Building strong brand awareness isn’t just a good, market-savvy idea – a solid marketing strategy directly impacts a company’s bottom line. Effective marketing strategies are what get products, services or companies on the radar of prospective customers, leading to higher sales, enhancing a company’s reputation and, ultimately, leading to brand building.
There are thousands of marketing experts in the GCC, all on a mission to grow their brands and make them successful. But which marketers stand out, having proven themselves to be leaders in the region’s marketing sector?
To arrive at the answer, GMR conducted an objective evaluation of the region’s top brands, based on a number of variables, such as media spend (across TV, press, radio, outdoor and cinema); online reputation and awareness; and, how brands fared at the annual MENA Effie Awards – a credible barometer for a brand’s ROI. Based on these parameters, we have been able to compile our list of the 50 best brands.
It goes without saying that the credit for the success of the brands making it to our top 50 list goes to the marketers behind them. Therefore, below we profile some of the GCC’s leading marketers. (To know more about how GMR analysed data from Ipsos’ Media Statex, YouGov’s BrandIndex and our own MENA Efffie Award to arrive at the list of top 50 brands, pick up the november 2016 issue of Gulf Marketing Review available in all hypermarkets and leading bookstores in the GCC region.)
THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT WORK
ABDALLAH MADHOUN, REGIONAL SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER, CHEVROLET, GM MIDDLE EAST
Abdallah Madhoun was appointed Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for Chevrolet in July 2015. Madhoun’s current responsibilities include spearheading Chevrolet’s growth strategy across the Middle East; crafting cross-channel marketing plans; building a credible and positive brand image; and enhancing Chevrolet’s reputation across consumer touch-points. He is also in charge of improving the overall customer experience, reaching sales targets and setting industry benchmarks for customer satisfaction. Since he first joined GM Middle East in 2008, Madhoun has held a number of different positions spanning various departments, including Treasury, Operation Analysis, Financial Reporting and Sales. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the American University of Sharjah.
D DIMITROVA, REGIONAL HEAD OF MARKETING, BMW GROUP MIDDLE EAST
A marketing manager with more than 16 years of experience across brand management, advertising, event organisation, CRM and PR, gained in international environments, multinational companies and country subsidiary. Dimitrova has ten years of marketing experience within the BMW Group. Her previous experience in the automotive marketing field started with Toyota and she has also worked with S Team Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising agency, working for many international brands. She holds an Executive MBA degree.
FADI GHOSN, CMO, NISSAN MIDDLE EAST
Ghosn has more than 24 years of experience in sales and marketing. Most recently, he was Director, Marketing, Sales & Service at Ford Middle East and Africa. He previously held senior positions with General Motors in the Middle East and Detroit, including that of Sales Director of GM’s Middle East Operations and the US auto maker’s regional CMO and Cadillac global brand devel- opment in Detroit. Ghosn began his career in 1991 with Saatchi & Saatchi, Saudi Arabia, as Client Service Director, leading all of the communication activities for Procter & Gamble brands across the Middle East and North Africa. Ghosn holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Ecole Des Hautes Etudes Commerciales. He is married and has two children.
FRANCESCA CIAUDANO, DEPUTY GM – MARKETING & PR, INFINITI MIDDLE EAST
Having joined Infiniti in 2007, Ciaudano is now Deputy General Manager – Marketing & PR. Reporting directly to the Managing Director, she oversees and manages several high-profile projects, including new product launches, introduction and launch of new markets, brand strategy and major-event management, such as F1 activations and motor shows. Under her guidance, Infiniti has claimed a number of awards at festivals such as the MENA Effie Awards, Festival of Media MENA and Global Cristal Awards,resulting in Infiniti being recognised as the most awarded auto brand in 2015 (Effie, FOM), most effective premium auto brand in 2014 and 2015 (Effie index, Effie Awards, Cristal). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Communication and a master’s degree in Marketing Management from Urbino Economy University, in her native Italy.
HANNAH NAJI, BRAND MARKETING DIRECTOR, JAGUAR LAND ROVER MENA
As Brand Director, Naji is responsible for leading the marketing communications and product strategy for the MENA region. She leads the regional marketing team and works closely with importer partners across the MENA region to prepare the brands for an unprecedented period of product introductions planned for the coming years. Prior to joining Jaguar Land Rover MENA, Hannah consulted for Ròya International, leading the hospitality consulting firm’s corporate rebranding initiative, as well as overseeing marketing and communication programmes for a number of high profile projects.
LENNART MUELLER-TEUT, HEAD OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS, MERCEDES-BENZ
Mueller-Teut is a strategic marketing and brand management expert with more than ten years of international experience. He has an MBA with a focus on International Marketing. He is also a member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing. He has developed and directed domestic and international marketing strategies with a focus on brand rejuvenation and positioning. He is currently responsible for the marketing and communications strategy and operations of Mercedes- Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach in the Middle East and Levant region.
MARTHA GEORGILA, MARKETING MANAGER, GALADARI AUTOMOBILES LLC, UAE
Martha Georgila has 20 years of business experience throughout the entire spectrum of marketing for start-ups as well as established companies. Her core competencies include strategic marketing planning, product introduction and life cycle management, qualitative and quantitative research, integrated communication development, media planning and buying, interactive marketing, customer relationship management, database and direct-marketing, social media strategy, public relations and sales promotion. Prior to Galadari Automobiles, Martha worked in a number of companies in Greece, including Ford Motors and Mercedes-Benz.
MOHSEN KASSEM, REGIONAL SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER – GMC, GM MIDDLE EAST OPERATIONS
Mohsen Kassem took on the role of Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for GMC in July 2015. His new position entails developing an integrated, multi-phased sales and marketing strategy designed to drive GMC’s growth across the region. His responsibilities include leading and managing GMC’s sales and marketing teams; achieving sales volume goals; defining key customer touchpoints; increasing GMC’s brand awareness; maximising cross-channel customer engagement; delivering creative marketing solutions; and, expanding the brand’s market share across the region. He previously served as Regional Accessories Manager, spearheading the GM Accessories business across the region. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Alexandria University.
PATRICK FOURNIOL, HEAD OF MARKETING FOR TOYOTA, AL-FUTTAIM MOTORS
Patrick Fourniol joined Al-Futtaim Motors in 2014 as Head of Marketing for Toyota, from Renault Germany, where he was Marketing Director for Renault since 2011. In 2016, Patrick was promoted to Head of Brand Operations for Toyota at Al-Futtaim Motors, following two years leading marketing activities for the brand and overseeing several product and brand activations, including the launch of the new Toyota Land Cruiser and the Toyota Prius, as well as the launch of the TRD 86 Cup, the first single- make championship in the UAE at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Fourniol is an MBA graduate from leading French business school, ESSEC. His career has allowed him to combine a keen interest in cars, design and advanced technology with a passion for brand management.
PAUL LARRAD, MARKETING DIRECTOR, FORD AND LINCOLN, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Paul Larrad, Marketing Director for the Ford and Lincoln brands in the Middle East and North Africa, has a long history with the American marques, stretching back almost two decades. Prior to joining Ford in 1999, Larrad worked at London marketing agency SkyBridge, spearheading a number of successful campaigns.
In his early Ford career, Larrad held the position of Regional Sales Manager in the UK, as well as holding several marketing roles, including that of Head of Retail Marketing. He then went on to become Retail Marketing Manager for Europe, based at Ford’s European headquarters in Cologne for three years. Larrad earned an Honours bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Bourne- mouth University, before attaining his MBA in the same field.
BENOIT TURIBE, HEAD OF DISTRIBUTOR OPERATIONS FOR LEXUS, AL-FUTTAIM MOTORS
Benoit Turibe is in charge of Distributor Operations for Lexus in the UAE. The position covers brand and revenue management, Intersect by Lexus brand activations and marketing mix management, including product, pricing, supply chain and relations with Toyota Motor Corporation and Lexus Inter- national teams in Japan and the US. Previously, Turibe held a number of global positions at Renault headquarters in the field of Marketing, Communication, Advertising and PR. His last position in Europe for Renault was Head of Global Advertising Strategy before moving to Dubai in 2010 as Regional Marketing Director for Renault Middle East. He joined Lexus in March 2015. Turibe graduated in Marketing from Bordeaux Business School and has a degree in Corporate Communication and Public Relations from Bordeaux Institute of Technology.
SEBASTIEN AUGUIN, MARKETING DIRECTOR, AUDI MIDDLE EAST
Sebastien Auguin has been Marketing Director, Audi Middle East, since December 2015, based in the UAE. Prior to this, he was Head of Marketing & PR Skoda France in Volkswagen Group France. Auguin also worked as Manager – Marketing and Communication at Renault Germany, in addition to working in the advertising, CRM, media and digital divisions and as Brand Manager Mégane/ Scénic/Koleos, Renault Germany. Between January 2008 and November 2010, he worked as Product Manager Mégane / Scénic, Renault Germany Renault, after spending four years as Project Manager E-commerce, Renault Germany Renault.
AHMED HATEM, MARKETING DIRECTOR, AMERICANA FOOD
A Marketing Director with 16 years’ experience – ten years in food retail business in Americana UAE and six in advertising – Hatem is well versed in all aspects of Advertising and Marketing from concept development, identifying market trends & customers’ needs to campaign execution. He is responsible for setting the business development and strategy for KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s, TGI Friday’s, Krispy Kreme, Red Lobster, The Counter Burger and Olive Garden for the UAE. He started in Egypt in Tarek Nour Adver- tising, an affiliate of DDB Worldwide, as Account Director and was responsible for strategic planning for key accounts in the market and business development by pitching to acquire new accounts or exploring alternative areas of development within existing clients’ portfolio. He holds a master’s in International Business Administration from ESLASCA University, Cairo.
HISHAM GHAZAL, HEAD OF MARKETING, SUBWAY MIDDLE EAST TURKEY, AFRICA & PAKISTAN
Hisham Ghazal has more than 15 years of progressively responsible experience directing brand strategy in as many as 19 countries. He has led the marketing and communication strategies through start-up, survival, turnaround and growth modes. Providing strategic, practical and creative direction of an integrated brand communications plan, Ghazal has assisted in taking the brand from 50 to nearly 700 restaurants in the region in the past eight years. With a solid background and experience in franchising, food innovation, R&D, brand architecture and positioning, revenue optimisation, he achieved the highest growth across the Subway chain over many years, resulting in multiple internal and external international awards. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with an MBA degree in International Marketing.
IBRAHEM ALSUHAIBANI, MARKETING & SALES DIRECTOR, MENA & PAKISTAN, DOMINO’S PIZZA
Ibrahem AlSuhaibani is a seasoned professional with several years of experience in marketing, corporate communication, brand and PR management. His core specialities include strategic planning and analysis, project and personnel management, business and marketing planning and management, communications, marketing, advertising, PR and event management. Prior to his current role, he was Managing Director in PHI at Riyadh. He has also served as Corporate Communications Director in Atheel Holding, Riyadh, and Marketing Services Manager, Edar Real Estate, Khobar.
OMAR SALIM, GENERAL MANAGER – MARKETING, ALMARAI
Prior to joining Almarai, Omar Salim worked for twelve years at Mars Inc. as a Director of Marketing across Africa, India and the Middle East, where he developed the chocolate category across the region into a leading food category and increased the Galaxy, Snickers, M&M’s and Twix brands’ market share to be among the highest across the world. He holds a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Oklahoma State University, USA
HUANG SHENG, REGIONAL MARKETING DIRECTOR, MEA, HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD. CBG
Huang Sheng leads the Middle East and Africa regional marketing team at Huawei’s Dubai hub, where he is Consumer Business Group Regional Marketing Director. He is responsible for guiding marketing teams in target MEA countries and works closely with Huawei’s Shenzhen and London hubs to define the company’s global marketing strategy. Prior to his current assignment in Dubai, Sheng directed Huawei CBG marketing communications and branding activities in North Africa. There, he was responsible for developing the division’s marketing business plans and media planning pitches, alongside PR and editorial strategies. He has been with Huawei since 2008 and has extensive experience in the mobile device field across different regions. He holds a master’s degree in Micro Electronics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China.
Fahad AlHassawi, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, du
Fahad AlHassawi is responsible for driving the commercial function at du. Prior to this, he was responsible for the effective design and implementation of all Human Resources and Shared Services strategies (including Organisational Development, Supply Chain Management, Asset Management, Corporate Administration, and Government Relations) in alignment with du’s short-term and long-term business strategies. Before joining du, he was VP – Human Re- sources at Emirates Airlines, where he was responsible for devising and implementing various HR strategies and projects, including the HR Service Centre, HR process re-engineering, UAE Nationals Recruitment and Development, etc. Fahad holds a master’s in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami and a bachelor’s in Communication Engineering.
TAREK HOSNY, EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER BRAND & MARKETING COMMUNICATION, MOBILY
Tarek Hosny started his career working for FMCG giants such as P&G and PepsiCo where he learnt the true meaning of brand ownership and development. He then moved to the more dynamic Telecommunication industry, where he worked for Vodafone and then Mobily. He has worked in the UK, Ireland, Egypt and Saudi Arabia; during his UK and Ireland years, he won a scholarship to The London School Of Economics and Political Science, where he got his MSc in Media & Communication. He is very passionate about winning and it clearly shows in his work on the various brands he led over the span of his 17-year career. His work has won a Cannes Lion in 2013 (Vodafone Fakka), Grand Prix at the Effies, Grand Prix at the Dubai Lynx, Grand Crystal at MENA Crystals as well as various Gold, Silver and Bronze awards from various competitions.
GERARDO LLANES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DESTINATION MANAGEMENT, YAS ISLAND ABU DHABI
A business executive with an innate entrepreneurial spirit, Gerardo Llanes possesses a strong background in marketing, general management and consulting with leading multinational companies. Born and raised in Mexico City, he grew up bicultural and bilingual. He holds a master’s in International Management from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management and has more than 25 years’ experience in international business management and marketing. After beginning his career with McCann-Erickson, he went on to hold management positions for companies including Coca-Cola and Kellogg Company. In March 2011, he became Chief Marketing officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, with the responsibility of marketing Mexico worldwide. In 2013 and 2014, he was named among the top 30 Marketers of the Year by The Internationalist.
SALAM AL SHAWA, SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING, QATAR AIRWAYS
Salam Al Shawa is a long-standing marketing and communications professional in the aviation sector. She has been with the airline since 2001 and has been responsible for brand development, advertising and PR. During her tenure, the airline has been awarded 5 stars by Skytrax, among other distinguished honours; surpassed ten million fans on Facebook (the first airline to do so); and, it has introduced a new brand platform called “Going Places Together.”
Qatar Airways has grown to more than 150 destinations on six continents over the same time period, with extraordinary fanfare surrounding every inaugural flight. Going forward, Al Shawa knows the future of marketing and PR is constantly evolving, and intends to remain on the cutting edge.
VIKRAM KRISHNA, HEAD – GROUP MARKETING AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, EMIRATES NBD
Drawing on two decades of banking experience with global leaders such as Citi and HSBC, Krishna has played a crucial role in successfully launching the Emirates NBD brand after the merger of Emirates Bank and National Bank of Dubai in 2007. He drove the bank’s Retail Assets division to greater heights when he joined the bank in 2007 to head the division. Then, he was hand-picked to lead the marketing and customer experience function three years lat- er. Having successfully created a leading brand in the wider Middle East region, he has won several industry accolades along the way, including, but not limited to: Marketer of the Year at the prestigious MENA Effie Awards 2013 and Marketing Department of the Year at Stevies in 2011. Krishna was also listed in Communicate magazine’s Top 50 Power List for 2011 and 2012.
PETR KLIMES, GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR, ADIB
In 2008, he led ADIB’s rebranding exercise, which started with the forward-positioning brand study and culminated with the introduction of the bank’s new positioning and brand identity in 2010. He joined ADIB from Samba Financial Group, where he was the Marketing Director for the corporate bank. The majority of his 20 years of work experience was spent at Citibank. Before becoming the Country Head of Marketing for Citibank in Prague, he held various positions in product development, quality and process management, marketing and sales management in the corporate, SME and retail businesses. Klimes holds a graduate degree from the Prague School of Economics and part of his study was carried out at the University of Wisconsin. His passion is to build purpose-driven brands.
POORVI KALRA, REGIONAL MARKETING MANAGER, B2B DEPARTMENT, LG ELECTRONICS MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA REGION
Poorvi Kalra joined LG Electronics MEA in 2012 and, since then, she has been playing a vital role in various B2B marketing activities initiated by the company in the region. With her past experience in different companies and her four-year association with LG Electronics, she has developed her skills and expertise in the field of B2B marketing. Some of her most predominant responsibilities include determining marketing objectives and managing annual budgets for LG B2B, and setting the scope, implementation, management and review of B2B exhibitions, sponsorship and roadshows. Kalra received her economics degree from University of Delhi, India, and then furthered her education by acquiring a master’s in Marketing from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
FRANCK BOISSINOT, VICE PRESIDENT MARKETING & DIGITAL, MAJID AL FUTTAIM RETAIL – CARREFOUR, DUBAI
Boissinot is responsible for the development and overall execution of Carrefour’s e-commerce, advertising, loyalty, big data, customer care, digital and social media strategies. A core aspect of his role is to ensure the effective alignment of Carrefour’s communications, digital and social media activities to the company’s business priorities and the wider objectives of franchise owners Majid Al Futtaim. His career with Carrefour spans more than 15 years. Before taking up his current role, Boissinot held the positions of GM Marketing and Advertising, and e-Business Manager in Dubai. Before that, he held sales, man- agement and pricing positions within the Carrefour global network, including in Iran and Turkey. He has a master’s degree in Business, Retail Management, Marketing and Finance from University of Rennes 1 and a Bachelor in Economics and Administration from University of Rennes 2 in France.
ROHIT BHATIA, HEAD OF BRAND & MARKETING, HOME CENTRE, LANDMARK GROUP
In this role, Bhatia spearheads the company’s global marketing and corporate communications, and is responsible for positioning the brand’s growth strategy and cultivating opportunities in new and existing customer markets. Additionally, he is also responsible for Home Centre India’s retail operations and is a lead member of the Landmark Group’s executive team, managing group-wide strategic marketing efforts that help drive revenue and increase market share. A seasoned professional with more than 14 years of experience in brand marketing, Bhatia is passionate about the retail sector. He has a proven track record in brand building, owing to strong business acumen and analytical skills, and is a firm believer in customer engagement. He is also a part of the Grand Jury at the MENA Effie Awards 2016. He holds an MBA in Marketing, with a BA (Hons) in Economics.
SHEHBAZ S SHAIKH, CHIEF RETAIL OFFICER, REDTAG
Shehbaz Shaikh is the Chief Retail Officer of REDTAG, which is a part of BMA International Group Dubai. REDTAG is a leading value fashion and homeware brand in the region with more than 180+ stores. Shaikh oversees the Marketing and Retail Operations divisions for the brand in the GCC. With 15 years of retail experience, he has a great understanding of fashion retail through his work in several capacities, which included managing the operations in KSA, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE as Country Head; he has also been an integral part of REDTAG’s growth in the region. He is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree. An avid tennis player, he has been a Champion at the Open Lawn Tennis Tournament in KSA for four consecutive years.
SHYAM SUNDER, HEAD OF MARKETING, CENTREPOINT, LANDMARK GROUP
Shyam Sunder is a seasoned marketer with more than 20 years of experience in building brands across Middle East & Asia. He started his career in advertising with Mudra DDB, helping build the blue-chip brands of Henkel and Apple, along with other, home-grown and multinational brands before moving into marketing in Dubai. He was instrumental in launching and building the property brand ETA Star. In the four years of his current stint, the Centrepoint brand has seen a complete revamp with a fresh identity, digital marketing initiatives and purpose-driven marketing, winning accolades from customers, peers and the industry. Recently recognised as one of the GCC’s Best Marketers by the World Brand Congress, Sunder is a part of the Grand Jury at the Global Cristals Festival and the MENA Effie Awards 2016.
V NANDAKUMAR, CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER, LULU GROUP INTERNATIONAL
Lulu Group, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered retail conglomerate with a $6.5 billion turnover has operations in 41 countries across the Middle East, India, Far East, Africa and Europe. Nandakumar joined the group in 2000 and heads the marketing, communications and PR operations across different geo- graphical locations and verticals, such as hypermarkets, shopping malls, F&B retailing, hospitality and MICE. A seasoned marketing and communications professional, he is widely regarded as the person who transformed the Lulu brand from being a conventional supermarket to one of the most aggressive and popular multinational retailing brands today. Always the one to adapt innovations and disruptive marketing initiatives, Nandakumar has made grocery shopping a fun thing to do 365 days a year, with mega promotions and events.
TAREK EL KADY, SENIOR DIRECTOR, MARKETING, MCDONALD’S MIDDLE EAST
El Kady is the Senior Marketing Director at Middle East Development Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of McDonald’s Corporation, based in Dubai. He started his career in advertising in 1995 with Fortune Promoseven (FP7) in Riyadh. In 2003, he moved to Dubai to head the regional advertising, communication and media team at FP7, which overlooks the marketing, advertising and communica- tions services for seven McDonald’s markets in the GCC. During his tenure, McDonald’s was awarded many creative and communication awards, and the business performance witnessed high growth. He moved in 2007 to Cairo to head Lowe. In 2009, he decided to move to the client side and his passion for McDonald’s landed him at the corporate office in Dubai, where he today heads the marketing function for 17 markets across MEA. He has bachelor’s degree in Business from the American University of Cairo.
MARKUS GOLDER VICE PRESIDENT (MARKETING) SAUDI TELECOM COMPANY (STC)
STC is the largest telecommunications company in the Gulf region with a $40 billion market cap. Markus Golder is in charge of market research and intelligence, proposition and segment management, marketing communications, customer value management, loyalty and retention. He has been instrumental in turning the consumer business around and increasing market share, revenues and profitability in the past two years. During this period, STC won six top marketing com- munications awards at Lynx 2016 as well as awards for its Loyalty Program and Customer Analytics practice. Golder has 20 years of executive-level international experience with both incumbents and challenger operators in the telecommunications industry. Prior to joining STC, he served as Chief Commercial Officer at GO, Malta’s first quadruple-play operator.
Myriam Benaroya, REGIONAL MARKETING DIRECTOR, MEA, HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD.
Myriam Benaroya is the Regional Marketing Director for Huawei Technologies in the Middle East. She joined the company in early 2016 to help lead the brand forward in a new direc- tion. She works closely with Huawei’s Shenzhen and London hubs to define the company’s global marketing strategy. Before joining Huawei, Benaroya directed the marketing, communications and branding activities for Versace’s fine jewellery division, where she was responsible for developing the division’s marketing business plans and media planning pitches, alongside PR and editorial strategies. Prior to this, she was Hermès’ Head of Communications and Marketing for the Middle East and South East Asia, following a period as Marketing Manager for Montblanc, also in the Middle East. A true polyglot, Benaroya is comfortable speaking five languages, including Judeo-Ar- abic, Spanish and Italian. She holds an MBA in business administration with a specialisation in retail and luxury management, as well as a bachelor’s in economics and international marketing.