The design group has already secured business in the region, flying in and working remotely on at least six projects, including branding the Oman Botanic Garden – a 400ha biosphere, protecting botanical specimens, which is to invest in research and development, education and sustainability.
Having been working on the project for two years already, Navyblue expects to continue for a further three at least, to create a brand identity, as well as communications and marketing material.
Margaret Fitzgerald, formerly general manager of marketing and communications with the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, New Zealand’s largest provider of support services for children, has been named as managing director of the new office. Permanent premises in Omani capital Muscat have been identified, which Cregan says ‘will have a sign above the door in a couple of weeks’.
Some employees from the UK offices will staff the new studio, but the bulk of staff will come through a Navyblue recruitment programme.
Omanis will be trained and recruited with secondments offered to the UK premises.
The group started its strategic expansion two years ago, opening offices in Budapest, Hungary in 2007 and Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2008.
Cregan insists that Navyblue has a strong cultural understanding of Oman, which he sees as accepting of ‘vibrant brand communications’, but stresses that he will advocate, ‘brand culture over brand imperialism’ in a bid to understand local markets.
This will involve recognising Oman’s commitment to developing its economy beyond petroleum – ‘particularly through cultural tourism and sustainability’, Cregan says.
He maintains Navyblue’s future will be safe in the country. ‘It has large cash reserves, wasn’t affected by the banking crisis and is interested in sustainable development,’ he says.
OMAN FACT FILE
- The Omani working week starts on a Saturday
- Oman’s GDP is $67bn (£43bn) (2008)
- Annual GDP growth is 6.7% (2008)
- Exports include petroleum, fish, metals, textiles