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The Brand Union to expand into region with new Abu Dhabi base

By Staff Writer



Global branding consultancy The Brand Union is to become the first multinational agency of its kind to open full operations in Abu Dhabi.

The move is designed to further tap into the “significant” opportunities that the capital and the wider Gulf represent for The Brand Union, which was formerly known as Enterprise IG until it re-branded in November last year.

With a successful base already well established at the Emaar Business Park in Dubai, Simon Bolton, global CEO of The Brand Union, said the Abu Dhabi office is part of a strategy to build on the success of Dubai and make the agency more internationally focused.

“One of the things that we have done is say we want to be a more powerful international branding business, not as London centric as we’ve been in the past, and with a kind of richer, deeper set of businesses across the world,” he said during a visit to the UAE. “Emerging markets are the key to the growth strategy of this business. We’re growing very well in China, we’ve acquired a very significant business in India, and the Middle East is major.”

Asked to elaborate on how important the region is to the agency, Bolton said: “The numbers we’re talking about this year make the Middle East about 10 per cent of our total revenue globally. Put that in perspective – we set up the business here only four years ago. Dubai has been very successful, so it’s time to really turn our attention to the capital.”

The Brand Union is part of the WPP Group, which also includes advertising agencies JWT and Grey Worldwide, media agency Mediacom and PR agency Buchanan among its group of companies. In the UAE, The Brand Union’s clients include Emaar and Emirates airline, while in Abu Dhabi it works with the likes of Mubadala and the Tourism Development & Investment Company.

Toby Southgate, managing director of the Abu Dhabi office, said the operation would be up and running next month with an initial team of 12. “The scale of opportunity that The Brand Union has to develop business in the Middle East, and also the scale of business that’s already being done out of the Dubai office for clients existing in Abu Dhabi, is very significant,” said Southgate. “There’s a huge amount of good news coming out of Abu Dhabi at the moment.”

He added: “The opportunity is there to be the first truly global branding consultancy in Abu Dhabi, the first multinational player. This is not a half-hearted move, it’s something that is very considered, the investment is substantial and the office will be open in March with a full-time presence.”

At the heart of The Brand Union’s philosophy is the concept of ‘brand mastery’, which is the cornerstone of its commitment to grow memorable and valuable brands for its clients.