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.
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.
Scrolling through Facebook while I was on holiday last week, I came across a post by a member of the media berating another ‘rubbish PR’ who wasn’t doing their job and apparently deserved a public flogging.
In the digital age, the fundamentals of traditional PR are just as important as they always were, and professionals who have and hold on to them will always possess a competitive advantage.
A good PR agency offers a wide range of services well above and beyond media relations, press release writing and everything in between.
In the digital age, we have adapted to the changing media landscape and embraced social platforms and the growing role of influencers.
The internet is flooded with advice on why and how companies and organisations should invest in market research.
Take a dip and you might find yourself drowning in ideas about why your business needs to follow this route, and what you can expect to get out of it.
Brands and organisations are actively employing tech-savvy individuals to handle their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more, so why when it comes to outsourcing is social media spend still an afterthought for so many?
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While the move to digital media gathers pace, there are still plenty of print dailies and magazines out there and traditional media relations skills remain a powerful PR tool.