The honor of Middle East Consultancy of the Year 2018 at the prestigious EMEA Sabre Awards goes to Weber Shandwick MENA.

Announcing the award, Holmes Report, the organisers of the awards, said “Our 2018 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 200 submissions and face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.:

Winner: Weber Shandwick (Interpublic)

Responding to an uncertain economic climate across the Middle East over the past couple of years, Weber Shandwick launched what it called its “client unity programme,” an initiative that involved agency executives taking up residence with their clients, living the issues and challenges that those clients were facing, developing a deeper, more personal understanding of the businesses they served. It was an approach that paid off, with tangible benefits in terms of revenue growth (up 15% in 2017) and staff retention (a 10% improvement in a region where turnover can be a significant problem for agencies).

Weber Shandwick has five branded (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo, Kuwait City and Doha) and seven affiliate offices in the Middle East and North Africa, home to a diverse team (23 nationalities) of more than 160. The past year saw the continued evolution of both the specialist design and creative team and the dedicated strategic planning function, both of which set Weber Shandwick apart from many of its peers. The firm does a great job of nurturing and building its existing client relationships—average client tenure is five years—but 2017 was also a great new business year, with new assignments from First Abu Dhabi Bank, Netflix, Chevrolet, Microsoft, Dyson, Coty, Nespresso, Conoco Philips, Kuwait-based Touristic Enterprises Company, and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Zakat & Tax.

Weber Shandwick has been Agency of the Year in the Middle East Public Relations Awards three out of the past four years, and has also gained recognition for its creative work: the “Day One Launch and Brand Unveil” for First Abu Dhabi Bank; the “Very Special Place” CSR campaign for Children’s National; the “Beef Nation” campaign for McDonald’s Kuwait; promoting the “Exchange with the Midas Touch” for DGCX in Dubai; and “Our Hands Tell a Story” digital outreach initiative for US Aid in the Middle East. — PH

Reacting to the top award, Ziad Hasbani, CEO of Weber Shandwick, Middle East & North Africa, saidI am extremely proud to share some fantastic news with you all; at last night’s EMEA SABRE Awards ceremony in Amsterdam, Weber Shandwick MENA won the Middle East Consultancy of the Year award. We were up against some stiff competition across the region including APCO, Asdaa B-M, H&K Strategies, Memac Ogilvy. This is a fantastic achievement for us all. Following on from great success and recognition with local awards programmes, this international win sees us crossing over and being honored for our hard work on a global stage!

We have won previous SABRE awards, but this is the first time we win Middle East Consultancy of the Year, and I think this win reflects the strong year we’ve had, how we have navigated the challenges that come with our ever-evolving industry and region, and of course, your commitment, your focus and your dedication to this great agency on a daily basis.

Our success is thanks to you all – I’m greatly honored to be leading such a great team.”