Dubai, UAE, 12th March 2013: As part of its participation in the Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity – running from 10-13 March – leading media agency Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) has partnered with Sougha, a social enterprise aimed at preserving local heritage and creating economic opportunities for Emirati artisans. The collaboration is set to help the establishment harness the power of media, raise wider public awareness of the cause and improve fundraising.
Indeed, since its founding in 2011, Sougha Est., launched by the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, has unearthed a slew of talented local artisans – including weavers and traditional textile specialists – providing them with a variety of workshops and subsequent training in a bid to fine-tune their technical and entrepreneurial skills. Sougha – which, in Emirati, means the gifts that a traveler brings back to his or her family after returning home – also works to connect these artisans to the wider market and source potential buyers. The establishment therefore offers local Emirati women a truly all-encompassing service, helping them with their crafts from inception to final sale.
SMG’s partnership with Sougha is part of the Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity’s Future Leaders of Marketing learning program. Powered by SMG, this initiative brings together 20 marketing professionals under 30 years old – spanning various industry sectors – and working in client organizations. The program aims to further emphasize the importance of creativity in brand communications and strategy as well as shed light on current market trends and the client-agency relationship.
As part of their curriculum, these young marketers were divided into small groups and asked to develop a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy in relation to Sougha. From there, the winning approach is set to be fully activated by SMG for an entire year and Sougha will become the official social enterprise supported by the Group. In effect, SMG will be providing the organization with both consultancy and media services during that time.
“We are so grateful to SMG for this exciting initiative – designed to provide Sougha with the latest marketing and media strategies to help the establishment improve its brand visibility and sustain business growth,” said Leila Ben-Gacem, Sr Manager at Khalifa Fund. “These local artisans’ work – which includes table runners, pillows and traditional embroidered bracelets – is truly incredible and a culmination of both their powerful creative prowess and expertise. Through this collaboration with SMG, we hope to work together to help women artisan-entrepreneurs both further connect with their heritage and make a living, thanks to incredible skills that have been passed down through generations.”
John Antoniades, Chief Executive Officer of SMG MENA echoed that statement, adding: “We, at SMG, created this learning program with the Dubai Lynx to help spearhead the next generation of marketing pioneers as well as strengthen their core abilities and leadership qualities. This CSR operation with Sougha provides the ultimate platform for these young marketers to showcase their proficiency and knowledge. In line with this, we are so delighted to be joining forces with Sougha – an organization that supports a worthy cause and helps to protect the inspirational women behind the UAE’s strong artisan culture.”
About Starcom MediaVest Group
Starcom MediaVest Group is the Human Experience Company. Our dream is to grow our clients’ business by transforming human behavior through uplifting, meaningful human experiences. These brand ‘experiences’ are brought to life by distinct, strategic point-of-views—Truth and Design and Space for Ideas– created and owned by SMG’s two global agency brands: MediaVest and Starcom, respectively. Ranked one of the largest brand communications groups in the world, Starcom MediaVest Group (www.smvgroup.com) encompasses an integrated network of human experience strategists, investment specialists, content creators and digital experts. With nearly 7,200 employees in 110 offices worldwide, SMG partners with the world’s leading companies including The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft, P&G, Samsung, and Microsoft. The network has enjoyed annual double-digit growth in the MENA since it launched in 2000. Among its regional clients are Procter & Gamble, Emirates Airlines, Samsung, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Almarai, Saudi Telecom, GlaxoSmithKline, Tiffany & Co., Novartis, Emirates NBD, Adidas and Kraft Foods. SMG MENA has been named the top media shop in the region in terms of billings by RECMA, the leading independent global monitoring and ranking source.