Sunday, May 19, 2024

Charting Success: Narmine Taha’s Story with 8Ball Consulting


Charting Success: Narmine Taha’s Story with 8Ball Consulting

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Narmine Taha
8Ball Consulting and Ketabah Copywriting

Narmine Nayef Taha, the mind behind 8Ball Consulting and Ketabah Copywriting, brings a visionary approach to the world of communication consulting. Narmine has been at the helm steering both companies towards unwavering success since their inception in 2018. Career rooted in Saudi Arabia, with academic credentials including a bachelor’s degree in advertising and an MBA in Marketing from Lebanon, showcases a relentless commitment to the pursuit of excellence. 
Her tenure at JWT (James Walter Thompson) as the youngest employee in the client servicing department, handling the account for their biggest spender in STC, ignited a lifelong passion for storytelling and brand nurturing. Her journey continued through the ranks of leading multinational agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, and Drive Dentsu where she honed her craft across various sectors, treating each experience as a unique learning opportunity, akin to attending multiple ‘schools’ of marketing and communication. 
Through these experiences, Narmine has crafted on-point marketing strategies and solutions that connect companies with their audiences; carving a place for them in the audience’s minds, hearts, and lives.

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What drove your decision to enter the communication consulting field and eventually take on the role of establishing 8Ball Consulting, and how has the company evolved since its inception?

Narmine Taha: At fourteen, my journey began with a Corporate Social Responsibility program in Beirut, where I discovered the power of storytelling while advocating for orphan housing. Conversations with officials ignited my passion for highlighting crucial narratives. This passion, coupled with my grade 11 physics teacher’s belief in overcoming challenges, led me to pursue communication consulting—a blend of storytelling and brand strategy.

My interest in how brands shape perceptions and engage customers deepened during my tenure at JWT. Inspired, I sought to weave effective communication into 8Ball’s brand identity while forging new paths.

When establishing 8Ball Consulting, I envisioned a firm that was not only steeped in the rich variety of our local culture but also straddling the cutting-edge of global standards. Essentially, we found a niche in the market where we operate with the standards of the “Big 3” consulting firms, but also have a personal and distinct understanding of the market.

Over the years, our journey has been marked by continuous evolution. We’ve expanded from our initial focus on traditional consulting to integrating digital transformation strategies, responding to the changing tides of the industry. We’ve grown in size, in skill, and in the scope of our projects. As we’ve evolved, we’ve remained agile, constantly learning, and adapting- ensuring that the solutions we provide are not just relevant but are at the forefront of innovation and efficacy.

Our journey is one of constant evolution, marked by agility, learning, and innovation, ensuring our solutions remain at the forefront of efficacy.

Narmine Taha

What sets 8ball Consulting’s approach to client service and business operations apart from other consultancy agencies operating in Saudi Arabia?

Narmine Taha: At 8Ball Consulting, we operate on a philosophy that consulting isn’t a service; it’s a partnership. This perspective deeply ingrains our approach to client service and business operations. Our unwavering commitment to understanding the nuanced fabric of the Saudi market, which blends tradition and modernity, sets us apart. That is what has allowed 8Ball and our copywriting agency Ketabah to work with over 300 clients including within the government sector. Ketabah especially, is extremely well known and established when it comes to local content. Principally with Ketabah, we localize everything so that we’re leading with an approach of ‘trans-creation’ rather than simple English-to-Arabic translation.

We really also pride ourselves on being available around the clock, seven days a week, reflecting the non-stop nature of today’s market needs. Our approach is proactive and personal; we build relationships that go beyond the boardroom, delving into the heartbeat of each business, its market, and its audience. We are constantly ready to adapt and revise strategies in response to new insights or shifting market dynamics. A client may want to pivot in the middle of our partnership and we move with them as a unit to revise our strategy. I believe that to offer truly stand-out strategies, we must become an integral part of the client’s journey, anticipating needs and navigating challenges together. This collaborative approach has fostered a level of trust and success that is unparalleled in the region.

How does 8Ball Consulting ensure that its solutions are tailored to the specific challenges and opportunities faced by clients in different industries?

Narmine Taha:  Customization is key in our playbook at 8Ball Consulting. Our approach begins with a deep dive into the client’s industry, history, goals, and competitive landscape. We engage in robust dialogue with our clients, asking pointed questions, and challenging assumptions to unearth the true nature of the challenges they face. Our team of experts employs thorough market analysis, leveraging industry-specific data and trends to inform our strategic recommendations. 

Each solution we craft is a unique blend of this extensive research, combined with our creative spark and strategic expertise. By vehemently avoiding one-size-fits-all solutions, we tailor our recommendations to address not just the current landscape but to anticipate future trends and shifts. This foresight and customization have been instrumental in driving our clients’ success across a multitude of industries, from startups to established conglomerates.

Each solution we craft is a unique blend of this extensive research, combined with our creative spark and strategic expertise.

Narmine Taha

As the GM, what are your priorities and vision for the future growth and expansion of 8Ball Consulting, both locally and globally?

Narmine Taha: My role as GM is multifaceted, with priorities that span from ensuring the highest standard of client satisfaction to plotting the strategic direction of our growth. The vision for 8Ball Consulting’s expansion is a mixture of local expertise and global ambitions. We are set on exporting our unique blend of Middle Eastern insights and international consultancy standards to a wider audience. The intricacies of Saudi Arabia’s business environment have endowed us with the ability to craft robust strategies within diverse frameworks, a skill that is increasingly valuable on a global scale. 

Looking ahead, we aim to be at the forefront of consultancy innovation, where 8Ball Consulting is not just a name, but a hallmark of excellence and forward-thinking.
Our ‘make it happen’ attitude, strengthened by the experience and drive of our teams, customer trust, and the promise that we always deliver makes me extremely proud of the company’s reputation.

Though we have presence in Riyadh, Dubai, Lebanon, and Egypt, expansion into new markets is on the horizon, with plans to establish our presence and Saudi expertise in the dynamic landscapes of the US and Australia. By maintaining a steadfast focus on sustainable growth, continuous learning, and technological advancement, we aim to keep writing success stories, locally and internationally.

What strategies does 8Ball Consulting employ to foster collaboration and innovation within its team of specialists and experts? Can you share some insights into 8Ball Consulting’s approach to talent acquisition and development, particularly in nurturing top-notch consultants?

Narmine Taha: Collaboration and innovation are the twin pillars upon which 8Ball Consulting and Ketabah stand. Our strategies to foster these include creating a culture that encourages open communication, the sharing of ideas, and the celebration of diversity. We prioritize creating strong bonds and an environment where ‘8Ballers’ feel empowered to bring their whole selves to work, blending their unique perspectives with our collective goals.

By creating a free-flowing channel of ideas, I really believe we create an environment where we all learn from each other in a cohesive unit- the bond we have is out of this world. With this harmony in mind, talent acquisition is approached with an eye for not only skills and expertise but also a cultural fit. We look for individuals who possess a curious mind, a collaborative spirit, and a zest for continuous improvement.

The company dedicates itself to maintaining a comfortable and nurturing environment where values such as respect, professionalism, connectivity, and efficient communication simultaneously take precedence, as these are the foundational principles upon which I built both companies. Once aboard, we focus on developing these talents through ongoing training, mentorship programs, and opportunities to lead projects. This supportive and development-focused environment ensures that our consultants not only meet today’s challenges but also prepare to tackle the opportunities of tomorrow.

As a leading woman in a dynamic and competitive industry, how do you perceive the role of female leadership in shaping the future of business and consulting?

Narmine Taha: As a female in a leadership position, I see our role as not just contributing but actively shaping the narrative of the future.We dedicate ourselves to creating pathways for women to thrive and lead, understanding that their excellence elevates the entire business ecosystem. This commitment interweaves into our company culture, where we champion female empowerment as a catalyst for transformative growth and lasting impact. I believe that at 8Ball and Ketabah we empower all employees, as they champion our values while bringing their best work forward.

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