The group’s been quite low key in its communication for the past two years. Any particular reason for that?
On the contrary, actually. Horizon Group offers 360 creative, media, communication, digital and marketing services in the MENA region and the past few years have been very promising with many exciting developments taking place across all brands in our group.In late 2011, we launched our digital services, offering [agency] Blue Barracuda in the region. Blue Barracuda today provides full-service digital strategies across all aspects of digital
In late 2011, we launched our digital services, offering [agency] Blue Barracuda in the region. Blue Barracuda today provides full-service digital strategies across all aspects of digital communications. This was soon followed in November 2012 by the launch of Brand Programming Network (BPN) in the Middle East. BPN is the third media agency introduced by IPG Mediabrands, and Horizon Group added the brand to its portfolio of companies in the Middle East. The introduction of BPN in the Middle East perfectly complemented Horizon Group’s strategic capabilities and our offering as an integrated advertising and marketing solutions company in the Middle East.
The year 2014 has also been a very eventful year for Horizon Group, with two of our group companies undergoing complete rebranding and adopting a completely new attitude and approach that has really helped us achieve a niche positioning in the region. Earlier in the year, our creative agency – previously known as Horizon Draftfcb – followed the global rebranding exercise and transformed itself into Horizon FCB. The new brand, reinforcing our main purpose, “Creative to the Core”, features a colorful logo design, which loosely depicts the colors of country flags from around the world, incorporating their local attributes while embodying the strength of our global network.
More recently, Horizon Group’s PR firm, GolinHarris, rebranded itself as Golin as the next step in its ongoing transformation. This name change comes exactly three years after the agency launched its G4 model, which transformed the agency structure from a hierarchy of generalists to communities of specialists in order to address the dramatic changes in the communications industry. The group today services a combined portfolio of more than 100 clients with 400+ employees across the region, and is well equipped to offer integrated creative and communication services to our clients.
What have been the changes on the strategic and structural level in the past year?
We have been focused on building a group of companies today to face the challenges of tomorrow. Our industry has dramatically changed over the last few years, more than it did in the last 50 years; “Transform or Become Extinct” is our motto.
Where have you been refocusing your investments as a group in the past fi years?
Nurturing our talent pool – which is our group’s real asset – has been a key priority for us. Furthermore, we are also focused on seamlessly incorporating the latest marketing and communication tools that leverage the next-generation technological advancements. From a [geographical expansion] perspective, MENA will continue to be our major focus. This is where we have scripted four decades of growth and success that we are immensely proud of. We understand this region’s culture that is also part of our identity.
Can you elaborate more on the new office openings? What markets are you eyeing?
We operate in potential growth markets and also where our clients need us. Today, our group operates wholly owned offices across the GCC, North Africa and the Levant. Post-Arab Spring, the region’s creative industry has witnessed an upward trend with renewed consumer optimism across diverse industry sectors. Countries like the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are leading the charge as governments continue to heavily invest in creating quality infrastructure, to diversify economy beyond oil, to acquire landmark international properties and to work towards building knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of optimism driven by Dubai winning the Expo 2020 bid. There is no doubt that this will definitely create new business opportunities for every industry.
Many in the industry are agreeing that 2014 has been a low for this industry. What is your opinion on this? And how has your performance fared in the past year?
The year 2014 was a good year for our group. We sustained our growth trajectory. Our growth was also driven by an intense new business effort that resulted in us winning clients like Citibank, Unilever, Nestlé, Oasis Mall, Lamb Weston, Huawei, Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Korloff and Sabban Group, to name a few.
What are the challenges you reckon face your group and the industry for the coming year?
Constant adaptation to rapid changes taking place in our industry and, also, identifying the unique opportunities that the region’s evolving political and economic landscape offers will be the key challenges for the next level of growth. Hence, to succeed and meet the challenges ahead, we need to live tomorrow today.
Plans for the short term?
Our key priority is to keep a consistent focus on our clients and to offer them unmatched services and solutions. We take pride in our culture of “Always Evolving”, which is inspired by our unwavering belief in the fact that our success is directly linked to the success of our clients.
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