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.

Rotana welcomes Senior Marketing Officer

The Dubai offices of Rotana Media Group has appointed Diane Nassereldine to the role of Senior Marketing Officer. Headquartered in Saudi Arabia, the entertainment group comprises of Rotana Studios, Rotana MagazineRotana TV and Rotana Records as well as seven music stations under Rotana Radio. Previously Senior Digital Business Developer at Mediaquest Corp., Diane will now be responsible for the development of marketing strategies as well as boost Rotana Artists through relevant media exposure.

“Rotana is the leader in Arabic music content and I will make sure that everyone knows it,” says Diane.

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.”

iProspect launches in KSA

Digital performance agency, iProspect has launched a new operation in Saudi Arabia. Part of Dentsu Aegis Network, the new agency headquarters will be located in Jeddah with support from the Dentsu Aegis team in Riyadh as well as the iProspect Hub office in Dubai. Headed by Digital Performance Director, Ruark Williams, the agency aims to introduce a wide range of digital marketing services to the Saudi market.

“As the second largest Middle Eastern market, Saudi Arabia presents a huge opportunity,” says Ruark Williams, Digital Performance Director, iProspect. “Digital spends have increased by more than 200% from 2015 to 2016 with continued exponential growth predicted moving into 2017 and beyond. The momentum highlighted the need for an on-ground presence of digital specialists who are able to proactively educate the market and ensure our clients are getting real ROI across all digital platforms.”

Patronage confirmed for Arab Woman Awards KSA

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud, CEO of Alfa International and Al Hama LLC, has reconfirmed her patronage and position as Chair of the Judges Board for the Arab Woman Awards KSA for the second consecutive year. The Awards aim to raise public awareness on the significant achievements by Arab women in the region and to provide young women with inspirational role models.

Established in 2009 by ITP Group, the Arab Woman Awards has to-date recognised over 230 women from the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia across a diversity of fields that include business, energy, entrepreneurship, charity, media, government and literature.

“Year after year the Arab Woman Awards has provided a platform where similar minded women can come together and thrive in their accomplishments,” says HRH Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud. “It is a great privilege to be part of such a noble award ceremony that not only highlights the important contributions of women in the region but also imparts inspiration for the next generation of young Saudi women.”

Other Judges Board members for this year’s awards include Lina Al Maena, Founder of Jeddah United Sports Company; Amina Al Jasim, prominent Saudi fashion designer and Founder of Dar Bresam Fashion; Lateefa Alwaalan, Founder and General Manager of Yatooq and Basma Felimban, internationally recognised Saudi artist.

Sue Holt, Executive Director, ITP Consumer and Founder of the Arab Woman Awards adds, “We are proud to be able to provide a platform for such talented individuals and a means of celebrating their success. The standard of nominees is high in KSA as the women are highly educated and very determined individuals.”

With nominations flooding in for exceptional women from across the Kingdom, the 2015 Arab Woman Awards KSA is expected to present the richest field yet of inspiring women. There will be twenty awards provided as there has been an addition of four new award categories this year – New Media, Finance, Energy and Legal. The winners will be presented at a female-only gala dinner held at the Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh at the end of March, hosted by celebrity presenter Diala Makki.