CARMA wins at AMEC

Media intelligence firm, CARMA secured three awards at the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) annual awards that took place in Bangkok on May 18, 2017. Along with two gold awards for ‘Best multi-market reporting’ and ‘Best use of integrated communication measurement’, CARMA’s CEO, Mazen Nahawi was also awarded the ‘AMEC Lifetime Fellowship Award’ during the two-day global summit.

“These awards demonstrate the emphasis we place on providing real value to our clients,” says Mazen. “Utilising media intelligence is no longer just good practice for companies, as you can see from the results, it also plays a critical role in formulating key corporate strategies.”

CARMA makes new acquisition

Global media intelligence agency CARMA has acquired strategic communications consultancy, Argento Strategies. The new acquisition will see CARMA expand and restructure its media analysis capabilities as well as incorporate well-curated research to deliver accurate and relevant client insights. The acquisition will also see the Founder of Argento Strategies, Fares Ghniem, join CARMA as Managing Director, bringing with him over 20 years of experience in corporate affairs and working with public and private sector clients across the GCC.

“CARMA is distinctive in that it not only provides the tools to monitor and capture information, but also the critical thinking needed to interpret the data and convert it into actionable insights,” says Fares Ghneim, Managing Director, CARMA. “I very much look forward to working with CARMA’s team of analysts to build and expand the company’s offering in this area.”

CARMA launches media intelligence mobile app

Global media intelligence provider, CARMA has launched a mobile app for its Insight portal delivery platform. The mobile app will provide PR and communications clients with multi-lingual media monitoring tools and analysis to their smartphones. The features of the new app will also cover global digital and broadcast media as well as print media and is compatible with both iOS and android devices.

“As technology develops and news media becomes increasingly social, it’s vital for the PR industry and c-level executives to be able to track conversations about their company, brands and products at any time, wherever they might be,” says Mazen Nahawi, CEO, CARMA. “Our app is fully customisable and enables content to be shared across various social platforms.”

Speakers announced for inaugural Let’s Talk event

Fekra Communications reveals speakers for the upcoming event, ‘Let’s Talk: Crisis Communications.’ Under the patronage of Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, the event is set to take place from March 8-9, 2017 at The Address Hotel Dubai Mall.

The panel of speakers will include:

  • Samer Costantini, Advisor at UAE Federal Competitiveness & Statistics Authority
  • Mazen Nahawi, Chief Executive Officer at CARMA
  • Saada Hammad, Regional PR Director at Ogilvy PR
  • Hassan Fattah, Partner at Brunswick Group
  • Moustafa Hamwi, Author and Speaker
  • Fakher Daghestani, Communications Regional Director at Boeing
  • Ahmed Naguib, Founder and CEO at El Masna3
  • Hicham El Amrani, Managing Director at ACG Communication & Training Consulting
  • Alexander McNabb, Digital Media & Communications Consultant
  • Maya Hojeij, Senior Bulletin Editor & Presenter at Dubai Media Incorporated
  • Rasha Kashkoush, Head of Communications MENA at Facebook
  • Saad Al Rubaiaan, Government Communication Advisor
  • Leila Hatoum, Senior Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Newsweek ME
  • Angus MacCormick, Vice President of Emerging Markets at vArmour
  • Mamoon Sbeih, Managing Director – Arab Region at APCO Worldwide
  • Fadl El Tarzi, Chief Executive Officer at Socialeyez
  • Brandy Scott, Presenter at Dubai Eye
  • Jonathan Shillington, Managing Director at Grayling Middle East
  • Khaled Abdulla, Head of Corporate Communication at Barclays MENA
  • Mohamed Al Nuaimi, Chief Executive Officer at Mawarid Finance
  • Khaled Hassan, Digital Marketing Director at IBM
  • Fadi Salem, Research Fellow at Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government.


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.

Five Minute Focus – PR Measurement

TMN catch up with Mazen Nahawi, CEO of CARMA, to find out about the upcoming seventh PR Measurement Summit to take place from October 12-13, 2016…

Tell us a bit about CARMA and the PR Measurement Summit?

CARMA is a media intelligence company that uses a unique methodology, balancing automation and curation to capture global media coverage and provide analytics that drive business impact. In other words, we focus on delivering media information in the form of monitoring, media analysis and databases which help improve client decision-making, whether that be measuring reputation, PR performance or other important communication facts. CARMA is one of the leading measurement and media intelligence company in the region and a growing player internationally, but this summit will not be about us, it will be about the industry and best practice measurement.

The PRMS is a standalone measurement event that began in 2008, we have had three of them in Dubai, two in the USA and one in Argentina. It’s aimed at having a high level and strategic dialogue about measurement best practices worldwide, gathering the best minds in our industry and promoting the concept of measurement across communications. The speakers are mainly high level communication professionals but that doesn’t mean a mid-level executive won’t benefit. They will definitely benefit by learning about best practice, upcoming concepts and genuine case study examples.

Where did the concept for the summit originate?

In 2007 I felt that we needed a forum to help further the understanding of measurement. PR measurement in the region is very isolated, it wasn’t opened up to a global audience or global ideas, it was very much rooted in AVE’s which are not the measure of public relations. I felt that by getting experienced people from around the world, who live and breathe measurement, we would be able to change the dialogue and help elevate the level of measurement in our region. I think that’s exactly what has happened, not only have people taken that best practice and adopted it, but we’ve been able to become a part of the global dialogue on measurement, not just CARMA as a company but the entire PR industry.

Although CARMA is the primary sponsor and driving force behind the event, we want this to be an open dialogue where all parties are invited. We have invited people from AMEC and FIBEP to take part and MEPRA is a strategic partner too, because we want to make sure the members of MEPRA have the ability to benefit from this exchange of ideas and knowledge as well as to actually have MEPRA at the forefront of advocating for measurement best practice in the region.

Who is the PR Measurement Summit aimed at?

The event is aimed at all PR and communications professionals, as I mentioned early our keynote speakers and panelists are Senior Communications professionals from some of the world’s leading PR agencies, international corporations and communications research centers, but that does not mean your entry level communication executive will not benefit from learning about best practices and getting a feel for its use in the context of real business scenarios. That’s often the issue, how to put theory into practice.

What do you think makes an event such as the PR Measurement Summit relevant to the Middle Eastern community?

Like any part of the marketing and communications industry worldwide, clients are demanding hard answers on returns on their investment, they want to know what they are getting for their money, they want to know whether all of their outreach is actually working or not.

Analytics and measurement have come to the forefront of measuring success and validating success. Our region is making good steps in the right direction when it comes to that, but we’re not where we need to be yet. The measurement summit is another step in the right direction, in helping clients and agencies alike, implement best practice.

There is a huge amount of content out there to keep on top of and its growing exponentially, not only on social media but in broadcast as well, in the last five years alone we have seen over 300 new TV stations go live in the region. The route to getting the best returns on your investment, will be down to one’s methodology. How to get the most accurate meaning out of that big data. The way to do that will be to avoid being stuck to counts, amounts and quantitative data and more towards qualitative and insightful information. That’s what I would describe as best practice.

What do you think of the media community in the UAE?

Vibrant and resilient, despite the slowdown in the regional economy as a result of the drop in oil prices. Spending on media has generally gone down and we know in advertising for example, many people are being laid off, companies are shrinking, budgets are diminishing, but in the Dubai community or the UAE media community, I think you still find a growing and vibrant sector. Online and social media has provided journalism with a huge boost. There is a lot more content going out to a lot more readers. Even traditional media such as TV and print remains strong. So on the journalism front, there is more media consumption, however that’s not necessarily translating into money.

In terms of advertising I think that part of the industry is under stress, but you still find a lot of good creative work and high quality people coming in. I think everyone is waiting for the economy to turn a corner and see spending at a more sustainable level—that will probably come in 2018.

As for PR and communications, that industry has been going steady and is doing fairly well. You have the major PR companies continuing to dominate the market, especially on strategic advisory, but you have a lot of low cost players who focus mostly on media relations and they provide options for those who don’t have the budgets for the more strategic council. Overall it remains positive; still vibrant, lots of opportunity and good people around.

How do you find the PR industry differs in Dubai to elsewhere in the world?

It’s a smaller industry because we’re a smaller region, where PR Budgets are relatively small. It’s a younger industry, not just in terms of when it was established, but also in terms of the age of those who are contributing, as a lot of the old time founders of the industry have left the region or retired. It’s an industry that has an overall good sense of best practice and is getting better at implementing it, but we have a way to go before the level of our practice is equal to that in other parts of the world. For example, in media relations, this part of the world (UAE) is as good as any other part of the world with great relationships with the media professionals and journalists, but when it comes to advising a company on how to go public, the number of people who are qualified here are much fewer, than you would find in somewhere like London.

Did you face any challenges in establishing the event in the Middle East?

Not at all, we’ve seen a lot of interest. Not just from the registered attendees, but the speakers too. They are keen to promote a more accurate way of measuring PR and to validate its applications and impact.

What should PR Professionals expect to take away from the event?
A healthy dialogue about best practice measurement. To meet and engage with industry peers with a shared interest in raising the benchmark of the PR industry. Ideally the lessons learned will reflect in their thought process when they return to the office or when they next meet with their clients to discuss performance. Also, to provide knowledge and understanding of the methodology and tools to translate data to meaning as well as to push the industry to interpret and apply media intelligence effectively to support decision-making.

What does the future hold for the PR Measurement Summit?
Since we have held this summit at other international locations in the past, we may consider a venue outside of Dubai next year. We will however continue to hold it at regular intervals, but we’ll listen to our clients and attendees’ feedback to ensure the events remain engaging and relevant to their needs too. Above all the Summit is about elevating knowledge, understanding and implementation of best practice PR measurement. We’ll continue to deliver and engage with the PR industry across different nations on that premise and build insights from a global perspective.