MEPRA to host Leadership Majlis in May

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) will host the second edition of the MEPRA Leadership Majlis at The Ritz Carlton, Abu Dhabi on May 25, 2016, bringing together industry representatives to discuss the topic of ‘The Future of Public Relations in the Middle East: Innovation, Disruption and Relevance’. With over 200 guests expected, the speaker line-up for the event includes: Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairwoman, Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54; Peter Baumgartner, CEO, Etihad Airways and Rania Roston, Chief Innovation and Communications Officer, GE.

“The response to our inaugural Majlis was extremely positive and our programme of speakers for this year is even stronger,” says Brian Lott, Chairman, MEPRA Board. “This event showcases the unique talent we have in the region and best practices from some of our most prominent practitioners, with fresh insights into the rapid changes happening in our industry.”

Meltwater acquires Encore Alert

Media intelligence solutions company Meltwater has acquired Encore Alert, a Virginia-based software as a service (SaaS) platform that uses artificial intelligence to sift through online information 24/7 to derive critical insights that can be used to improve a company’s marketing and PR efforts.

“We are all drowning in social media and the challenge we have is to identify information that is important and actionable,” says Jorn Lyseggen, Founder and CEO, Meltwater. “The team at Encore Alert is passionate about this problem. For the last three and a half years, they have worked tirelessly to condense this clutter down to a handful of daily alerts using sophisticated artificial intelligence. Their algorithms are successfully helping top brands to stay on top of emerging crises, important events and critical trends.”

James Li, CEO, Encore Alert, adds “We are very excited to be joining the Meltwater family. As the volume of online conversations about brands continues to increase at an overwhelming rate, the need for smart alerts that show marketing and PR professionals what to focus on is stronger than ever. The team at Meltwater shares this vision and we’re excited to work with them to bring this solution to their thousands of incredible customers worldwide.”

Snapchat launches Chat 2.0

Snapchat has evolved it’s chat offerings in one update. The newly launched Chat 2.0 will allow users to send multiple chats to other users, start talking or video chatting immediately and provides the option for voice notes as well as video chats. The update will also see the introduction of Auto-Advance Stories which now automatically loads new stories into a continuous stream and lets users skip through or exit stories quicker. Snapchat will also be refreshing its terms of service and privacy policy in an effort to make these clearer. These updates are a potential new way for brands to enhance communications with their customers through live stories and creative content, with chats becoming more interactive and now allowing for video, text, audio and drawing to take place simultaneously within the same interface.

JPd recognised as best business consultancy

Dubai-based branding and communications agency, JPd has been recognised with a Business Vision Award from CPI Finance. Established in order to support businesses that have shown initiative and spirit across a range of industry sectors, the award was presented at a Gala Dinner held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai where experts also discussed the business landscape and economic outlook for 2016.

“We are thrilled to be granted such an honourable award and be recognised for our efforts to date,” says James Pass, Managing Director and Creative Principle, JPd. “At JPd we’re committed to supporting entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs build strong business identities, which help to differentiate them from others in this saturated market.”

Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director, JPd, adds “This award proves that we are on the right track. We are a passionate team and are committed to the success of every business. Every day we help our clients build brands that people love to talk about.”


Harper’s Bazaar welcomes new Fashion & Beauty Editor

Gemma Deeks has joined Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, part of ITP Publishing, as Fashion & Beauty Editor. Gemma was previously with Sorbet Magazine for two years as Assistant Editor, and in her new role, she will be overseeing all fashion and beauty pages for ITP’s monthly luxury lifestyle publication.

Surena Chande to leave Hospitality Business Middle East

Former Deputy Editor of Hospitality Business Middle East Surena Chande has made the move to freelance journalism and blogging. With over three years of experience, Surena has worked on publications including Ahlan!, Cosmopolitan Middle East, Good Taste, La Femme and BBC Good Food Middle East. She will now be working on digital media and print for both consumer and trade publications, as well as blogging on lifestyle, fashion, beauty and travel at

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at CPI Media Group on great publications,” says Surena. “However, I’m now looking forward to diversifying across a selection of titles and brands, both in the region and internationally, as well as focussing on my blog that has been somewhat neglected while working full-time.”