In a world that is digitally connected 24/7, it is essential to be ready to react and respond immediately to a crisis. News of a serious crisis or incident can spread in a matter of minutes in today’s online landscape, so acting quickly is imperative.

When a crisis arises, there is a small window of opportunity to not only protect the reputation of your brand but also demonstrate your professionalism, competence, empathy and your ability to problem solve. Incidents and accidents happen, but it is how we react to them that is crucial to maintaining trust.

Today’s digital landscape of social media platforms and instant user-generated content has made reputation management a delicate art. Gone are the days where people waited for the CEO’s press conference to learn what was going on. Now, companies need to be able to respond to a crisis within the first 15 minutes it hits, with the right message and holding statement, even when all facts are not yet available.

Here are few tips to ensure you and your team are prepared to address a crisis during the first minutes you hear about it.

  1. Are your social-centric protocols in place?

It is not uncommon to find out that some companies’ manuals have not been updated and adapted with social media guidelines and protocols. Today’s crisis plans must include policies and practices to clearly help to navigate an incident online.

Think about the most recent crises hitting companies; where did you hear about them first? Most probably through social media. Traditional media plays an important role, but during the first hours of the incident, companies would need to manage the crisis online, and social-centric protocols must be in place. Your team must use your company’s social channels to define and drive your crisis narrative and communicate early and often.

Take a look at your crisis plan, is it time to revamp your protocols and guidelines?

  1. Twitter doesn’t wait… prepare holding statements in advance.

What are the most frequent or possible incidents taking place in your organisation? What are the worst potential crises? As speed is essential, it is important to include in your manual a series of first response or holding statements ready to go, based on the nature of your business. Anticipate every possible scenario! Social media statements must be ready as well, including the assets or visuals you may use while posting the information on social media.

All the first response statements must be already pre-approved by your CEO and endorsed by your legal team.

Old printed manuals are redundant. Digital versions must be accessible to all members of the crisis team 24/7, from anywhere. They say “crisis happens in the most unexpected moments”, and you must be prepared for them happening during the weekend, while you are on a plane or enjoying a family vacation.

Another critical aspect is your website. Is there a proper process in place in case of a major crisis? In which section will you post press statements? Is a dark site required? What visuals and logos should be used.

  1. Plan. Prepare. Practice. Repeat.

Your crisis plan is ready, but has it been tested? Is every member of your executive and crisis team aware of what is required from them and by when? Is everyone aware of their respective roles and responsibilities? Do you have contingency plans, for example, who will step in if the CEO is unreachable or the social media manager is travelling? Is your CEO trained to provide video statements?

Practice makes perfect, and it’s worth investing time in role play scenarios and testing situations. Planning ahead and anticipating potential crises is key to ensure everyone feels more comfortable in their roles.

Empathy and genuine concern

Digital tools may have changed the way crisis communications is handled, but I believe the principles stay the same.

Honest, genuine and authentic communication remains the best policy. Empathy, concern, care, compassion and putting people first should always be at the core of any crisis.

At In2, we developed tried and tested crisis communications solutions to ensure you are ready to navigate a crisis. From developing or enhancing crisis plans and processes, to providing media training and organising tabletop crisis simulation exercises that put your protocols to test, we have a complete set of tools to support you.

By Laura Perez, General Manager PR, In2 Consulting.

YouGov MENA research deeps dives into how people feel about technology and the concerns they have about data privacy

Half of the people in the UAE think that their smart devices are spying on their lives. A majority (55%) of residents believe that their devices record personal information without their knowledge. The results show that men are more likely than women to think like that (58% vs 50%).

YouGov’s data finds that the most commonly owned devices are also the ones people are most likely to think are monitoring them. While 85% of people own a smartphone, 55% believe the technology is spying on them. Similarly, when it comes to a computer/laptop with a webcam, the figures are 57% (who use) and 36% (who think it is spying on them), respectively.

The research also, shows that many UAE residents have concerns about their online privacy. Around half find their personal documents or images being automatically uploaded on to the cloud very concerning (49%), and almost as many (48%) consider their personal details getting auto filled during a transaction quite troubling.

Read the full report here.

The data used for the survey was collected from YouGov Omnibus, which is a fast and cost-effective service to find out about people’s opinions, attitudes and behaviours. To know more about YouGov Omnibus, click here.

The PRCA MENA Awards 2019 celebrated the very best individuals, teams, and campaigns from the PR and communications industry from across the Middle East and North Africa.

Leading practitioners attended the awards at the Renaissance Downtown in Dubai on the evening of Wednesday, 13th February.

The full list of winners can be seen below.

Best PR Campaign: B2B M&C Saatchi Public Relations and Discovery -The Spirit of Discovery

Best PR Campaign: B2C Weber Shandwick – McDonalds World Cup Drive-Thru Experience

Best PR Campaign: B2C Golin MENA – The CHANGE Workshops – WaterWipes

Best Integrated Campaign DMCC – Future of Trade

Best PR Campaign: Influencer Relations Maven Marketing and Events – Olivia and Beauty Pop to Olivia Culpo “Miss Universe” Announces Beauty Pop

Best PR Campaign: Digital Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Keep it Pumping MENA

Best PR Campaign: Crisis Communications TBWA\ DJAZ – Celia Algeria Milk Crisis

Best PR Campaign: Game Changer Hill+Knowlton Strategies – GOSHxSuperhope

Results on a Budget Q Communications – Tourism Ireland

Best Regional Campaign Seven Media – Special Olympics

Social Impact Hill+Knowlton Strategies – GOSHxSuperhope

Large Consultancy of the Year- Weber Shandwick MENA

Rising Star of the Year Grayling – Lauren Ramey

PR Leader Weber Shandwick – Ghaleb Zeidan

Best PR Campaign: Media Relations Seven Media – Laguna Waterpark

Strategic Communications Campaign BPG ORANGE – Sony Middle East & Africa

Small Consultancy of the Year Brazen

In-House Team of the Year Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

Large Consultancy of the Year Weber Shandwick MENA

-ENDS-

For further information contact:

 

Francis Ingham MPRCA

Director General, PRCA,

francis.ingham@prca.org.uk

 

Barry Leggetter FPRCA

barryleggetter@outlook.com 

07748 677 504

 

Matt Cartmell MPRCA

Deputy Director General

matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk

07930 485 333

 

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 66 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 30,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has appointed Barry Leggetter FPRCA as its first International President, as part of its plans to build on its position as the world’s largest PR professional body, and to move into new regions of the world.

Leggetter has spent more than 25 years in international public relations consultancy during which he was UK CEO for three global firms (Porter Novelli, FleishmanHillard, and GolinHarris), and was also International Chairman of Bite.  He also held the role of CEO of AMEC, which he left after 11 years in December 2018. Leggetter was the winner of the 2018 PRCA Mark Mellor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the PR industry, and the AMEC Don Bartholomew Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Communications Measurement and Evaluation industry. He is a Fellow of the PRCA and the CIPR.

Leggetter will begin his role at the PRCA on 25th February, 2019. In the new role, he will focus on international membership development, and will work with Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, to grow existing PRCA regional offices in South East Asia and Middle East & North Africa; and to create new associations in other regions of the world. Leggetter will also focus on improving the commercial value of PRCA’s work, including its responsibility for delivering the ICCO Global Summit and the ICCO Global Awards.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, and Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Barry Leggetter will be a fundamental part of the PRCA’s drive to build on our status as the world’s largest PR association, and to expand our offering to other parts of the world. He will transform us from an international organisation to a truly global one.

“Barry is a proven leader with a global perspective for driving engagement and real change and I am personally delighted he has joined us – the clearest possible sign of our intent to continue to grow globally.”

Barry Leggetter FPRCA, International President, PRCA, said: “I’m very excited to be a part of this new challenge to help grow the PRCA and ICCO’s already impressive global reach. The PR and communications industry is increasingly international in its outlook, so it’s only right that the PRCA should be working hard to position the UK at its heart. I am delighted to be joining Francis and the team.”

ENDS

 

For further information contact:

 

Francis Ingham MPRCA

Director General, PRCA,

francis.ingham@prca.org.uk

 

Barry Leggetter FPRCA

barryleggetter@outlook.com

07748 677 504

 

Matt Cartmell MPRCA

Deputy Director General

matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk

07930 485 333

 

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 66 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 30,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

Dubai, UAE, 27th November 2018: Leading international business communications consultancy Instinctif Partners has confirmed a series of key promotions at its MENA business, headquartered in Dubai. The promotion of team members follows a period of revenue and headcount growth for the regional operation.

George Allen has been promoted to Associate Partner and will continue his leadership of the Capital Markets & Financial Services practice, with responsibility for clients in the GCC and MENA. George leads a team whose focus is on financial communications and Investor Relations, as well as on transaction work including IPOs and M&A across Gulf markets.

Shali Grote has been promoted to Operations Director, having worked at the company for five years. She has over 15 years’ experience in communications and marketing, having worked in a range of industries from FMCG to corporate banking, sustainability, waste management, property development, international real estate, and the luxury hotel and art markets.

Chloe Pearce has commenced a six-month secondment with the MENA team from Instinctif’s London office, where she is Marketing & Business Development Manager. She has experience in both B2B and B2C marcomms roles and has worked with businesses in all stages of growth, predominantly in the technology and real estate sectors.

Samantha Bartel, Managing Partner, Instinctif Partners MENA, commented:

“These promotions are an important part of positioning our business for a future as one of Instinctif Partners’ fastest growing regions. We are very pleased to be able to reward the dedication and hard work of our team members, while at the same time growing our team and our client portfolio. Shali and George’s new positions demonstrate the maturity of the firm as we emerge as a key player in the regional marketplace, while Chloe brings additional fire power from the London office.”

– Ends –

Notes for Editors

About Instinctif Partners:

Instinctif Partners is a leading international business communications consultancy with six practice areas: capital markets, corporate, public policy, content & creative, engagement and insight & research.

It is a specialist in reputation, influence and engagement. It works with clients across multiple and complex audiences combining deep insights, expert storytelling and creative delivery to change behaviours, emotions and perceptions.

Instinctif Partners currently employs 400 people in 15 offices across eight countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and North America.

The company is one of the fastest growing consultancies in its industry, and in the past year alone has won or been shortlisted for over 30 awards, recognising both client work and the growth of the business as a whole. Accolades include International Agency of the Year 2018 & 2017 at the PR Week Global Awards, Outstanding Large Consultancy of the Year 2018 at the CIPR Excellence Awards, Corporate Consultancy of the Year 2017 at the EMEA SABRE Awards, and City Agency of the Year at the PRCA City and Financial Awards 2016 & 2017. Instinctif Partners also won Gold at the PR Week Best Places to Work 2018 for Large Agency and was named by the London Stock Exchange as one of 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

 

Website: https://instinctif.com/mena/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/instinctif-partners-mena/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Instinctif_MENA

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/instinctif_mena/

 

About the Team

George Allen

+971 4 369 9353

George.allen@instinctif.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/george-allen-aa04131a/

 

Diana Estupinan

+971 55 533 9553

Diana.estupinan@instinctif.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianaestupinan/

 

Chloe Pearce

+971 55 511 0550

Chloe.pearce@instinctif.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloeapearce/

U.A.E., 16th October 2018 – M&C Saatchi PR today announced that it has rebranded as M&C Saatchi Public Relations. The change of name is part of an overall global brand refresh that has been carried out to more clearly define the agency’s vision, proposition and purpose.

 

Global CEO Molly Aldridge commented: “In a confused and converging communications industry, we wanted to provide clarity and simplicity on who we are and what we do.  We are passionately embracing our public relations heritage and how we apply the principles of our discipline in the modern age to clearly define our expertise across social, editorial and experiential for both our people and our clients.  That’s why we’ve changed our name to M&C Saatchi Public Relations – a small but important differentiation.”

 

Global Managing Director Chris Hides added: “We believe that the principles of our discipline, Public Relations, are more relevant and more in demand now than ever before. With greater transparency and accountability and the disintermediation of media channels, expertise at helping brands and their audiences communicate and make sense of one another is critical. That’s what public relations has always been best at. But the abbreviation of the discipline to PR has caused it to lose its original meaning. We want to return to that and we want to expand it, not reduce or remove it as others have.”

 

The company’s new offer is built around the application of ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought’, a founding principle of the parent M&C Saatchi, across a four-stage process of Plan, Create, Activate, Measure. A new bespoke targeting and measurement methodology is being introduced alongside existing innovations that include the Global Influencer Squad and the Create team which includes content producers, designers and creatives.

 

In the 8 years since its launch, the agency has grown from a London start up to an international network operating across EMEA and the US. Last year they won the CIPR Large Agency of the Year and PR Week Mid-Sized Agency of the Year awards. Clients in the UAE have included Discovery Channel, Abu Dhabi Motors and Benefit Cosmetics.

 

Moray MacLennan, M&C Saatchi Worldwide CEO, commented: “With other PR companies dashing to the heart of the periphery, we applied Brutal Simplicity of Thought to the task and will be refocusing on Public Relations.

 

After all, company’s relations with their public have never been so close and personal.”

– ends-

 

For more information, please contact:

Imogen Turner on 07709436555  / Imogen.Turner@mcsaatchi.com

 

Notes to Editors:

M&C Saatchi Public Relations is a modern public relations company that has been operating for 8 years, servicing in 10 offices globally (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA, UAE and Asia). The company is part of the creative marketing group M&C Saatchi and M&C Saatchi Public Relations combines the best of both worlds – big agency infrastructure with the nimbleness of small agency culture providing clients with measurable impact, tailored expertise and experience.

 

Website: www.mcsaatchipublicrelations.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mcsaatchipublicrelations

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mcsaatchipublicrelations

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/m&c-saatchi-public-relations/

Something I hear on a regular basis is “A lot has changed in the world of SEO” and it is very true. Winning techniques and steps to increase website visitors is ever evolving on a regular basis, so it is vital to keep up to date to stay ahead of the game.

Here are some practical tips that I currently use as I know the Google Spiders will be monitoring them all every month.

1.Website Speed

Your website page speed is a critical factor for your SEO rankings. Remember that 40% of people abandon a website if it is not loaded in 3 seconds! Google want your customers to have a streamlined, customer friendly journey’s. Essentially remove anything from your website that is slowing down the speed which could be hidden pages, large images or videos. Alternatively, you can look at your hosting and upgrade your package.

2.Link Building

Link building is still a strong factor for SEO ranking. Quality links to web pages which have relevant content will be more beneficial than many links to unrelated ones. Digital PR plays a big part here with potential to link with quality magazines and blogs.

3.Write For Humans First

A few years ago it was best practice to write for SEO – ensuring keywords are exact and focused. However, these days Google likes to see a mix of long-tale keywords embedded in helpful content around your product and service

4.Use Web Analytics From The Start

Connect web analytics or Google Analytics to your website from the start. You will gain changing insights to understand what has / has not worked and how you can improve. You will also be able to track which website are giving the most visitors so some extra investment may be valuable here.

5.META Data

Write short and relevant meta descriptions for every page, each being unique. Include helpful descriptions and include your keywords here. It is also worth testing which phrases and sentences help achieve higher clicks too.

Dawn Kubricek MPRCA

www.leaders-in-digital.com

The 8th May  2018 marked the 10th Annual Arab Youth Survey, presenting the evidence, insights and opinions of the Arab youth in the MENA region. With youth unemployment in the region now above 25%, the need for this research is central to find out the issues being faced. A comprehensive interview process, conducting 3,500 face to face interviews with Country Nationals established some fascinating results.

Point 9 of the findings discussed in the session found that “while young Arabs increasingly turn to social media for their news, they see CNN as the most trusted news network, with Al Jazeera coming in the least most trusted news outlook.” Newspapers continue to face the challenge of engaging young Arabs as their popularity declined, from 22% to just 18%. When asked “compared with a year ago, would you say you use Facebook more, less, or about the same” 61% of young Arabs answered more with only 5% quoting less, showing online platforms are the way to reach this audience. Facebook’s influence among Arab youth continues to grow, with half now saying they get their news on Facebook daily.

This key section of research highlighted the increasing use of social media as the main platform of news for today’s youth. For the first time, more young Arabs cited they are getting their news on social media, not TV, marking a major shift since 2015. This dramatic change in the way media is consumed by this age group is a key finding for the sector. Brands looking to target this age group need to have an approach focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram to influence and target this market effectively.

“Coming together is a beginning;

keeping together is progress;

working together is success.”

Henry Ford

Whether you call it a collaborative model, or call it a collective, one thing is certain and that’s that the rise of highly specialised freelancers and boutique agencies, working together on a common project, is becoming increasingly common.

In years gone by, freelancers have shied away from collaborating with other freelancers – for many reasons, but primarily because of the complexities of sharing intellectual property, account management and client servicing.  But times are a changing.

And because communications and public relations is an ever-changing landscape, the most successful practitioners in the field are now embracing the multitude of benefits to be gained from working together with other specialists.

A collective lends itself to pitching for bigger clients and more complex projects.  So, when the collaboration takes place and senior and experienced specialists come together, agility and adaptability are key to success.

Each player in the team brings their own niche set of skills to the table.  As experts in their respective fields, their experience speaks magnitudes for their capabilities and what they each offer other members of the collective.

From a client’s perspective, while the collaborative or boutique agency model presents inherent risks, there is so much more to be gained.

In particular, collectives are typically established by senior professionals who have, over the years, built a strong network of peers and acquaintances in the industry – people who they have worked with, worked alongside, or have come across through mutual contacts.  There is, therefore, a degree of comfort and confidence in their ability to jointly develop and deliver consultancy services and offer agile solutions to clients.

With the rise of communications specialists, an upsurge in social media usage, and prevalence of immediate online coverage, the way in which communicators communicate for their clients has also changed.  Take the examples of immediate online coverage and 24-hour news cycles.  These changes mean that practitioners need to be more proactive than ever before – providing updates for print news and online services.

Furthermore, the trend of style over substance has reversed, with experienced practitioners helping clients to understand the importance of keeping business strategy at the heart of any communications planning.

Above all else, the collective model is a great platform for the incubation of creativity and innovation, while maintaining the fundamentals of public relations and communications, and demonstrating a strong return on investment.

This style of working is more than a mental shift towards collaboration, it’s behavioural and relies on practitioners treating each other as colleagues, rather than competitors. The model itself is not new however, with professional service providers, such as medical and legal professionals, collaborating on cases.

It’s a model that relies on solid and transparent communications to ensure that all members of the team continue to work towards common goals, and that deliverables are understood, assigned and measurable – with an understanding that although they may have independent responsibilities, the outcome will be collectively achieved.

As the realm of communications and public relations morphs and changes, it comes as no surprise that the role of and interaction between practitioners will also change.  But, the rise of specialist collaborators is here to stay, and it’s a change that needs to be embraced and leveraged.

By In2 Consulting

 

We are frequently asked to be creative or apply creative thinking in the work we do or even the lives we lead. A common mistake made by many, is understanding what creativity is and how to go about delivering it, it’s definitely not something you turn off or on, or learn, rather its instinctive, a way of looking at things, a way of thinking and therefore hard to measure or quantify.

The more you use your creative instinct in your everyday life, the more naturally it seeps into everything you think and do and turns what was previously grey into a rich colourful canvas.

Creativity is not just the domain of marketing and advertising departments, rather it applies across the business. Examples include Apple re-inventing or creating a new look home computer to the iPhones and iPads of today that have changed our lives and the way we communicate and do business to Elon Musk and the way that he takes a creative approach to car manufacturing, to space travel and even energy. A business that fosters a creative environment is one that isn’t afraid of challenges, obstacles, on the contrary it thrives and succeeds and leads….

For a marketing team or a communications Agency as well as approaching strategy and process, nurturing and encouraging a natural creative DNA is equally as important. Any communications team worth their salt must understand, embody, illustrate and/or vocalize what you have to offer in a way that makes it relevant and emotive to the target audiences its designed to engage. This is what will differentiate you from the competition. If you can achieve this, your communication will be empowered, be more confident, authentic and ultimately more effective – why? Because you will always have something great to say and – as importantly – stay relevant and consistent.

Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein

You may ask why is creativity so important for any organization? I will do my best to summarise as much as possible..

It’s engaging in the sense that creative thought and application helps an organization achieve stand out and hence be memorable, relevant, engaging and campaignable. Success is achieved as your brand, service, solution or product stands out and relates to its key stakeholders

Most critical skill for an organization to possess to realise utopia – a creative team that thrives on upholding a creative approach and work environment, will be regarded as more interesting, credible and authoritative. Your audience will be able to relate to you and your offering naturally and buy into them

Creativity is invaluable for internal growth and brings a dynamic element to any organization large or small. It tells people – employees and customers alike that the organization is open to new ideas, disruptive thinking and planning and the energy and desire to make things happen

Creativity is a big pull for talented people to join your team as it makes your business desirable, who doesn’t want to be part of a passionate and driven team who are great at what they say and do and how they say and do things. One of the most powerful USPs for any brand, business, is to be distinctive and inspire people to want to buy in/belong. Who doesn’t want to work for Apple or Google or Tesla?

Ultimately how creative you are, is an indicator of your passion, conviction, confidence, knowledge and success. It’s directly linked to the type of experience you will provide and the qualities you will pass on. Your goal is to inspire greatness in those you talk to and interact with, and the most impactful way to leave your mark, is by leading the way.

When you use or have a creative idea, you feel more emotionally inspired. These emotions influence what we buy into, who to connect with, where to go and workout, who to work for, where to travel to and the decisions we make to drive business success.

 

Author: Sawsan Ghanem, Joint Managing Director at Active DMC

For the original article, click here.