Al Scene launches across the Middle East

Creative and media agency, MO4 Network has launched Arabic online magazine, across the Middle East. Based in Egypt, Al Scene is an Arabic culture and lifestyle platform that aims to provide high quality, engaging and dynamic content across the region. The new online magazine comprises of a team of Arabic writers from across the region and will feature in-depth stories, news, op-ed pieces, interviews and exclusives.

“Al Scene is brave and aware,” says Ahmed Fares, Managing Editor, Al Scene. “With an increase in the amount of Arabic content online, there has been a high demand regionally for a website that speaks our common language without limits or reservations. Thus, Al Scene is comprised of a team of trailblazers who voice everything our audience wish they could say through a plethora of engaging and diverse content.”

Let’s Talk reveals agenda for upcoming event

‘Let’s Talk’, a newly launched event series for media and communications professionals announces the agenda of its upcoming event, Crisis Communication: Riding out the Storm – Trends, Challenges & Best Practices. Taking place from March 8-9, 2017 at the Address Hotel Dubai Mall, the event aims to provide a platform for industry professionals to discuss the factors that impact an organisation’s crisis communication strategy.

On the first day of the event, an opening panel featuring industry experts will discuss crisis communication in the region and highlight the need for training in the field. The event will also host an agency-client debate on the level of consultancy services in crisis communication in the region. Following the UAE event, the same theme will be implemented across all events under the first phase of ‘Let’s Talk’ that will take place in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2017.

The UAE conference will be followed by a training workshop taking place on March 9, 2017, which aims to educate and train participants on crisis management.

“We are thrilled to launch this initiative across the region,” says Mohammed El-Batta, Managing Director, Fekra Communications. “It is an unorthodox approach to crisis communication where we are looking at more niche, focused topics to discuss this year. The world is clearly going through several shocks this year such as Brexit, the US elections and hence changing the rules of the game. Our region is also witnessing immense economic, social and geopolitical volatility. Leaders’ ability to handle crises and maintain clear and present communication has never been more important.”

New CEO at El-Aidy

Ali Samir El-Aidy, son of late Samir El-Aidy, owner and operator of El-Aidy for Press, Publishing & Media Production has taken on the role of Chief Executive Officer. In his new role, he will oversee the operations of the Egypt-based publishing house as well as two titles under it, Souk Al Sarayat and Sport & Luxury Boats Magazine.


With the launch of the new industry event series, ‘Let’s Talk!’, TMN sits down with Mohammed El-Batta, Managing Director, Fekra Communications to find out more about what the industry can expect from the upcoming events…

Tell us a bit about Fekra Communications and your new event series.

Fekra Communications is a marketing communications consultancy offering communications and creative services to clients across the Middle East.

We’re launching a series of industry related events across the region under the title ‘Let’s Talk!’ that aims to bring together top communications and media experts, senior officials and policy makers to shed light on the hottest topics in the industry.

‘Let’s Talk!’ is designed to present today’s professionals with an expert perspective and learning opportunities on the latest trends. From preeminent thinkers whose work has defined the industry, to the rising stars who will redefine the way we think about business. It will provide a platform for the industry’s leading minds to share insights and best practices on how to protect an organisation’s reputation.

What inspired you to launch this new event series in the Middle East?

The Middle East is a highly diversified region where culture, media practices and expectations vary to a large degree. While the region hosts a growing number of talented professionals and experts with invaluable experience, unfortunately, this type of experience often goes undocumented. For that reason, we were inspired to launch this new franchise out of the need to connect the dots and fill in the gaps.

We believe that the best knowledge in any field is the knowledge accumulated first hand. One can read so many books, but we tend to learn better in an interactive environment. Learning also happens when one shares experiences and listens to different perspectives, via conversation.

We do not claim that our events focus on educating the media industry. Rather, we feel that there is a wealth of experience untapped and we’re stepping in to highlight it for everyone’s benefit. We learn from each other.

What will be the topic of discussion of the first series of events?

There will be an industry-specific topic for each event. The first series of events will focus on crisis communications. With the continuing evolution of communication platforms, news and word of mouth spread faster and even wilder than it used to a decade ago.

Today we live in a world where both government and corporate reputations are more fragile and where crises seem to be occurring more frequently. One of the biggest challenges for communication professionals is the early recognition of crises and how to successfully manage it using effective communication techniques.

‘Let’s Talk: Crisis Communications’ will bring together top communications and media experts, senior officials and policy makers to shed light on the right steps to take in a crisis and how to turn them into opportunities for exposure, marketing and enhancing corporate image. The conference will also be held in Cairo, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia this year.

Can you give us details about your target market and audience?

Our target market is the UAE, the GCC region as well as Egypt and Levant. The targeted audience are communication professionals, whether in the government or corporate world. The event should bring together PR agencies, government officials, journalists, social media strategists and bloggers which makes an interesting mix for fruitful and invaluable discussions.

When and where will the first event of the series take place?

The first event will take place from March 8 – 9 in Dubai, The Address Hotel Dubai Mall. Registration is now open online through our website. We have two registration options: Day one conference only and two days conference + workshop training.

Please tell us about the speakers and presenters that will participate in ‘Let’s Talk!’?

We have a wide array of expert speakers from the corporate world, government, PR & digital agencies and consultants in addition to media.

Our list of speakers currently includes names from Boeing International, Facebook, Brunswick Group, Ogilvy PR, Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Authority, Grayling, Dubai TV, Newsweek ME, Dubai Eye, APCO Worldwide, Carma, Social Eyez, vArmour, DarkMatter, ACG Communication & Training Consulting, El Masna3, in addition to renowned government advisors and digital consultants.

We are constantly updating this list and still in the process of adding more speakers!

Can industry professionals of the region participate as speakers or presenters at the event?

Yes, of course, we welcome professionals from the region to come on board as speakers or presenters. You can email us and and tell us a bit about yourself and what you would like to speak about. Someone from the organising team will get in touch with you as soon as we receive the expression of interest.

Did you face any challenges while launching the event across four countries?

Not really, thanks to Fekra’s extensive network and partners, launching the event across the four countries has not been difficult. We look forward to seeing the events come to life one after another this year and the years to follow.

What is the reaction you expect by hosting these events?

We expect valuable sharing of knowledge, experience and best practices, intensive networking to take place, probably leading to the emerging of new business partnerships or cooperation between the attendees and most importantly, enhancing the experience of communications professionals and making an impact on the collective performance of the industry.

What does the future hold for ‘Let’s Talk!’?

Depending on the right market, topic and demand, we may consider other markets in the future.

New industry event series launches

Dubai-based PR, marketing and communications agency, Fekra Communications has launched a new industry-related event series called Let’s Talk! With the first event to take place in March 2017, the new division aims to bring together communication and media experts of the region as well as senior officials and policy makers to shed light on trending topics in the industry.

“We are truly delighted with the recent launch of our new industry events arm in the region,” says Mohammed El Batta, Managing Director, Fekra Communications. “Our conferences are designed to present today’s professionals with an expert perspective and learning opportunity that they need to keep abreast of the latest trends and stay competitive in this digitally wired world. From the preeminent thinkers whose work has defined the field to the rising stars who will redefine the way we think about our business, our conferences will offer a platform for the industry’s leading minds to share their insights and best practices.”

Several promotions at PHD

The Middle East offices of media and communications agency, PHD, part of Omnicom Media Group, has announced several internal promotions to accommodate their goals of regional expansion and new service offerings.

Hassan Shoker, previously the head of investments for PHD UAE, will now oversee all markets under PHD MENA, including Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Ian Dolan has been appointed as the Head of Strategy and Content and will be responsible for the network’s social media and digital solutions. Sandra Essa and Stephanie Medlege have both been promoted to the role of Associate Director – Planning. In their new role, Sandra and Stephanie will further contribute to strategic planning and execution for their client’s success.

“When I joined PHD 8 years ago, it was impossible to predict the incredible journey we were about to have together,” says Elda Choucair, CEO, PHD MENA. “Looking back, it has been a phenomenal experience of growth, not just for me personally or the agency, but also our exceptionally talented team and the brands that are like family to us. These well-deserved promotions are a sign that our collective progress is made up on individual achievements and excellence. Together, with our clients, we are dedicated to continuing this shared journey of growth for the benefit of all.”

hug digital promotes Ramy Kandil

Regional digital agency, hug digital has promoted Ramy Kandil to the role of Deputy General Manager. Having joined the agency’s Dubai offices in August 2015 as Senior Social Manager and then Head of Social in Dubai, Ramy will now be in charge of operations within hug digital’s Egypt branch.

“I’m beyond honoured to be chosen for this role in hug digital,” says Ramy Kandil, Deputy General Manager, hug digital, Egypt. “After more than a year and a half with hug digital, I can proudly say that there’s no other team I’d rather belong to and I’m very excited for what’s to come and what this team can accomplish together on transforming the digital front, locally, regionally and globally.”

Hussein M. Dajani, Chief Operating Officer, hug digital adds, “hug digital is fuelled with talent so it is hugely gratifying to see Ramy’s accomplishments being rewarded with such a promotion. This move to Deputy General Manager of our Egypt operation reflects Ramy’s hard work, dedication and commitment over his time with hug digital. Ramy will play a key role in facilitating our continued growth in Egypt and our commitment to the region as a key hug digital market.”

Publicis consolidates regional LeoComm offices

Publicis Communications has consolidated its six-office LeoComm PR network in the Middle East under the brand of MSLGroup, its strategic communications and engagement firm. Leocomm offices in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will now become MSLGROUP in the Middle East, while remaining part of the Publicis Communications MEA portfolio of agencies, which also includes; Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Flip Media, Arc and Saatchi & Saatchi. MSLGROUP’s Communications and Network Consulting (CNC) Network also has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, servicing mostly corporate and public affairs clients, which will remain a separate unit inside of MSLGROUP.
“We are thrilled to grow our network in the Middle East,” says Guillaume Herbette, CEO MSLGROUP. “LeoComm PR brings to the table specialised communications expertise, vast knowledge of the Middle East and an in-depth understanding of regional market trends. Together, we look forward to providing our global and regional clients with a full scope of integrated public relations services.”
Raja Trad, CEO, Publicis Communications Middle East and Africa, adds “In recent years, LeoComm PR has built a strong legacy of growth, one rooted in a powerful ‘think global, act local’ communications strategy. Today the agency’s new identity will help further crystallise this approach and cement its mission to deliver fully-integrated, all-encompassing public relations services.”

UM MENA appoints Digital Director

Zadi Hobeika has been appointed as Digital Director for all digital business across the Levant and Egypt markets at UM MENA. Having previously worked at HP, Nestle and Google’s European HQ in online business development and consultation, Zadi has most recently held the role of Managing Director at Game Theory Digital offering media buying services in Lebanon.

In his new role as Digital Director, Zadi will shape and influence the digital approach in the region, grow the digital portfolio and develop new strategies focused on driving performance and revenue.

“It is both an exciting and challenging time to tackle digital in the region and I am delighted to take part in UM MENA’s continuous efforts towards developing a tailored multi-channel approach across brands,” says Zadi. “We’ll work on establishing a market leadership at a digital level through steadily educating and growing our clients with a clear focus on performance.”