The 5 most innovative companies in advertising, branding & PR of 2023

These forward-thinkers craft personalized advertising campaigns that engage consumers.

The 5 most innovative companies in advertising, branding & PR of 2023
[Source photo: Fast Company Middle East]

Explore the Fast Company Middle East’s Most Innovative Companies 2023 list; featuring 42 winning entries reshaping businesses and industries. We’ve selected the companies making the most significant impact with their initiatives across 23 categories, including the most innovative services, sustainability & cleantech and retail companies.

A paradigm shift is underway. Innovative agencies are harnessing digital platforms and data-driven strategies to transform how brands connect with their audiences. These forward-thinkers craft personalized advertising campaigns that engage consumers. Moreover, they are redefining brand relevance through creative storytelling. Traditional advertising and branding methods are being reimagined in this evolving landscape to create resonant brand experiences across various industries.


For delivering tailor-made content that matters

CARMA is innovating and evolving in response to the ever-changing media landscape. It introduced five new research services, expanding its offerings and driving revenue growth. In the past two years, it showcased innovative thinking through projects like the comprehensive analysis of the impact of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Morocco’s reputation. This endeavor validated their expertise and influenced the Ministry of Tourism’s communication strategies, emphasizing the need for adequate awareness and perception measurement. What makes CARMA distinctive is its global reach, adaptable approach, and innovative tools like the CARMA Insight Portal and Project Code, which enhance efficiency and accuracy. These resources empower its clients to stay ahead in a rapidly changing media landscape. 

Leo Burnett Middle East 

For redefining branding with purpose and impact

Leo Burnett Middle East has transformed its approach from conventional advertising to a purpose-driven model, aligning the need for meaningful work with growing consumer demand. Collaborating with clients, it tackled hyper-local causes, from women’s equality to breast health. Its innovative campaigns have garnered substantial earned media, increased brand affinity, and revitalized its organizational culture. Partnering with Abaad, Leo Burnett Middle East challenged taboos around rape survivors through the impactful Dirty Laundry campaign. Its collaboration with Always in Saudi Arabia, launching the Not Hot Collection, sparked vital discussions about periods. This transformative approach has earned remarkable industry recognition and made a significant impact.


For inspiring through innovative campaigns

Over the past year, Mashreq embarked on a brand transformation through strategic initiatives — a mix of press, events, editorial, and paid radio, social, and partnerships. The Rise Every Day campaign was based on rebuilding better lives through hard work and innovation. The brand recognizes the importance of individuals challenging the status quo, inspiring customers, and building a banking-as-a-service ecosystem fit for the digital economy. It also reaffirmed its commitment to inclusivity with initiatives like Reignite for women and young graduates. It launched the Mashreq Innovation Hub, where visitors are encouraged to exchange ideas, continuously drive innovation, and evolve with the changing expectations. The company’s candid approach to success and inclusivity sets it apart, inspiring individuals to redefine their paths to achievement.

Publicis Groupe Middle East

For pioneering a new approach to client engagement 

Today’s consumers want highly personalized experiences across the board, while businesses call for something simpler, more agile, and precise, measurable results. To stay ahead of the curve, Publicis Groupe restructured its business model and organizational structure, putting clients at the core. They enabled them to access all its services flexibly and modularly. The Power of One (PO1) offers complete end-to-end solutions across creative, data, and technology, which sets itself apart. 

The STUDIOm was designed to manage the regular campaign frameworks from ideation to execution and transformation initiatives where teams work together to accelerate new opportunities such as app, gaming, or platform initiatives. In a fast-changing world, where businesses are up against a whole new set of communication challenges, Publicis is anticipating what they’ll need down the line and building solutions around their needs and objectives. 

Saatchi & Saatchi MEA

For pioneering positive social change

Over the past year, Saatchi & Saatchi has redefined the art of being relevant, illustrating a significant shift in their approach. Guided by their core belief in “Nothing is Impossible,” they have harnessed the influence of “cultural currency” to craft engaging and meaningful content. Their initiatives have expanded beyond corporate collaborations with a partnership with the UAE Government. By rethinking the concept of unique license plates, they revolutionized the fundraising process during Ramadan, astonishingly raising $43.8 million in two days. Also, the company’s projects have empowered female gamers in Saudi Arabia and advocated for authenticity among Arab women, transcending the pressures of perfectionism. This transformation extended not only to their internal operations but also to their corporate culture. Their culture embraces growth, learning, and upskilling, fostering a dynamic team spirit and positioning them at the forefront of innovation.

Most Innovative Companies 2023