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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – THE POWER OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Part 1: Dynamic Duos

This blog post was first published in the July issue of Gulf Business.

In 2014, tech behemoths and arch-rivals Apple and IBM made the shock announcement that they had entered a strategic partnership. Despite their famously fraught history, each of the partner companies has witnessed significant growth as a result of the collaboration, including the launch of 100 new enterprise apps and deals worth $1 billion for IBM in 2015 alone.

This alliance mirrors other successful partnership stories including those of Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, and Spotify and Uber, to name only a couple. The growth these dynamic duos have achieved hand in hand confirms that the old ‘two heads are better than one’ adage continues to be a truism in business.

This is very relevant for companies in the GCC and MENA region, where relationships have played a significant historical and cultural role in doing business. This culture of mutual trust continues today, and in the UAE, collaboration underpins many government initiatives including the ‘Year of Giving 2017’ and ‘Dubai 10X’. My own company – Cicero & Bernay Public Relations – has embraced this culture by establishing a broad, synergistic network of affiliates to better serve our clients across fourteen markets.

This is because in our increasingly complex and globalised world, specialised expertise and regional insights are invaluable. In public relations, where the traditional model has grown beyond belief over the past twenty years, this has taken us global and expanded our team to include social media teams, brand outreach and influencer communication experts, and trend interpretation specialists. This expansion can be witnessed across all industries in this part of the world, where the pace of change is accelerating rapidly.

To thrive in this environment, companies need new expertise and insights. Strategic partnerships provide this, which is particularly helpful when companies are unable to implement such transformation in house. Allies in a successful partnership should be communicating clearly and constantly to benefit from their pooled knowledge, so when C&B is developing campaigns to reach markets outside the UAE, we consult our affiliates to gain the extra insights that inform our sensitively tailored campaigns. This capability offers clients significant added value, and is the first major benefit of strategic partnerships.

The benefits don’t stop there. On top of shared expertise, strategic partnerships can offer a host of other advantages including enhanced client servicing, increased scope, and the power of a shared vision – all of which are significant catalysts for growth. I will be exploring these in more depth in the next part of my blog to demonstrate why we are 10X stronger if we do what we do – together.

Ahmad Itani is the COO of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me