Strategic communications consultancy Manara Global launches in Dubai

28 March 2019

Two former Edelman executives – Robin Gordon-Farleigh and Teri O'Donnell – have teamed up to launch a new communications consultancy in the Middle East; Manara Global.

With the tag-line ‘Where Reputation Matters’, the Middle East has this week welcomed its newest consultancy, Manara Global – established by experienced ex-Edelman Middle East duo Robin Gordon-Farleigh and Teri O’Donnell. According to the founding partners, the Dubai-based Manara Global will focus on strategic reputation management and purpose communications.

Together, O’Donnell and Gordon-Farleigh can claim over 50 years of combined experience advising ‘governments, royalty and some of the world’s largest corporates and individuals’, and despite only a brief overlap at Edelman – with O’Donnell joining in March last year and Gordon-Farleigh departing three months later – the pair believe their approaches to be highly complementary.

“The power of our partnership is the convergent and creative thought we bring to the table – global inspiration with local understanding, always driven by insight. We start from different places, but end with a plan and a unified focal point,” the consultants state. “With the coming together of backgrounds, skills and experiences, Manara Global provides a unique and fresh perspective.”Strategic communications consultancy Manara Global launches in DubaiTaking its name from an Arabic word roughly meaning beacon, radiance, or source of light, Manara describes itself as globally-focused firm, and its founders further point to their international professional and personal backgrounds as informing their far-reaching world-view, with New Zealand-born O’Donnell having spent time in London and New York before moving to the UAE, and Gordon-Farleigh having grown up in Zimbabwe, the US and Wales.

Both, however, have made their biggest mark in London; O’Donnell spending nearly a decade at Freud Communications, latterly as a Director, and Gordon-Farleigh serving for six years as a Senior Communications Strategist with the Prime Minister’s office – one among a number of high-profile public sector positions which further included Head of Media Planning & Strategy for the UK Department of Health.

Joining in 2017, Gordon-Farleigh then spent close to a year and a half as the Regional Director for Government Strategies for Edelman Middle East, before taking on a Director of Communications role for Princess Haya of Jordan, who is married to UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. O’Donnell, meanwhile, joined Edelman as a Managing Director in March last year.

“We believe it is an exciting opportunity to break down siloed working practices, provide greater creativity and joined up thinking to business and societal challenges and problem solving,” O’Donnell said of the new venture, with Gordon-Farleigh adding, “It’s an exciting time in the UAE’s ambitious journey to becoming a global hub for so many things underpinned with its ambitious agenda and with the eyes of the world upon us with Expo 2020.”

Dutch-founded design & branding consultancy Skyne launches in Lebanon

08 April 2019

Lebanon has welcomed a new design & strategy consultancy with the local launch of Skyne, its fifth branch across four regions worldwide.

The international branding and design consultancy Skyne has launched an office in Lebanon, adding to outlets in the Netherlands, Singapore, US and UAE. Founded in the Netherlands by former FutureBrand creative director Dennis de Rond and headquartered in Dubai, Skyne has established a solid roster of local and international clients, including GE, Jumeirah, Abu Dhabi Terminals and Boston Consulting Group.

With research & analysis, strategy, concept design, and implementation services in branding, design and marketing for cross-sector clients, and a number of awards to its name – including ‘Best visual identity from the retail sector’ at last year’s Transform Awards MENA and three nominations for the upcoming 2019 – Skyne is now expanding its suite of offerings to Lebanon to capitalise on regional market demand.

“We noticed an increasing demand for strategic brand expertise in the Levant, so it was only logical for us to launch a new branch in the region”, said Abdallah Hakim, Managing Partner and the founder of Skyne in Lebanon. Of Dutch-Lebanese origin, Hakim has over a decade of professional experience in management, branding and business consultancy in various corners of the globe, including most recently in Spain.Dutch-founded design & branding consultancy Skyne launches in Lebanon

Previous Skyne projects in the MENA region include support with the introduction of famed Dutch retailer HEMA to Abu Dhabi, and a partnership with the Sharjah Investment & Development Authority Shurooq to boost tourism to Mleiha in the Central Region of the Emirate, with the Mleiha Archaeological Center and interlinked archeological sites now earning a five-star rating on Trip Advisor.

Meanwhile, following a silver and a bronze to go with the agency’s gold at last year’s Transform Awards MENA, hosted by rebranding and brand development magazine Transform, Skyne has again been shortlisted in three categories; ‘Best brand experience’ for its work with baby products retailer JustKidding; ‘Best naming strategy’ and ‘Best visual identity – healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector’ for Quro, an obesity clinic expanding to the Middle East.

“We ensure that entrepreneurs and brands always stay one step ahead of the market.” Hakim continued. “By creating a bridge between creativity, innovation and knowledge, we develop market positioning & brand strategies, brand identities and creative brand experience concepts that drive business results. We consider it our mission to move brands and businesses forward in order to meet tomorrow’s customer needs.”