PRWeek Global Awards Winners 2020 - Best Agency: Middle East

Weber Shandwick MENAT has been named Best Agency in the Middle East.

2019 was an "extraordinary year" for Weber Shandwick MENAT, the IPG agency said.

Across the Gulf Cooperation Council states and in the UAE and Kuwait, the agency registered "strong, double-digit growth", and its top 30 clients grew 25 per cent. The team grew 15 per cent across the region; Turkey joined the network and also posted double-digit growth.

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The agency introduced a new strategic approach to new business, called "SMARTER", focused on "game-changing pitches" - its conversion rate grew to 66 per cent, with key wins including APICORP, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Qatar Key Petroleum, Mastercard, Netflix, Tik Tok, the Saudi Fund for Development and Uber. It added 35 new clients in the year.

Innovations included introducing a "value-based communities" model to address the new reality of the comms landscape.

As evidence of diversification, last year it provided non-traditional PR services to 30 per cent of clients, up from 10 per cent in 2018. Client demand also saw the agency grow its creative and digital offer by 70 per cent.

Its financial comms practice saw double-digit growth, and with 45 people it is now the largest practice of its type in the region.

Weber Shandwick MENAT was seventh in the "Best 30 Workplaces in the UAE" by Great Place to Work, which identifies the best workplaces in over 50 countries. Workplace innovations in 2019 included the launch of "WS Academy" for training, and “FLEXIS”, a flexible working policy that lets staff work from where they feel more productive after 3pm.

Judge's comment: "Fantastic results and progression across the board for Weber Shandwick MENAT with particular progress around diversity and inclusion"

Highly Commended

ASDA’A BCW

Founded 20 years ago, ASDA’A BCW has long been a regional industry pioneer, and the agency described 2019 as its best year ever. It saw significant growth across the agency, with all five specialist practices recording big wins, from Huawei to UAE’s Federal Electricity & Water Authority. Part of the BCW network, the agency used the formation of Burson Cohn & Wolfe in 2018 as a springboard to adopt new methodologies last year, focusing on culture and training, strengthening the senior team, and adopting the ‘Power of Three’ model with new looks and strategies for its two subsidiaries: Proof, spanning design, digital and social; and PSB Middle East, its research division.

Shortlisted

APCO Worldwide

Four Communications

Hill+Knowlton Stategies METIA

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