Motivate Publishing appoints new Publishing Director

Motivate Publishing has appointed Carlos Pedroza Luna to the role of Publishing Director of its luxury media division starting September 2017. With 18 years of experience in consumer magazines, custom publishing and sales strategies, Carlos previously worked in Mexico as Publishing Director at Editorial Televista in partnership with media company, Hearst, where he worked across several titles including, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and Men’s Health. He most recently worked with Groupo Tourbillon also as Publishing Director in Mexico, where he oversaw the development of Tiempo de Relojes and Gentleman magazines. In his new role, he will oversee the development of Motivate’s luxury brands including Emirates Woman, Emirates Man and Jumeirah Magazine as well as new projects to be launched within the sector.

“I’m thrilled with this great opportunity to be part of the Motivate’s team managing its luxury portfolio,” says Carlos. “Being part of Emirates Woman, Emirates Man and Jumeirah Magazine, some of the most recognised titles in the region, it’s an honour. I strongly believe that I will work with a very experienced and professional team and together we will develop new ideas and possibilities to enrich Motivate’s portfolio.”

In The Hot Seat – Samuel Turner

We chat with Samuel Turner, Managing Director of Those Social Guys, who talks about his current role and offers his thoughts on content creation and the content marketing industry in the Middle East…

Name: Samuel Turner

Age: 25

Nationality: British

Current job title: Managing Director, Those Social Guys.

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

My family first arrived here around eight years ago and I was between here and the UK. However, since 2013 I’ve been fully based in Dubai.

Where did you work prior?

My first job in Dubai was actually in 2013 with Arms & McGregor International Realty, a real estate company, where I worked in the marketing department. I followed this with time at ITP from 2014 – 2015 working across brands such as Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and ShortList, and most recently with MO4 Network as Strategy and Social Manager.

What were your first impressions of the content marketing industry in the Middle East?

We’re so behind. Even looking at social media – there are a lot of companies who were operating in a different area and kind of said ‘oh look, social is the way to go let’s add that to our services.’ There was never the care, focus or expertise to be able to offer value to a client or customer with that service. For any agency to not have in-house content creators is a crime!

Has your opinion changed much?

Not massively – we’re still so far behind what is being done and produced in the US and the UK for example. Therein however, lies a big advantage for me and the team as we look to compete with those companies and produce work that’s ahead of the market there, let alone here.

Tell us about your current role…

I take care of the day-to-day running of an exciting content and social house in the Middle East. What that really means is I watch a lot of amazing, hard working and incredibly talented people do what they’re the best at every day and simply find new outlets for them to create for.

What challenges do you face?

Adding to the points before about content in the Middle East, it would be education and risk management. Education of new technologies and services that we want to offer before putting them into action, and the risk management versus rewards behind a client investing into something that no one else in the region has thought about.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Constant creativity. The ability to work with great people and great clients on a whole host of projects is like having ten jobs in one day. Seeing the success and response to a crazy idea we’ve had, or the feedback of a live stream that we promised would work is always amazing. Having all the guys with me who are such experts in their field allows me to learn more in a day about colour correction, or after effects, or 360 photography than I would ever have if I had taken a course for example.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

Any and every way. Whatsapp is number one, but feel free to Skype, email, or even drop into the DMs!

Does the region’s cultural diversity pose as a limitation or advantage to content creation and marketing?

It is a limitation in the way that an individual piece of content will not reach the entire population. Different nationalities and demographics also all use different platforms in different ways. This is simply a challenge that we enjoy overcoming, creating specific content in different languages and making sure our targeted advertisements are hitting each and every demographic.

How has content marketing influenced consumer behaviour today compared to traditional marketing?

It allows a potential consumer to have an incredible amount of background knowledge of a product or service before making a purchase decision. Videos for example, can show off every facet of a new product, or help you get a real feel for a new restaurant or café. A brand that is honest and proper with their content on social media will always win.

What are the most common digital marketing mistakes companies make?

One of a few things would be – first, not exploring new opportunities. Social media and content moves so fast, that if you’re not running full pelt ahead, you’re dead. The second would be going 100% off what they know, or going 100% off the advice of an agency or consultant. The best work and results comes from offering real value to one another and working as part of the same team.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends on social media?

We’re lucky enough to have a distribution platform that reaches millions of people – 7.9 million in the last week for example. Access to such an audience allows us to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s really going on. Imagine having a focus group of eight million people available 24/7 – It’s a huge competitive advantage for us. 

Describe yourself in five words…

My least favourite question ever!

What’s your most overused saying?

Trust me.

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

This one will sound cliché, but it’s so true. The most exciting thing is the current day. We learn things at Those Social Guys every single day. These things come from experience and delving into new strategies and tech, and cannot be taught by traditional education. Try and tell me that an 18 year old studying marketing can learn more in class in one day than he could with us working on a Facebook live campaign, a video shoot and an Instagram story campaign in one day.

Five things you can’t live without?

My phone, my second phone, the team I work with, a creative outlet and Chips Oman.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I watched the movie ‘Chef’ yesterday, so right now it would be a food truck or restaurant owner. Ask me again tomorrow though.

What is your favourite form of media?

Social Media, but of course I would say that!

What’s your most used social media platform?

Instagram, definitely. It’s my ‘five-minute platform’ – the one I will go to with five minutes to spare before a meeting, or to do a five-minute check on a new brand or product.

How do you see the role of content marketing changing in the Middle East in the coming years?

In less than five years we will be having this conversation over virtual reality (VR), and a little later after that through holographic images. Voice activated marketing is also exciting. We’ve already seen Burger King use Google’s Alexa device in a very clever way. This will continue, not only with voice, but also with artificial intelligence (AI) in general. AI will know more about us than we do ourselves. It will read our mood from our facial expressions and know that we’re in a rush as we’ve entered the kitchen later than in the previous week. The willingness to adapt to these changes, and produce specific content and strategies using their advantages will directly relate to a companies success in the coming years.

Alexandra Venison joins Vogue Arabia

Following the appointment of Manuel Arnaut as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Arabia, the title has welcomed Alexandra Venison to the editorial team as Beauty Editor. Having worked across fashion and beauty titles including Emirates Woman at Motivate Publishing and VIVA and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia at ITP Media Group, Alexandra will head up all beauty content in her new role.

New appointment at ITP Publishing Group

Dubai-based publishing house, ITP Publishing Group welcomes Widad Naami to the role of Senior Digital Commercial Manager. Previously Business Development Manager at digitalCUPS and Head of Business Development and Sales at Buro 24/7 ME, Widad has over 10 years of experience in the region’s media and publishing industry. In her new role, Widad will be responsible for the commercial development of all Hearst’s online titles under ITP Publishing Group, which includes the Middle East editions of Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar and Men’s Health as well as Women’s Health.

Five Minute Focus – Megan Hess

Team TMN chat with Zahirah Variawa, Managing Director of Think Liquorice, to talk about the launch of Megan Hess’s new book, New York: Through A Fashion Eye

Tell us a bit about Megan Hess?

Megan Hess was destined to draw. Her initial career as a graphic designer led to her employment as an Art Director at some of the world’s leading design agencies. In 2008, Megan illustrated Candace Bushnell’s New York Times bestseller; Sex and the City. She has since illustrated portraits for Vanity Fair and Time magazine, as well as created iconic works of art for Cartier of Paris and decorated the windows of Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Megan also channels this signature style into her bespoke range of silk scarves and limited edition prints, which are sold around the globe. Her illustrious clients include; Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Ladurée, Sephora and the Ritz Hotel in Paris. When she’s not working in her studio, Megan is usually hiding in a coffee shop, secretly sketching those around her and looking for that perfectly dressed person.

This is her fourth book following Fashion House, The Dress and Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion. Megan’s portfolio has been bursting at the seams with bigger and better projects being added every year. Since her last visit, she has launched a collaborative sleepwear and footwear collection and traveled the globe with leading luxury brands and numerous other projects in the pipeline.

Tell us about the concept behind the launch for Megan’s latest book

With New York: Through A Fashion Eye, Megan Hess will take you on a fashion adventure through this iconic city and allow you to discover her favourite places to shop, eat, sleep and play – all through her fashion eye. Megan’s signature style of fashion illustration has made her a favourite with international fashion labels, making her the perfect in-the-know guide for the reader. In her inimitable elegant way, she shines a light on the vast array of fashion-themed restaurants, hotels, parks, famous shops, galleries and sites to visit, as well as her own favourite places. This is an uber stylish travel guide that highlights all the famous spots and will serve as a special keepsake for your trip. For armchair travellers it’s a stunningly, gorgeous and inspiring snapshot of the city. New York: Through A Fashion Eye is full of Megan’s absolutely, beautiful, full-colour bespoke artworks that bring the New York streetscapes to life. This is a must-have insider’s guide to New York for any fashionista.

 What makes this event unique to previous launches you have held for Megan?

Each year we work very hard to try and create a concept that is unique, creative and true to the city with the brands who have partnered with us along the journey so far such as Fairmont The Palm. This year we wanted to celebrate the launch of the New York themed book, but still stay true to our city of Dubai. We’ve come up with something we consider to be the perfect marriage of the two cities – both incredible in their own right. We’re bringing a New York inspired sunset soiree to the Seaview Garden of Fairmont The Palm. Without giving too much away ahead of our VIP event – New York City will come to life in a very Dubai-esque style!

How will you make the Dubai launch stand out from its international counterparts?

Megan’s book tour travels across most of the major fashion capitals in the world and with all of these talented teams behind each event, it is always hard to stand out. What we take advantage of here is the beautiful weather and the outdoor setting we have. Dubai stands out as the only city on the tour that offers guests beautiful, warm weather with a skyline sunset and the luxury of hosting the event as a glamorous high tea.

Can anyone attend the launch?

The launch takes place in two events. The first is an invite-only event taking place in the Seaview Garden and the second is open to all and is a meet and greet that will take place in the Mashrabiya Lounge at 7pm. Both events will take place on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Could you tell us more about what media can expect to see at this event?

Megan Hess, in a small and intimate setting so they will have the opportunity to interact with her in luxury and comfort. A beautiful food and beverage service all uniquely themed to the event by the wonderful team at Fairmont The Palm. A New York inspired setting with a very special (secret) feature that we are very excited about. A Think Liquorice style event – small, intimate and enjoyable with loads of attention to detail.

Will there be opportunities for brand partnerships?

Yes, we are open to partners and sponsors for the event if confirmed fairly soon. Ideally this needs to be brands that fit the level of the Megan Hess brand and add value to the guests and event.

How can PR’s/brands get involved with this event?

Get in touch with Team Think Liqourice. We are always open to ideas and partners on any event and this one is particularly exciting as the brand association is extremely significant. Interested brands can reach out through email to launches

ITP Publishing has launched new digital platform, which aims to unite various Harper’s Bazaar brand identities from across the Middle Eastern region. The online space will feature Harper’s Bazaar Arabia’s monthly fashion, personal style, beauty, high society and lifestyle expertise, as well as luxurious living features from Harper’s Bazaar Interiors’ and insights into the art and design industry from Harper’s Bazaar Art. The website will also include daily news stories and dedicated sub-sections for the brand’s bridal and children’s content. Launch parters for include Cartier, Tanagra and Samsung Gulf.

Farrah Taylor joins Harper’s Bazaar & Esquire

Farrah Taylor has been appointed as Advertising Director of both Harper’s Bazaar & Esquire, part of the Hearst Luxury Group, which is run by ITP Publishing in the Middle East. Having previously worked as Regional Group Sales Manager – Time Out GCC and then Regional Advertising Director – Time Out GCC, Farrah brings a vast contacts list and a solid understanding of the market to her new role.