Lara Mansour - The Brand Genie


Lara Mansour
Founder – Brandly Works

 

 

She powers brands with whole-hearted passion, pure authenticity and deep passion - Lara Mansour is a seasoned brand marketing strategist & comms specialist who has helped various brands – from start-ups to traditional family-run businesses to mature corporate organizations– develop and grow while ensuring they have a clear competitive advantage in today’s world. She is the Founder and the vision behind Brandly Works, a boutique creative agency specializing in all things branding.

What do you do and how did you get to where you are today? What drove you to success?

To build a brand, you have to create an emotional experience first. Trust. Love. Admiration. Courage. Loyalty. Respect. Desire. Curiosity. Hope. Motivation.

And I have committed myself to doing just that; creating meaningful & believable brands every single day.

I power brands with whole-hearted passion, pure authenticity, and deep meaning.

After completing my BA in 2001 in Graphic Design, and working in Beirut for years solving problems through visual communication, I moved back to London and embarked on a learning journey that concluded with a very personal research project that forever changed my life. It gave birth to my love for branding. My thesis project was directly influenced by what was happening in the world around me in 2006, and the only way I could express it was to give it life and share it with the world. 

I graduated with a MA in Design Studies from Central St. Martins ten years ago, and I have been a busy bee ever since. I spent a few years working in London for boutique design agencies further perfecting my core competencies, and then in 2008, I was offered a role in Abu Dhabi with WPP’s global branding agency Brand Union. During my tenure, I worked with mostly Abu Dhabi clients such as Al Hilal Bank, Sorouh, Mubadala, and TDIC’s Saadiyat Island brand. With such a passion for the ambitions of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in 2010, I joined Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm, as their brand manager acting as an in-house resource powering the brand’s strategic milestones. I led the branding initiatives across various sectors including healthcare, real estate & hospitality, oil & gas, financial services, and renewables as I continued to drive the brand’s reputation forward.

Captivated by my love for branding, and with my experience conceptualizing, delivering, and executing strategic brands, I left the corporate world and founded my own branding agency Brandly Works in 2016. The role I play is one of a seasoned marketing advisor, brand strategist & comms specialist who helps various brands, from traditional family-run businesses, to government entities, to mature corporate organizations to startups, develop and grow while ensuring they have a clear competitive advantage in today’s world. The UAE is only 45 years old and transforming daily, and we are so excited to part of this journey in line with the country’s ambitions for growth and to support all the innovation and thriving creative initiatives. Our role is to really power these brands, and to ensure they not only look better, but also sound better, and most importantly of all, perform at their best.

What brings you joy?

Joy is defined for me as having a positive influence on my community and somehow contributing to making tomorrow a better world.

Joy for me is:

  • Knowing that I have had a helping hand in making a struggling business raise their brand awareness and positively impact their performance.
  • Having a client with a very strong product or service underselling how good they really are, and then having us turn that completely around giving them the confidence and the tools to reach their ambitions.
  • Having an industry expert reach out to me and say they are inspired by what we do, and would like to take part in our journey.
  • Having a young creative seeking guidance and turning to me as a mentor and for career guidance.
  • Being a wife to a loving husband that supports my dreams and believes in my talent.

Joy is knowing that all these things can make a positive influence on the community.

What would you tell a young graduate today? 

I would tell them a couple of things, based on my learnings in my life:

1. Be a sponge. Absorb all the information the working world has to teach them. Sadly, the academic world is very theory based, and young graduates really lack hands-on practical experience.

2. Find a mentor. It is important to find someone in the industry that you look up to, is accessible, and can be there to guide you through your career path. Parents are family, but they don’t always know what’s best for our careers.

3. Be patient. Humility and patience are both virtues to success in this world. Those that are impatient, will not build their core and have the room to grow.

4. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of hard work, it teaches us resilience, it gives us strength, and more importantly it provides us with the determination when we need it the most.

5. Don’t worry. Careers don't always have to grow vertically, they can also grow laterally, but you need to have transferable skills at all times. So, keep learning & keep growing.

Why is UAE a great place for women to succeed?

I feel there are no ceilings for a woman here in the UAE. We have our role as a wife or mother, but we can still somehow balance that with the career ambitions we have.

We are fortunate enough to have the infrastructure and foundation and services that allow women to juggle various roles - both personal and professional.

The UAE’s leadership & vision allow and invite women to assume roles that challenge them, and shape not only them, but the future of the country.

It is wonderful to know that I am a woman, a business owner, and one day will be a mother - all while being able to manage my time.

 

 

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