Transform Awards MENA

With the inaugural Transform Awards MENA set to launch this June, Team TMN caught up with Andrew Thomas, Founder of Transform and Managing Director of Cravenhill Publishing, to find out what’s in store…

When is Transform Awards MENA, and where will it be held?
The Transform Awards MENA will take place on the evening of June 2. It will be preceded by a daytime conference that will focus on change and brand transformation topics, and both events will take place at the JW Marriot, Dubai.

Tell us a bit about the Transform Awards Programme…
The Transform Awards program exists to recognise and celebrate excellence in rebranding, repositioning and brand transformation. It has been going for five years, and has become the benchmark for rebranding. Most brand agencies now see it as the must-win for inclusion in their ‘creds’ documents, and Brand and Marketing Directors look for evidence of a Transform win when selecting their agencies.

The European Transform Awards has been held exclusively in London until now, so why expand to the Middle East?
As the Transform Awards has grown it has attracted a greater number of international entrants, and a European judging panel finds it challenging to understand the cultural nuances of entries from non-European markets. At the same time, there has been tremendous growth in understanding the importance of brands in the region. Therefore, it seems a logical progression to launch the event in the Middle East. The entries that we’ve seen so far certainly confirm that it was the right thing to do.

Why will Transform Awards MENA be such a prestigious event for the region?
We’ve seen some great rebranding projects from Middle East and North African agencies and in-house teams. Up until now there hasn’t been anything that truly recognises the best-in-class work produced. The Transform Awards will change that – it will celebrate and benchmark the work that those agencies are producing.

Why will agencies in the Middle East and North Africa want to get involved?
Rebranding projects have always given agencies an opportunity to work closely with the senior management of organisations, as well as combine and showcase strategic and creative skills. The Transform Awards recognises those skills and rewards them. In turn, the attainment of a Transform Award provides reassurance that a client’s decision to choose an agency is the right one. Oh, and although the work is the most important thing, the awards night is also a great opportunity for all those involved in rebranding and brand management to come together and have a great evening.

How can agencies get involved, and when is the closing date for submission?
All of the entry details can be found at The regular closing date for entries is Friday, March 15, although there will be a one-week extension for companies who register interest prior to the closing date.

Can you give us some details about the awards/categories themselves?
The Transform Awards focuses on four key areas – content, process, strategy and type. So examples include best brand evolution, best implementation of a rebrand, best creative strategy, and so on. In addition, while brand goes beyond a logo, we recognise that for some companies the focus is on design and creativity and so we also reward companies for the best visual identity within their sector.

Who will be judging the entries for Transform Awards MENA?
We are honored, and frankly flattered, to have some really bright people judge the event. The first ten have been announced, and include Basil Habib Al-Arrayed, the Head of Communications for Bahrain’s Telecom regulator; Lewis Naim, Head of Marketing and Brand Management for Dubai Airports; Stephen McCallion, Global Head of Marketing Communications for TAQA (the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company) and Syed Abdul Karim Tanveer, Mobily’s Head of Brand Experience. It’s almost a disservice not to mention them all, as they are all so knowledgeable in their field.

How do you think Transform Awards MENA will develop in the future?
We’re delighted at how brand and advertising agencies have reacted to the announcement of the Transform Awards MENA, and looking at the entries we’ve already received, there seems to be a real feel and passion for the importance of brand and the intangible asset. If this continues to increase at the same pace that it has done, the Transform Awards can only grow in stature and relevance.

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