Building the Future of Communications in the Middle East

Guest post by Robert Holdheim, CEO of Edelman South Asia, Middle East & Africa (pictured left with [L-R] Camilla d’Abo, Lucy d’Abo and Matthew Harrington).

As the communications industry shifts, through democratized media, increased access to information and the insistence of audiences to be engaged and entertained, we have been looking at ways to evolve our business both locally and globally. At Edelman, we are moving into the age of evolved and integrated communications. As part of this evolution, today we are pleased to announce our intent to acquire DABO & CO, a leading Dubai-based communications and experiential marketing firm.

The need for innovation is nowhere more apparent than in the South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA) region, where communications practices are evolving organically without, in many cases, the legacy issues of traditional sector segmentation. The lack of adherence to traditional “swim lanes” presents both a challenge and a giant opportunity. But as we look to redefining the communications and marketing industry, we understand that our success hinges upon having a degree of scale and a reasonable balance of resources to support innovation and entrepreneurialism. Our ambitions require a certain depth and breadth in our talent pool and our client base – contingent, of course, on our ability to deliver an offering that attracts both.

Our United Arab Emirates business has traditionally been heavily focused on corporate and government work. While our consumer marketing business has grown rapidly, with 17 staff across a wide ranging portfolio of clients, it would benefit from additional resources and a broader spectrum of clients to catalyse growth across the Middle East.

The acquisition of DABO & CO does that and will give us immediate economies of scale in our consumer marketing business as we transform it into a fully-fledged brand offering, leveraging DABO & CO’s creativity, excellent reputation in consumer communications and strength in live events and experiential marketing.

This unification will accelerate our Dubai-based business, taking us from 35 to 100 people – and make us one of the biggest firms in the UAE and Middle East with a national team of over 150.

We believe that uniting these two leading firms, supported by the recently announced addition of Carol Potter to our team as Dubai-based executive vice chairman of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, will give us the scale, depth and knowledge to successfully transform our business and the local communications industry.

You can see a blog post by DABO & CO on the partnership here.

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