Nada Salem Al Qassimi was working as the head of media and marketing at the Dubai Health Authority when she came up with an idea to start her own company. Ms Al Qassimi, a 29-year-old Emirati, decided to launch the advertising and marketing firm two12 Communications in 2008 with the help of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. Based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, her company now has nine major clients, including the Khalifa Fund. Here, Ms Al Qassimi talks about her plans for the future.
q With so many public relations and communications agencies in town, what is different about your company?
a I understand my community, which none of the international companies can do. It's my culture. The UAE has an international population but even expats need to see the difference and get a flavour of the Emirates. In my ad campaigns or work, this flavour is present either in the logo or the name or any other element in my work. The name of our company is two12, which is after our National Day, December 2. When we started, we defined some clients with whom we wanted to work, such as Etisalat. I studied gaps in their marketing and approached them with that. The first contract I signed was with Etisalat. I go and communicate with the clients personally. When I do a proposal, I follow up with them. We always deliver on time. If I cross the deadline, I [don't] charge them. It has happened once at the beginning [with a client] and until now they are our strongest.
As any young company, what are the challenges associated with two12 Communications?
The challenge is clients say you do not have that much experience. And they think as a young company we will close soon, which is not the case.
How has your company grown since 2008, when you launched?
I now have nine clients, including Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development. I have 40 employees, with management, accountants and art directors in Abu Dhabi, and the production team such as carpenters and painters in Dubai. I started with two people - myself and an account manager.
What type of clients do you have?
I would love to work with clients [in the] private sector. All my clients are public [companies]. I go to the Government to get a job, for private clients they have to come to me if they need the right channel to reach out to my community. There are many companies, who if they can tweak the tones [of the ads], their sales can go up.
How did Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development help you?
I got a loan of Dh1.5 million (US$408,391) from Khalifa Fund. They also helped me with communications with other government agencies.
* Sananda Sahoo
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