Passion to success: A chat with ISHRAQ Communications founder Osama Tinbakji

Abha Garyali Peer |

Established in 2020, ISHRAQ Communications is a boutique communications agency based in Dubai specializing in PR service with a strong experience in creating a positive connection between the client and the public. With its aims to define the real concept of public relations by creating impactful campaigns that deliver guaranteed results, this agency has been making great strides in the PR industry.

In an exclusive Interview with Adgully Middle East, Osama Tinbakji, Founder of ISHRAQ Communications, shares the importance of PR in today’s fast-paced business world. He also describes his successful journey from working at PR Houses to running a PR and communication agency. He also talks about his long clientele list and appreciation he has received so far. A few excerpts:

Please share your professional journey with us.

Throughout my professional journey, I have consistently immersed myself in the dynamic fields of Public Relations and marketing. From the onset of my career, I have been actively engaged in leveraging my expertise and skills to excel in these domains, as I had been handling the PR and marketing for a furnished serviced apartments’ hotel, shipping company, and curtains manufacturing company in Damascus-Syria before I decided to leave Syria and start my journey in UAE in 2009.

My proficiency in developing comprehensive Public Relations strategies and delivering captivating content for PR and marketing initiatives has facilitated my work with IHG, a renowned chain of luxury 5-star hotels. During my work with IHG I was keen to secure the utmost exposure to the hotels and the golf club through very successful campaigns and building the best relations with all types of media in GCC and the MENA region. Afterwards I worked with three public relations agencies, where I gained extensive experience in PR and communications covering all of the sectors including government, corporate, advanced technologies, IT, tourism and hospitality, and diplomatic accounts in Abudhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah.

Then I found myself capable of starting my own business and launched Ishraq Communications LLC as a boutique communications consultancy in Dubai specializing in PR and social media services aiming to create a positive connection between the client and the public, as I believe in the importance of consistent communications approach for all entities and sectors in order to maintain reliable public relations with the communities based on a clear, creative, and effective strategic plans.

What inspired you to start ISHRAQ Communications? What does it mean in Arabic?

ISHRAQ in Arabic means the sunrise or the emergence of brilliant ideas. As Yakov Zel’dovich said: “Without publicity there is no prosperity”, and as Bill Gates said: “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!”

The importance of public relations lies in doing multiple tasks of building and maintaining reputation, effective communication, relationship building, crisis management, media relations, influencer engagement, managing public perception, supporting marketing efforts, stakeholder engagement, and enhancing organisational growth.

Based on my passion for PR and communications and my belief in this field I decided to launch my own consultancy benefiting from my solid experience and taking inspiration from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who says: “We all take risks in life, but the greatest danger is not to take risks at all”, “When you do what you like, you won’t feel like you are doing work.”

How is the organisation faring in the Middle East? What sets ISHRAQ apart from its competitors?

With the grace of the Almighty, everything has been going well at ISHRAQ Communications since I launched the consultancy. We have a strong presence in GCC and the Middle East; we have been taking clients on retainer and projects basis to provide the PR and social media services mostly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Our tailored and holistic approach to PR ensures that our clients are involved at every step of the way. Through our expertise and in-depth knowledge of the domestic and regional PR, we offer our clients top-quality, innovative and integrated communications solutions.

We believe that PR is the art of shaping business prospects into stories that journalists demand. At Ishraq Communications we make effective use of both traditional media platforms and the digital channels to build strategic relationships with the key media on behalf of the clients to set up interviews, distribute press releases, opinion pieces and editorials and to organise press events. I am proud of our team who can produce high-quality Arabic and English content for all PR tools and social media materials. We are the journalists’ favorite agency when it comes to professional Arabic and English content writing for their articles and stories. We strive to build the best relations with all media channels and platforms in the region so they reach to us for our clients input to add in their articles and they welcome us when we contact them to pitch for new releases.

We work in vast array of sectors with focus on government sectors, tourism boards, hospitality companies, IT and technology, real estate, retails, architecture and development management services companies, art galleries, events and exhibitions, and media research groups.

What can you say about your major clients? What strategies have you adopted in the last couple of years?

We are proud to work with reputed companies in the region; MDMS in Saudi Arabia has chosen us as their preferred PR agency, and SRMG has appointed us to handle their media relations in the region. We are also proud of our strong relation with Brill Collective as we have achieved successful PR projects together. We also handle PR projects for the largest hotels and resorts chain companies in the world, and we also manage the PR and social media mandate for largest events and art galleries in the UAE.

Our primary work strategy is centered on delivering exceptional service to all our clients, irrespective of the budget they allocate. Unlike prevalent practices in the market, we do not prioritize accumulating a large client base only to neglect their needs and compromise on service quality. Our commitment lies in providing consistent, high-quality service to each and every client we serve.

Share some unforgettable professional experience that brought you lot of gratification.

Throughout my professional career, I have consistently striven to deliver exceptional results to the client. While the breadth of my accomplishments would require numerous pages to fully articulate, I can highlight a few notable achievements.

One such achievement was the recognition I received from His Excellency, the former Irish ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Aidan Cronin. He praised the efforts I put in to ensure that the Irish pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai received the highest level of exposure and effectively showcased its activities. This recognition is a testament to my dedication and expertise in delivering outstanding outcomes.

I am also immensely proud of the media coverage and strategic opportunities, I secured for esteemed organisations such as IHG, Aldar Retails, Tourism Ireland, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, Soneva Resorts, Ascott Hotels. By leveraging my skills and industry knowledge, I effectively positioned these companies to maximize their visibility and capitalize on promising prospects.

Furthermore, I am honoured to acknowledge the recent recognition bestowed upon Ishraq Communications by SRMG, the largest integrated media group in the MENA region. This recognition was in appreciation of the exceptional exposure we achieved for their newly launched channels and media platforms.

These accomplishments are just a glimpse into the extensive track record of success I have cultivated throughout my career.

Any advice to young PR personnel with the zest to make it big!

My advice for young PR professionals is to approach the market with a professional attitude. It is crucial to establish strong relationships with the media based on honesty and respect. To gain experience, I recommend working with clients from various sectors. This will provide exposure to a wide range of campaigns and projects, allowing them to build a diverse portfolio of experience and strategic plans. Additionally, it is important for PR personnel to practice writing about different fields. This will enhance their content-creation abilities, which play a vital role in public relations and communications.

Effective communication is essential, whether it is with colleagues or clients. Without proper internal communication, it is impossible to deliver the best communication services. Furthermore, I advise adhering to the highest work ethics and avoiding toxic work environments characterized by cliques, gossip, and harmful conspiracies.