Craig Cassius D’Silva
Current job title:
Manager – PR & Corporate Communications I-MEA at Infiniti Middle East
When did you arrive in the UAE?
My time in the UAE has been split. I spent a fair bit of time here between 1994 and 1999. I then moved back to Dubai full-time in 2005, and have been here ever since.
Where did you work prior?
Prior to joining Infiniti, I was an Associate Director at DABO & CO where I worked on the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands across the Middle East and Levant regions.
What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
Initially, I had very mixed feelings about the overall media industry in this region. Looking back to 2005, when I moved back to the region, media was still very much in its infancy, and as a result many media outlets started to pop up overnight.
Have these impressions changed much?
The growth and progression that the media landscape has made, particularly in the UAE, has been phenomenal over the last 10 years. I believe the market has made significant inroads in terms of maturity both from a content and media outlet perspective. What has also been interesting to note is the evolution and growth in the digital space – something that is going to continue to grow in significance as the market continues to progress.
Tell us about your new role as Manager – PR & Corporate Communications, I-MEA at Infiniti Middle East…
I am using my experience to provide strategic direction for Infiniti as an automotive manufacturer in the Middle East, the goal being to enable us to communicate Infiniti’s progress as we drive the business forward.
What challenges do you face?
The biggest challenge I face on a day-to-day basis is ensuring that I maximise the utilisation of time in a typical workday. Instead of getting bogged down with daily tasks, it is always important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and work towards that goal. It is also important to ensure that your regional stakeholders are educated on the role that PR will play in the business, as without education it is often hard to convince those around you to step outside of the box when it comes to communications. As PR continues to evolve, it’s key to stay ahead of the game and opt for more innovative experiential communications as opposed to your traditional press release type communication. By doing so, brands will be able to add tremendous value within the region.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I am a petrol-head at heart and being lucky enough to have built a career working in the automotive space is something that I will be forever grateful for.
What’s the most exciting thing to happen so far?
At Infiniti, the most exciting thing I have worked on was without a doubt the launch of our new Infiniti Q70 sedan. It was a completely integrated approach to a launch that utilised social media, marketing and of course engaging PR. The launch was extremely successful and definitely one of the highpoints in my career so far.
Infiniti is also the title sponsor of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, this means that I am able to work on some really exciting projects.
What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
Media publications in the region have come a long way in terms of quality, when I compare it to when I first moved to the UAE, but there is of course always room for improvement. The two areas that could still be improved upon are; the quality of the content and the creative element when coming up with stories.
What sets you apart from other industry professionals?
I am extremely passionate about my work and am always willing to roll up my sleeves and dig in. By doing so, I am able to get a real feel and understanding for the job. This also ensures that I have full visibility on what is going on all of the time.
Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
Both, for sure. In this day and age you cannot be limited in terms of communications.
What’s your most overused saying?
‘Go big or go home’
Five things you can’t live without?
The internet, coffee, Nike Shoes, my cell phone and, of course, McDonald’s Coca-cola and Chinese food.
If you weren’t with Infiniti Middle East, what would you be doing?
I would probably be running my own restaurant on a beach in St Maarten.