How does something normally regarded as a necessity suddenly become a luxury that businesses can afford to be without when bottom lines fall under pressure?
This is the conundrum affecting the Middle East PR industry as private and public sectors tighten purse strings amid ongoing economic and security concerns.
In good times, PR is the friend everyone wants to know and party with. In difficult times, it’s the expensive hanger on so easy to shut out.
However, those who dump public relations spending in a knee jerk reaction to falling profits and market uncertainty may be making an expensive mistake.
In any scenario, PR is a process representing an investment designed to bring about long-term gains rather than overnight results.
Businesses generally hire PR agencies to increase awareness of who they are, what they do, what they sell, what services they deliver, and what makes them different.
They do this to stand out from the competition, reinforce their relationship with customers, expand reach into new markets and attract new customers in order to grow and become more profitable.
PR gives businesses a voice and an identity, establishes individuals as thought leaders and experts in their field and builds and strengthens brand recognition.
Its effectiveness depends on it being a consistent, unbroken process in order to achieve the goals set.
Stopping the flow is like halting construction of a building half way up. Leave it standing like that for long and what has been built starts to fall apart.
Businesses that keep on building through challenging times maximise ROI. Those who stop are left behind, risk reversing the process they started, and later struggle to regain their momentum.
As social media marketers, we recognise how important it is to take a step back and remind ourselves of the basics. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest technologies and innovations, losing sight of the fundamentals in the process.
My one and only boss in PR was in good form when he spoke at a party marking a milestone for the agency I worked for prior to starting my own.
Almost half of the world’s population is now on online. That’s approximately four billion people. Creating content to reach online audiences is what matters to businesses and what keeps our digital team well and truly on our toes.
Putting all millennials into one basket for the benefit of marketing is a bit like saying all defenders at the World Cup perform as if they were coached in Panama.
Well, not quite, but you know what I mean.
There are reasons why some observers say that the traditional press release is already dead.
The main one is that the press release is seen as a relic of days before the digital age swept over us like a tsunami.
There’s a great buzz in the United Arab Emirates following the news that the country is opening its market for foreign direct investment and talent.
We’re excited too by the opportunity to play our part in attracting international investors, and benefiting in real business terms.
One of the main problems we’ve always had in the Public Relations business is that not enough people understand what PR is.
There are various reasons for that, among them the fact that PR people have difficulty in explaining what they do for a living.
Many of our journalist friends say they live in constant fear of the threat to their livelihoods posed by social media.
It's understandable, as social networks have effectively removed the traditional media's monopoly as our main news source.
It's wake-up time for PR in the Middle East, and 2018 should be the year when agencies take more control over issues impacting their business.
Top of the agenda is the prickly questions of social media influencers, whose growing presence continues to split opinions.
PR agencies hate it when they’re asked to enter a pitch and find out after submitting a proposal that they were just making up the numbers.
It happens a lot, especially if you’ve been in business more than 26 years, as we have.