Natalia Borri, President of the Network, chose the Italy-Dubai axis for the annual discussion on the group’s challenges.
International group of creative agencies The Ad Store, led by Italy and with agencies in 12 countries across four continents, is opening up to new challenges. The development of the GCC market, starting with the strengthening of its UAE agency, is at the core of its strategies. Indeed, the Group has been focusing on the African continent for several years, with two agencies in South Africa and Zambia and one agency in Egypt, but is now expanding East in the Arabic market and the Gulf region.
On the Italy-Dubai axis, in the midst of the activities of Expo 2020 Dubai, The Ad Store has chosen to host the 21st edition of its International Convention in its Dubai headquarters.
The two days of exchange on November 26-27 focused on the group strategies and new opportunities, among which the new human sustainability plan inspired by four of the 2030 UN sustainability objectives - good health & wellbeing; gender equality; decent work & economic growth; and reduced inequalities. These same objectives will be addressed by the four areas (employees, network, clients, world) of the Ad Store “Humanifesto” signed by all The Ad Store agencies.
Natalia Borri, head of the Group and President of The Ad Store Italia, and Bruno El Adm, GCC Regional Managing Director, discuss the group's objectives in the market and the great challenge of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Ad Store has been investing in the Middle East and the Arabic market since 2015, doubling its presence in Egypt with an agency in Dubai. Has this choice proved successful?
Bruno El Adm. Since 2015, the Middle East has been part of The Ad Store network with the UAE and Egypt markets. The purpose of the Ad Store is to tap into markets where human connections are required, and The Ad Store is all about human communications in the era of “non-personal”: today, the digital is the master of all types of communication. There we come in and make the conversation human again.
Natalia Borri. The expansion of The Ad Store is a natural process across the region and in the Arab world, and we feel this is perfectly in line with what we do, which is bringing back human-to-human communication in an area that is over digitized consistently with our vision and purpose.”
How does the new market fit into The Ad Store's strategies and what are The Ad Store's development goals in the GCC?
B.EA. As a group, we are looking more broadly at the Gulf Cooperation market, with fast-growing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain. These are complicated and highly digitized markets united by one common language - Arabic - but also by a multitude of nationalities in each market. Therefore, from Dubai and Egypt, we are looking to really tap into clients that we feel fit our corporate culture and are looking for that human-first approach. Our business development is focusing on just that.
N.B. In this expansion project, the Italian office of The Ad Store is the strategic lightkeeper, thanks to a team entirely dedicated and in continuous cooperation and coordination with these countries. The resources active on the field are instead inserted in each respective country involved in the GCC, with the aim of being connected with the local culture and to be able to have a complete knowledge of the market.
How is The Ad Store involved in Expo 2020 Dubai?
B.EA. The Ad Store has strengthened its presence in the Emirates in recent years also in preparation for Expo 2020 Dubai. We have been building ourselves and the team to be able to cater to the challenges of the Expo and our clients there. We have invested in a strong team, both in Italy and in the Emirates, that will be making sure the proper and adequate communications for our clients are done and well broadcasted across channels, providing integrated communication services, with particular attention to cultural adaptation, organization, and management of events and PR and media relations activities. Our challenge is to meet multiple requests; speed, dynamism, quality, and consistency are daily requirements that we put in place.
N.B. For Expo 2020 Dubai, we follow several clients. One of them is the Bracco Group, Gold Sponsor of the Italy Pavilion, which we have been working with for over a year on all PR, online & offline event management, content creation, and social media activities for the run-up to Expo 2020 Dubai and the entire exhibition semester of the first major global post-pandemic communication event. For them, we developed an integrated communication plan with the aim of bringing out the soul and values of a brand that has made innovation and improvement of life its first mission. As a confirmation of the strategic importance of the area and the GCC market, this year the international convention of The Ad Store [was] held in Dubai, with an agenda that follows an ambitious hashtag - #shaping_the_future. All the agencies [attended] in person to discuss internal and external strategies, with the aim of making The Ad Store Group more future-driven.