17 September 2014

The tremendous role of social media channels in reaching key audiences emerged as a key theme at GCC Government Social Media Summit

Governments are increasingly relying on social media channels to proactively communicate and engage with key audiences, delegates were told at the first day of the 3rd GCC Government Social Media Summit.

The rising adoption of social media channels by governments in the Middle East was highlighted by speaker after speaker at the event sessions.

Held under the theme of “innovative social networks for effective collaboration & smart governance”, the third GCC Government Social Media Summit 2014 kicked off today (17 September) in Dubai and brought together more than 250 regional and international communications and social media experts, decision makers and executives.

Independent Researcher Dr. Saeed K. Al Dhaheri underlined the UAE government’s focus on social media and the importance of online channels in enhancing communications between governments and the people.

“Social media is very valuable to government organisations as it is an almost free marketing tool that allows them to reach their target audience groups effectively and efficiently and create wide-spread awareness of the services they offer.

“In the Middle East, more than 12 million people interact with governments via social media channels, sending as many as 140,000 tweets in Arabic and 270,000 in English.”

Elizabeth Linder, Politics & Government Specialist at Facebook, Inc. UK discussed how social media is enhancing people’s trust in government departments.

“A study conducted in the UK showed that today people trust police updates posted on Facebook and social media more than the information the police shares on TV and other traditional media outlets. In fact, information shared on social media channels is even more trusted than the complaints residents register on the phone.”

“The human interface and personal connection elements of social media networks facilitate more conversations and allow people to build greater levels of trust.”

Commenting on how government institutions such as Dubai Police are enhancing public engagement on social media, Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, General Director of Smart Services at Dubai Police said:

“We are gradually shifting our customer services online and now offer a number of mobile and e-services which has greatly facilitated people. For instance, residents can now obtain government documents in ten minutes via mobile and email, a process that would previously have taken three days.

“We now observe more than 50 per cent of people using e-services to reach out to Dubai Police. According to the most recent statistics, more than 23 million mobile transactions have been performed to pay traffic fines since we launched our smart services in November 2013.”

The summit also featured six industry-specific workshops, customised to help delegates from various sectors better understand the needs of their particular audience groups. Catering to the individual needs of regional communications and social media professionals, the tailor-made sessions sparked stimulating discussions about how social media can be leveraged in key sectors such as government, healthcare, defence, tourism, foreign affairs and education.

The 3rd GCC Government Social Media Summit is sponsored by ICUC Moderation Services Inc, Microsoft, IMS Health, Meltwater and Brndstr. Other supporters, partners and key contributors include the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, Middle East Public Relations Agency (MEPRA), Exantium, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and Four Communications.

Governments recognise the importance of social media for effective communication

SellAnyCar.com partners with prominent car rental agencies to offer sellers free replacement cars for up to a month.

SellAnyCar.com, the Middle East’s first car buying service that guarantees it will purchase any car within 30 minutes, has added free rented car replacements to its convenience offering. 

In partnership with some of the UAE’s top car rental agencies, SellAnyCar.com now offers rental replacements for up to a month to owners who sell their vehicles at any SellAnyCar.com branch. 

Upon making a free online car valuation, sellers can drive to their nearest SellAnyCar.com location. Following a free detailed car inspection, they can immediately sell it, with the paperwork processed and payment authorised in less than 30 minutes. And in an initiative that extends convenience beyond the point of sale, they can get a rented car the same day – provided the car sold is of sufficient value.

“SellAnyCar.com offers a free car inspection, a guarantee to buy any car and pay you instantly. Going beyond just the sale is a perfect addition to our customer service excellence approach. Customers can get a rental replacement the same day, which bridges the gap between selling their old car and buying a new one. So when you ask yourself what the best way is to sell your car, the answer is always SellAnyCar.com,” said Saygin Yalcin, Founder and CEO of SellAnyCar.com.

In another nod to seller convenience, SellAnyCar.com has expanded its branches countrywide, and has also tied up with Emarat Fasttrack service stations for free car inspections.

SellAnyCar.com guarantees hassle free car sales for consumers and cures the asymmetry of information between buyer and seller when it comes to car value and condition. An online evaluation is followed by a standardized manual inspection on site to determine fair value. Sellers can receive rapid payment online, transferred directly to their bank account.

SellAnyCar.com partners with prominent car rental agencies

10 April 2014

Dubai’s newest sporting event, the Dubai Desert Triathlon, has generated significant interest and excitement within the triathlon and endurance horse riding communities with over 120 teams entered for the inaugural event, organisers announced today.

The Dubai Sports Council has partnered with Meydan to develop an innovative event which combines the traditional heritage Emirati sport of endurance horse racing with the triathlon disciplines of running and cycling.

Organisers are delighted with the response received, not only locally but also internationally with registrations far exceeding expectations.

 “We are very pleased with the response we have had from the triathletes and endurance riders. It is clear that they are excited and enthusiastic to be part of something which may well be a world first” said Nasser Al Rahmah, Director of Sports Events Department at Dubai Sports Council.

“This event showcases not only the strength of these sports in Dubai and the region, but also the creativity and innovation which has become Dubai’s international trademark” he The event, which will take place on Saturday April 19th at the Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC), has attracted competitors from across the region and internationally, with several entrants aiming to complete the full triathlon, as they are registered endurance riders as well as cyclists and runners. Competitors who are not registered riders can participate as either runners or cyclists (or both) and have been matched with a rider to complete their team.

The event will kick off at 6am with an endurance horse ride of a 40km loop, followed by a 25km cycling stage on the Dubai Cycle Path, then a 5km desert run through the spectacular desert and finishing in the Dubai International Endurance City. Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) is located 40 minutes drive from Dubai next to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.

Athletes will be competing for honours in the categories of fastest overall individual triathlete, fastest team, fastest cyclist, fastest runner and best conditioned horse in the male, female and junior sections.

DIEC will also be transformed into a triathlon village for the day, with activities for children including a circus workshop, face painting and balloon art, and entertainment for all the family on the lawns by jugglers, stilt walkers, acrobats and unicyclists. A delicious Bab Al Shams breakfast buffet will also be available for only 50dhs in the elegant Dubai International Endurance City centre. The village will be established close to the transition and finish area so spectators will catch all the action and watch triathlon history in the making as the individual triathletes and teams vie for the honour of winning the inaugural event.

The Dubai Desert Triathlon is held under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai

For any enquiries regarding the event, call Promoseven Sports Marketing on +971 4 321 0008, or go the Facebook page Dubai Desert Triathlon.

Dubai Sports Council was founded on 30 November 2005 with the aim of developing and improving sports in Dubai. The current Chairman is H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

Dubai Sports Council aims to create a comprehensive sports environment that meets the requirements of society and paves the way for the youth to cultivate their sporting and cultural talents and aptitudes in a way that leads them to achieve tangible results so that Dubai can become a leading name in the world of sports.

Dubai Sports Council provides many e-Services including e-Job, volunteer applications and rules of organizing sports events in the Emirate of Dubai.

P.O. Box: 9888 Dubai, UAE Telephone: 00971 (0)4 324 4446

For further information, please visit the website of Dubai Sports Council on Meydan is the visionary concept of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It is the culmination of this vision to create not just the ultimate venue for horseracing, but also an integrated city that is sustainable, environmentally responsible and also one that positions Dubai at the centre of the competitive global business stage.

Meydan Group features the prestigious Meydan Racecourse, home to the Dubai World Cup and 5 months of thoroughbred horse racing. The Meydan Hotel, a five-star destination for leisure

Inaugural Dubai Desert Triathlon Attracts Over 120 Entries

9 April 2014

Baguette Express, one of Scotland and UK's fast growing retail-based food franchises, last evening celebrated the opening of its 3rd store in Dubai. The restaurant specializes in providing unlimited fillings that can be stuffed into Baguettes, Paninis, Wraps and Sandwiches. The restaurant also offers fresh pastas, salads and soups to quell hunger pangs all day long.

The franchise has been introduced in the UAE by Galaxy Food Concepts, a new venture by leading consumer electronics distributor – EROS GROUP. Speaking at the evening celebration Mr. Deepak Babani, CEO, Eros Group said, “The food business was always an interesting venture and we felt it was the right time to implement our diversification plans. Baguette Express was the right fit for us and we intend to take the brand to all parts of the UAE and establish Galaxy Food Concepts as a ideal partner in the food and quick service restaurant business.

The new store is conveniently located at Emaar Business Park in Dubai in close proximity to one of Dubai fastest growing commercial and residential areas. The new restaurant will cater to hungry customers in Media City, JLT, TECOM and also Emaar Business Park. Residents can also enjoy the new restaurant’s tastes with delivery services in The Greens, The Springs, Emirates Hills and The Lakes.

Mr. Niranjan Gidwani, Deputy CEO, Eros Group says. “What excited us about Baguette Express was that unlike other sandwich brands it does not ‘push’ the menu. We let the customer make his / her own meal by choosing various fillings, veggies and sauces. We are guided by the high international standards set by Baguette Express in sourcing the freshest ingredients to make our meals affordable and tasty.”

Baguette Express has two more locations in Dubai. One is located opposite Lamcy Plaza in Oud Metha. The other store is located in the new extension of Al Ghurair Centre, in the heart of Deira. The entire operations for Baguette Express are overseen by Pawan Jain, General Manager, Galaxy Food Concepts. Chef Pawan as he is popularly known is a well recognized name in the quick service and catering business in the UAE.

Baguette Express was founded in Scotland in 1999 and specializes in providing fresh, healthy and easily affordable snacking and light meal options including Baguettes, Panini’s, Sandwiches and Soups, Salads, pasta, wraps, fresh cakes, health smoothies, milkshakes , fresh coffee – all within a no-fuss environment.

About Baguette Express
Baguette Express is originally from Scotland. It is one of UK's fastest growing retail-based food franchises within the expanding world of healthy snacking. Baguette Express specializes in providing fresh, healthy and easily affordable snacking and light meal options including Baguettes, Panini’s, Sandwiches and Soups, Salads, pasta, wraps, fresh cakes, health smoothies, milkshakes , fresh coffee – all within a no-fuss environment. It has over 25 fillings and varieties.

Unlimited Fillings at Baguette Express, Scotland's popular fast food brand now in Dubai

New Social Experiment Illustrates the Ongoing Conflict Women Have with Recognizing their Beauty

Inside every woman is the power to feel beautiful, confident and radiant, according to a first-of-its-kind social experiment conducted by Dove. Carried out in response to research revealing that an alarming 80% of women feel anxious about the way they look1, the study highlights how the right state of mind can unlock a powerful feeling of beauty that lives inside all women. The results are documented in the short film Dove: Patches on YouTube.com/DoveArabia

The experiment was guided by psychologist and New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke (Ph.D., Counseling Psychology) who has spent thirty years conducting scientific research around women’s body image and self-esteem.

During the experiment Dr. Kearney-Cooke invited the participants to wear a custom-made “beauty patch” for two weeks, which - would help them feel more beautiful. The women were then invited to keep a personal account of their life-changing experience throughout the two week period. All the women agreed that wearing the “beauty patch” helped to improve their self-esteem and to change their personal lives in ways that they had not imagined.

At the end of the experiment, however, it is revealed that the “beauty patch” contained nothing and that the power of believing in their own beauty influenced feeling beautiful.

"When a woman feels beautiful, she radiates happiness and confidence, which inspires her life in a significant way,” said Dr. Kearney-Cooke. “These women, like so many others, struggle to recognize their own beauty and it severely affects their daily lives. This ground-breaking experiment was designed to illustrate that beauty is a state of mind and that the power to feel beautiful comes from within.”

Beauty is a State of Mind
Throughout the Dove: Patches film, it becomes clear how low self-esteem affects many elements of the women’s lives. As the women become more confident about the way they look, personal relationships flourish and they develop a more optimistic outlook on their daily routine. One of the women who participated shared that she felt ashamed of her arms and had always avoided shopping. A few days into the experiment, she started to feel more beautiful and invited her daughter to go shopping for the first time. The two of them spent an unforgettable day together and they tried on dresses that she had never dreamed of wearing. Dove hopes that all of the women’s inspirational stories featured in the Dove: Patches film will serve as powerful examples and encourage all women to develop a stronger relationship with their own beauty.

“We hear from thousands of women every day about how their complicated relationship with beauty affects their overall confidence and happiness,” said Madhusudhan Rao, VP, Marketing, Unilever, North Africa and Middle East. “By illustrating through the Dove: Patches film that a positive state of mind and openness can help them feel more beautiful, we hope to inspire all women and help change the way they see themselves.”

Dove invites all women to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. When women look and feel their best, they feel happier, and Dove believes it is important for women to see the beauty in themselves so that they can inspire the next generation. The brand has set a goal of reaching 15 million young lives with self-esteem programming by the end of 2015 and has reached over 12 million to date.

Watch the Dove: Patches film at YouTube.com/DoveArabia and join the conversation at #BeautyIs.

About Dove
Dove, manufactured by Unilever, is the No. 1 personal wash brand nationwide. One in every three households uses a Dove product[1], which includes beauty bars, body washes, face care, anti-perspirant/deodorants, body mists, hair care and styling aids. Dove Men+Care™ is the newest range of products from Dove, developed specially for men. Dove is available nationwide in food, drug and mass outlet stores.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7 out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily basis. We work with 173,000 colleagues around the world, and we have generated annual sales of €51 billion in 2012. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2012). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands such as Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s, Lux, Rama, Ponds and Axe.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals are more than 50 time-based targets. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/.

Unilever has been recognized in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and for the second year topped the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan / SustainAbility latest annual survey (2012). The company is an employer of choice in many of the countries in which it operates and is seen as a symbol for innovation and leadership development.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.

Dove® Proves that Beauty is a State of Mind

13 January 2014

Stuck for Valentine’s Day ideas? Treat that special someone to an unforgettable gastronomic journey through Italy here in Dubai on Valentine’s Day!

The award winning Roberto’s Restaurant & Lounge, renowned for its mix of traditional and modern Italian dishes, is offering a memorable Valentine's Day dining experience for you and your loved one. The four-course menu prepared by Chef Andrea Mugavero and his team springs romance and originality from traditional Italian cuisine, adding a personal twist to each creation.

Choose from a selection of mouth-watering dishes including ‘hearty soup of artichoke with Norwegian king crab meat and mint pesto’, ‘white & black marubini pasta stuffed with lobster and amalfi lemon, coral & ginger emulsion’, and ’sea bass with prawns & sea scallop in papillote, violet potatoes, olives taggiasche & mandarin oil’ complimented by ‘Roberto’s Sweet Lover’ dessert.

Price: AED 1,250 per couple inclusive of four-course set menu with a glass of bubbly

Roberto’s Restaurant & Lounge is located in Gate Village, Building 1, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). To reserve a table for Valentine’s Day, please contact +971 4 386 0066.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Roberto’s Restaurant & Lounge

Chinese Food Lovers Rejoice! Dubai welcomes Chinese delivery, take-out & dining hot spot in Jumeirah.

A new Chinese restaurant & delivery has opened its door to the delight of foodies and Chinese food lovers in Dubai. Conveniently located in the Beach Park Plaza mall, casual dining destination, Chop Suey, breathes exciting new air in the Chinese dining scene in Dubai, celebrating the Chinese food that we all know and love!

Taste, health and ambience are on top of the list at this laid-back establishment which was inspired by the Chinese food culture prevalent in California where co-founder Dina Spahi-Rifai resided for some time. The restaurant offers a place where families and friends can enjoy their favourite dishes either in a casual, relaxing setting in the restaurant or at home, serving authentic family favourites including delicious Chop Suey, crispy shredded duck and Sweet & Sour chicken.

Equally committed to health as they are to taste, Chop Suey’s Chinese chefs will be offering a healthier take on traditional Chinese food. Meals will be made with only the freshest of ingredients, low sodium products and strictly no MSG.

One of the restaurant’s founders, Dina Spahi-Rifa, says: “Having grown up in California, I really missed the distinctive Chinese food culture there and this is something we aim to recreate with Chop Suey. Customers can expect Chinese food that is familiar and delicious. We will also be using traditional takeaway boxes perfect for getting cozy in front of the TV or with friends.”

“With Chop Suey we really wanted to create a space where people can enjoy a nice Chinese meal in the restaurant or at home with their friends and families. Chop Suey will offer food that is delicious, authentic and healthier than what is currently available in Dubai,” adds co-founder Diana Debley.

Chop Suey is located at Beach Park Plaza, opposite Jumeirah Beach Park, and the cozy laid-back atmosphere is perfect for a quick bite with friends. It is now open for dine-in, delivery and take-out.

For more information or delivery call 04 344 2212 or email: chopsuey@eim.ae

Dubai welcomes Chinese delivery, take-out & dining hot spot in Jumeirah