An effective storyteller
Zaib Shadani, Founder and Managing Director of Shadani Consulting (PR Guru)
Zaib Shadani, Founder and Managing Director of Shadani Consulting (PR Guru), is a media maven at the helm of one of the most rapidly growing PR firms in the UAE
If content is King, then Zaib Shadani is the undisputed King-maker. The Founder and MD of Shadani Consulting, a specialised Public Relations (PR) and communications agency, Zaib is a media maven at the helm of one of the most rapidly growing PR firms in the UAE. Established in 2016, the agency boasts a client roster that includes Fortune 500 companies, international brands and start-ups from across the luxury, lifestyle, arts and culture and corporate sectors.
Tasked with managing the brand reputation, strategic outreach and content creation for some of the most recognised names in the world, Zaib is a master storyteller who is constantly pushing boundaries and disrupting the status quo.
Most recently Zaib spearheaded the campaign to launch the world's most expensive perfume "Shumukh" that is inspired by the spirit of Dubai and valued at Dh4.7 million, in what is undoubtedly, one of the UAE's biggest launches. Her client roster currently includes a veritable who's who from across the globe, and Shadani Consulting has been instrumental in supporting the PR efforts of brands like David Morris, Unilever, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, Novikov restaurants, MB&F MAD gallery, Leyla Uluhanli, Max Factor, Manish Malhotra and the powerhouse of the watch industry, TAG Heuer.
Prior to setting up her own agency, Zaib was an Associate Director with Edelman - one of the world's largest PR firms and charged with overseeing prestigious clients like the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dubai Design & Fashion Council, International Woolmark Prize and Magrabi opticals, to name a few.
In addition to her professional prowess, Zaib boasts an educational degree that is nothing shy of exceptional.
Working hard to secure a business degree from one of the leading universities in the world, Zaib is a graduate from the University of Toronto, where she graduated in the top 5 per cent of class and received a high distinction ranking. She subsequently enrolled at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, and received a full scholarship for academic excellence - the journey hasn't been easy though, as Zaib decided to work full time and complete her studies by taking evening classes, often resulting in days that were 18 hours long. The level of determination and commitment however, speak for themselves as she graduated Magna cum laude in 2011.
In a market that is saturated with PR and marketing professionals, she also has the distinction of being singled out by her peers and was nominated for 'Entrepreneur of the Year' in the People's Choice category at the Arabian Business Start-up Awards, in her first year of business.
The power of education to transform lives is a very important philosophy in her family. "Growing up, we were always surrounded by books and my parents encouraged us to read. It's almost a foregone conclusion when you consider the fact that my father is a career diplomat and expert in diplomatic relations, who has been with the Pakistani Foreign Office for over 40 years, and my mother is an educator, who is currently the principal of a primary school. Coupled with the importance of education, was the belief that 'there is no substitute for experience', so I started working from a young age and was encouraged by my parents to be independent and forge my own path," says Zaib.
"Because of my father's job with the Pakistani Embassy, we moved countries every three years, and a significant part of my childhood was spent between Tanzania, Holland and Canada, and I quickly realised the importance of being able to communicate effectively to convey one's message, especially when there are cultural and societal differences. Fast forward 10 years and I here I am - the sum of all the parts and culmination of a childhood where I was encouraged to be curious, take risks and always stand up for what I believed in - especially in business," she explains.
About the idea of switching off and relaxing, Zaib says, "Any entrepreneur will tell you that their brain is always switched on - you see opportunities everywhere and are always connecting the dots. It can be quite taxing, so it's really important to have at least an hour a day to yourself, where you are doing something solely for yourself. I'm quite a workaholic, but I make sure that I make some 'me' time by either going to the gym, swimming or taking a walk."
Elaborating on trends on the industry, she adds, "PR is essentially about effective storytelling, and is here to stay. However, the traditional ways that we used to do PR are changing and evolving, and we're seeing a shift towards 'content marketing'. I've recently set up a social media and digital marketing division, to compliment our PR outreach and I'm incredibly excited about the new challenges and adventures that lie ahead," she concludes.
|Top 3 tips for entrepreneurs for thriving in business|
Be ambitious: This is always my number one tip for entrepreneurs and self-starters, especially the female ones: Ambition is not dirty work. When you have a desire to build a successful business, you will need to push your own limits and exhibit a tremendous degree of tenacity.
Be vocal and ask for what you want: This isn't easy for many people, but when you're managing your own business, you must have a clear understanding of the value that you're bringing to the table and stick to your guns. Don't be shy in asking for what you are entitled to.
Network, network, network: Most of us have heard the saying, "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room", and this applies ten-fold to anyone who is starting out on their own. Take any opportunity to network and learn from people more experienced than you, and can share their wisdom and best practice.