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What the Historic Israel, U.A.E., Bahrain Normalization Agreement Means for Marketers and Businesses With Ariella Steinreich
On September 15th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Bahrain joined President Donald Trump at the White House to sign a historic agreement normalizing relations between their three countries. Before the September 15th agreement, residents of the U.A.E., Bahrain and Israel couldn’t so much as call each other on the phone. Now, they’ll begin developing formal diplomatic relationships while expanding business and tourism opportunities in their respective countries.
On this episode of the PR Talk Podcast, host Amy Rosenberg explores what this new agreement means for Israeli and Arab-owned businesses, and the marketers and PR pros supporting them. Amy’s joined by Ariella Steinreich, a Senior Vice President and head of the Israel-U.A.E. specialty group for Steinreich Communications — a global PR firm headquartered in New York.
A Long History in the Gulf
Ariella’s unique experience allows her to speak with authority on business dealings between Israeli and Arab-owned businesses. At the beginning of her career, Ariella worked at major PR firms, including Burson-Marsteller, focusing on banking and management consulting. Eventually, she found her way into oil and gas, which inevitably led her to the Gulf, where she pioneered her PR practice.
After being named a finalist for the Young PR Professional of the Year award, Ariella joined her father as Steinreich Communications as head of the firm’s corporate practice and then earlier this month, she launched their new Israel-UAE specialty group. Before normalization, there was a stateside need for Jewish-owned businesses who wanted to do business in the Gulf but were concerned about what it would be like for Jews to work there. Ariella served as a mentor who could walk companies through the process.
Today, Steinreich Communications is the largest global agency with a wholly-owned office in Israel. After normalization, they’re also the only global agency with wholly-owned offices in both Israel and the U.A.E. With normalization now a reality, new opportunities are opening up every day.
How Will Normalization Change Business?
Ariella sees much enthusiasm towards normalization on all sides. Israelis are eager to tap into the U.A.E.‘s luxury fashion and home decor brands. At the same time, the Gulf States want access to Israel’s technology and healthcare. However, these groups face significant challenges in marketing their products to people they’ve never met or spoken to before. This is where Ariella and Steinreich Communications comes in.
Over the last two weeks, Ariella has fielded a record number of new business meetings from companies looking to take advantage of this new era of openness. She’s also being asked to do a lot of culture training. Now, Ariella has the opportunity to harness her contacts and connect people in brand new ways. She also sees increased interest from the media to tell these stories.
PR in the Gulf is Different
Of course, because this is a PR podcast, Amy was excited to talk about how the practice of PR is different in the Gulf. Ariella says much of the work is done through personal relationships and word-of-mouth. Because the media environment is more limited than it is in the states, there’s more of a “sharing is caring” attitude among the media and even other agencies. Before COVID, Ariella traveled to the Gulf nearly every month and spent much of her time developing her professional network over coffee or lunch.
Perhaps the largest difference is the informality of the process. Ariella does most of her outreach through WhatsApp. However, once you gain the media’s trust, things begin to happen fast because news moves quickly in the Gulf.
There’s More to Hear
Amy and Ariella cover a lot more ground during their conversation, including the very different ways Israelis and Arabs communicate. Ariella also shares her views on the tremendous opportunities she sees for American businesses in the Gulf States, so click the link to hear the entire episode. As always, you can listen to more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeart Radio and Spotify.
About the guest: Ariella Steinreich
Ariella Steinreich is an experienced communications professional with a demonstrated history of working with clients in various industries to create and implement global corporate communications programs for leading companies and organizations. She’s skilled in strategic media counseling, media training, communications strategy development, social media strategy, crisis communications/issues management, financial communications, community relations and corporate social responsibility.
Connect and follow Ariella on social media:
This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon
Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.