By Zaira Lakhpatwala
DUBAI: A leading international public relations company is aiming to help strengthen UAE-Israel business links in the wake of the agreement between the two countries to normalize relations.
Following the historic deal on Aug. 13, Steinreich Communications Group, Inc. has announced the formation of a new practice area within its corporate group to work with Emirati and Israeli clients looking to expand their operations.
Corporate practice senior vice president, Ariella Steinreich, is leading the new specialty group. Her father started the firm back in 2003 and she joined in 2014 from Burson-Marsteller where she had handled global media relations for several of the agency’s key clients, including Accenture and its oil and gas offering.
Steinreich has worked with clients and media in the Gulf states for nearly a decade and since joining the business has helped grow its client base in the Gulf and Israel.
She said: “When I joined, one of the things that we saw naturally happening was that there were Jewish businesses and organizations that were doing work in the Gulf, and they were looking for somebody who could help them from a PR perspective to communicate with the audience there, but who would really understand what they did, because there aren’t many people that kind of travel in both spaces.”
The firm had always worked with Jewish businesses but since the UAE-Israel peace pact it has witnessed an influx of potentially interested clients, which led to the formation of the new practice.
“It’s not like we’re really creating a new thing; many of our clients are going to move into this group. In addition, we are going to have a lot of Israeli and Emirati companies who have reached out asking for assistance now that for the first time ever, they will be able to do business,” she added.
“We already have the background, we already have the expertise, and we already have the context to help make it work.”
The firm currently has nine offices, in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, High Point, London, Frankfurt, and Tel Aviv. For now, the team for the new practice will be headquartered in New York with some members and support staff based in the UAE.
On any possible plans to open an office in the UAE, Steinreich said: “We’re not starting something new; we’re just putting a name on a new practice area. We’ve already been doing work in that region for years.
“My personal hope is that I believe in the next year we’re going to start to see more Gulf countries establish relations with Israel. Once that happens, my hope is that the same way these Israeli companies are now using us to reach the UAE market, they will need help reaching the other markets.
“I think our goal is to actually have a presence much beyond just the UAE to throughout the Gulf,” she added.