curiosity and growth.Furthermore, we embrace an open management style that encourages transparent communication and conflict resolution. Our leadership team is accessible and approachable, ensuring that team members feel heard, valued, and supported in addressing any concerns or challenges they may encounter. This open-door policy promotes trust, collaboration, and a sense of belonging among our employees, contributing to a positive work culture and a cohesive team environment.By prioritizing professional development, providing ample resources for self-enrichment, and fostering open communication and conflict resolution, Cyber Cultr Media is committed to investing in the well-being and growth of our employees. We believe that a happy, motivated, and empowered team is essential for driving innovation, delivering exceptional results, and achieving collective success as an organisation.What measures does Cyber Cultr Media have in place to address potential risks, particularly in terms of cybersecurity, to safeguard client data and internal systems?Safeguarding client data and internal systems against potential risks, including cybersecurity threats, is of paramount importance to us. We have implemented several measures to ensure the security and integrity of our systems and the confidentiality of client information.One key aspect of our cybersecurity strategy is the use of global-standard password protection tools and techniques. We enforce strong password policies and regularly update passwords to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to our systems and accounts. Additionally, we employ robust encryption protocols to secure sensitive data both in transit and at rest.Furthermore, we have implemented two-factor authentication (2FA) across all our internal accounts and client accounts. This additional layer of security adds an extra barrier against unauthorized access by requiring users to provide two forms of verification before accessing sensitive information or systems.In terms of client data access, we have established a hierarchy-based access control model. Access to client data is strictly controlled and granted based on defined roles and permissions. This ensures that only authorized personnel have access to specific client information, minimizing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized disclosures.Moreover, we have implemented backup security measures to provide redundancy and resilience in our systems. Regular backups of critical data are performed to prevent data loss in the event of system failures, cyberattacks, or other unforeseen incidents.What are the latest trends in the digital industry you have observed? What is the role of AI in shaping up the industry in the days ahead?Several trends have emerged that are reshaping the digital landscape and influencing the way brands engage with their audiences. One notable trend is the increasing consumption of video content across various digital platforms. Video content has become a dominant form of communication, offering brands an engaging and immersive way to connect with their target audiences.Another trend is the rise of marketing automation, which streamlines repetitive tasks, enhances efficiency and enables personalized communication at scale. Demand for integrated marketing systems that seamlessly connect different marketing channels and platforms is also on the rise, allowing brands to deliver consistent and cohesive messaging across various touchpoints.Hyper-personalized messaging is gaining traction as brands seek to deliver tailored experiences that resonate with individual consumers. This trend reflects the growing importance of understanding customer preferences, behaviours, and needs to deliver relevant and meaningful interactions.Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for influencer marketing, chatbots for customer service, less-intrusive advertisements, and CGI-driven content that captivates and engages audiences in unique ways.AI is increasingly playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of the digital industry. AI technologies are being utilized across various domains, including design, data-driven decision-making, predictive analytics, and content enrichment. AI-powered tools and algorithms enable brands to analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and derive actionable insights to inform strategic decision-making.In design, AI-driven platforms facilitate the creation of visually stunning and engaging content, optimizing design elements for maximum impact and relevance. AI-driven data analysis enables brands to make informed decisions based on real-time insights, driving marketing strategies and campaigns that are more targeted and effective.Predictive analytics powered by AI algorithms help brands anticipate customer behaviour and preferences, enabling proactive engagement and personalized recommendations. Additionally, AI-driven content enrichment techniques enhance the quality and relevance of content, improving user experiences and driving engagement.

Plus VC and Tawaref announce strategic partnership

Plus VC (+VC), a leading venture capital firm that invests in early-stage tech and tech-enabled startups in MENA and its diaspora, and the third most active VC by deals in the MENA in Q3, 2023, has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tawaref, a tech investment community, financing top regional startups and offering entrepreneurial services, to accelerate the incorporation process of portfolio companies under its umbrella in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via its Saudi Landing program.+VC understands the increasing need for a company such as Tawaref, to accelerate time to market and help tech startups meet the challenges posed by obtaining approvals from multiple government departments and expediting the establishment process in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Landing by Tawaref is a One-Stop Shop solution that coordinates with more than 10 entities in the Kingdom and offers guidance on market entry strategies, regulatory requirements, and local business practices.Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Hasan Haider, Managing Partner of +VC, said, "At +VC, our strategy is to constantly look for new and innovative ways to help our founders thrive. With the majority of our founders keen to expand to Saudi Arabia, the signing of the MoU was key, to demonstrating our commitment to augmenting initiatives that will help our founders accelerate the establishment of commercial operations, explore fundraising opportunities, and expand their investor network. We are delighted to partner with Tawaref, their pivotal role as catalysts, their strong track record, and their highly professional team of experts can help our startups to resolve the complexities of incorporation, and strongly position them for success and scalability.”The MoU between + VC and Tawaref marks a milestone for a new way of cooperation between both parties. Under the terms of the MoU, Tawaref will work with +VC portfolio companies to facilitate the seamless setup of its operations in Saudi via its flagship Saudi Landing program. In addition, both parties jointly will share deals, investment analysis, and market trends to keep updated on regional updates.Saeed Al Ansari, Founder and CEO of Tawaref, said, “We are thrilled to have partnered with +VC which represents some incredible startups. Our vision advances our strategy to assist tech startups from around MENAP and beyond to incorporate their business into Saudi’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. This strategic collaboration will help us to incorporate the startups and establish us as a robust service provider. With our excellent track record, deep industry knowledge, extensive network, and strong connections in the tech startup ecosystem, we are confident that our dedicated team of experts will be able to provide the best-in-class services to every tech startup under the +VC umbrella. We look forward to working together with the portfolio companies, empowering them to establish their business by adding unmatched value to the founders.”

MoEngage and Kaleyra Team Up for Personalized Omnichannel Experiences

MoEngage, an industry-leading insight-led customer Engagement Platform today announced the expansion of its strategic partnership with Kaleyra to drive highly personalized omnichannel experiences and global customer engagement through channels like WhatsApp and SMS. Kaleyra is part of the MoEngage Catalyst Partner program that aims at helping brands scale with speed. This partnership will help transform how businesses interact with customers, empowering enterprises to craft relevant and personalized engagement, ultimately boosting loyalty and driving revenue.This partnership will also enable brands to utilize Kaleyra’s capabilities as a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) through MoEngage’s insights-led engagement platform. The technology platform will make it easier to launch highly personalized WhatsApp campaigns at scale, a challenge many consumer brands face. Precise segmentation and engagement enhance customer satisfaction, thus improving conversion rates across all channels, including in-person. Moreover, brands can analyze the performance of their campaigns, extract valuable insights, and refine their strategies for optimal outcomes. By harnessing AI-enabled technologies, conversational channels like WhatsApp can engage customers meaningfully in a relevant fashion and optimize based on actionable insights to drive business growth.“We're thrilled about this integration that unlocks new opportunities for enterprises to connect with their customers via WhatsApp”, said Sandesh Sarang, MD - APAC & MEA, Kaleyra. “We strongly believe in the power of our combined teams to provide value to enterprises globally.”“Kaleyra’s supreme capabilities as a trusted CPaaS, combined with MoEngage’s AI-powered, insights-led engagement platform, will empower enterprises across industries and geographies to bridge the gap between themselves and their customers. A potent mix of communication channels, actionable insights, and optimization capabilities, not only opens up new avenues in terms of business growth but also creates a host of brand loyalists, impressed by the level of personalized engagement across channels” said Sanjay Kupae, Head Alliances and Partnerships, MoEngage.

Saudi Arabia’s AI economy goals key focus for Oracle at LEAP 2024

Latest cloud innovation that is geared to help Saudi Arabia accelerate its Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered economy will be on display at Oracle’s state of the art exhibit at LEAP 2024. Oracle will this year present a comprehensive portfolio of AI solutions including state of the art cloud applications on a best-in-class AI cloud infrastructure and state-of-the-art generative AI innovations.“Over the last three decades, Oracle has significantly expanded presence in Saudi Arabia to help the Kingdom emerge as a digital economy leader. Our US $1.5 billion investment in Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in expanding local cloud capacity, which will act as the foundation for local organisations to unlock the full potential of latest digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence”, said Reham AlMusa, vice president – Business Applications, and Saudi Arabia Country Leader, Oracle. “AI is seeing incredible adoption in the Kingdom, as businesses look to innovate and grow. PwC estimates that Artificial intelligence is set to contribute $135 billion to the Saudi economy in 2030, making the Kingdom the biggest beneficiary of the technology in the Middle East. Oracle is well positioned to help Saudi organisations leverage this AI opportunity, and LEAP 2024 will be an opportunity for us to demonstrate how our latest AI innovation can help address the most complex business challenges across diverse industries and help drive growth.”Oracle’s presence at LEAP 2024 is headlined with the popular Oracle Red Bull Racing experience. Visitors can once again experience what it’s like to be at the wheels of the championship winning Formula 1 car and learn about the role Oracle Cloud powered real time data plays in helping Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez win.Specially designed AI focused interactive pods across finance, healthcare, human resources, customer experience and many more functions, and Generative AI demo stations operated by Oracle’s AI experts will also be a key feature of Oracle’s presence at LEAP 2024.Oracle will also explain why the likes of J-B, stc, NEOM, TONOMUS, Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Tourism Development Fund, Agricultural Development Fund and many more Saudi public and private sector organisations have chosen Oracle Cloud solutions for driving major business transformations.Saudi nationals visiting LEAP can also learn more about the ‘Mostaqbali’ (My Future) initiative that focuses on providing technical training to Saudi youth to equip them for the most in-demand technology-powered jobs of the future. Introduced and deployed in collaboration with Future Work and supervised by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, the new program will train and certify 50,000 Saudi nationals in the latest cloud-powered digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2027.Oracle has announced plans to open a third public cloud region in Saudi Arabia. Located in Riyadh, the new cloud region will be part of a planned US $1.5 billion investment from Oracle to expand cloud infrastructure capabilities in the Kingdom. The Oracle Cloud Riyadh Region will join the existing Oracle Cloud Jeddah Region and the planned Oracle Cloud Region in the futuristic city of NEOM.

BeIN Sports Hits Record 707.3 Million Viewers for AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

beIN SPORTS, the leading sports broadcaster in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), revealed a record-breaking cumulative viewership of 707.3 million for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™, with the final between Jordan and Qatar alone captivating 69 million fans across the region—making it the most-watched match of the tournament.The unprecedented competition unfolded over four weeks across nine state-of-the-art stadiums, with Lusail hosting the electrifying final that saw Qatar clinch their second consecutive title in a 3-1 victory over Jordan. This year’s fervour was not just confined to the final with the semi-finals, featuring equally nail-biting encounters between Jordan and South Korea, and Iran and Qatar, amassing over one hundred million cumulative views between them. The match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea also stood out, drawing a remarkable viewership of over 39 million and highlighting the competitive spirit and passionate fanbase that characterised the entire tournament.The overall viewership across beIN’s coverage area across MENA for all matches is a 120% increase compared with beIN’s broadcast of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™. Average viewership per match throughout the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ also saw a significant rise reaching 15.8 million, compared to that of 7 million for 2019’s coverage.Mohammed Al-Bader, Managing Director of beIN’s MENA Channels, reflected on the success, remarking: “We are immensely proud to have brought the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ to millions of viewers across MENA. This event has risen above the game of football—becoming a true celebration of cultural diversity, athletic excellence, and the unbreakable spirit of competition. We look forward to continuing to offer our viewers the best of world sports, capturing and sharing every thrilling moment as it happens with our loyal fans.”beIN SPORTS broadcast all the tournament’s 51 matches across 21 countries in MENA in both Arabic and English, with over 16-hours live daily coverage across four channels, including three dedicated beIN ASIAN CUP channels. Led by more than 30 leading regional and international commentators, analysts, and presenters, as well as 17 on-the-ground reporters, coverage included pre- and post-match studio analysis, team training sessions and base camps, match press conferences, breaking news, and fan reactions.

Saudi retail lags in digitization despite tech-savvy consumers

Saudi Arabia's retail sector is failing to keep pace with its digitally advanced consumers, according to a new study by Kearney and Snapchat. While internet penetration and mobile usage are skyrocketing, retailers are largely stuck in traditional methods, leading to a disconnect between customer expectations and the shopping experience.Saudi consumers are highly connected and digitally savvy, actively using social media and online platforms for product discovery and purchase. Despite this, only 27% of consumers perceive retail as technologically advanced, lagging behind government services, telecom, and even other retail sectors.Key findings:Hybrid shopping preferred: 46% of consumers favor a hybrid approach, integrating online and in-store experiences, while 38% prefer online shopping exclusively.Digital gap hinders sales: Traditional media and ineffective use of data limit retailers' ability to reach and engage consumers efficiently.Limited post-purchase engagement: While retailers recognize the importance of post-purchase, their efforts are basic, missing opportunities to build customer loyalty.Reasons for the lag:Underinvestment in digital: Retailers are still allocating budgets to traditional media, neglecting newer channels and technologies.Lack of digital skills: Limited expertise in areas like data analytics, online marketing, and e-commerce is hampering progress.Data challenges: Difficulty sharing data between retailers and manufacturers, coupled with global privacy regulations, create obstacles.Opportunities:Embrace digital advertising: Shift investments towards online channels, focusing on performance-based strategies and personalization.Enhance e-commerce: Develop omnichannel experiences, including virtual product visualization, AI-powered recommendations, and seamless checkout.Improve in-store experience: Utilize self-checkout, mobile shopping assistants, and AR/VR tools to elevate customer engagement.Optimize supply chain: Leverage real-time visibility, advanced analytics, and automation to improve efficiency and fulfillment.Build customer loyalty: Utilize post-purchase data to personalize communication, offer relevant promotions, and create a seamless journey.

BPG CEO Avi Bhojani on AI impact, customer experience, ME expansion

In today's video Interaction on Adgully Middle East, we welcome Avi Bhojani, the CEO of BPG Group. With over 40 years of experience in the Middle East industry, particularly in marketing services and media, Bhojani brings a wealth of knowledge about the region's dynamics and opportunities. Since assuming the role of CEO in 1991, he has demonstrated strong leadership and strategic vision, guiding the organisation through various transformations and expansions.During his conversation with Adgully, Bhojani delved into the significant impact of AI on marketing services, recognizing its potential to enhance efficiency and effectiveness while emphasizing the enduring importance of creativity in the industry. He discussed the transition of marketing services to a customer experience-focused function, with technology and digital channels playing a pivotal role in driving growth. Despite the transformative power of AI, Bhojani emphasized the ongoing need for human innovation in the industry.Bhojani also highlighted BPG's 3.0 initiative, which aims to enhance customer experience strategies across multiple markets by prioritizing innovation and client relationships. His emphasis on the role of culture in organisational success reflects a holistic approach to leadership, recognising the importance of collective efforts and values within BPG.The expansion plans into Saudi Arabia demonstrate BPG's strategic ambitions and readiness to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the region. Leveraging its expertise and operational capabilities, BPG aims to deliver high-quality customer experiences in Saudi Arabia, tapping into the country's potential for disruption and growth.For more insights from this industry veteran, watch the video.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Property Finder launches ‘We Opens Doors’ campaign

Property Finder, the leading property portal in the MENA region, has announced the launch of its latest campaign ‘We Open Doors’, recognizing community living as a key driver for property seekers in the UAE. Going beyond conventional ‘home-first’ search styles, ‘We Open Doors’ highlights the growing influence of lifestyles on real estate growth. With recent data indicating a rise in ownership, off-plan investments and foreign interest, ‘We Open Doors’ reveals a new emerging aspect within the nation’s booming property market. Where property seekers can closely explore where they belong and celebrate the nation’s evolving and growing vibrant communities and melting pot of cultures.  Tapping into evolving needs of consumers, ‘We Open Doors’ is inspired by groundbreaking consumer research conducted by Property Finder on common search behavior. According to the recent qualitative study,most consumers are seeking communities that are in line with their desired lifestyles. The study reveals findings related to consumer search journeys when looking to buy, rent or invest in properties across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It also revealed the contribution of property portals within the UAE’s fast evolving real estate landscape.  Based on the study, quality of life is one of the most highlighted factors strongly inspiring buying decisions in the UAE. Residents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are most attracted by the country’s high security levels, developed facilities, convenient and accessible services. The UAE is considered a place for good job opportunities with diverse lifestyles for all kinds of property seekers. Peace of mind, comfort, convenience and security are the main drivers of home buying and renting. There is a clear link between lifestyle choices and what a community offers in terms of that lifestyle.  Another key finding of the research reveals that due to the complexity of decision making, most respondents describe home search to be overwhelming and hectic. This is where portals come to picture. Platforms like Property Finder provide an immersive property search journey, powered by 360 degree tools and features like Data Guru for a deeper understanding of their communities, beyond listing specific data. Ultimately, opening doors to the lifestyles they desire and deserve.  “At Property Finder, we are committed to playing our role in prioritizing the needs of homeseeker in order to drive success that aligns with the nation’s wider ambitions. When I started Property Finder, I personally witnessed first hand how evolving and emerging communities helped UAE to push boundaries in terms of new lifestyle and ignite the growth of real estate. The UAE is witnessing one of its biggest and boldest transformations in its history. There has never been a better time to celebrate our vibrant communities, continue to attract foreign investors, and shift mindsets from locations to lifestyles. I can proudly say that communities are part of our founding DNA. Our platform is designed in a way to allow our users to discover and understand different communities thanks to tools such as `Data Guru`. ” said Michael Lahyani, Founder, Property Finder.  “Buying or renting a home is one of the most important decisions of a person's life. As a brand and platform, we understand the complexity and importance of the decision. Our research clearly shows that people don’t just pick homes, they pick lifestyles. Communities give us a sense of identity and belonging. With this campaign, we are aiming to create a meaningful conversation about the amazing communities of UAE to create greater trust and transparency in real estate,” commented Sevgi Gur, Chief Marketing Officer, Property Finder.

Al-Futtaim Automotive launches first podcast series ‘Let’s Talk Mobility’

Al-Futtaim Automotive has launched a new podcast series that celebrates the inspirational journeys of trailblazers driving positive change.The first season of the podcast series called ‘Let’s Talk Mobility’ will feature 12 episodes. The first five episodes were recorded at the recently held COP28 in Dubai, where Al-Futtaim Group played a key role as Strategic E-Mobility Partner of the event.The automotive industry worldwide is facing an unprecedented transformation, primarily steered by the growing calls for emission-free transportation and a rising demand for electric and hybrid vehicles. Now more than ever automotive stakeholders, customers and policymakers are demanding answers, action and clear strategies that will contribute towards a net-zero future. The podcast series aims to dig deep into the remarkable sustainability transitions that global leaders are orchestrating in their respective sector, from automotive to commercial transportation to retail.The series is hosted by Mousub Shashaa, Founder and CEO of ArabGT, with the first five episodes featuring a stellar line-up of industry trailblazers and sustainability pioneers, including:   Thomas Ingenlath, CEO, Polestar  Karin Svensson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Volvo Group  Fredrika Klarén, Head of Sustainability, Polestar  Anders Kärrberg, Head of Sustainability, Volvo Cars & Jonas Otterheim, Head of Climate Action, Volvo Cars  Aravind Mani, Co-Founder & CEO, RiverKatib Belkhodja, Director of Customer Centricity, Al-Futtaim Automotive, said: “As an industry stakeholder and a market leader, we have a primary responsibility of facilitating vital discussions and elevate the customer understanding on crucial topics that impact not only the daily commute but also the future of our planet. 2/3rd of Google UAE searches on EVs are not brand specific, showing that people still have many unanswered questions on electric mobility and there is a real need for more learnings and insights on this topic. Our podcast series aims to address this need through discussions with leading experts and trailblazers. We chose to partner with Mousub Shasaa, a known personality and a leading voice in this category with great reach across audiences within the region.”The first episode is available to listen and watch on Spotify (@al-futtaim-automotive) and YouTube (@alfuttaimautogroup).

‘The Cloud' secures $12mln in Series B funding

The Cloud, a Hub71 food tech startup, has announced the successful first close of its $12 million Series B funding round out of a total $30 million it is raising. The funding round saw participation from a new investor, MENA Moonshots, showcasing confidence in The Cloud's mission to innovate and expand.This milestone, coupled with debt financing from Aluna Partners, and the strategic acquisition of the UK-based food tech startup KBOX, marks a significant stride for The Cloud, founded by Georges Karam, towards redefining the virtual dining landscape in the UAE, the wider GCC region, and Europe.In a move to solidify its position as a homegrown UAE-based startup making significant inroads on the global stage, The Cloud's acquisition of KBOX strategically expands its footprint by 200 locations in the UK. This move underlines the company's commitment to driving innovation and asserting leadership in the food tech sector, setting the stage for expansion across the UK and other GCC and European markets such as Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Belgium, and Netherlands.The Series B funding, a balanced mix of equity and debt, is a testament to The Cloud's robust business model and its vision. Having initially raised $10 million in the Series A funding, this round brings The Cloud’s total funds raised to $22 million, which highlights the company's capacity to attract strategic partners like MENA Moonshots. The investments extend beyond capital, providing invaluable expertise and access to networks as The Cloud ambitiously eyes new markets and innovative dining solutions.Georges Karam, CEO of The Cloud, shared his enthusiasm for the new developments, stating: “Our Series B funding and the KBOX acquisition reinforce our position as innovators in the global food tech landscape. Having raised a total of $22 million, we are now focused on enhancing our market presence in the UAE and beyond. Our in-house developed technology and proactive acquisition strategy reflect our vision for industry consolidation and our commitment to scaling strong homegrown brands internationally. Looking forward, we continue to actively eye more strategic acquisitions while also seeking to raise further capital.”Stefano Sciacca, Managing Director at Aluna Partners, said, “The online food delivery market is a mega trend that is here to stay. We believe that The Cloud will gain significant market share in the UK market through the acquisition of KBOX. Having looked at many food tech business models, we believe The Cloud is emerging as a global market leader and are excited to support such a fast-growing venture.”The additional capital from the Series B funding will be instrumental in accelerating growth, with a significant portion earmarked for international expansion, enhancing operational capabilities, and further developing The Cloud's proprietary technology platform.With a presence in 7 countries and 91 cities, and ambitions to reach 8,000 locations by the end of 2027, The Cloud is on track for a dual listing in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, marking a new era of growth for the virtual chain in the EMEA region. As the company advances on this growth trajectory, it remains committed to its mission of transforming the global dining experience, empowering restaurateurs, and setting new benchmarks for quality and innovation in the food tech industry.

GameCentric Receives $1.5M Investment to Boost MENA Gamin

GameCentric the region's newest gaming platform at the forefront of connecting brands with gamers has raised USD 1.5 Million (AED 6 Million) in capital from a Dubai-based Angel Investor, Bilal Merchant. The platform went live on December 1st 2023, right after the funding round.  This strategic capital injection, positions GameCentric to enhance its platform features to extend its footprint beyond the GCC & MENA region, and redefine the gaming experience for players everywhere. Strategic Vision and Meticulous Execution Lead to Angel InvestmentThe opportunity for angel investment arose from GameCentric's clear and compelling vision, executed with precision. Founded by the savvy entrepreneur Saad Khan, a veteran in the gaming industry with a shared passion to transform the industry, GameCentric embarked on its journey in 2023. Saad Khan, CEO of GameCentric, stated, "Crafting a robust vision for our platform, supported by a sound business model and a seasoned management team, resonated with the angel investor, like Bilal Merchant who recognized the immense potential within GameCentric, which drove his decision to invest. Our aspiration is not just to be a gaming platform but a cultural phenomenon transcending borders. Collaboration with industry leaders, community-driven programs and an unwavering commitment to have the best user experience drives all of our future initiatives." Evolution into a WEB3 platform In line with its vision, GameCentric is set to integrate cutting-edge technologies to remain competitive but also create new compelling propositions for brands, game publishers and gamers. In the coming years, GameCentric will transition to be a web3 digitally native platform & bring in digital assets play including cryptocurrencies by 2025. These milestones represent GameCentric's commitment to forging a unique identity in the gaming industry, providing consumers with distinct and unparalleled experiences.  A 3X growth trajectoryAs part of its launch strategy and to deliver an exceptional gaming experience, GameCentric has partnered with POWReSports, renowned for its role in brand activations and influencer management campaigns in KSA to give a boost to its gamer acquisition strategy. This collaboration will help solidify the expansion of GameCentrics’ ecosystem offering across the regional gaming landscape.  The business is currently gearing up for an aggressive growth and market expansion plan over the next two years. During this period, GameCentric aims to triple its user base across the region, with the MENA region projected to touch 88 Million gamers by 2026; and more than double its array of game titles, encompassing both web2 and web3 genres. This initiative not only offers an expanded gaming experience for users but also creates a diverse spectrum of opportunities for brands to pioneer innovative customer engagement tactics.  This initiative is poised to strengthen GameCentric's market position, solidifying the company as a dominant force in the ever-evolving landscapes of gaming and customer loyalty. Stakeholders can expect a compelling value proposition as GameCentric navigates through this thrilling phase of expansion, unlocking unparalleled opportunities for both gamers and collaborating brands. Bilal Merchant, an experienced businessman/investor with a demonstrated history of working in the oil and energy industry, stated “GameCentric’s visionary strategy in seamlessly connecting brands with gamers, coupled with their unwavering commitment to integrating cutting-edge technologies such as crypto and Web3, has left an indelible impression on me. Their innovative approach positions them as disruptors in the gaming landscape, poised to create a distinctive and rewarding experience for players worldwide.”Supporting their big moves, GameCentric has garnered support from industry heavyweights such as LIV, UAE’s first & largest digital bank powered by Emirates NBD. As part of their new brand identity aimed at targeting Generation Now, LIV has recognized the platform's potential to deliver on their banking & financial education objectives through the art of gaming. These endorsements underscore the credibility and innovation that GameCentric brings to the gaming community across the region. The platform is gearing up for strategic enhancements in line with their vision to integrate modern technology. The enhancements will be overseen by expert crypto advisors, with a focus on innovation. The new features will include a dynamic loyalty program centered on a Web3 wallet and GameCentric tokens, aimed at delivering enhanced user value.  GameCentric aims to be a platform where gamers can earn, learn, and engage as part of a diverse global community. As the platform evolves into a Web3 environment, users will have the opportunity to become token owners, marking a significant shift in the gaming experience.Future plans and expansions This strategic angel investment acts as a catalyst for GameCentric's ambitious growth strategy, facilitating future fundraising rounds and establishing the platform as a dominant force in the global gaming scene.  In the near future initiatives will include collaborations with renowned game publishers and the development of community-driven programs to strengthen engagement on the platform. In addition, GameCentric is also focussed on building a strong B2B2C brand engagement play thereby getting brands to create a differentiated customer offering & hence more opportunities for customer engagement that will foster long-term brand loyalty.

Abu Dhabi International Airport renamed Zayed International Airport

His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Advisor of Special Affairs at the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Airports' Board of Directors, has attended a ceremony to rename Abu Dhabi International Airport as Zayed International Airport, in honour of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Paying tribute to Sheikh Zayed’s remarkable legacy and history of accomplishments in introducing the UAE to the world, the new brand encompasses the richness of Emirati culture and Arabian heritage. Designed to provide an innovative and seamless airport experience, the renamed airport meets the highest standards of quality and traveller expectations.His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan said: “We are immensely proud to rename Abu Dhabi’s largest airport in honour of the Founding Father of the UAE. The unsurpassed achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed in connecting our country to nations around the world have inspired our commitment to ensuring that Abu Dhabi further strengthens its position as a world-leading hub for travel, trade, and commerce.I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for entrusting us with carrying forward the name of the Founding Father, helping to commemorate his unforgettable legacy that impacts us to this day, and will continue to inspire future generations. Opening its gates to the world, Zayed International Airport ushers in a new era for Abu Dhabi’s aviation sector. The airport’s state-of-the-art infrastructure delivers exceptional connectivity, innovation and sustainability for an elevated guest experience while propelling regional tourism, trade, and commerce to new heights.”Abu Dhabi Airports hosted the unveiling of the new name, Zayed International Airport, at an event attended by key stakeholders, including staff and partners. A number of activities for passengers travelling through the airport are also taking place throughout the weekend, including live performances by international artists, digital showcases, personalised travel giveaways and offers and promotions from partners.Elena Sorlini, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports said:“Zayed International Airport is a gateway through which we share Abu Dhabi and its heritage with the world, welcoming travellers by articulating the values of connectivity, innovation and sustainability. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees, partners and everyone elseinvolved, 2023 has been an overwhelmingly positive year for Abu Dhabi Airports. I am particularly proud that since its opening, Terminal A‘s operations have been very successful. Passengers are given an authentic, inclusive, and seamless traveler experience rooted in the Emirati heritage of hospitality and powered by state-of-the-art technology. We are excited for what lies ahead for Zayed International Airport as it embarks on the next chapter of its journey under the cherished name of the Founding Father of the nation.” The new brand identity unveiled today as part of the renaming celebrates the emirate of Abu Dhabi through shape and forms inspired by its landscape and history, as well as by the design of the airport itself. A traditional dhow boat, a date palm tree, the desert sun, the Qasr Al Hosn Fort, and Terminal A – the iconic new terminal building – served as creative sources for the new logo, showcasing Abu Dhabi’s unique identity while inviting travellers to write their own story. The launch of Zayed International Airport’s new brand has been accompanied by video highlights of over 1,750 drones coming together in an air display to form the airport’s new logo. With Terminal A, Zayed International Airport features one of the world’s largest terminals, capable of welcoming up to 45 million passengers per year and marking a new era for transport and aviation infrastructure in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. During the first 60 days after Terminal A became fully operational, Zayed International Airport welcomed 4.48 million passengers, with 1.21 million arrivals, 1.22 million departures, two million transfers and more than 24,000 flights. Zayed International Airport served 117 travel destinations in December 2023, an increase of 20% from 100 cities in 2022, due to a rapidly growing airline network of 28 international carriers. With world-leading facilities, including biometric technology to streamline the screening and boarding process, 35,000 square metres of retail and F&B space, and 163 outlets for passengers to shop, dine and enjoy, Terminal A places passenger experience at the heart of operations at Zayed International Airport. Since the terminal’s opening in November 2023, numerous operational milestones were achieved, including delivery of an enhanced level of service for travellers and the attraction of a growing roster of international airlines.  Overall, Abu Dhabi Airports’ passenger traffic results for 2023 show a significant increase in passenger demand. A total of 22,935,316 passengers flew through one of Abu Dhabi's five commercial airports over the period of 1 January to 31 December, marking a 44.5% increase in demand compared to 2022. The year also saw growth in other critical business areas, including Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) across the five airports. The total number of ATMs, referring to the landing or taking-off of an aircraft, reached 226,362, surpassing the 2022 figure of 194,666 and reflecting a 16.3% increase year-on-year. In 2024 and beyond, Abu Dhabi Airports expects further growth in passenger and cargo traffic, with Zayed International Airport’s enhanced aviation offering central to this positive outlook.

The largest edition of Gulfood kicks off today at Dubai World Trade Centre

The largest ever edition of Gulfood, the benchmark event for the global F&B community kicks off today (19 February), at Dubai World Trade Centre, opening its doors to 150,000 attendees from 190 countries. With an estimated USD 12 billion in international trade deals on the table, an exhibition floor spanning 24 event halls packed with displays of cutting-edge products, solutions by a record 5,500+ exhibitors, and interactive features including Top Table and Dubai World Cuisine which will convene over 100 renowned international chefs with 25 Michelin stars between them, expectations are very high for this year’s edition of the world’s largest annual food and beverage sourcing event, which looks set to have a lasting influence on the F&B industry.Attendees will also hear insights from senior policymakers and global industry experts at the Inspire conference, including H.E. Dr. Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak Al Shamsi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, who will give the opening keynote address on the first day of the conference. Her Excellency will give her perspectives and vision for the UAE at a time when climate change, geopolitics, and emerging technology are all converging to disrupt global food systems and economies.“At a pivotal moment, the world’s largest F&B event will be the only place to get out ahead of how the global food community, from industry leaders and policy makers to innovators and chefs, are responding. We look forward to welcoming the F&B world as we inspire the future food economy,” commented Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice-President, Dubai World Trade Centre.As Gulfood approaches its milestone 30th anniversary in 2025, the global food and beverage (F&B) industry is looking more than ever to a multifaceted future, characterised by greater digitalisation and technological innovation to drive efficiency and cut costs, more circular food systems to reduce food loss and waste, and an ever-greater focus on safety, security and transparency down the supply chain."As Truebell embraces 40 years of excellence, Gulfood stands as our premier stage for global networking, connecting with our partners across 80 countries. We anticipate a robust upswing, positioning Truebell at the forefront of meeting heightened demand for premium produce in the years ahead", commented Bhushant Ghandi, COO of Truebell.At this year’s Gulfood Inspire Conference, over 200 influential figures from the global F&B industry, including food futurists, policymakers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and culinary experts will lead a series of dynamic and engaging keynotes, panel discussions, fireside chats, showcases and workshops. A highlight of this year’s Gulfood Inspire Conference, for the first time over 60 leading global food futurists will convene to give invaluable insights into the trends in technology (e.g. personal AI), culture, demographics, lifestyle and flavours that are shaping the future of food. Food futurists slated to speak include: Daniel Levine, Director – Avant Guide Institute; Tom Cheesewright, Applied Futurist; Tony Hunter, Founder - Food Futurist: Future of Food Consulting; and Dr. Morgaine Gaye, Food Futurologist.The future of food systems is a theme that will carry through the Inspire conference, including: how the industry is adapting to emerging consumer trends and lifestyles, evolving science including how generative AI and blockchain can improve food security and the development of novel foods, the benefits of digitisation in R&D, food testing and formulation, new genomic techniques and bio-solutions, implementing sustainable practices in farming; building regenerative/circular food systems; new business models and collaboration opportunities, including public-private and farm-to-table partnerships; how innovative tech such as Big Data can be leveraged by the food industry and regulators, enabling real-time monitoring and better traceability; building resilience and sustainability in the supply chain to mitigate the impact of climate change, economic inequality and conflict; preventing food waste and increasing food packaging recycling; the latest innovative products and ingredients; and many more.Confirmed keynote speakers across the three-day conference include: Ibrokhim Yu. Abdurakhmonov, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan; H.E. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General, Emirates Nature-WWF; His Excellency Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO, Dubai Chambers; H.E. Alia Abdulla AlMazrouei, CEO of the Khalifa Fund; H.E. Dr. Obaid Saif Hamad Al Zaabi, President of The Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID). Other prominent speakers include: Sheikh Mohammed Al Harthy, CEO of Oman Food Investment Holding Co (SAOC), Abdulla Al Hashmi, Chief Operating Officer, Parks and Zones, DP World GCC; Abdulmohsen Salem H Alsalem, Director of Strategic Studies and Innovation The Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, MODON, and many more.DUBAI WORLD CUISINE AND TOP TABLE RETURNFollowing last year’s successful debut, the Dubai World Cuisine movement is back, with a series of city-wide dinner and masterclass collaborations between Dubai-based chefs and renowned names from Europe, shaping the cultural identity of Dubai and helping establish it on the world’s culinary map.The initiative will see a series of 4- and 6-hands Michelin star dinners linked to the Top Table masterclasses, which will be cooked by a Dubai World Cuisine chef and an international Michelin-starred chef.

Coach unveils 'Find Your Courage'

Coach, a global fashion house founded in New York in 194, has launched its latest campaign, titled 'Find Your Courage,' which introduces a virtual universe featuring model and digital creator Imma alongside Coach ambassadors Lil Nas X, Camila Mendes, Youngji Lee, K?ki, and Wu Jinyan. This campaign, set against a virtual landscape, serves as a platform to showcase Coach's Spring collection while narrating a story centered around discovering authenticity in one's own unique way. With its theme rooted in 'The Courage to Be Real,' Coach aims to encourage individuals, particularly youth, to embrace their diverse identities, blurring the lines between physical and virtual realms to reflect the evolving concept of authenticity.The campaign unfolds in multiple chapters, with Lil Nas X taking the lead in the initial segment. Subsequent chapters, set for release in March, April, and May, will feature encounters with other Coach ambassadors. Stuart Vevers, the Creative Director, expresses his inspiration for the collection, stating a desire to explore American style archetypes and Coach's legacy through the lens of today's generation. He emphasizes the theme of 'Find Your Courage' as encapsulating the essence of the collection, where heritage serves as a springboard for new avenues of self-expression.Directed by Vallée Duhamel and photographed by Charlie Engman, 'Find Your Courage' utilizes CGI to bring the virtual world to life, enhancing the campaign's immersive experience. Sandeep Seth, Coach's Global Chief Marketing Officer and North America president, explains that the campaign aims to inspire consumers to embrace all possibilities of self-expression despite life's pressures and expectations. Imma, chosen as the campaign's ambassador, symbolizes the challenge to conventional notions of reality. Her journey in the campaign encapsulates a narrative that explores new dimensions of self-expression, pushing boundaries and inspiring viewers along the way.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

MERED Opens Official HQ in Dubai Internet City

MERED, an award-winning international real estate developer, has created a visionary space for its headquarters in Dubai, with an immersive atmosphere that seamlessly marries luxury with forward-thinking design. The office showcases how the brand is set to redefine the essence of real estate development in the most captivating way.Located in the heart of Dubai Internet City, the headquarters boasts a design concept that masterfully blends the natural world with the sophistication of Italian craftsmanship, courtesy of Pininfarina. Known as the global standard-bearer of architecture and Italian design since 1930, Pininfarina began its journey over 90 years ago in the automotive sector, collaborating with some of the world’s most iconic car brands. Since then, the Pininfarina brand has evolved into a sought-after architecture and lifestyle design house. It is globally recognized for its exceptional ability to create timeless works that seamlessly embody the values of Technology and Beauty, making a significant Impact.Pininfarina’s influence is evident in every facet of MERED’s office, with each element reflecting its values of purity, elegance, and innovation. These elements blend seamlessly with MERED’s dedication to delivering fresh, superior experiences to all. Dubai's unique blend of innovation, global connectivity, and visionary ambition provides the perfect backdrop for reputed international real estate developers like MERED to create iconic, future-proof destinations.The sales area radiates sophistication and elegance in every detail. From the sculptural counter to the use of natural and artificial lighting that gracefully guides visitors through the space, each feature is meticulously chosen. The lobby, divided by stylish bronze glass partitions, creates a seamless connection with the behind-the-scenes sales area. This harmony is further enhanced by the continuous and dynamic surfaces of the floor and ceiling, which guide visitors through the office, directing their attention to various aspects of the space. Private negotiation rooms and a show flat offer a real-life experience for potential buyers and investors.MERED’s main office area, situated on the same floor and designed in a unique ‘U’ shape, showcases mood boards in classic shades of blue, grey, and brown, featuring a variety of materials such as wood, glass, metal, and leather. Designated areas for various departments, along with glass-enclosed meeting rooms and offices, reflect the brand’s core values of functionality and transparency. The office evokes a sense of home—a warmth that envelops anyone who steps inside, mirroring MERED's commitment to creating spaces that are both extraordinary and welcoming for customers and employees alike.MERED is a collective of world-class industry experts, artisans, and accomplished craftsmen with extensive experience in shaping cities and enhancing people’s lives. Supported by its robust tech infrastructure, cutting-edge management systems, and adherence to the highest building standards, the company is positioned as a benchmark for quality construction and management.MERED has recently announced the launch of its flagship project, “ICONIC Tower”, in Dubai Internet City. This project shapes the future of Dubai's skyline and is a true embodiment of their mission, "Beauty in Harmony... Timeless Value”. Through a strategic partnership with Pininfarina, the tower is set to become the tallest in the area, representing a seamless fusion of MERED's innovative approach to real estate and Pininfarina's renowned design philosophy. A model of the tower will be displayed in the lobby of the sales area. MERED HQ in Dubai transcends the conventional definition of a workplace with a visionary design reflecting MERED’s commitment to excellence. It's a place where innovation and elegance converge—a space where dreams are nurtured, and where the future of real estate development takes tangible form.

DXB smashes targets with 87 million guests in 2023, rising 31.7% from 2022

Dubai International (DXB) has concluded a record-breaking year of achievements and extraordinary growth by welcoming 87 million guests in annual traffic in 2023, surpassing not only Dubai Airports' own yearly forecast but also pre-pandemic levels of traffic. This remarkable performance marks the successful and ahead-of-time completion of DXB’s recovery journey, further solidifying its position as the world's leading airport for international passenger traffic.His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai said: “DXB's spectacular performance in 2023 is a resounding testament to the visionary leadership and determination of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to achieve growth and excellence across sectors, surmounting all challenges along the way. This exceptional performance underscores Dubai's emergence as the world’s most popular tourism destination and its pivotal role in global commerce and trade, facilitated by the unmatched connectivity, aviation capacity and logistics infrastructure that has been built steadily over the years under His Highness’s leadership.”“Dubai is setting new benchmarks in passenger experience with excellence levels and innovative technologies that constantly redefine airport services. Consistent with the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities for tourism and business over the next decade, the city continues to grow rapidly as a global aviation hub and the world’s preferred gateway for international travelers. As we celebrate these accomplishments, we remain committed to further enhancing Dubai's leading position on the global stage.”His Highness noted that Dubai Airports, led by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, has introduced strategic initiatives and made vital investments in infrastructure, technology, and customer service to place Dubai at the forefront of global aviation growth.Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports said, "I am incredibly proud of everyone at Dubai International, for their dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence, which has propelled us to break many of our own records. 2023 was an exceptional year and is a testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation, efficiency and delivering exemplary guest experience.This translated to DXB achieving its highest internal engagement scores – a reflection of our commitment to fostering a collaborative culture, where every contribution is valued and every employee is empowered to their full potential. I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated team, the heartbeat of our organisation, and to our partners whose, collaborative work was instrumental in achieving these milestones. “Looking ahead, we're renewing our commitment to collectively enhance the airport experience for our all our guests by launching a significant project to expand and refurbish facilities at DXB, to fortify our infrastructure for future growth. DXB remains firmly positioned as a global leader, setting the gold standard for exceptional guest experiences and international aviation excellence.”Traffic figures  In 2023, DXB witnessed a surge in guest numbers, reaching a total of 86,994,365, an impressive year-on-year increase of 31.7%. Just under a per cent higher than the guest numbers recorded in 2019 (86.4 million), the numbers were driven by robust growth in the second half of the year during which the airport recorded a total of 45.4 million guests. With 7.8 million guests, December was the busiest month in the fourth quarter during which the airport welcomed a total of 22.4 million guests, a year-on-year growth of 13.8% compared to Q4 of last year. Q3 remained the quarter with highest traffic since 2019 with 23 million guests while August, with 7.9 million guests, was the month with the highest traffic. As of the latest data for 2023, DXB is currently connected to 262 destinations across 104 countries through 102 international carriers.Operational excellence and guest experience  DXB processed an impressive total of 77.5 million bags in 2023, making it the highest volume of bags managed during a calendar year at the airport. Despite 24.6% year-on-year increase in baggage volume, DXB maintained its unmatched success rate of 99.8%, with only 2.4 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.More than 95% of guests experienced less than seven minutes of waiting time at departure passport control while the average waiting time at security check on departures was less than four minutes for 97.5% of guests.In ACI World’s globally recognised Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme, DXB scored 4.5, the highest result achieved by the airport to date, reflecting the hub’s commitment to continuously enhance guest satisfaction, business performance and airport service quality. Top country destinations India claimed the top spot among destination countries with traffic totalling 11.9 million guests, followed by KSA with 6.7 million guests and the UK with 5.9 million guests. Other country markets of note include Pakistan (4.2 million), the US (3.6 million), Russia (2.5 million), and Germany (2.5 million).Top destinationsLondon retained its position as the top destination with 3.7 million guests, followed by Riyadh with 2.6 million guests, Mumbai with 2.5 million guests. Cargo In 2023, DXB handled cargo totalling 1,805,898 tonnes, showing a slight decrease of 4.5% compared to the previous year. Cargo volumes registered a growth of 20.4% year-on-year in the fourth quarter to reach 506,018 tonnes.Flight MovementsThe double-digit increase in guest numbers during the year continued to reflect in flight movements at the hub which totalled 416,405 in 2023, the highest ever total movements recorded at DXB, and up 21.3% year-on-year.  OutlookInitial forecasts indicate that in 2024, DXB is anticipated to receive 88.8 million guests, putting the hub within striking distance of its previous all-time high record of 89.1 million guests set in 2018.è-for-saudi-expansion

BinSulaiman Group's OBS Partners with illy Caffè for Saudi Expansion

BinSulaiman Group – OBS, UAE-headquartered diversified business group, has announcesd a master franchisee agreement with illy Caffe Italy, a renowned global coffee brand, for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This strategic move is poised to redefine the coffee industry in KSA), blending illy Caffè’s rich heritage and premium coffee offerings with BinSulaiman Group - OBS’s visionary approach to business.As a conglomerate with diversified interests across key global markets including the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America, BinSulaiman Group - OBS has been recognized as the Fastest Growing Company of the year 2023. This accolade underscores the Group’s commitment to excellence and innovation across its operations.Building on the foundation of their successful collaboration in the UAE, BinSulaiman Group - OBS is dedicated to introducing the iconic illy Caffè brand to Saudi Arabia, promising an unparalleled coffee experience that marries tradition with innovation. The collaboration marks a confluence of shared values and aspirations, aimed at elevating the coffee experience for the discerning Saudi market.Dr Omar BinSulaiman, Founder and Chairman of BinSulaiman Group – OBS, shared his vision for the collaboration, saying: “Our partnership with illy Caffè Italy is a testament to our shared dedication to excellence and our passion for coffee. Leveraging our recent achievements in the UAE, we are eager to replicate this success in KSA. This partnership is a cornerstone of our strategy to introduce the unique illy Caffe experience to coffee aficionados in Saudi Arabia and beyond. We aim to cultivate a refined coffee culture that resonates with illy Caffè’s prestigious legacy and meets the sophisticated tastes of our Saudi customers.The partnership will kick off with the launch of multiple illy Caffè outlets across prime locations in KSA, designed as sanctuaries for coffee enthusiasts. These establishments will offer illy’s signature Italian coffee blends and a comprehensive range of illy products, complemented by a curated selection of premium foods and desserts, all set within an elegant and welcoming environment.Abdulla Bin Darwish, Group CEO of BinSulaiman Group – OBS, added: “This venture into KSA with illy Caffè is more than a business expansion. It is a deliberate move into a market known for its deep-rooted coffee culture and connoisseurship. Our goal is to create unforgettable experiences and moments of joy, drawing inspiration from illy Caffe’s Italian heritage while catering to the local market’s refined preferences.”This partnership marks a significant milestone in the coffee industry in KSA, promising to merge a new level of coffee craftsmanship and cultural sophistication in the region.