A member of the Access to Experts initiative, Anastasiya answers the Hub's Q&A so you can get to know her better.
Anastasiya is an accomplished PR professional and business advisor who leads Dubai-based communications consultancy Sherpa Communications. With more than 13 years of expertise developing and executing all aspects of public relations and marketing campaigns, she provides senior counsel to brands of any size and structure helping them achieve business objectives and meaningful results through the strategic use of communication.
She has experience across various sectors - from B2B to B2C industries, having worked with MENA, international and CIS clients, diplomatic bodies, trade institutions, government institutions and NGOs – supporting them both in-house and on the agency side.
Anastasiya and her colleagues also actively support a rising number of startups and SMEs in the UAE and Middle East region providing advice on best practices and tactics for effective scaling up and business growth.
Can you summarize your role in one sentence?
I'm an accomplished PR professional and business advisor. My mission is to help businesses grow and flourish through the strategic use of communication, effective application of business and marketing tactics.
What are some myths and truths about your sector?
Myth: PR = Advertising
Truth: PR activities result in quality publicity secured with third parties like media and influencers. Such organic exposure carries more credibility than paid ads, and it's secured free of cost. PR people are called magicians for the ability to transform a corporate promo message into an engaging story that will be carried by national media, with the delivery of the brand's key messages and at no cost.
Myth: I know what it is, and I can do it myself
Truth: PR is not the same as media relations. There is much more that goes on behind the scenes – developing a strategy and key messages that are aligned with your business strategy, smart targeting, leadership positioning, work with market challenges, generation of strong ideas, media management and much more.
Myth: Great PR will translate directly into sales
Truth: PR focuses on many things - to build awareness, help a brand stand out in the market, engage potential clients, drive loyalty, and ultimately develop trust between a company and a consumer. This is where the sales happen, but the key role of PR is to build that strong awareness and trust that help consumers proceed to the purchase stage.
Who would benefit most from your expertise?
I have more than 14 years of experience in PR, especially on the agency side. It means we work with a lot of brands across various verticals daily. I'm part of a B2B focused PR agency; thus, I can support businesses across the most challenging sectors such as healthcare, tech, logistics, construction, and edtech, to name a few. I have vast experience working with global multinationals as well as small and medium-sized businesses in the UAE and across the MENA region.
Tell us about your experience working with a startup/entrepreneur.
I'm a business advisor and mentor working closely with many startup incubators across the UAE. I provide pro bono sessions to startups to help them establish or scale up their business effectively. It's challenging for any entrepreneur to know everything; my role is to empower them with tips and advice to help them avoid mistakes and progress in their journey fast.
Every business is different, so there is no universal solution that can fit every requirement. Connect with me on Abu Dhabi SME Hub, and let's find the right solution that will be effective for your business.
What is a common challenge you've noticed entrepreneurs face, and why is it important for entrepreneurs to seek mentorship on this topic?
When I meet with a business owner, I always suggest 'Google yourself and your business. Are you happy with the results you'll see on the first page? This is what people will do looking for your business. If no, you'll need to connect with a PR advisor who can help you build quality awareness about your brand, define the key messages to tell your story in the right way, help your business stand out, and much more.
What's the best piece of professional advice you've ever received?
Build your personal and corporate brand. We may think 'we are awesome', but if people can't discover that through their search, you have a problem.
Anastasiya is part of our Access to Experts initiative, providing mentorship and support to prospective and existing entrepreneurs looking to grow in Abu Dhabi. Connect with her and other industry thought leaders here.