DUBAI: Imagination, the global experience-design company, is in the process of bolstering its presence and profile in Saudi Arabia and recently opened an office in the Kingdom.
It has announced a number of appointments to the senior leadership team in the new office, including Paulo Novoa as creative director and Clare Baarda as logistics director.
Novoa, who brings nine years of experience in senior creative roles, joined Imagination from Riyadh-based branding and strategy agency TOLD, where he was associate creative director, leading the creative team to deliver solutions and brand strategy for clients.
Baarda has more than 15 years of experience in events management, having worked with major international brands such as Audi, L’Oreal and Ericsson. She joins Imagination after working with the company as a freelancer on projects for the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the G20 Cultural Program, and the Kingdom’s NEOM smart city megaproject.
Novoa and Baarda are based in Imagination’s new Riyadh office and will work with existing clients in the public and private sectors.
“We hired our first employee and planned to launch our Riyadh office back in 2019 when we began working at scale in the Kingdom for Saudi entities,” Imagination CEO Patrick Reid told Arab News.
“We were proudly supporting the Saudi Secretariat and the Ministry of Culture in delivering the G20 cultural activities in March 2020, when the pandemic inevitably delayed our plans to expand.”
The company, which has 14 offices worldwide, intends Riyadh to serve as its regional headquarters.
“We see KSA as a strategic area of focus for our business,” Reid said.
Imagination has been working with clients in the Kingdom for 20 years but there has been a “clear paradigm shift” since the announcement of Vision 2030, which is “transforming and reimagining many sectors and industries,” he added.
“The power of storytelling and the shifts in media have been pivotal in the evolution of brand experiences in the Kingdom.”
For example, authorities have organized events such as Saudi Fashion Week and a pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, and introduced incentives for filmmakers to shoot their movies in the Kingdom, among many other initiatives, in an effort to boost the nation’s cultural and creative industries.
These industries are among the fastest-growing sectors in the world, delivering annual global revenues of $2,250 billion, providing 30 million jobs and contributing about 10 percent of global gross domestic product, according to UNESCO.
“In the UK for example, what we call the ‘creative industries’ accounts for roughly 9 percent of the GDP, which means it is a significant contributor to the economy as well as the cultural fabric and global standing of the country,” said Reid.
“At Imagination, we believe we have a role to play in building this economic and cultural multiplier in KSA.”
Imagination’s clients in the Kingdom include the Saudi Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Culture, the Public Investment Fund, entertainment company MDLBEAST, and NEOM.